Our Whale shark snorkel tours in Belize at Gladden Spit, Placencia

The Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve is a spawning aggregation site for many different tropical fish species including the cubera, mutton and dog snappers which produce tons of spawn. This spawning occurs around the full moon to last quarter during the months of March to June. This is what attracts the Whale Shark to the Gladden spit near Placencia in Southern Belize.

snorkel tours with whalesharks in Gladden Spit Belize

Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the ocean growing up to lengths of 60 feet/18 meters and are gentle filter feeders that eat minute plankton and spawn. Scuba Divers and snorkelers get a rare opportunity to swim along with these magnificent creatures when they book on a whale shark excursion with Splash Dive Center, and we follow special guidelines and procedures to ensure safety and to limit any harm that may be caused to the whale sharks. Snorkeling is done on the surface in open water following the bubbles of scuba divers which resemble spawn and draw the whale sharks in.

Gladden Spit is the only place in the world where timing for whale shark visits is reasonably predictable and Placencia is the best departure point in the whole of Belize to enjoy these trips. They will there during the time of the full moon during March to June but may arrive earlier or later during that predictable time frame.

Splash Dive Center monitors the arrival of the whale sharks so as to ensure that scuba divers and snorkelers have a very good chance of meeting up with the whale sharks. You can increase your chances of seeing whale sharks by booking for a couple of days on a whale shark scuba diving package (or several snorkeling trips) rather than just one. For scuba divers and snorkelers that arrive in Placencia before the whale sharks do, there are lots of other fun and interesting dives and inland adventure tours that are excellent destinations in their own right as the majority of the attractions in Belize are in the southern half of the country which offers the healthiest reef systems and abundance of aquatic life.

In accordance with Belizean sustainable tourism practices the time slots for Whale shark diving and snorkeling are allocated to dive and snorkel tour operators. Accordingly, our departure time from Placencia is dependent upon the assigned time slots. The travel time from Placencia to Gladden Spit is one hour and thirty minutes. Two whale shark snorkel encounters are attempted with lunch on the boat and an opportunity for some very nice snorkeling near the reef during the lunch interval.

Whale shark tour dates 2023:

  • April 2nd to April 12th
  • May 2nd to May 12th
  • June 1st to June 10th

We only take guests if we know from our monitoring program that the whale sharks are there.. In 2022, we did one whale shark tour in April and two in May (saw lots of bull sharks but no whale sharks).   In 2021 we did three whale shark tours and saw a whale shark on one of them. In 2020 we did not do any whale shark tours due covid-19, although there were sightings by fishermen at Gladden Spit.  For the first time ever, in 2019 there were no whale shark sightings.  In 2018 we saw whale sharks on less than 1/2 the days we went out.  

Note that the minimum age to go to the whale shark zone is 14.

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There’s no higher chance of snorkeling with Whale sharks than with Splash Dive Centers Whaleshark snorkel trips on your vacation in Placencia