It’s fall, which means that soon the whale sharks will be arriving to feed just off the coast of La Paz. We are lucky to witness this incredible natural phenomenon, a combination of nutrients and wind patterns that bring the whale sharks here. We are also lucky that La Paz has a robust management plan in place for whale shark observation. It wasn’t always this way. It took a concerted effort between tour operators, government agencies, researchers and civil society to make this a reality. It’s better for whale sharks, better for people that travel here to witness these magnificent creatures, and better for local tour operators. Recent studies show these efforts are having a positive impact.
At RED Travel, we love connecting people with nature and wildlife while providing unexpected cultural experiences. We also believe that if tourism can’t be conducted responsibly, it’s probably better to leave species and habitat alone. To us, operating responsibly means that habitat is at a minimum respected and better yet, preserved and restored. Wildlife observation should take place under strict regimens of training, certification and permitting, and following regulations and management plans. And tourism should have a positive impact on local economies, especially here in Baja California Sur where it makes up over 70% of the state’s GDP. These beliefs are at the core of our ethos as a tour operator, and why when we launched RED Travel, we launched a sister non-profit organization to proactively address these issues. Our non-profit arm has worked effectively with government agencies to create tools to sustainably manage tourism, in Cabo Pulmo, Balandra, Magdalena Bay, and more recently with whale sharks in the bay of La Paz.
As a company, we support efforts to strengthen and improve the management of whale shark observation. In the beginning, when discussions of a management plan were just initiating, RED Travel worked tirelessly to bring the tour operators of our local tourism association on board. We continue to support these efforts, working together with government agencies and tour operator associations. We also support the efforts of the Embajadores Tiburón Ballena (Whale Shark Ambassadors) program, giving youth, teachers and local citizens the opportunity to experience the magic of seeing a whale shark in its habitat. After all, we can’t appreciate what we don’t know, and it’s important for local citizens here in La Paz to experience that natural wonders that make this place so special.
What can you do? Support the Ambassadors program, either online or when you come to La Paz. Travel with a permitted operator, and let your captain and guide know that you appreciate responsible whale shark observation.
Plan your whale shark adventure now with RED Travel México.