WHALE SHARKS IN HOLBOX, MEXICO!
2010 TRIP NOT SCHEDULED YET
Holbox (pronounced "hol-bosh") Mexico
is one of the few places I have ever
visited that not only lives up to its
reputation, but exceeds it. I have seen
whale sharks in a lot of places around the
world, but I have never ever seen
anything like Holbox. (Donsol, Philippines
comes close, but still not as
It's a tiny, white-sand island on the
northern coast of the Yucatan. To get
there, you take a bus ride about 3 hours
north from Cancun, then you take a 30
minute boat ride. There are very few cars
on the island--most people drive golf
carts. There are also few hotels, since
until recently this was basically just a
quiet fishing village.
The fishermen have known for many years
about the annual gathering of enormous
spotted "domino sharks" as they call them,
but only in the past few years has anyone
else known about it.
You get up in the morning, walk down to
the beach, get in the boat, and ride about
an hour offshore. When you get to the
"shark grounds" you will be able to count
more than a dozen sharks around the boat
without getting out of your seat! The
sharks come up to the surface in the
morning when it's calm, to feed on
plankton. (Later in the day, when the wind
comes up, the sharks dive down deep.) You
will also see manta rays, bait balls and
all kinds of incredible marine life from
the surface! Now it's time to snorkel!
There is no scuba diving done with the
sharks. First, they do not allow it.
Second, it wouldn't work anyway. In the
limited 20-40 foot visibility, you would
not be able to see the sharks until they
were right on you. Working with a snorkel
from the surface allows you to keep
getting near each shark as it passes. They
do not allow touching the sharks. But the
rules have kept the sharks friendly. They
do not shy away from people. They do not
stop feeding when they see you in the
water. They pretty much ignore people.
They are quite simply a photographer's
Snorkelers get into the water two at a
time, and spend about 20 minutes with the
sharks, then get out and let the next pair
take a turn. We have a maximum of 6 people
on each boat so you get a turn frequently.
I have negotiated special boat
arrangements that will have no more than 6
snorkelers each (other boats have up to
10), and I have also negotiated extended
whale shark interaction time (most boats
turn back at 11 AM. We turn back at 1 PM,
which allows us to stay out longer if the
sharks are cooperative--and in my
experience, they are).
Guests will fly to Cancun on July 8, 2009
and stay at a hotel in Cancun (TBA)
overnight. The following morning (July 9),
we will all meet downstairs and meet the
vans to Holbox. You must arrive a
day early, stay overnight, and meet the
vans. This is done to accomodate all the
different flight schedules coming into
Cancun from all over the world. We will
take the busses to Holbox on the 9th and
then interact with the whale sharks July
10-14 (5 days) and return to Cancun for
flights home on July 15. We will arrange
trips back to Cancun early in the morning,
midday and in the afternoon, to accomodate
noon(ish), afternoon and night flights
out. If you must take an early morning
flight out of Cancun, you must arrange it
on the 16th and stay overnight in Cancun
again. It takes more than 4 hours to get
from Holbox to Cancun, so early flights
out of Cancun are not possible on the same
day as departure from Holbox.
THE PRICE CAN'T BE BEAT
Only $1,499.00 per person double
occupancy or $1,899.00 per
person single occupancy which
includes: transfers from Cancun, 6 nights
hotel on Holbox, whale shark trips and
breakfast! You will be responsible for
airfare to Cancun, one night hotel stay in
Cancun and meals
(Food is very inexpensive on Holbox and delicious). If
you are traveling single, I can probably
hook you up with a roommate.
We stay at the finest hotel on Holbox:
the Villas Paraiso del Mar. It is right on
the beach, has a nice pool, a great
restaurant and AC. It is walking distance
to town. This is a gorgeous and opulent
hotel. You will be impressed.
Read about it on Underwater PhotoChat!
PAYMENT SCHEDULE (Double
Read the JBDA Frequently
trips with Jonathan....
A shot of one of the hotel buildings.
A whale shark feeding at the
As you can see, the water is a little
green with plankton, but this is the
reason there are so many whale
Another boat in the background with
other whale sharks.
Now that is some serious
plankton feeding! Water rushes down the
thhroat of a whale shark like a storm
A perfectly flat calm morning results in a
A whale shark gulping water full of
That's why the locals call them
Oh yeah, there are tons of manta rays
The main mode of transport: golf
The hotel as seen from the water. Cool
A mariachi band roams downtown.