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whale shark adventure ??


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#1 smack

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 08:14 PM

i am very interested in taking my family on a whale shark excursion and i was wondering if anyone has done this before. i have found 2 excursions offered thru Johann and Sandra Tours. the 1st one is a 9 hour excursion going to Isla Contoy with snorkeling to Ixlache Reef included. the 2nd excursion is a 14 hour adveture going to Isla Holbox. is it worth the time and $$$ to do this excursion as it will take up most of our day, and we will have to ferry from cozumel to cancun to do this.
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#2 Charles

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 09:25 PM

I would suggest booking directly rather than through a booking agency not on the island nor local. I don't know what tour operator Johann and Sandra may be using. You may get some suggestions from members here. I seem to remember someone putting together a charter air flight, costs more, but saves a lot of time. A number of people have done this on their own, but that might involve an over night. The whales sharks were late this year, but I understand tours are operational now. When were you planning on going and how many people?

It is a ferry to Playa, bus to Cancun and then you might arrange a tour van service from Cancun. There were a number of posts on the old forum about various options.
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#3 dawnb

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 08:00 AM

Last July, five of us flew in a small plane direct from Cozumel to Holbox. http://www.holboxwhalesharktours.com/ I think they operate from Playa and Cancun as well. It was wonderful! Tour included snorkeling with whale sharks, a nice lunch with beverages at a local hotel, and time to wander the town. Flying to and from Holbox took no time at all. Pricey, but well worth it to not have to sit on a bus all day! We will definitely do it again!

A word of caution: bring bug spray! Have never seen so many mosquitoes as there were at Holbox airport!
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#4 diverhorn

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 02:50 PM

Two years ago we did the Holbox trip. We got a brochure from Blue Angel that had a local tour company. A representative met us a the ferry, bought our tickets, rode to playa with us and then we got on a small tour bus for the trip to Holbox. Seems we left around 7 in the morning and got back to Cozumul around 8 or 9 in the evening. snorkeled with the whale sharks and a manta ray. Sorry I cannot remember the name of the company.
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#5 Steve

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 05:22 PM

I would recommend taking the bus from Cancun to Holbox depending on the time you have. It's a 3 hour ride to Chiquilla I believe the bus only leaves twice a day. It's not a bad ride on the Mayabe. Stops a couple of times. Stay over night at the Casas De las Tortugas or the Mamwmbi. Get a tour from Willie's in town. They leave around 7:00am. Should run around $800 to $900 pesos per person. You'll get back to the island around 2:00pm. It's well worth the price to stay overnight as Holbox is very beautiful. Rent a golf cart and drive up and down the beach. The mosquitos aren't that bad. Watch out for the chiquistas (sp). I've been there at least a dozen times and it is one of my favorite places in Mexico. Make sure to get a lobster or shrimp pizza in town at Edlanes (sp) It's the log cabin looking building next to the square.
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#6 nauticab

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 09:56 PM

for some reason the whale sharks are MUCH more abundant in isla mujeres these past 2 years. i am talking a world of difference. last year we had 1 shark for over 20 boats. not great. 5 years ago we had about 12 sharks and lots of mantas. it is green water....not great vis but magnificent never the less. our captain confirmed this with us that isla was filled with them. it's a slightly longer boat ride, but generally smoother.

however, in isla there may be 20 sharks PER BOAT. or many many more, and it is in blue water. i plan on going to isla for my next trip. there were non-exaggerated reports of 500 seen in a day. yes, not a joke.
you can call ricardo cetina in isla mujeres. tell him cabrilla sent you. cel 998 136 0853

holbox is a great place to relax for a couple of days. great pizza by the square. isla is a bit more civilized and much quicker to get to (ferry, bus to cancun, 5 min taxi ride to puerto juarez, and 30 min ferry to isla). there are cheap hotels on the beach for $250 to $300 pesos. also great place to rent a golf cart (550 to 600 pesos for 24 hrs) and go around the island to see the turtle farm and the trip around the island.
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#7 Charles

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 10:03 PM

That confirms what I have been reading regarding Holbox, you may be doing much better with Isla Mujeres, far easier to make as a day trip.
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#8 Carey

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 08:44 AM

All excellent advice here! Kudos, people! You really came through for this poster.

I would only add that Sandra and Johan specialize in booking tours all over the carribbean. They are definitely not local and so it would be very hard indeed for them to frequently check quality control -- which really needs doing. Best follow one or more of the options offered here.

Although, actually, Isla Mujeres sounds like the place to be this year and it's a WHOLE lot easier to get to on your own! I'd take that choice. I expect there's a board for isla mujeres that will have some info.

Do us a favor and give us a trip report when you get back, would you?

