Type of Shark: Whale shark
When to Go: April to June, especially during full moons
Other than their intimidating size, whale sharks are nothing to fear. Growing up to 40 feet long (about the size of a school bus), the spotted creatures are docile. Luckily for humans, they’re also filter feeders, eating only plankton and small fish. Belize’s Southern Caribbean coast is one of the best places to swim with these gentle goliaths, and once Itz’ana Resort & Residences opens on December 15, it’ll be the best place to stay while doing so.
The stylish 50-suite boutique property, complete with an on-site marina, will happily arrange trips to the UNESCO-protected Belize Barrier Reef, located only 14 miles offshore from the resort. At the reef’s center lies one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet—the famed Gladden Spit and the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve. Aim to be there during a spring full moon when the whale sharks come to feed on snapper spawn.