Guided Whale Shark Snorkeling
As with any wildlife excursion, sightings are likely but not guaranteed. Whale shark trips are half-day excursions to Gladden Spit Marine Reserve, and include 2 blue water snorkels suitable for all ages and abilities. A minimum of 6 participants is required to make the trip to Gladden Spit, which is approximately 40 minutes away. Trips may be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather or unsafe sea conditions.
Strict regulations exist to protect both the whale shark and the snapper during this sensitive time. Whale shark tour operators require special licensing and tour guides are required to participate in specialized training. Access to the area is restricted to a certain number of boats and only during certain hours. For a complete list of rules, click here
The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea and can grow up to 60 feet in length. Though they are huge, whale sharks are gentle and curious and pose no threat to humans. These slow-moving fish are filter feeders, eating plankton that is made up by tiny plants and animals. Whale sharks are easily identified by white spots that cover their skin. Like a fingerprint, the patterns are unique and can be used to identify individuals. These gentle giants may live to be over 100 years old!
During the full moon from March to June, cubera snapper group together and spawn in Belize. Whale sharks visit Gladden Spit Marine Reserve to feed on the freshly released, nutrient rich, cubera snapper spawn. Divers and snorkelers visit from around the world to witness this amazing spectacle.