The Elusive Gentle Giants of the Sea: Looking for Whale Sharks in Belize

Southern Belize has been well known for Whale Shark sightings during four months of the year, but recently these gentle giants have become even more elusive. Guests of Villa Verano might be lucky enough to meet one of these gentle giants during their stay in the heart of Belize’s Southeast Coast.


Whale Sharks have been seen in the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, which is a spawning aggregation site for many different tropical fish species. The cubera, mutton and dog snappers produce a significant amount of spawn around the full moon during the months of March, April, May and June. Whale sharks, which are the biggest fish in the ocean growing up to lengths of 60 feet/18 meters, feed on the spawn and plankton in the area. Both SCUBA divers and snorkelers can get a rare opportunity to swim along with these magnificent creatures when they book a whale shark excursion. Our dive operators follow special guidelines and procedures to ensure safety to both guests and marine life. Snorkeling is done on the surface in open water following the bubbles of scuba divers which resemble spawn and attract the whale sharks.


At Gladden Spit, the timing for whale shark visits has been reasonably predictable over the years, but they may arrive earlier or later. Some dive operators reported no sightings in 2016, despite the abundance of sightings in previous years. It is left to be seen whether the 2017 season will be successful, but our licensed dive operators monitor the arrival of these whale sharks to ensure that divers and snorkelers who book excursions have a very good chance of seeing them. It is not guaranteed that a whale shark will be spotted, but it’s worthwhile to take a chance! Dive operators will advise guests whether they have arrived, but visitors can increase their chances of seeing these gentle giants if they plan to go out for multiple trips during their stay. Every day out on the sea is filled with endless possibilities of wonder and awe, with Southern Belize offering some of the healthiest reef systems in the country and an abundance of aquatic life. Divers and snorkelers can expect an amazing day at sea regardless, with the possibilities of encountering sea turtles, nurse sharks, moray eels, manta rays and a wide variety of corals and fish species. For more specific details on the whale shark excursion, please contact us for more information.


Villa Verano in Hopkins, Belize is your luxurious base for reef and rainforest adventures. After a long day of excitement and fun, return to the villa for a relaxing evening with a delicious home-cooked meal, and enjoy comforts and full-service amenities unmatched in Hopkins. You can choose to dive or snorkel on every day of your vacation, or go inland to experience the wild jungles and ancient Mayan cities. Our packages are completely customizable. If you have non-divers in your group, they will have countless activities to occupy themselves while you go in search of your whale shark. So whether you want an action-packed itinerary, or a laid-back hammock-style holiday, we can make it happen. Villa Verano promises to make you feel at home – your luxurious base for wild adventure, within your reach!

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