During the Summer, when kids are out of school, tourists flock to Cancun & the Riviera Maya for some family fun, in the sun. Summer is one of the best times to visit Cancun, because some very special visitors show up during that time.
Each year, around the end of May or the first part of June, our first notable guests, the whale sharks, begin to arrive. They migrate to the warm waters, off the shores of Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox (two small islands near Cancun) for their own little Summer vacation. These gigantic fish are, on average, around 30 feet long and weigh roughly 20,000 pounds. They are docile creatures and, despite the fact that the word “shark” is in their name, they do not eat meat and are no threat to humans. Since they are not predators and are not harmful to humans, tours that allow people to swim with whale sharks, in the open sea, are incredibly popular. It’s certainly an experience you won’t soon forget.
To celebrate the return of the whale sharks, and to raise awareness about conservation efforts being made to protect the huge fish, the island of Isla Mujeres has their annual Whale Shark Festival every Summer. This year, the 5th Annual Whale Shark Festival will be held June 21-24, 2012.
The other very special guests that visit Cancun each year are sea turtles. Every Summer, green sea turtles and loggerhead sea turtles come on shore in Cancun and Riviera Maya, to lay their eggs in the sand. Many area hotels protect the eggs until they hatch and then, at that time, they release the baby turtles into the Caribbean Sea. Often, the hotels ask their guests if they would like to help the tiny turtles get to the sea. These events are called turtle releases and you should ask your hotel staff if there will be any releases while you are on your vacation.
Or, to get an up-close look at baby turtles, you can visit the Tortugranja (turtle farm), on Isla Mujeres. Admission is only around $3 USD, per person, and you get to see tanks of sea turtles, and other marine life. In the water, behind the turtle farm’s main building, there is a shark and a fully grown sea turtle. The turtle farm is a small place and you can easily see the entire place in about an hour, but it is a fun and interesting place to visit. And, aside from seeing adorable little turtles and learning about the amazing creatures, you will be doing a good deed by visiting the place, because your admission fee goes towards protecting sea turtles.