Best places to dive with Sharks

Sharks are the marine apex predators at the top of the food chain. According to the World Animal Foundation, there are around 500 different species—the smallest is the Dwarf Lantern Shark, less than seven inches long, and the largest is the gentle Whale Shark, which can reach lengths up to 13 meters/42 ft. Unfortunately, many shark species are endangered due to overfishing and habitat destruction.

Sharks are highly intelligent creatures, and a healthy population of different shark species is a sign of a thriving ecosystem. Certain movies have given sharks a bad reputation, and the experience of being underwater with them is mind-blowing. It will leave you humbled and indignant that people fear these beautiful creatures. However, as with wild animals, you must respect them and their environment. Fortunately, certain areas of the globe still support these graceful fish, countries such as Mexico, Maldives, Egypt, and many more that have dive sites that will suit all shark fanatics. Below is a roundup of some of the best places in the world to dive with sharks.

Mexico

Guadalupe: The West Coast of Mexico boasts a host of marine life. One area famous for its large shark encounters is Guadalupe Island. Situated 241 kilometers off the Baja California coastline, it is one of the best places in the world to encounter Great White Sharks underwater. Natural interaction is key; double-decker cages are lowered to the shark's level, so minimal amounts of chum are used. The visibility is generally better than in other areas Great Whites frequent, making for a spectacular dive. While diving with these stunning creatures, you realize how intelligent and calm they are, completely different from the stereotype that most people associate with the name Great White.

NOTE: In January 2023, the Mexican government banned Great White Shark-Related Tourism on Guadalupe Island to protect and preserve the delicate marine ecosystem and the endangered Great White Shark population. By limiting tourism activities in the region, the authorities aim to reduce disturbances to the sharks' natural behaviors and habitats, ensuring their long-term survival and promoting sustainable eco-tourism practices.

Socorro: Socorro Island is volcanic and home to many shark species. The only way to access the island and dive sites is via a Liveaboard, the season from November to May. One of the main dive sites is Roca Partida, a magnet for several pelagic species. The 40-meter drop-off walls and deep waters attract shark species such as Oceanic Whitetips, Silvertips, Scalloped Hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, Tiger sharks, Silkies, and Whale sharks.

 
Mexico
Colorful Coral Reefs, Mysterious Shipwrecks, and Plenty of Sharks

Maldives

Rasdhoo Atoll: The Hammerhead shark is one of the most prehistoric-looking underwater species. Its iconic head shape with extremely wide-set eyes has evolved as a highly effective hunting tool. The Hammerhead shark uses its unique head shape to help it catch its favorite food, the stingray, which buries itself in the sand seafloor. The deep waters of the Rasdhoo Atoll attract many Schooling Hammerhead Sharks, and it is a surreal experience to dive amongst hundreds of these graceful creatures found at Hammerhead Point. The Rasdhoo Atoll is located northeast of the famous Ari Atoll and, due to its remote location, is only accessible by liveaboard in the Maldives.

 
Maldives
Unveil the Maldives' Underwater Enchantment

Egypt

Elphinstone | Daedalus | St. Johns: These three islands are located off the Egyptian Red Sea coast and are usually visited during a liveaboard trip from Marsa Alam. Each island offers its own unique shark experience. Elphinstone and Daedalus are drift dives with steep walls. These islands are prime shark habitats, yet diving can be tricky, and you must have a decent level of diving to enjoy these dives. The best season in which you may encounter the impressive Oceanic Whitetip is between October and December, alongside which species such as Hammerheads, Tiger Sharks, and Silvertips are sighted frequently. If you are lucky, rare Thresher sharks may appear from the deep. The third site is that of St Johns, a collection of reefs that are incredibly healthy, supporting giant Gorgonians and Black Corals. On the west side, you will likely find Hammerheads, Silvertips, and Grey Reef sharks; the diving here suits all levels.

 
Egypt
Dive Deeper, Dream Bigger, in the Red Sea

Bahamas

Tiger Beach: As the name suggests, if Tiger sharks are high up on your bucket list, then diving into Tiger Beach at an area known as Shark Pinnacle is highly recommended; you are likely to encounter these magnificent fish, with their distinctive tiger stripes which can grow up to 18ft. Aptly named Shark Pinnacle, you are likely to see a variety of sharks alongside the Tiger, including Lemon sharks, Bull sharks, Great Hammerhead, Duskys, Silkies, and reef sharks. While kneeling on the white sand, allowing them to approach you is an adrenalin-pumping experience you will never forget and perfect for avid photographers.

 
Bahamas
Shark Encounters of a Lifetime

Galapagos Islands, Malpelo Island, and Costa Rica's Cocos Island

These Islands form what is known as the Hammerhead Triangle, which is drawn between Cocos Island, Galapagos Islands, and Malpelo Island.

Cocos Island (Costa Rica)

Cocos Island is recognized as one of the top spots in the world for diving with sharks. They are incredibly remote, located 550km from the coast of Costa Rica, meaning 36 hours of sailing lie between you and the schools of hundreds of hammerheads, including the highly endangered Squat Head Hammerhead. It is well worth the journey time for those seeking a memorable shark experience. Hammerheads, by nature, are not at all aggressive, yet always be respectful when entering their natural environment.
 
Costa Rica
Unearth the secrets of Costa Rica's marine world

Malpelo Island (Colombia)

It's not as well-known as Cocos Island, but it is every bit as good for shark sightings in large numbers. Malpelo Island is an amazing place to see large schools of Hammerheads and Silky sharks. Numbers of up to 300 sharks have been recorded in this area, making it a top spot for divers to see sharks. Belonging to Colombia and accessed from nearby Panama, these islands are located approximately 500km West of the mainland.
 
Colombia
Where Adventure Meets the Abyss

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

It is a long-time favorite for those wishing to see an amazing variety of marine life. The Galapagos does not disappoint when it comes to sharks. Huge numbers of schooling Hammerheads and others such as Silky's and Galapagos Sharks can be seen here. These large numbers of sharks can be seen year-round, but the best time is usually between December to May.
 
Galapagos
Explore the Underwater Wonders of Evolution

Phillippines

Malapascua's Monad Shoal: Monad Shoal is an underwater island 20 meters deep with a 200-meter drop-off. The Thresher shark is a pelagic shark and is critically endangered, meaning there are few areas in the world where you have a high chance of finding them. The Monad Shoal is an exception - it acts as a cleaning station. Early in the morning, the sharks come to the shoal to be cleaned, which is when we head out, perfect for photographic opportunities. These sharks are very timid, so it is advised to be calm and quiet underwater and remain in the area for a few days to increase your chances of encountering them. As with all wild animals, sharks should never be underestimated; ensure you listen to your local dive guide to get the most out of the experience. Our oceans are fragile, and if we all work together to protect what we love, hopefully, these hotspots and healthy underwater ecosystems will continue supporting an abundance of shark species for many generations to come.

 
Philippines
Where Every Dive Tells a Story

Other shark hotspots

Above are some of the leading diving areas with the best chance to see some shark action, but other locations where sharks are often seen are;