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Whale Shark Season Delayed 6 Weeks Due To La Paz Water Contamination

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It’s one of the most popular activities for tourists arriving in Los Cabos and La Paz for the start of the peak fall and winter holiday travel season.

However, due to some unfortunate issues, visitors wanting to swim with the whale sharks are going to have to wait a little longer for the popular tourist activity to start for the season.

Arrival Delay

Divers with whale sharks in the ocean

According to local officials the arrival of the whale sharks in sufficient numbers to support the tourism industry requirement has not yet occurred in La Paz.

The tour boat operators are unsure exactly why they have not arrived. However, they are speculating that the boats that were recently overturned in the La Paz Marina after Hurricane Norma may be to blame.

There were several reports from witnesses in the media that smelled fuel leaking from the capsized ships directly into the water. Some saw a shiny sheen in the water that appeared to be either fuel or oil.

La Paz Marina

Government officials initially rejected the claim of a fuel spill in the water. However, general contamination of the water from Hurricane Norma instead may be to blame for the lack of animals in sufficient numbers to meet the regulations for visitor tours.

This theory may not exactly hold water, no pun intended. There may be more climate change issues at work. In fact, while the whale sharks normally appear in September in time for the start of the peak fall and travel season, they were actually delayed last year as well.

Despite this, reports are that the local Attorney General’s Office and Federal Public Secretariat have both opened investigations into the capsized boats and resulting fire for the possible charges of an environmental crime.

View of the Bay of La Paz

Six Week Hold

For right now, officials are estimating at least a six-week delay in the start of the popular tourist activity that draws thousands of travelers and pumps significant amounts of money during the peak fall and winter travel season into the economy of La Paz.

For visitors to Los Cabos during the busy season, which starts this week, the delay is going to be disappointing to those looking forward to enjoying swimming with the gentle giants of the sea during their vacation getaway.

Tourists watching a whale shark from a boat

In fact, the activity is so popular that several social media influencers have actually filmed themselves swimming and interacting with the animals while on vacation in Los Cabos. That has only resulted in more interest from visitors wanting to participate in the very special ocean activity.

What Tourists Need to Know

For travelers heading to Los Cabos for the peak fall and winter holiday travel season and looking forward to the unique opportunity to swim with whale sharks, it looks like they may unfortunately need to find an alternate activity.

Snorkeling With Whale Sharks in La Paz

Currently, the tour season is suspended until towards the end of the winter holiday season at the earliest, and potentially longer.

Regulations require a specific number of animals to be spotted in the area during a time period in order to formally start the whale shark tour and swimming season. The official start to the season can’t legally begin until those numbers are achieved.

The idea is that if fewer animals are available for tours, the impact on any specific animal is too much for the stress level of the whale sharks present. The more animals are available, the less the behavioral impact on any specific animal during a tour and swimming season.

Boats taking tourists out to enjoy time with whale sharks in La Paz

While many families of tour operators are disappointed about the delay because their incomes during the holiday season depend on these tours, they hope that in a couple of weeks they can formally start the season and share this amazing experience with the visitors on their vacation getaway to Los Cabos and La Paz.

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