Baja’s Whale Sharks

It’s the beginning of whale shark season in Baja’s Sea of Cortez which generally runs from about June to October in Bahía de los Ángeles and from October to February in La Paz. The seasons vary each year depending on conditions like weather and safety for the whale sharks. It’s an incredible experience to swim, snorkel, or kayak with these gentle giants.

Photo by Paul J Curtis

Whale Shark Fun Facts:

– Whale sharks not whales but a shark. They are the world’s largest fish growing up to lengths of 40 feet and weighing over 21 tons.

-Often called “gentle giants,” whale sharks are the third largest creature in the ocean (after blue whales and fin whales), but they are not aggressive and pose no threat to humans.

– With extremely large mouths that can stretch up to four feet wide, whale sharks are filter feeders with extremely small teeth. They can process more than 1,500 gallons of water an hour through their gills.

-Although less than 10 percent of whale shark born live to become adults (the mothers leave their young right after birth to fend for themselves), it’s thought that whale sharks can live to be over 100 years old.

-They are incredibly slow swimmers, and only reach speeds of 3 mph.

-Their patterns of spots and stripes are unique like fingerprints and scientists use the markings to identify each whale shark.

How to Visit the Whale Sharks in Baja:

Two great spots to see whale sharks in Baja are Bahía de los Ángeles and La Paz. Almost every tour operator in La Paz will offer whale shark excursions. In Bahía de los Ángeles try contacting Ricardo’s Diving Tours (  or Villa Bahia ( for a guided excursion. If you want to go out on your own to see the whale sharks in Bahía de los Ángeles, you’ll need to stop at the Guardaparque building in town (on the main road next to the park) and pay US$4 for a wristband that will allow you to go out on the bay. The whale sharks mostly congregate around the southern bay of Rincón, but can be found in other areas as well. It’s best to go out in the early mornings when the bay is calm to kayak, snorkel, or swim with the whale sharks. You can read more about going on your own to see the whale sharks in Bahía de los Ángeles in Graham Mackintosh’s article.

One thought on “Baja’s Whale Sharks

  1. Jerry Ryan says:

    FYI – My wife and I live in La Paz 6 mos a year. From our experience the best tour guide for swimming with the whale sharks is Onboard Baja in Marina Cortez.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *