By Eric – (Grand Rapids, MI)
We are planning a trip to Belize in the spring and want to go snorkeling with the Whale Sharks from Ambergris Caye. We will also hit Shark Ray Alley and then spend a week on Turneffe Atoll.
Any recommendations for trips from Ambergris to see the Whale Sharks? We would like to limit our stay to the two resorts, Ambergris and Turneffe.
Thanks in advance!
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Linda – Nov 22, 2017 – Ambergris Whale Sharks
You would have to fly to Placencia, Belize to book a trip for the Whale Sharks and depending on the time of year you would need to book in advance. There are two dive companies. Sea Horse Dive Shop website has very specific info on times of year and what to expect.
Shark Ray Alley is CROWDED – and I was there in June so I can’t imagine in the winter. It was shallow and crazy with people, sharks and rays clamoring around. About 15 minutes was all we could stand. Fortunately we had chartered a private boat through Tuff-e-nuff Tours so we could leave and head to more sane snorkeling. Seeing a Caribbean Manatee was awesome!
Laura M. – Dec 3, 2017 – Whale Sharks in Belize
We stayed in Hopkins, so we had a long, long boat ride to get out to the Whale Shark area. We had to stop at Dangriga coming and going. About halfway out, the ocean turned very rough with medium size waves. By the time we reached our location, over half the people on the boat were seasick.
We were only allowed about 30 minutes in the water. The snorkelers were really bounced around in 2-3 foot waves and the divers down below us didn’t seem to have any problem, but we didn’t see anything.
I specifically chose the date and the month to go out on this excursion but no luck. The trip cost over $200 apiece, the weather was miserable, the seas were extremely choppy, and I couldn’t recommend it to anyone.
On another note we loved the people of Belize, we love staying in Hopkins, a lovely little village, and we loved taking snorkel pangas out right from the beach, with just the two of us and a guide.
That part our trip was delightful and we would definitely recommend it for anyone and we will probably go back. Having a guide will probably help you to see areas that might not see otherwise.
Anonymous – Dec 14, 2017 – Whale Sharks
In my opinion, the Whale Sharks have not been around Belize for awhile. The local companies in Placencia don’t want to stop a lucrative business so they just keep going and offer hope.
My husband and I went in peak season. We swam hard in rough water and saw nothing. We spoke with some other locals and also with divers that went other days and they too saw nothing. Very disappointing!
We will be going to Donsol or Oslob in the Philippines.
Eric – Dec 14, 2017 – Thanks for the Info!
We have decided to leave the Whale Shark excursion off of our list and instead will be spending a few days in Ambergris Caye to do the Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley excursions and then will be spending a week in Hopkins and hope to do a Glovers Reef and Blue Hole trip along with some local trips to the barrier reef.
We toyed with the idea of Turneffe Resort for a week but that might be a little too remote for my traveling partner.
Thanks for everyone’s advice!
Snorkel Queen – Jan 30, 2018 – Don’t Waste Your Money
In 2015 my husband and I flew to Placencia, Belize, and then took a long, rough boat ride so we could stay at an off-shore resort close to where the Whale Sharks swim. In the three days we were there, no guest — divers or snorkelers — saw a Whale Shark.
One day the resort’s dive operator took some of us snorkelers out to see the sharks in less than ideal conditions because they knew we were unhappy we hadn’t been able to get off the island. We were crazy to go out on the boat. The water was too rough; people were throwing up before we even got to the snorkel site. Waves were 10 feet high. When we were in a trough between waves, we couldn’t see the boat and the boat couldn’t see us. The dive master, a black man in black swim trunks with black snorkel equipment was impossible to see in the dark open water, and he made no effort to stay with us. Soon my husband and I were all alone. It was very frightening. When we finally found the boat — with no help from the dive master — getting back on board was like riding a bucking bronco. I came back with bruised legs and arms. It was a terrible, dangerous experience, and we didn’t see any sharks.
Later the resort’s manager admitted they hadn’t seen any Whale Sharks that season and their numbers had been decreasing for years.
Save your money, you’re unlikely to see Whale Sharks in Belize. Instead, save your pennies to go to Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia. The Whale Sharks congregate around floating docks where fisherman clean their catch. Seeing sharks there is virtually a slam dunk. I spent 10-12 hours in the water with these behemoths over two days, and the sharks even followed us back to our boat so they could hang out with us some more. It was the most amazing experience of my life. We went to Cenderawasih Bay with the Oceanic Society, and it was worth every penny. That’s the way to see Whale Sharks.