Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu

Swimming with whale sharks is definitely the reason most people come to the island of Cebu. The magnificent whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea measuring up to 12 meters and weighting close to 20 tons. If you still have problem imagining how big they are, picture a school bus and you pretty close to it. Yup, that big. Despite their giant size, the whale sharks are harmless to humans. They feed mostly on plankton.

Swimming with the whale shark sure is an unforgettable experience. But in this article we want to make sure you know what to expect and make the decision if it’s really worth it, by yourself.

This activity is very highly ranked on Tripadvisor and Google. That’s why our expectations were high and crashed as soon as we discovered how it really works…

Swimming with whale sharks

It happens early in the morning and there is no people limit. The gates of Oslob Whale Shark Watching open at 6 AM and if you want to get the best experience (and skip 2h waiting), arrive even half an hour earlier. The thing that surprised us the most is that the whale sharks are not far in the sea, but about 50 meters from the shore. There are about 15 boats at any moment on the water, placed in a half a circle surrounding the animals. And there is a reason the whale sharks come there: the boat guides feed them a mix of shrimps and small fish each day. The whale sharks learnt by now that they can get the food each morning at this spot, so they come back.

There are certain rules to swimming with whale sharks, like keeping a 6m distance at all times. The reality was that there is so many people in the water in such a small area that the sharks are just a notch away if you want it or not. We could feel their tales brushing our feet, even if we tried to swim away to give them space. We could also see lots of scars and wounds on the fish, as they continue to bump into the boats.

To be honest the most I remember from this activity is the chaos above water and below it. Yes I did see the whale sharks, but it didn’t feel as majestic as it should, with those incredible creatures so close by ?

Our Sentiment on our Whale Sharks Watching Experience

We had mixed feelings after swimming with the majestic whale sharks of Oslob, Cebu. Knowing now how the experience is done, I don’t think we would have done it. We would try to find a different place, different company, one that doesn’t feed the whale sharks and allows people to see them in deeper waters without so many boats around. And there is a company like that in Donsol that tries to keep the activity of swimming with whale sharks less intrusive for the animals. The fish are not fed, there is less tourists in the water and rules are obeyed.

We think that for well being of the whale sharks as well as satisfaction from swimming with them for tourists some regulations should be done. Like limiting the number of boats and tourists per day. It would ensure a higher, more fulfilling experience for people and wouldn’t stress the whale shark. We also think that the feeding should stop, even if it means less chance of seeing the animals.

Practical info

To swim with whale sharks you must get to Oslob. You can travel by renting a car or by bus from Cebu.

Read : Best Activities in Cebu, Philippines for more detailed informations.

The price of this activity is 1000 Pesos per person.

The site opens at 6 AM and we highly advise you to arrive even 30 min before to be on the first boat out.

There are few rules you must know before swimming with whale sharks

  • do not wear a sunscreen
  • do not touch the whale sharks
  • keep distance of 6 meters from the whale sharks
  • do not use flash
  • keep calm at all times

Where to stay

We highly recommend you to arrive the day before and stay in a hotel or B&B close by, to be on the spot early the following morning.

Find all the hotels of Oslob area on booking.com

We recommend: Eden ResortIsland Front / Bangcogon Resort

What’s Next?

Well as by now you are already planning a trip to the Philippines, here’s our 3 Weeks Complete Guide to the Philippines so you don’t miss out on any piece of this paradisiac country!

Blog comments (2)

  • Stephen Bennett

    What hotel / or where, in cebu can you pick up, so I can travel to oslob to swim with whale sharks

    • Voyage In Style

      We stayed in Maayo hotel in Cebu city, close to the airport and then drove with a rental to Oslob in the morning and back to Cebu afterwards. One tip: don’t rent a car with tinted front windshield/window (its something they do there) We couldn’t see ANYTHING driving after sunset because the window was so dark + the longlights of car coming from the other side. The roads are in great conditions, the traffic is a bit crazy in Cebu city but outside it’s fine. It’s around 4 hours one way.
      You can also take a bus from South bus terminal from Cebu City directly to Oslob for your day trip. Sorry for the late answer!!

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