We are certainly obsessed with sharks, and though these fish continue to evoke fear in people, any veteran shark lover can identify with the adrenaline rush that comes with the prospect of coming close to one of these creatures. Want to stare into the eyes of a shark? Well, dive right in and make your choice from our list of the best 10 shark diving spots.
You’re sure to find something interesting whether you are a beginner, intermediate or experienced diver.
Best 10 Shark Diving Spots.
1. Nurse Sharks: Ambergris Caye, Belize
We’ll kick off our list with the diving experience at Shark Ray Alley, Ambergris Caye. Belize has many shark diving sites, but this is one of the most popular attractions there due to the thriving nurse shark population. Divers should make it a priority to visit this underwater landmark that is just a little over 4.6 meters deep. The local boat owners frequently feed the sharks to bring them to the surface so you can bet you will see quite a few of these animals while you are there.
When to go: All year-round
How to get there: There are several boat tours usually lasting for two-and-half hours each. The tours start at $40 per person, or just make arrangements for a private boat.
2. Caribbean Reef Sharks: Great Blue Hole, Belize
Also in Belize, the Great Blue Hole is an epic dive experience you won’t want to miss. The hole is actually an underwater cave, a giant chasm that is over 300 meters across and 108 meters deep. It is outlined by the coral reef. Entering into the hole you’ll have about 30 meters of visibility in clear weather that allows you to enjoy the vibrant colors of the reef and the warm surface waters before descending into the cooler, dark interior.
The descent is in stages: 12 meters gets to a sandy limestone shelf, at 30 meters you will reach the first of an intricate network of ancient grayscale stalactites and stalagmites, at 40 meters most divers will start to feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis. Organized dive tours will usually not go deeper than this level for safety reasons.
The cave houses many Caribbean reef sharks, and you will begin to notice them slither past you in the gloom from a depth of about 20 meters. You may even bump into the occasional hammerhead shark too. Other wildlife includes large tuna, dolphins, moray eels, barracuda, angel fish and other pelagics but mostly at the shallower levels of the hole. Also expect to see some barrel sponges that are larger than an adult human being.
Note that this dive is a deep one strictly for experienced divers and you’ll have to follow the instructions of the dive master carefully.
When to go: All year round but strong winds in March often cause the authorities to cancel dive trips.
How to get there: There are organized dives to the hole.
3. Tiger Sharks: Tiger Beach, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
The Bahamas remains one of the world’s best shark diving destinations. Divers here will meet reef sharks, hammerheads, and oceanic whitetips but the major attraction is the chance to meet tiger sharks at Tiger Beach.
There are carefully organized dive groups that go out daily to feed these fierce sharks. You’ll be made to sit still on the sandy ocean bottom as the sharks circle overhead for their daily treats from the local divers. Some of the sharks may swim over to you for a closer look so remain calm. Sometimes, divers are lucky to see nurse and lemon sharks here as well.
When to go: October to January
How to get there: Join the daily dive groups. You can expect to spend about $166 per person to join one.
4. Bull Sharks: Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
This is another organized diving arrangement, and you could see up to 50 bull sharks at a time. Locals refer to it as the best shark dive in the world. The bull sharks here are much larger than those in Atlantic and Caribbean waters. They are fed daily and this practice has been on for almost a decade now. After their daily feed, the sharks usually disperse, but a few curious ones may approach you or accompany you some of the way back to your boats.
Other sharks you will encounter include nurses, black-tips, silver tips, gray reefs, and lemons.
When to go: All year-round but especially July to September.
How to get there: There are organized dives starting at $115.
5. Gray Reef Sharks: Great Barrier Reef, Australia
This site boasts the world’s largest coral reef and is known for its breathtaking beauty and diverse marine life. Grey reef sharks are usually curious about divers so don’t be alarmed if they come close to you as they will lose interest quickly.
They are attracted to gather due to the daily feeding by local tour operators, and these sharks have a keen sense of smell; they will smell tuna in ten billionth part of water. You can expect to see about 60 to 70 of them at a time.
Note that there are very fast and strong water currents in the area so follow the usual safety precautions for such conditions.
When to go: All year-round
How to get there: There are organized group dives almost every day.
6. Thresher Sharks: Monad Shoal, Malapascua, Philippines
The Philippines with its many islands is another “hot spot” with countless shark dives, but the one at Monad Shoal in Malapascua is a must-see. This site is an underwater island and has the most consistent sightings worldwide for thresher sharks.
The dive goes down 30 meters where divers are asked to hold onto a ridge. The thresher sharks come here for daily cleaning by the bluestreak wrasse and other cleaner fish. Other sharks you’ll see are whale sharks, reef sharks, and zebra sharks.
This is an advanced dive site for experienced divers with certification.
When to Go: November to June
How to get there: You can arrange for a motorized boat or join one of the many boat tours organized by the local resorts.
7. Sand Tiger Sharks: Morehead City, North Carolina
This shark dive spot is a collection of over 20 wrecks including a German submarine and several US vessels. It has become a thriving meeting point for sharks all year-round with a steady supply of nutrients from the combination of the Labrador and Gulf Stream currents.
You may be lucky to meet up to 100 sharks gliding around the wrecks at any time. If you are very adventurous, you may choose to explore the interior of the wrecks and find yourself in a room with one of the sharks. Also, look out for free shark souvenirs; the sand tigers bite the wrecks to shed their old teeth so you may come across a free shark tooth.
When to go: June to September
How to get there: There are several organized scuba diving tours that cost from $130 upwards.
8. Hammerhead Sharks: Gordon Rocks, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands along with Cocos Island and Malpelo make up what is known as the “Shark Triangle.” All three locations are home to numerous scalloped, great and smooth hammerhead sharks but Gordon Rocks, in particular, is hailed as a shark diving mecca. Sometimes, you can see schools of up to 250 sharks at a time.
There are powerful currents here, so it’s only recommended for experienced divers. On the plus side, divers can get very close to the hammerhead sharks safely.
When to go: June to November
How to get there: There are a number of liveaboard diving cruises in the Galapagos.
9. Great Whites: Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Isla Guadalupe is fast becoming one of the best shark diving spots to meet great white sharks. We can attribute this to a combination of the warm, clear waters there and the relaxed regulations on shark encounters.
Divers remain in open-top cages, and the braver ones may even half-emerge from the cage to view the sharks. Very experienced divers have the opportunity to dive without a cage but under strict supervision.
When to go: July to November
How to get there: You can reach there only by liveaboard arrangements.
10. Cow Sharks (Sevengills Shark): Pyramid Rock, False Bay, South Africa
There are two places on earth you can dive with cow sharks, and this is one of them. Though South Africa is more famous for its great white shark diving, the cow shark attracts attention too.
The dive location is in deep waters with a shallow, kelp forest, and your chances of sighting this rarely seen shark are high. There are reports of people sighting almost 20 of these sharks at once when they come out to feed. Come along with a 7mm wetsuit or drysuit and be sure you will have a remarkable experience.
When to go: May to August
How to get there: Join an organized tour or rent a private boat.
With a stroke of luck and favorable weather conditions, each of these dive spots offers shark lovers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So what are you waiting for? Have you been to any of the shark diving spots listed above? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments.