Published On: Tue, Jul 24th, 2018

11th annual Whale Shark Festival: a big success in Isla Mujeres

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The Isla Mujeres Department of Tourism, along with ecotourism company and international sponsor Ceviche Tours, were the official organizers of the 11th annual Whale Shark Festival, which was held from July 20-22, 2018 in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo.

Thousands of people attended the family-friendly event, where guests had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, join in traditional dancing, enjoy local food and work by local artisans, attend presentations, snorkel and dive the reefs surrounding the Island and more.

“Isla Mujeres is designated Pueblo Magico, a place known for its legends, symbolism, history and of course for providing a magical experience for tourists. Swimming with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres is the ultimate Pueblo Magico adventure,” said Gustavo Rodriguez Orozco, Director of Tourism of Isla Mujeres. “We welcome the world to join us to celebrate the Festival de Tiburón Ballena – the Whale Shark Festival — enjoying this great show of nature and beautiful Isla Mujeres.”

Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Festival (Photo: La Jornada Maya)


Isla Mujeres is home to the largest aggregation of Whale Sharks in the world. This year from May 15 through September 15 researchers estimate that as many as 1,400 whale sharks will migrate through the waters surrounding Isla Mujeres, providing guests with an opportunity to swim alongside these gentle giants.

“Visiting Isla Mujeres during the Whale Shark Festival is fun for the entire family  and is one of the best moments to come to the island, enjoy all the activities, expositions, food vendors, conferences, tours, handcraft local artists, the parade and much more.” said Eyder Hoth, of the Isla Mujeres Hotel Association. “The whale shark is the biggest fish on earth, and the whale shark swim tours offered in Isla Mujeres are a wonderful opportunity to get to know from a very close look, this peaceful & noble giant in the wild.”


The Whale Shark Festival is an effort to raise awareness of the need to preserve the area’s marine ecosystem. Isla Mujeres is part of the second largest barrier reef on the planet and serves as the nursery of the Caribbean and the migratory path of whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, waterfowl and game fishes.

“The continued success of the Whale Shark Festival is indicative of how ecotourism can truly impact a community,” said John Vater, co-founder of Ceviche Tours. “International events like these are essential in raising awareness and to help educate visitors on marine conservation efforts.”

The Festival featured the participation of Biologist Rafael de la Parra of Ch’ooj Ajauil AC, an organization dedicated to the monitoring, study and conservation of the pelagic organisms in the Mexican Atlantic; and Amigos de Isla Contoy, a local environmental NGO working to advance education on sustainable marine conservation and ecotourism in the region.

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