It sounds entirely dramatic doesn’t it? Swimming with sharks. Trust me though, you want to do this. You need to do this. They’re just nurse sharks, it’s cool.
There are different ways to go about this but I recommend the “full day sail” vs the “half day speed boat” based solely on my personal preference. There are tons of different tour companies and they all go essentially the same three stops on this tour and they all pretty much offer the same two choices of vessel: sailboat or speedboat. We’ve done a sail before, in Key West, and I loved it so we went with that version this time and I’m not sorry. It takes longer going between points but you spend that time just enjoying the ocean. I will say that I wish each area wasn’t as crowded with people but that’s a function of the time of year we went and so maybe go in low season and you won’t be dealing with that issue.
The Sea Dreams set us up with Raggamuffin Tours and while we heard that it might have been better to go with another company, I really loved our captain, Ish. (full disclosure, the ladies at the front desk weren’t as awesome and didn’t outfit us with gear and they had to run us back to the island from the boat to get some, so if you go with them make sure you get your gear!) It was $70USPP for the full day sail which includes gear rental, lunch, snacks, and rum punch. A girl we talked to on the water taxi from San Pedro got taken for $110US for the same deal (not by this company) so you really have to watch what you are being charged.
Raggamuffin Tours also offer a 3 night 2 day sailing adventure trip where they use the big catamaran type of sailboats but for this sort of trip you get one of three sailboats. Ours was the blue boat.
Since we had to go back for our gear, we lost our first seats at the front of the boat, but we got even better seats (for me) with some shade when we came back.
The first place you go has this one huge turtle but 16 people crowded around one huge turtle that tries to bite you is not my idea of a good time so I looked around for other things. The bottom here is all shells. In fact they warn you that if you have to step down to do so gingerly and not move your fins because some of them are broken and sharp and could cut through into your feet.
The next stop is Shark Ray Alley and here the sharks swarm the boats the minute you pull up because they are trained to do so. The boats feed them right from the side
so we enter the water on the other side of the boat. The day we went was crazy windy and crazy choppy which meant being tossed into each other and tossed face first into a pile of sharks feeding at the side of the boat.
They could’ve cared less that I was there, honestly, as long as I didn’t go for their food, which of course I did not. I also resisted every urge I had to touch them. It was very hard.
This one swam directly beneath me
and of course we saw rays too, because why else would it be called Shark Ray Alley?
I wish I had a photo of a HUGE one that had HELP written on it. I had given the camera over to Willy to record videos at that point. I asked our Captain about it and he smirked but couldn’t explain what that was about.
The last stop is Hol Chan which is Mayan for small channel. This stop is a guided tour and Chilo was the guide for our half of the group. He was awesome at pointing out all the types of fish, the turtles and even went down and got the moray eel to come out of his cave.
Chilo also offered a free dive through a cave to anyone that was willing to try it. Willy did it and I recorded, you can view it here. I was so excited for him! I mean, what an amazing experience.
The sun starts to go down as you head back and this is what it looks like on the open water
and you are drinking rum punch, listening to music, snacking on ceviche (not me) or salsa and chips and
life is pretty damn good.