Each spring, whale sharks migrate to a feeding area off the coast of Belize, close to the village of Placencia. Whale sharks are known as the ‘gentle giant’ of the ocean, they are naturally curious and will calmly swim right along a boat or snorkeler. The largest whale shark on record was 40'7" with a mouth that spanned 4.5 feet wide.
Is swimming with these gentle giants on your bucket list? If so, read on and find out about the best times and ways to see the whale sharks in Belize.
Where can you see whale sharks in Belize?
Each spring from April to June, the whale sharks migrate to a feeding site at Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve . This marine reserve is located in the Southern Belize Barrier Reef about 36 kilometres (22 miles) off the coast of Placencia.
When is the best time to see the whale shark in Belize?
Whale sharks feed on the eggs of snappers. The snappers spawning occurs with the lunar cycle, so the best time to see the whale sharks is during a ten-day period around the full moon for the months of March to June of every year.
For 2018 the ideal times to see the whale sharks in Belize are:
April 28 – May 8 ( Full Moon – April 29)
May 28 – June 7 (Full Moon – May 29)
June 27 – July 8 (Full Moon – June 28)
Where is the best place to swim, snorkel or dive with whale sharks in Belize?
Whale sharks have a gentle nature and calm demeanour, which makes them a popular ocean giant for scuba divers and snorkelers to swim along with. The best place to swim, snorkel or dive with the whale sharks is at the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve during the spring spawning cycle.
Are there any whale shark watching tours in Belize?
The following tour companies offer whale shark snorkeling or diving from Placencia:
Watch this video of the Whale Shark Zone at Gladden Spit:
Protection and Conservation of the Whale Shark in Belize
The Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve (GSSCMR) was declared a protected area in 2000. Since 2003 whale sharks have been a protected species in Belize and no individual may be caught or killed in the waters of Belize.
The Southern Environmental Association (SEA) co-manages the GSSCMR along with the Belize Fisheries Department .
SEA also conducts monitoring of the whale shark at the GSSCMR counting the numbers of spawning fish, and also the numbers of whale sharks sighted.
Are you looking for accommodation in Placencia, Belize?
We offer a year-round adventure trip that includes a stay in Placencia. The Jungle & Beach Explorer - Placencia trip, combines a four-night active adventure at Bocawina Rainforest Resort with three nights relaxing beachside at either Robert’s Grove Beach Resort or Laru Beya Beach Resort in Placencia.
Contact one of our Belize vacation planners at 1.800.667.1630 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.