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Whale Sharks of Isla Mujeres

Updated: May 22, 2022

Why a Wonder: The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea, growing up to 40 feet long. This gentle giant feeds on tiny organisms and is harmless to humans. The annual aggregation in Mexico offers photographers and ocean enthusiasts the opportunity to safely snorkel with multiple whale sharks in the warm waters of the Yucatan.

Where: Offshore near Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Daily boat tours depart Isla Mujeres and Cancun in season.

When: Summer, especially July and August.

Photography: No scuba diving is necessary (these are snorkel encounters), and most tour operators provide masks, snorkels, fins, and life vests. A guide will be in the water with you at all times. There are many tours from Isla Mujeres and Cancun, but most provide a quick in-water experience and are not photo-focused. Photographers should look for workshops or charters that emphasize longer encounters and photo opportunities.

The best lens choice is a fish-eye or wide-angle zoom, and getting up close to your subject produces the best images. An underwater housing or waterproof camera case is a must. Wear sun protection, stay hydrated, and bring remedies for seasickness if you are prone.

Encounters are in the open blue ocean, so you’ll need to be creative to make your images more interesting. Natural sun rays add a sublime element. Including a person is a good way to show scale, but avoid composing with the person in between you and the shark. Open-mouth feeding shots always impress.

Learn More:

© Bo Dabi

This post sponsored by Adorama.

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