The main industry on Holbox Island is fishing, but there is a growing tourist industry around Whale Shark watching.
The whale shark is the largest known fish in the world and it reaches reaches lengths of greater than 40 feet (13 meters) as well as a weight in surplus of 21 tons. Now that’s a big fish. But you don’t need to worry about being eaten by a whale shark, because although it has a mouth that can be up to 4.9ft wide, with 300-350 rows of teeth, it is a slow moving, filter feeding fish. It is also a docile fish that will sometimes allow a swimmer to catch a ride.
Whale Shark season is from mid May to mid September off the Coast of Holbox (Black Hole) Island near Cancun Mexico. The Whale Sharks return to the waters around Holbox year after year due to the rare natural environment and timing of accessible food which takes place every spring and continues all through most of the summer.
Now while the Whale Shark is a filter feeding fish with a primary diet of plankton and other minute plants and animals, it has been observed on occasion feeding on very diminutive schooling fish. The surroundings around Isla Holbox are ideal during the summer months as it is uniquely located in close proximity to the joining points of the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. This fusion of three oceans produces a rich cyclic explosion of life.
The Whale Shark poses no risk to humans on a snorkel or diving expedition. In truth, it is a wonderful chance to transform the incorrect belief that sharks are man eaters. The Whale Sharks surrounding the Island of Holbox truly seem to get pleasure from and appreciate the human interaction and are quite gentle and slow moving. The experience of swimming with these magnificent fish is awe inspiring.
Isla Holbox provides the perfect and closest land locality in the world to come across an encounter with these very substantial, magnificent and peaceful creatures with access only 20-60 minutes from the island by boat. Tours and expeditions from this Mexican island location have been featured by National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, Shark Diver Magazine and many others.
The usual Whale Shark swimming encounter requires simply a snorkel, fins and mask though most whale shark tour operators also require and provide a life vest. Subsequent to a briefing on guidelines and safety, you will catch an early morning boat ride from Holbox Island to the feeding locations of the Whale Sharks where they idly graze on plankton close to the surface. You are then escorted in small groups or pairs with your biologist guide into the water where you swim along side one of natures oldest and largest creatures, it genuinely is a Jurassic experience!
The calm and leisurely swimming pace of the Whale Shark makes contact with these remarkable fish easy for most people, children as young as 5 years of age and as old as 90 have swum with the Whale Sharks. The interaction with these incredible animals is a once in a lifetime encounter. Getting to the sharks is an journey in itself as you will often see schools of dolphin and a range of tropical birds including; Flamingos, Pelicans, Cranes and a wealth of others local to the area.
If you are interested in this wonderful encounter, there are a number of great Holbox Island hotels ranging from luxurious boutique hotels to cabanas on the beach. Isla Holbox is a gracious fishing village hosting a populace of around 1500 permanent residents, mostly fishermen, hoteliers and tour operators. Golf carts are the chosen mode of transportation on this quiet Tropical Isle and ecological playground.