The event, rescheduled from July to June 21-23, celebrates the bus-size creatures, which range from 15 to 50 feet and weigh up to 15 tons.
More than 1,400 of the giant sharks — considered the biggest fish in the sea — pass through the waters near Isla Mujeres during the season, which runs May through September.
“Whale shark season is becoming increasingly popular with tourists visiting Cancun and the surrounding islands of Holbox and Isla Mujeres,” said Jesus Almaguer, chief executive of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“As interest in them grows, it is important to foster a commitment to conservation and social consciousness among tourists and locals alike. The festival is a great avenue to educate the public about the species while celebrating its magnificence and popularity — especially for children.”
The main activity during the event is swimming with the whale sharks, called dominoes locally. Luckily they aren't meat eaters. According to a scientific tracking project, the animals move between Central America, Mexico and southern U.S. waters, driven more by the availability of food than by a strictly defined migratory route.
Besides whale watching/swimming tours, visitors often go sportfishing, snorkeling and visit nearby attractions, such as Contoy Island National Park, the site of a wildlife reserve.
Info: Whale Shark Festival