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15 Best Shark Dives in the World

With over 500 species found around the world, shark dives can range from a laidback swim with basking sharks in Scotland to a pulse-racing plunge with bull sharks in Fiji. Here are the best ways to get closer to—and appreciate—the ocean’s most misunderstood fish.

1. Tiger Beach

Image by Stephen Frink

Where: Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

Dive level: Beginner

Why it’s the best: From the oceanic whitetips of Cat Island to the great hammerheads of Bimini, there’s no shortage of memorable shark dives in the Bahamas. But the aptly named Tiger Beach, where you can dive cage-free with up to 15 tiger sharks during their peak breeding season, is undoubtedly the most popular scuba experience in the country. A shallow dive with plenty of light, you’ll enjoy great conditions for photographing the world’s second largest predatory shark as you kneel on the site’s sandy bottom.

What you’ll see: Tiger sharks, of course! You might also spot lemon, nurse, Caribbean reef sharks, and if you’re exceptionally lucky, great hammerheads. 

When to go: October to January

2. The Hebrides

Image by Richard Heath

Where: Scotland

Dive level: Snorkel

Why it’s the best: Most people don’t associate sharks with Scotland, but head out to the remote Hebrides archipelago during the summer and you can encounter endangered basking sharks. Reaching lengths of 30 feet, these gentle filter feeders open their massive jaws to scoop up as much plankton as possible. Because they enjoy swimming at the surface to soak up the rays of the sun, snorkeling or freediving is the best way to see them.

What you’ll see: Basking sharks

When to go: July to September

3. Bajo Alcyone, Cocos Island

Image by wildestanimal

Where: Costa Rica

Dive level: Advanced

Why it’s the best: The action never stops at Cocos Island, a remote spot 342 miles off Costa Rica where a convergence of nutrient-rich currents creates a perfect maelstrom of pelagic sea life, including some of the largest schools of scalloped hammerheads in the world. It’s a part of the so-called Hammerhead Triangle, composed also of Malpelo Island off Colombia and Darwin and Wolf in the Galápagos, where many of the same sharks also migrate. The sharkiest location, a seamount called Bajo Alcyone, allows divers to wedge into the rock as hundreds of hammerheads—and during the rainy season, perhaps a tiger or whale shark or two—pass by. If you’re a true thrillseeker, consider a night dive to watch whitetips on the hunt.

What you’ll see: The schools of scalloped hammerheads are the main attraction, but divers may also see tiger, silky, Galápagos, whitetip reef, blacktip, silvertip and whale sharks.

When to go: June to November for the best marine life and December to May for the best conditions

4. Monad Shoal, Malapascua Island

Image by John Harper

Where: The Philippines

Dive level: Moderate (Nitrox certification recommended) 

Why it’s the best: One of the few places on earth where you’re practically guaranteed a sighting of what might be the world’s cutest shark, Monad Shoal is famous as a thresher shark hot spot. The reclusive deep sea creatures visit the site’s ridge every morning for a regular cleaning session from resident reef fish. 

What you’ll see: Thresher sharks; hammerheads may be spotted between January and April

When to go: Sightings year-round; July to October has the highest chance of storms, so you may want to steer clear then.

5. Fakarava South Pass

Image by Reinhard Dirscherl

Where: French Polynesia

Dive level: Advanced

Why it’s the best: While Fakarava—part of the world’s largest shark sanctuary—boasts epic shark diving year-round, the annual marbled grouper spawning is something special. Once a year, the hulking fish—a fantastic sight in its own right—gather during the full moon to lay their eggs in the water column, attracting up to a 1,000 grey reef sharks. Adrenaline junkies can join the frenzy, watching the typically passive sharks chase and hunt until the sun rises.

What you’ll see: Grey reef sharks, silver tips, oceanic blacktips, lemon sharks and more

When to go: July

6. Beqa Lagoon, Viti Levu

Image by Alastair Pollock Photography

Where: Fiji

Dive level: Beginner

Why it’s the best: On a ho-hum day, an average of 50 sharks—many of them large bulls—make an appearance at Beqa Lagoon’s renowned “Colosseum,” where divers kneel behind a rock wall to watch the instructors attract the animals with fish heads. While baited dives are controversial for many reasons, Beqa Lagoon is part of Fiji’s Shark Reef Marine Reserve, which finances shark research and compensates local fishermen for lost income due to the creation of no-take zones.

What you’ll see: In addition to bull sharks, you may see tiger, nurse, sickle lemon, grey reef, blacktip reef, whitetip reef, and silvertip sharks.

When to go: Sightings year-round; July to September has the best visibility.

7. Jupiter, Florida

Image by Henryk Sadura

Where: United States

Dive level: Moderate (must be Nitrox-certified)

Why it’s the best: The nutrient-rich Gulf Stream brings all sorts of sharks to Jupiter’s waters, but the area is most popular with divers for its annual lemon shark migration. Follow these calm but large creatures—up to 13 feet long—down to the deep ledges where they congregate and admire their sunny citrus-toned skin. 

What you’ll see: What sharks you see depends on when you go diving. Look out for lemon, tiger, great hammerhead, bull, dusky, silky, reef and sandbar sharks.

When to go: December to March for the lemon shark migration; other species can be spotted year-round. Expect tigers and great hammerheads in the winter and dusky and silky sharks in the summer.