Thanks
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#9 smack

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 03:41 PM

thanks everyone for sharing your info. with me. Carey, where would i find more info. on the message boards for whale shark excursions and Isla Mujeres. and Nauticab, you mentioned talking to Ricardo Centina about booking. will he set up transportation to and from cozumel? we sure don't want to have the 20 boats to 1 whale shark and the clearer blue water sounds better for clarity as i plan on having my 9 and 10 year old daughters with us, which would be better for them,.....especially having more whale sharks around to keep them interested.
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#10 nauticab

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 09:12 PM

when you go to puerto juarez in cancun to cross to isla via ultramar ferries, as you get off the ferry in isla you will see several reps from cooperativa isla bonita. he does NOT deal with you getting to isla, but can help you with everything you need in isla. i would give him a call. getting to isla is easy:
from coz: ferry to ado bus terminal in playa. take the cancun downtown bus (1.25 hr). when you get to the cancun ADO station, take a cab to puerto juarez (around 50 pesos) which will take 10 min max. the ferries cross every 30 minutes and have raised the prices to 70 pesos each way per person. wah lah, you are in isla.
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#11 Carey

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 07:13 AM

Yes, it's very easy -- and inexpensive and interesting -- to do the trip to Isla Mujeres yourself.

I would call Nauticab's contact once you get to the island. You should be able to ask a staffer at your hotel to make that call for you and then give them a couple of dollars for the bill.

All you have to do is take a taxi to the passenger ferry pier on the waterfront in downtown San Miguel. Ferries leave on the hour.
Once you get off the ferry, walk one block straight up the hilly street in front of you and then hang a right. Walk one block until you come to a T intersection on your left with lots of cabs. The bus station is right there across from the MacDonalds.

The local buses from Playa to Cancun leave every 20 minutes or so. You catch them just inside the door of the bus station, Walk in the door by the taxis, go past the snack concessions on your left. Keep going to your left and you'll see a quiet little ticket window -- not the multiple line windows at the far end of the station to the right.

This is where you buy your ticket to Cancun.

Once you get to Cancun, to get a taxi to the port to go to Isla Mujeres per Nauticab's instructions, you just walk out the front door of the Cancun bus station and there's a line up of cabs only too happy to assist you.

The ferry has AC, the buses have AC, the taxi has AC. And, aside from the Cozumel ferry, which is $160 pesos per person each way because the two companies are colluding to create a monopoly, the fares are inexpensive. I should also add that the trip is very safe. You have no worries on that account except, of course, keep a close watch on your purse and belongings in the Cancun bus station as this is a much bigger city than San Miguel, Cozumel.

I don't know of a specific board for Isla Mujeres. But if I were looking for a place to stay, etc., I'd google "Isla Mujeres" with various words like 'discussion forum', forums, chat boards, etc. and I can't believe something similar to what we have here won't come up for you.
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#12 smack

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 12:01 PM

hey CAREY, we will be staying at the Allegro Cozumel from July 15 to 22, and we want to be able to do this tour in a day without staying the night anywhere else. what would be our best option? also CAREY, Itried to send you a pm but when i did a message came up saying it wouldn't go through. i have some more questions for you as you seem very knowledgeable. could you pm me to help answer some of my ?'s.
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#13 Carey

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 02:56 PM

I don't take private messages. The main reason for this is I'm one of the moderators of these forums and I like to encourage people to post their questions -- and have them answered -- on the public forums. That way everyone can benefit from the exchange rather than just one person. Hope you understand that you are free to post any questions you wish here.

Also I should say that I've given the last nano ounce of information in my possession re the Whale Shark Adventure. I've never, or example, even been to Isla Mujeres and have not swum with the whale sharks as yet.
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#14 dawnb

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 03:32 PM

Holbox tour last year: We boarded the plane at 7 am and were back on Cozumel by 3:45 the same day. Saw 2 whale sharks after only 20 minutes on the boat. Usually they have to go a lot further out. Two other boats joined us. Apparently the week before, 12 of the big guys were spotted.

Even ONE whale shark was more than spectacular. Don't know what I would do with 50!
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#15 dawnb

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:05 PM

Hi Matt,

I responded to your PM but haven't heard back from you. We were very pleased with Holbox tours.
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#16 nauticab

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:14 AM

was on the plane with a couple who did 2 holbox tours during their stay and saw 1 shark each tour, with some giant mantas. spoke to my friend ricardo and he said the sharks are only 13 miles out in isla mujeres. and in higher numbers. i'm doing isla this year.
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#17 dawnb

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:44 AM

Smack wanted a quick, one day trip. We found the direct flight to Holbox to be that. We would love to do Isla at some time, is there a similar one day, direct flight to Isla Mujeres? I couldn't find one.
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#18 smack

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 04:59 PM

my family and i would be very interested in a direct flight to isla mujeres to do the whale shark tour, similar to the one that holboxwhalesharktours.com offers. i don't know how well my 9 and 10 year old daughters would handle the long land trip from cozumel to isla mujeres. if anyone has info. could you please reply? we will be in cozumel from july 15 to july 22.
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#19 nauticab

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 05:44 PM

found this online.... private charters to all sorts of places for up to 4 or 5 people. could work out well for you as they will fly from czm directly to isla mujeres. probably a 25 to 30 minute flight. not too shabby, but will cost ya. in the end, it might be around double the long way price, but the time savings just might be worth it.
http://www.aerosaab.com/contact-us/
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#20 LoKawal

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 01:16 PM

My husband and I did a tour last August off of Isla Mujeres and it was a life-changing experience! We must have seen several hundred whale sharks and when we got into the water, we were able to see one after another! They approached and actually swam right under me, as I had to pull my feet up....I could feel him scrape along me!!!!

Literally hundreds....go to Isla Mujeres!
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