When planning my clients’ travel, whether by cruise or by land, I always discuss the wonderful adventures that can (and should!) be reserved in advance.  Can I tell you how many times these additional amazing activities end up being the highlight of their vacation experience?  Of course, finding the right resort or ship for their needs is a critical piece of the puzzle, but since my gift and goal for my clients is to offer them exciting ways to see and experience the destination, it is important for me to add fun and memorable excursions before they leave home.

If you are a true adventurer, you would build the trip as I did mine around a crazy cool experience like the whale shark encounter. My friend and I were staying in the Playa del Carmen area south of Cancun, Mexico.  During the planning stage, I located a dive company based nearby, and Jason picked us up at our hotel at 6:30 in the morning.  Be sure to take two minutes of your time to watch this amazing video of me swimming with whale sharks.  I was the one actually swimming freestyle in order to keep at the pace of “my” whale shark.  Click HERE

"Whale Shark Encounter", Mexico, "whale shark", Adventure, "active travel"

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico

It was in September, the very end of the season, as these amazing creatures begin to move south from their home in the waters called Isla Contoy National Park, located north of Isla Mujeres.   The excitement builds on the ride north to a marina near Cancun as you learn more about these incredible giants of the sea.  Up to 42 feet in length, they have teeny tiny teeth for dining only on the microscopic organisms, and are officially the largest FISH in the ocean.  My friend Cindy and I were so lucky…the waters were calm and smooth for the 1.5 hour boat ride out to meet our creatures.

"whale Shark"

Two people at a time (with a guide) would jump in with snorkel gear and meet the animal face-to-face.  I swam beside one (I think sometimes it was the SAME one) about 6 different times…once swimming so far that when my head popped up I wasn’t certain which dive boat was mine!  Funny, but don’t worry.  The guides know right where you are, and they yelled my name to get my attention.   I cannot tell you how incredibly fascinating it was to watch the whale sharks feed, and at no time did I feel threatened.  They are curious about us, too, and seem to enjoy the interaction much as a dolphin would.

Should swimming with whale sharks not be your cup of tea, the area has a number of wonderful eco-parks to explore, such as Xcaret and Xel-Ha.  Xel-Ha provides a relaxing day; spend it by snorkeling the lagoon waters, zip-lining into the water, and floating down the lazy river in an inner tube.  We can also arrange ATV rides, sailing excursions, and tours to the beautiful Tulum and Chichen Itza Mayan sites.  The diversity in Mexico offers incredible activities to suit every traveler’s interests.

As a travel professional, I always recommend that my clients pre-arrange their excursions in advance, since there are a limited number of spaces available each day.  Don’t miss out on that WOW active adventure that you will remember forever!

Bobbie Rae Murphy

Active Adventure Specialist

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