Fifth Annual Whale Shark festival Returns in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The small island of Isla Mujeres is home to the “Whale Shark festival”, an annual celebration of the “dominoes” as they are lovingly called for their spotted skin. 2012 marks the fifth annual festival, featuring local cuisine, art, dance and of course the chance to snorkel with the whale sharks and on the reefs surrounding the island. The festival prides itself on creating awareness of sustainable tourism and the need to protect and conserve our oceans and the life beneath the surface.
A portion of the festival proceeds will be donated to environmental nonprofit organizations. Environmentally focused activities for kids will be offered through festival sponsor Amigos de Isla Contoy, A.C.
Ecotourism travel agency Ceviche Tours and the Isla Mujeres Department of Tourism have announced the schedule for the festival, to be held June 21-24, 2012 in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
"Sustainable ecotourism engages guests in the effort to preserve the culture of Isla Mujeres, their way of life and the marine environment," said John Vater, who co-founded Ceviche Tours with his wife, Adriana, and longtime friend and Isla Mujeres native Luis "Cuco" Refugio and his family.
As many as 1,400 whale sharks may make their way through the waters north of the Island of Mujeres every summer, according to Dr. Robert Hueter, Director of the Center for Shark Research, Mote Marine Laboratory and festival speaker
Apart from the fun of sampling great food and enjoying the underwater world, the Whale Shark festival brings an opportunity to hear presentations from experts in marine biology, the ecosystem and Mayan culture. This year the esteemed biologist Rafael de la Parra of “Project Domino” presents his study “An Unprecedented Aggregation of Whale Sharks, Rhincodon typus, in Mexican Coastal Waters of the Caribbean Sea.”