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Whale Shark Swimming Tours In La Paz Suspended Until Further Notice 

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One of the top things that adventure seekers visiting Los Cabos want to do during their vacation is swim with whale sharks, and they often take the two-hour trip to La Paz to do so.  Those visiting in the near future, though, may not get that opportunity because whale shark swimming tours in La Paz have been suspended until further notice.  The suspension is due to the number of whale sharks present in the Bay of La Paz Refuge Area. 

Tourists Swimming with Whale Sharks

How Many Whale Sharks Is Not Enough? 

According to reports, on three different days recently, January 29th and 30th and February 1st, only two whale sharks were present.  Apparently, there is a protocol that is supposed to be followed that determines how many whale sharks need to be present in order to operate viewing and swimming tours.  When the number of whale sharks gets below five, tours are supposed to be suspended, and that is what the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas did.  

Whale Shark Swimming Near a Tourist in La Paz

Whale Shark Tours In La Paz 

Typically the best time to see whale sharks in La Paz is between the months of October and May, but they are present year-round.  Snorkeling and diving with these massive creatures is an amazing experience, as whale sharks tend to swim alongside humans and are not aggressive, despite being part of the shark family.  The cost of swimming with whale sharks in La Paz starts at around $90 for a 2 ½ hour tour, but the price goes up depending on what is included in the tour. 

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Whale Shark Near a Boat in La Paz

Location Of La Paz 

La Paz is located about two hours north of Los Cabos on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja California Peninsula.  It is the capital city of the state of Baja California Sur, which is not only where La Paz is located but also Los Cabos, which includes San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.  The city of La Paz is known for its waterfront restaurants and bars, the tree and sculpture-lined boardwalk along the beach, and its beautiful beaches, namely Playa Balandra. 

Young Tourist Watching a Whale Shark from a Boat in La Paz, Mexico

Whale Sharks 

Whale sharks are listed globally as being endangered, which likely plays a role in the suspension of whale shark tours when so few are present.  Whale shark tourism is thought to be one of the issues endangering these harmless marine animals.  According to marine biologists, this is because swimming with whale sharks causes disruptions in their natural routines, like feeding.  Boat propellers on tour boats also pose a threat to whale sharks. 

Whale shark next to a boat with a man in it.

How Whale Shark Tour Operators Are Reacting  

Whale shark tour operators disagree with the decision made by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to suspend tours.  One tour operator, Fabricio Mújica Zambrano, commented that these decisions are made on a whim.  He claims that there is no respect for the rules that are already in place regarding the time frame allowed for whale shark tourism and the cost of permits.   

Tourists watching whale sharks in the water.

What Whale Shark Tour Operators Have To Say 

Tour operators are vocal about the effect the whale shark tour suspension is having on the tourism community.  According to one tour operator, “There is already a study done by biologists, and these time parameters are simply not respected.”  He further stated that “the terrible impact for us (tour operators) is to sell among all companies an “x” amount of services for the following days and to be closed.” The losses, he says, amount to 400,000 – 500,000 pesos, or around $21,000 – $26,000 USD, in just a few days. 

Boats with tourists surrounded by whale sharks.

Many people visit Los Cabos planning to make the trip to La Paz to swim with whale sharks.  For now, though, there is no telling when the tours will be offered again in the Bay of La Paz.

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Lisa Belkin

Sunday 5th of March 2023

We just got back from La Paz. We had booked a whale shark excursion but they were cancelled. Our main reason for being there was to experience again the gray whale breeding grounds in the lagoons on the pacific side. This is an experience not to be missed. The calves are curious and they come up to your panga close enough that you can give them a back rub! Mama might be making eye contact with you. I really recommend this experience. Dress for winter. It’s the pacific. Hats and a fleece jacket will keep you comfortable. Hope you get to enjoy your trip

Wilma Veronico

Thursday 9th of February 2023

I’m stay at Pueblo Bonito this will be my 7th vacation Coming up. would like to venture out and see/duo something different. So I’m looking forward to reading your paper.


Thursday 9th of February 2023

I have had the chance to swim with these beautiful,majestic, gracious creatures 5 years ago. I can tell you that these tour operators only care about making money and satisfy their client. I have witnessed the boat that I have been on, made a very sharp turn to get close to the whale and hit it with the side of the boat, very sad experience, we don't know the extent of the injuries to the poor creature, very sad to see. That was in Holbox Island in state of Quintana Roo, an island 35 min ride from Cancun.

Chris Bruce

Thursday 9th of February 2023

Whale sharks are not actually part of the shark family. They are technically fish. Sharks have cartridge, not bones. Whale sharks have bones, making them technically fish.


Saturday 11th of February 2023

@Chris Bruce, whale sharks are sharks. Sharks are fish.


Tuesday 7th of February 2023

Oh man we just booked our flights for the ends of February to do this!


Thursday 9th of February 2023

Oh I hear you.... We came down just for that and the day before find out there are no whalesharks... Still did the boat tour with a swim with the sea lions but not the same. Colder weather and windy conditions are also to blame for less than optimal feeding conditions.... Well can't control nature.... But still a drag