8. The Crystal Coast, North Carolina

Image by Kyle Little

Where: United States

Dive level: Moderate

Why it’s the best: The Graveyard of the Atlantic boasts more than shipwrecks; critically endangered sand tiger sharks call top wrecks like the Spar and Papoose home. Despite their fearsome, ragged-tooth appearance, these sharks are a notably docile species. You can help them make a comeback by sharing any photos you take with the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Science’s acclaimed Spot a Shark program.

What you’ll see: In addition to sand tiger sharks, divers may also find nurse, thresher, hammerhead, bul, and dusky sharks.

When to go: Year-round, but May to October offers peak numbers and conditions.

9. The Neptune Islands

Image by Alastair Pollock Photography

Where: South Australia

Dive level: Beginner

Why it’s the best: Originally declared a conservation park in 1967 to protect a New Zealand fur seal breeding colony, the remote Neptune Islands are now much more renowned for what the seals have attracted: vulnerable great white sharks. The world’s largest predatory shark, these beauties are in the area year-round, but their numbers increase when the seals are breeding and giving birth. It’s the only place on earth where you can participate in ocean-floor cage diving, sinking down to 60 to 80 feet to get eye-to-eye with one of the one of the sea’s most majestic and intelligent creatures.

What you’ll see: Great white sharks

When to go: November to February for the most action and May to July for the biggest females.

10. Aliwal Shoal

Image by Steve Woods Photography

Where: South Africa

Dive level: Beginner to advanced 

Why it’s the best: Perhaps the most famous destination in South Africa for shark diving—and there are many—Aliwal Shoal offers numerous sites full of fins for every level of diver. At Raggies Cave, sand tiger sharks (nicknamed “raggies” for their ragged teeth) congregate to be  cleaned by small fish. Meanwhile, more experienced divers will love the Cathedral, a bucket-list site where dozens of sharks gather to breed in a natural amphitheater. 

What you’ll see: Depending on the time of year, you can see sand tiger, guitar, oceanic blacktip, bull, silky, tiger and hammerhead sharks, with the possibility of the rare great white shark.

When to go: Year-round; September to October has more challenging conditions.

11. Ulong Channel

Image by Global_Pics

Where: Palau

Dive level: Advanced 

Why it’s the best: Found in Palau, Ulong Channel is the world’s largest fish sanctuary and offers divers a fast-flowing draft dive full of large fish. Of course, so much prey means predators are sure to follow—keep an eye out for large schools of grey reef and whitetip sharks. 

What you’ll see: Grey reef, whitetip and leopard sharks 

When to go: Year-round; July to October has the highest chance of storms, so you may want to steer clear them.

12. Elphinstone Reef

Image by Colors and shapes of underwater world

Where: Egypt

Dive level: Advanced 

Why it’s the best: A coral-covered pinnacle accessible by day boat from Egypt’s Marsa Alam, Elphinstone Reef is one of the best destinations in the Red Sea for shark lovers. Its plateaus act like a magnet for elusive oceanic whitetips and scalloped hammerheads. 

What you’ll see: Depending on the season, you’ll find oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, grey reef and silvertip sharks.

When to go: Visit from September to November for oceanic whitetips and June to August for scalloped hammerheads.

13. South Ari Atoll

Image by phichit

Where: The Maldives

Dive level: Moderate

Why it’s the best: The Maldives’ 1,192 coral islands are a veritable paradise for marine life, but it’s along the southern edge of the South Ari Atoll that young, growing whale sharks—averaging a modest 10 to 26 feet—come to feed in warm tropical waters. It’s one of the few places on earth you can encounter the world’s largest fish year-round.

What you’ll see: Whale sharks, as well as whitetip, blacktip, grey reef, hammerhead and nurse sharks

When to go: Year-round; May to September has the highest chance of storms.

14. Osprey Reef

Image by Reinhard Dirscherl

Where: Queensland, Australia

Dive level: Moderate

Why it’s the best: Often labeled one of the best Great Barrier Reef area dives yet far enough off the beaten path to avoid the crowds, Osprey Reef’s clear, rich waters draw in the big pelagic fish—sharks included. One of the reef’s most popular dives is the North Horn feed, during which dozens of sharks jostle for scraps of fish while divers watch from a secure wall.

What you’ll see: Grey reef, silky, silvertip and hammerhead sharks

When to go: Year-round

15. Shark Bay

Image by LuffyKun

Where: Wolf Island, The Galápagos

Dive level: Advanced

Why it’s the best: Boasting the largest shark biomass on earth, Wolf Island (along with its neighbor, Darwin) finds itself smack in the middle of three currents that enrich the surrounding waters. For that reason, it’s one of the best places on earth to dive with hundreds of scalloped hammerheads, as well as whale sharks and other pelagic species.

What you’ll see: Hammerhead, whale, tiger, silky, Galápagos, blacktip and whitetip sharks

When to go: Scalloped hammerhead sightings year-round; July to November for whale sharks and the largest schools of hammerheads 

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  1. I believe they discontinued night dives at Cocos Island in 2018/2019 after a diver was killed by a tiger shark


    Didn’t include the Socorro islands? You’ll see more sharks there on one dive than a weeks worth of diving at a few of the mentioned sights combined.

  3. Guadalupe Island Mexico also closed by the Mexican Government. Good thing I went in 2021. No report when it will ever open to divers .

  4. One of my favorite dives was snorkeling among a school of leopard sharks in 3 feet of water off Catalina Island in Southern California. These handsome animals congregate in warm shallow water in late summer to breed.

  5. Just another stupid or paid advertising! Where is Wolf or Darwin islands? You can see at least 300 hammerheads and Galapagos sharks in 50 min

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