Attractions

Donsol Whale Shark Interaction

Written by Patrick

To see whale sharks in their natural habitat while promoting ethical tourism at the same time, you may want to consider the whale shark interaction in Donsol.

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OVERVIEW

Donsol Whale Shark Interaction

Caption: Outrigger Boats with Tourists in Donsol

Blessed with thousands of islands and beaches, the Philippines is a hub of exciting and interesting water activities.  Many tourists come to the country to experience the thrill of surfing in Siargao and La Union or relax on the beaches of El Nido and Boracay.  Some learn how to dive to get diving certification while some simply dive to meet various marine creatures including the amazing whale sharks.

While the population of whale sharks is classified as endangered, there are approximately 2,000 whale sharks in the Philippines making it the second-largest known whale shark population in the world.  Sightings of this elusive creature and the discovery of its gentle nature gave rise to the popularity of whale shark tourism.

There are a few places in the Philippines where tourists can not just see but swim with the magnificent whale sharks.  The one in Cebu is the most popular whale shark interaction destination with several people lining up for a chance to get a glimpse and swim with the creature.  But this doesn’t sit well with advocates citing unethical and unsustainable tourism considering how these animals are exploited.

To see whale sharks in their natural habitat while promoting ethical tourism at the same time, you may want to consider the whale shark interaction in Donsol.  Whale Shark Interaction Eco-Tourism Project is applauded for their conscious effort to protect these gentle giants from over-tourism that could alter their natural tendencies.

Donsol, Sorsogon may not be as accessible as other whale shark interaction destinations in the Philippines but is definitely worth the effort considering the measures that are put in place for the welfare of these endangered creatures.  Note that sighting of whale sharks is not 100% guaranteed especially during off season.

Fast Facts

Attraction:
Donsol Whale Shark Interaction
Type of Attraction:
Address:
Donsol, Sorsogon
Phone:
+63 968 624 6202
Hours:
Monday to Sunday – 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Closed:
During bad weather
Best Time to Visit:
November to June
Food & Drink:
YES
FREE WiFi:
NO
Cost:
Cost per Person:  $15+
Payment Type:
Cash
Fees:
P100 ($2 USD) – Registration fee per person (domestic)
P300 ($6 USD) – Registration fee per person (foreigner)
P300 ($6 USD) – Snorkeling gear
P5,000 ($100 USD) – Boat rental (Three-hour use good for six persons, includes guide)
P2,400 ($48 USD) – Complete tour package per person (Includes pickup from accommodation, boat, environmental fee, life vest, and snorkeling gear)
Notes:
Don’t touch the whale shark. Maintain at least three meters distance from the tail and don’t restrict its movement or disrupt its natural path.
Do not lure the whale sharks with food.
Flash photography is prohibited.
The first boat leaves at 7:00 AM while the last boat leaves at 2:00 PM.

Cost per Person:  $= $1-5  |  $$ = $6-10  |  $$$ = $11-15  |  $$$$ = $15+

MAP

This attraction is located on Luzon Island in Donsol, Sorsogon.

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NEED TO KNOW

How to Get to Donsol?

By Air

Step 1
Book a flight to Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay.  Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have multiple direct flights everyday to Daraga from Manila and Cebu.

Step 2
From the airport, take a tricycle to make your way to Legazpi Grand Terminal which is located approximately 11 kilometers away.  The ride should cost about P100 and travel time is about 30 minutes.

Step 3
From the terminal, you can ride a van or jeepney to Donsol.  Travel time is approximately one and a half hours for the van and two hours for the jeepney.  The fare should cost about P120 and P70, respectively.

Step 4
Get off at Donsol Central Terminal and walk to your resort or take a tricycle to Donsol Whale Shark Information Center about four kilometers away.

By Land

Prior to Covid-19, Philtranco Lines, a bus company in the Philippines, offered direct trips to Donsol from Manila daily.  As of May 2023, the route has not resumed yet and the best option is to take a bus via Legazpi City.

Step 1
There are several bus lines plying the Manila-Legazpi route.  From Cubao, you can take the Isarog Line which has three trips daily (8:00 AM, 6:00 PM, and 9:00 PM) or Penafrancia Tours with only one trip at 8:30 PM.

Passengers from Pasay may opt for St. Jude Transport Lines which departs at 6:30 PM or Isarog Line at 8:00 PM.  Meanwhile, passengers from Alabang can take Isarog Line (9:30 AM, 7:00 PM, 7:15 PM, 8:30 PM, 9:15 PM, and 10 PM) or Penafrancia Tours (8:00 PM and 9:30 PM).

The fare is between P950 to P1278 depending on the type of bus (regular, air-conditioned, etc.).  Travel time is around 13 to 14 hours.

Step 2
Get off at Legazpi Grand Terminal and ride a van or jeepney to Donsol.  Travel time is approximately one and a half hours for the van and two hours for the jeepney.  The fare should cost about P120 and P70, respectively.

Step 3
Get off at Donsol Central Terminal and walk to your resort or take a tricycle to Donsol Whale Shark Information Center about four kilometers away.

The airport closest to Donsol for Whale Shark Interaction?

Bicol International Airport (IATA: DRP) is the airport closest to Donsol.  Located in Daraga, Albay, this airport replaced the now defunct Legazpi Airport.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this attraction to avoid crowds is early in the morning, usually around 7:00 AM.

Closures

This attraction is always open except during bad weather when authorities suspend any water activities.

Fees

Fees require payment in cash.  Credit cards are not accepted at this attraction. 

Food & Drink

Food and drinks from outside the attraction are not allowed at this attraction.

Alcohol

Consuming alcohol is not allowed at this attraction.

Pets

Pets are not allowed at this attraction.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed at this attraction.

Trash

Please dispose of your trash properly or take it with you.  Don’t Trash the Philippines!  

The Philippines are beautiful islands … let’s all ensure they remain this way. 

WHERE TO STAY

Hotels and resorts near Donsol Whale Shark Interaction:

TIPS & HACKS

The following are recommended items for this experience: 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

CamelPack

I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day.

Bluetooth Speaker

Compact yet mighty, a bluetooth speaker setup is a breeze, and the sound quality it delivers for its size is nothing short of impressive. Beyond its audio prowess, it boasts exceptional durability, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

UV Shirt

UV Shirt is an essential when travelling in a tropical country. Providing reliable protection during long hours in the water, not only comfortable but also ensures a secure shield against the elements.

Snorkel Gear

For my island-hopping escapades, a snorkel gear set has become indispensable. Designed to enhance the joy of snorkeling and free diving, each piece ensures comfort and functionality. Together, they create an immersive and enjoyable underwater experience.

Adventure Camera

As a long-time enthusiast of GoPro cameras, I can attest to their user-friendly nature, excellent image stabilization, and impressive footage quality. Waterproof and rugged, the GoPro is my reliable companion for capturing adventures in any environment.

Aqua Shoes

When it comes to beach footwear, aqua shoes offer exceptional support, breathability, and overall comfort. Well-crafted and sturdy, it provides effective protection against rocky terrain, quick drying for added convenience, and easy maintenance. A must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.

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Photos

The following are some photos of this attraction.

Videos

The following is a video of this attraction.

NEARBY

The following are other points of interest are nearby:

READ MORE: Ethically Swimming with Whale Sharks in the Philippines | Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

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Have you ever visited this attraction?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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