Holbox Whale Shark Tours
Holbox Whale Shark Tours
4.5
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
Holbox Whale Shark Tours offers Both Public & Private VIP Tours to swim with Whale Sharks from Isla Holbox. We've got a solid 20 year "Safety" record having satisfied 1000's of nature lovers enjoy this experience. Safe for the entire Family! We've got the Best, most comfortable boats & highly experienced Captains & In Water Guides. We are the Tour "Operator" not just a "Ticket Seller". Don't trust just anybody selling tickets to a tour, Go with the Best to satisfy your Whale Shark Dream & to check this off your "Bucket List"!
Holbox Island, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Meets animal welfare guidelines

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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles256 reviews
Excellent
200
Very good
24
Average
6
Poor
7
Terrible
19

jetdude
New York City, NY243 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2016 • Couples
I did it, so I am as guilty as anyone else, but, after doing it, and seeing the way tour operators run the business and after talking with some of them and members of the "cooperative", this is what people needs to know about this "attraction":
There are hundreds of permits given to boat and tour operators to go out full of tourists, find and chase the animals while they feed in the open sea.
Once they find the whale sharks in groups of a few to ten or more (schools), they give chase and cut their pass, getting the tourists ready to jump in front of those animals, then quickly swim next to them, to admire their beauty. Yes, it is amazing!, but, is it right to harass those animals by interrupting their feeding cycle and living space?.
The only reason this is available until today, it is because it is in Mexican territory and there, money is more important than anything; make money with the less effort and investment.
On my conversations with members of the cooperativas, last week, I learned that the government just released 350 permits for boats to operate chasing the whale shark from the points they do; Cozumel, Cancun, and Holbox. They are aware of the damage they are inflicting on nature, but, hey, they got to make a buck.
Nature isn't stupid, last week in Holbox we were not able to approach flamingoes in the remote beaches of the island, as before, why?. Two years ago I surprised a couple of times, young tourists throwing rocks and sticks to them, to make them fly, to take some cool pics. Now, something that was possible two years ago, is not.
This "sport" needs to be supervised by professionals if we don't want to do some permanent damage on the whale sharks.
Written May 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thak you for your comments. YES its gotten very crowded in the Whale Shark areas. The Mex Govt does set rules for engagement. its an exxageration 350 permits its really only 160 between Cancun, Isla Mujeres & Holbox. Yes some days are abit crowded others not so. I have SAFELY Conducted tours since 2004 & have helped over 40,000 adventure seekers fulfill their dream to swim with whale sharks. i hear rumors this MIGHT BE the last year to swim. Perhaps next year it will be only to go LOOK & take Pictures. I personally would prefer that as then we could use larger boats , lower the price to be more affordable, and continue the excitement of this amazing activity. our company CANCUN WHALE SHARK TOURS follow ALL rules and protocols as set forth by Mexican Conservation Authorities and have also established the WHALE SHARK Conservation Society to help PRESERVE this amazing specie. Unfortunately there are many "fly-by'night" operators who do not follow the rules. Coming with our company allows for a BETTER Higher Quality experience THANK YOU !!!! for your concerns
Written June 1, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

tennessuga
Redondo Beach116 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Couples
All Whale Shark Tour operators charge the same price: 1,800 pesos or a little over $100 U.S. (no one on the island gives the full exchange rate). All boats hold 2 drivers and up to 8 passengers The price for private boats would have been $1,000. Seems like it should have been $800 but we didn't haggle 'cuz it still would've been too much.

I was a little disappointed in the "tour" which consisted of us spotting the shark's fins, the boat racing ahead of it, then passengers 2-at-a-time hastily slipping into the water to view the shark as it gracefully swam by. Hated having to wear the life jacket while snorkeling but still a religious experience being so close to these magnificent creatures.

Each of the four couples on the boat got to do 3 or 4 "dives," each accompanied by the portly yet energetic tour dude. Felt a little guilty - like we were harassing the poor animals.

The rest of the "tour" consisted of us "fishing" using hand-held mono line (seemed like we sat there f-o-r-e-v-e-r) and snorkeling in the middle of nowhere with other boats full of people. I think they add these little diversions to break up the 2-1/2 hour ride out to the sharks.

If I had it to do over again, I'd find other people to share a $1,000 private tour so we could spend leisure time with the Whale Sharks and eliminate the fishing & snorkeling part of the day.
Written September 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lizzie1980_10
Manchester, UK9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Couples
Bucket list, once in a lifetime, take your pick – sign up to this adventure and you will have a truly wonderful day and a fantastic story to tell your friends. Our guide Mosquito and the captain (sorry not sure of name!) were true professionals and we felt very safe in their hands. I confided in Mosquito that I was a little nervous and he didn’t make me feel silly at all.

With our choice of Reggae music accompanying us on our way, we jetted out into the ocean for our adventure. We were the only Brits in a group of about 8 other Americans - all super friendly.

In the best possible way, the safety of the whale sharks was stressed as paramount and the passion of the staff for their safety was admirable. The experience exceeded my expectations and the staff were brilliant from booking the day right through to waving us goodbye.
Written October 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

333ninon
19 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
The whale shark tour is horrible for the whale sharks! What we experienced was really sad. I am not going to focus on the fact that we spent almost 9 hours on a boat to swim for 5 minutes with the whale shark. I will focus on the fact that this poor animal could not even swim because of the hundreds of boats and even more tourists surrounding it... You could see it struggling to get away from everyone and, still, more boats were coming in front of it and more tourists were jumping into the water almost on top of the animal. It was definitely stressing and at the same time it was trying to feed. I am a marine biologist and I am 100% sure that in a few years, these animals will move further offshore to forage. They already moved far away from Holbox island due to disturbance. They use to be only a few minutes away from the coast based on the stories that the locals told me. But now, you need to sail at least 1.5 hours away to see one. They will soon move again. We need to protect them and stop this while there is still time. Yes, I know that I was there, and I know that I contributed to the hell that it experienced that (and possibly many more) day. And I feel terrible about it. If you read this review, I am begging you to not go there. Save the whale sharks!
Written August 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

webber101
Houston, TX24 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
We traveled out to sea for quite a while, the captain constantly on radio with other tour guides. After a couple of hours another boat contacts our guide and says they have sighted a whale shark. We traveled another 30 minutes to the location, about 20 guide boats had congregated here to basically harass one whale shark. Each boat took a turn allowing their tourists to have maybe 5 minutes each swimming with the whale shark. I saw more than one person grab, and one even try to swim on the it. It just sickened me. Maybe the experience is different when the sharks are plentiful, but this one was corralled and exploited. I felt so sorry for the creature.
Written October 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nina o
New York City, NY10 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Family
This experience was horrible. We were in the boat traveling to the shark site for 2 hours.. when we got there there were dozens of boats. Our “guide” yelled at us to “jump in the water” for a five minute swim up to the shark while many others were corralling the shark as well. The shark was extremely stressed out.. This was not the experience we wanted.. imagine 50 other boats doing the same thing.. the whole thing sucked and should be illegal!!!!!
Written August 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Are you sure you did the tour with our company? We strongly recommend you check the company you took the tour with and leave this comment with them. The activity is legal but following certain rules. Corraling the shark is not permitted. But not all companies operate the same way.
Written October 8, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Beemerfem
San Jose, CA73 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2012 • Solo
If you read my reviews, I try to be fair, am not overly picky and am pretty flexible. However, I booked with these people on June 18. Kept in touch. Went to Mexico on 8/31/12. I was staying at small hotels outside Coba and Tulum. I don't carry a computer or phone on holiday and do my best to keep in touch. I did not expect my tour time to change THE NIGHT BEFORE. I was still traveling. Got up early, ran to the meeting place and never found the group. Here's the e-mails between the vendor and me:

Sent at 5:07pm night before tour (9/4):
PLEASE be on the 600AM Ferry From Cozumel to PLaya

My response on 9/10/12: I booked a tour with you several weeks ago. I arrived in Mexico on Aug 31. I do not travel with a computer or cell phone. The instructions I received stated to meet at Sr Frog's at 6:45 am on Sep 5. Please credit my account as I was where I was told to be and did not expect the time to change the night before the tour.

Whale shark daddy's response on 9/10/12: Sr Frogs @ 700pm the night of Sept 4 That you did.nt check your email is NOT our Fault + we had no way to contact you since we had no hotel listed where you were. You're the 1 & only person who did'nt "Make It" STRANGE?

Well, I'm sorry daddy but this is no way to talk to a customer. I've traveled around the world and absolutely refuse to be treated like an idiot. Yeah, you have the money FOR NOW but I will be disputing as I never received services. If you want your money before the tour, then you have a responsibility to give consumers accurate info on what to expect. If I cancelled the night before you would have kept my money right? So the shoe fits both ways, you did not perform as agreed and changed the game at the last minute. Never again. It's worth waiting another year just to find an honest dealing tour company.
Written September 17, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Well yes the devil is in the details. We dutifully sent Van Transportation to Pick client up from the Ferry Dock. Van arrived @ 640AM & driver waited until 700AM & Client was a "NO-SHOW". Van continued on "LATE" to pickup other waiting clients.As we had NO Contact info other than an Email address we did send a "Reminder" the night before outlining Pickup procedure. Under the circumstances and not knowing where client was staying we did the best we could.
Written September 18, 2012
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

NeedsAVacation26
Los Angeles, CA1,215 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
After intensively researching various whale shark tour companies, we decided on Roddrigo, the "Whale Shark Daddy" at http://www.holboxwhalesharktours.com). Although Roddrigo's tour was a premium price of $225 per person, this was a price we were willing to pay because Roddrigo was the only tour operator willing to offer a money-back guarantee that we would swim with whale sharks. His website claims: "Guanteed Swim: We GUARANTEE you'll swim with whalesharks from June through early September, or we'll refund 100% of your tour price! Our Captains know where the sharks are!" We thought that his tour company was superior to the others, and worth a premium price due to this guarantee. However, it turned out that Roddrigo was simply a middle man who arranged for us to go on Island Boat Adventure's tour (http://islandboatadventure.com/swim_whale_shark.php). Luckily we had a wonderful time with this tour company, and because of this, we would highly recommend booking your whale shark tour through Island Boat Adventure.

We do NOT recommend taking the tour through Roddrigo. Roddrigo originally informed us that a van would be at our hotel in Cancun to pick us up at 3:00am sharp. (The pick up time was very early because we were staying in Cancun, and needed transportation to Holbox Island, which takes several hours). We waited patiently in the hotel lobby from 3:00am to 4:00am, and called Rodriggo twice when the van to pick us up did not arrive. We left our American cell phone number, but he did not return our calls. At 4:00pm, we were obviously very frustrated and tired, so we gave up and returned to our room to get some rest.

At 6:00am, we received a call to our hotel room (not our cell phone). It was Roddrigo, asking if we still wanted to take our tour. Of course, we did. Roddrigo informed us that he could have a van pick us up in an hour. This time, the van picked us up as planned, but instead of taking us to Holbox Island, we were taken to Punta Sam in Cancun. The tour was excellent. . . but this is not in any way due to Roddrigo because he was simply a middle man, who did not contact us regarding the absence of our van for pick-up at 3:00 am, and then he simply quickly found a tour that would take us at the last minute.

We were smart and asked our fellow tourists at the Cancun port how much they had paid for their whale shark tours. Most had paid $190 per tour, while we had paid $225. Following our tour, we called Roddrigo and asked for a refund of $35 per person (the difference between $225 and $190) because we had not taken the tour for Holbox Island, as advertised, and the Punta Sam trip was much shorter and required less transportation demands. Roddrigo did refund the $35 per tour, but it is unclear whether he would have done this had we not inquired.

Do yourself a favor, and go through anyone BUT Roddrigo, the "Whale Shark Daddy." We were appalled at his lack of professionalism and attempt to overcharge us. Don't let the guarantee fool you. The whale sharks are everywhere, and regardless of which tour company you go with, you will have an opportunity to swim with them. Again, we would recommend booking your whale shark tour through Island Boat Adventure. For more information, please see our review under Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Tours. Good luck!
Written December 6, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

angelcitygirl
Los Angeles40 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
We booked the whale shark / snorkeling/ Punta mosquito trip while staying on Isla Holbox. They took us out in extremely rough seas. We were out on the boat for over 8 hours. We had to go to the bathroom in the ocean, everyone was deathly seasick except for me and my husband (we knew to take Dramamine) You could barely get in and out of the boat, the sea was so rough, tossing everyone all over the place. The boat was crashing violently every 30-45 seconds. It was the most punishing boat ride I have ever been on, people were crying. I was covered in bruises for days after. We never saw any whale sharks and found out later they dive down very deep in rough seas, and other tour operators told us our tour should not have gone out that day. We are experienced boat owners and akso have been on snorkel trips all over the world. We have never been taken snorkeling in seas that rough. It was literally insanity. We paid $125 each to be tortured for 8 long hours. There were only sodas to drink, luckily we had our own water. We brought food as there was only ceviche and it was prepared in very unclean conditions. He was chopping it up on the boat with dirty hands in an even dirtier bowl. A terrible experience!!
Written June 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Will
3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Couples
You should not buy the tour from here. The guy is a middle man who will resell your purchase to one of several operators on Holbox. It is significantly cheaper to buy the EXACT SAME TOUR from a huge selection of companies on the island, and there is always availability. If conditions are poor (like they were when we went) you can decide the day before whether to spend the money or not.

We saw the fin of a whale shark in murky water and did not swim with it for even a second. Unfortunately the money back guarantee is a lie. We were made to regret pre-booking and felt pretty stupid for it! Save yourself the money.

As with the other poor reviews I'm sure the 'whale shark daddy' (?) will have a great comeback, but rest assured your money will be best spent with the operators on the island once you can confirm the conditions will be good on your visit. Avoid disappointment!
Written July 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Unfortunately some peoples expectations exceed reality. We do operate the BEST Tour on Holbox as evidenced by our #1 rating & 5 Star reviews. YES you might be able to buy a Tour for a Few $$$ Less friom a fisherman on the island with LESSER Quality Boat & services + NON ENGLISH Speaking guides/Captains. The Guarantee is SEE or SWIM. Some days conditions are not IDEAL, but thats an UNKNOWN until you go out searching for the WhaleSharks Its not like swimming in a Fish Tank with a Trained Dolphin. We maintain 6 Crews/Boats daily which are the BEST on Holbox. Some days you cannot please everyone
Written July 5, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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