Celebrating the beauty and culture of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, the Isla Mujeres Department of Tourism, along with ecotourism company and international Festival sponsor Ceviche Tours, announce the dates for the 10th annual Whale Shark Festival, a cultural extravaganza that showcases the achievements, traditions and environmental splendor of the island.
The Festival will be held July 20-23, 2017 in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico, a short trip from Cancun International Airport. Isla Mujeres was honored by the Mexico Tourism Board recently as a “Pueblo Magico” (magical village) destination.
Last year thousands of people attended the family-friendly Whale Shark Festival, where guests can swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean and an endangered species. They can also join in traditional dancing, enjoy local food and work by local artisans, visit the turtle farm, snorkel and dive the reefs surrounding the Island and more. Featured at the Festival will be Ch’ooj Ajauil, an organization dedicated to the monitoring, study and conservation of the pelagic organisms in the Mexican Atlantic; and Amigos de Isla Contoy, a 501c3 non-profit working to advance education on sustainable marine conservation and ecotourism in the region.
Additionally, leading marine scientists will present their recent research. Christophe Rohner, PhD, will discuss his work in Mozambique studying whale sharks. Ralph Pannel will discuss his efforts with Rafael de la Para of Ch’ooj Ajauil to document pelagic life worldwide.
Swim with Hundreds of Whale Sharks
Whale sharks swarm the waters of Isla Mujeres from May-September, providing guests with an opportunity to swim alongside these gentle giants. Isla Mujeres is the home to the largest aggregations of whale sharks in the world. Researchers estimate that as many as 1,400 whale sharks migrate through the waters surrounding Isla Mujeres annually.
“Isla Mujeres is designated Pueblo Magico, a place known for its legends, symbolism, history and of course for providing a magical experience for tourists. Swimming with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres is the penultimate Pueblo Magico adventure,” said Lic Juan Carrillo President of the Municipality of Isla Mujeres. “We welcome the world to join us to celebrate the week-long Festival de Tiburón Ballena – the Whale Shark Festival -- enjoying this great show of nature and beautiful Isla Mujeres.”
The Whale Shark Festival is an effort to raise awareness of the need to preserve the area’s marine ecosystem. Isla Mujeres is part of the second largest barrier reef on the planet, and serves as the nursery of the Caribbean and the migratory path of whale sharks, sea turtles, Manta Rays, waterfowl and game fishes.
“The continued success of the Whale Shark Festival is indicative of how ecotourism can truly impact a community,” said John Vater, co-founder Ceviche Tours. “International events like these are essential in raising awareness and to help educate visitors on marine conservation efforts as well as to insure sustainable incomes to the residents of Isla Mujeres.”
Fun for the Whole Family
The 10th annual Whale Shark Festival kicks off with a parade on Thursday, July 20. Following will be activities for children such as sand sculpting events and crafting fun. Exhibitions showcasing the beauty of the island will feature presentations by marine biologists, whale shark murals, photography and local handcrafted works of art.
Booking Travel Travel arrangements can be made through the Ceviche Tours website www.CevicheTours.com or call +1.631.470.6315 (US) or 998.241.3345 (MX).
For more information, visit www.whalesharkfest.com.
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