The 4 Best Places to Go Swimming With Whales

If swimming with whales is on your bucket list, here are four places where you can finally achieve that goal.

Whether it’s the warm surf of Mexico or the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, there are many different whale experiences — each with different whales — to be had.

Get dwarfed by humpback whales in Australia

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Swimming with humpback whales is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Photo: Courtesy of Roderick Eime/Flickr

While humpback whales are extraordinarily large, they’re not exactly easy to find. That hasn’t stopped Sunreef Mooloolaba from operating a whale snorkeling trip off the Gold Coast of Australia.

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The staff ensures that divers comply with all the protection regulations so as not to disturb the gentle giants.

Take a blue-whale safari in Sri Lanka

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Many expeditions out of Sri Lanka help people swim with the giant blue whale. Photo: Courtesy of Natural World Safaris/Patrick Dykstra

A handful of operators offer safaris during March and April, when blue whales are passing through the Indian Ocean. These whales are 75 feet long and have a heart the size of a car.

The nine-day safari allows for ample time with the whales and for getting to and from their hangout spots.

Swim with pretend whales in Florida

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They may be more sea cow than whale, but manatees are still fun to swim with. Photo: Courtesy of Visit Citrus/Flickr

Sure, manatees may be more closely related to elephants than they are to whales, but no guide is needed to take a dip with them.

Plus, domestic airfare can be way cheaper than traveling to far-flung locales.

Crystal River Ecological Reserve allows people to hop in with the manatees. The reserve closes seasonally to let the manatees rest, so check if it’s open on its Facebook page.

Swim with whale sharks in Baja California, Mexico

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Whale sharks are technically sharks, but they have no teeth and are safe to swim with. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Williams/Flickr

The nice thing about swimming with whale sharks is that no wetsuit is required, since they’re usually found in warmer waters. The Mexican cities of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and La Paz all have whale sharks and are easily accessible from the U.S.

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