One of the most popular activities in the Philippines is swimming with the Oslob whale sharks. These gentle giants are magical to swim with and should definitely be on your list of things to see if you plan on coming to the Philippines.
How to get to the Oslob whale sharks
Tour operators do packages to swim with the Oslob whale sharks which include a transfer. We opted to drive ourselves and pay the whale shark operators directly so that we didn’t have to pay any additional costs. If you’re driving yourself there by scooter type into your GPS Oslob Whale Shark Watching and as you arrive you will see a big sign saying Briefing Area. This is where you’ll be quickly briefed on rules regarding swimming with the whale sharks. From there you will be put into groups of 6-8 and then taken out on the boats to where the whale sharks are being fed.
Where to stay
There are a variety of locations you can stay throughout Oslob. Almost all the accommodation is located along the coastline so you’ll never be far from the ocean. A popular area to stay is close to the Oslob Whale Shark Watching, which also isn’t too far from Tumalog Falls. Although there aren’t many restaurants in this area. A nice budget option in this area is Vangie’s Homestay. Another more expensive option a little further up the road is Oslob Seafari Resort. Alternately you can also stay in Oslob town which is where we stayed. Casa Solmar Oslob is a popular option in town with nice rooms in a central location.
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Best time to visit the Oslob whale sharks
The first round of boats that go out is at 6am. We arrived at 5am so that we could secure a spot and beat the crowds. Soon after there were bus loads of people being dropped off. Unfortunately there is very little chance of beating the crowds. It is constantly busy until 10am which is when the last boats head out.
Oslob whale sharks admission fee
It costs 1000 peso per person to swim with the whale sharks. If you just want to observe from the boat then it costs 500 peso. If you book with a tour company it costs 1200 peso as there is a cost to drive you there and back. Snorkeling gear is included in the admission fee (if you bring your own gear the price is still the same).
They have underwater cameras available for 500 peso. It’s always best to bring your own because they are abit iffy about you using it as they prefer your boat driver to hold it and take the photos. The footage will be instantly transferred to your phone after you’ve finished with the whale sharks.
What to expect from swimming with the whale sharks
The 2 minute boat trip will take you to where the whale sharks are being fed. You’ll have 40 minutes to swim and observe these gentle giants. At first it was nerve wrecking to swim with the giant sea creatures. Very quickly you realise that the whale sharks are incredibly gentle and are not going to hurt you. They’re pretty cute and it’s cool to observe them as they use their giant vacuum like mouth to suck in their food.
If you’re looking for a natural experience with the whale sharks, this probably isn’t it. There are roughly 10 boats full of people all swimming to try and see the whale sharks too. You will have moments where there aren’t many people around and you can enjoy a minute next to the whale shark by yourself.
Swimming with the whale sharks is an unforgettable experience and is a must if you’re in Oslob.