Performancing Metrics

30 Epic Vacation Spots Where You Can Dive with Sharks

>30 Epic Vacation Spots Where You Can Dive with Sharks
Find Your Degree
Sponsored Schools
30 Epic Vacation Spots Where You Can Dive with Sharks2019-03-06T10:55:09-08:00

For thrill-seeking scuba divers and snorkelers, vacation planning usually includes lots of research into the local waters. Oftentimes, trips are planned exclusively around what can be found beyond the beautiful beaches, among the coral reefs and within the deepest parts of the ocean. You know, things like sharks.

Whether you’re a skilled diver, a casual snorkeler, or just want to climb in a cage to get up-close-and-personal to some of the world’s most misunderstood animals, there are exciting opportunities for you. Keep scrolling for 30 epic vacation spot where you can dive with sharks.

Aliwal Shoal, South Africa


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Ragged Tooth Shark, Hammerhead, Tiger Shark, Bull Shark, Black Tip Shark
South Africa may be best known for its large Great White “air sharks” over on the West Coast, but serious divers shouldn’t forget about the less popular Aliwal Shoal. Located on the Indian Ocean coast in Kwazulu-Natal, Aliwal Shoal often yields up to 150 shark sightings in a single dive! As you dive through the area’s many shipwrecks and coral reefs, keep an eye out for tiger sharks and hammerheads. From June through November, docile ragged tooth sharks come to the Shoal to mate, which makes for a truly epic, one-of-a-kind experience.

Beqa Lagoon, Fiji


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Tiger Shark, Hammerhead, Caribbean Reef Shark, Lemon Shark
It should come as no surprise that Beqa Lagoon in Fiji tops many a diver’s bucket list. Known for its colorful coral reefs, white-sand ocean floor, and crystal-clear water, the six-meters-deep lagoon attracts everything from tiger sharks to spotted dolphins. Just don’t forget to bring your underwater camera, as Beqa Lagoon makes for the perfect location for some epic sea life shots. Though Fiji is an attractive getaway at just about any time of year, the Lagoon’s best-viewing season is October through January. For the most convenient land-to-water experience, consider booking your stay at the Beqa Lagoon Resort.

The Brothers Islands, Egypt


Sharks You’re Likely to See: White Tip Sharks, Grey Tip Sharks, Silver Tip Sharks, Grey Reef, Hammerhead
Though it’s often overshadowed by things like pyramids and shaky politics, Egypt’s Red Sea coast is home to some of the best diving in the world. If it’s sharks you’re after, head straight for The Brothers Islands, two small islands known, appropriately, as Big Brother and Little Brother. The two islands are host to myriad sea life, including white tip sharks, grey tip sharks, grey reef sharks, and hammerheads, to name a few. Keep your eye out, too, for the rarer thresher shark that can sometimes be spotted in these waters.

Cabo San Sebastian, Mozambique


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Whale Shark, Bull Shark
Divers and shark lovers travel from near and far to Mozambique solely for the world-class diving opportunities. In Cabo San Sebastian, the world-class reefs harbor some truly epic marine life, including bull sharks and whale sharks. The latter are especially exciting to see, and are often spotted along the surface of the water. Other common sightings include nudibranchs, garden eels, and entire schools of fusiliers.

Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Whale Shark
Indonesia may be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, but its Cenderawasih Bay is still relatively unknown, even amongst divers. Still, those looking for an epic vacation spot where it’s possible to dive with sharks will want to add Cenderawasih Bay to their bucket list. This underwater oasis boasts turtles, dugongs, dolphins, and whale sharks, plus colorful coral reefs that are simply bursting at the seams with marine life.

Cocos Island, Costa Rica


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Hammerheads
Not only is Cocos Island, Costa Rica one of the most epic places to dive with sharks, it’s also said to be the very best place on earth to get up close and personal with hammerheads. Book your dive for the summer months, then head out into the warm Costa Rican waters to look for sharks. Many divers report seeing dozens, if not hundreds, of hammerheads all at once, plus the occasional tiger shark to go along with it. Check out Liveaboard.com for the various liveaboard trip options available in Cocos Island.

Donsol, Philippines


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Whale Shark
One of two destinations in the Philippines to make our list of epic vacation spots, Donsol is one of the best places on Earth to get up close and personal with gentle whale sharks. From December to May, this small coastal town teems with divers and snorkelers of all skill levels eager to see these gentle giants up close. A variety of companies offer trips to the best spots to see the sharks, including Donsol EcoTour and Donsol Whale Shark Adventure & Tours.

Farallon Islands, California


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Great White
There are only a few places in the world in which Great White sharks are practically expected to breach dramatically out of the water. One such place is the Farallon Islands. Located just off the coast of Santa Cruz in Northern California, the Farallon Islands tend to attract some of the world’s biggest sharks, all of whom are after the chunky elephant seals who make their home in this area. A number of companies, including Great White Adventures and Incredible Adventures, offer cage-diving trips to see the sharks up close. Oftentimes, viewers are wowed by dramatic breach attacks  right in front of their eyes.

Fish Rock, Australia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Nurse Shark
Even the most experienced divers will find Fish Rock to be an exciting dive. This 120-meter-long cave is one of the most epic diving spots in the world, and is home to a wide variety of marine life. Book a dive through Fish Rock Dive Centre, then brave your way through the cave, where you’ll spot animals ranging from bull rays to bottom-feeding wobbegong sharks. Most epic of all, however, are the nurse sharks. Indeed, Fish Rock, Australia is one of the few places on Earth where divers can swim up close to these critically endangered creatures.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Galapagos, Hammerhead, Dusky Shark, Whale Shark
The Galapagos Islands top many people’s bucket lists purely because it’s home to some of the most diverse wildlife found anywhere on the planet. The Galapagos’ shark population is no exception. Divers here are sure to see a variety of shark types, including Galapagos, hammerhead, whale shark, blackmouth catshark, and dusky. Join a liveaboard expedition like the one offered by Big Fish Expeditions to dive around the remote and shark-infested Wolf and Darwin Islands, or book a day trip with Scuba Iguana to see sharks, sea lions, myriad fish, penguins, and various other Galapagos residents.

Gansbaai, South Africa


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Great White, Bull Shark
If you love sharks, then you’ve probably watched Shark Week. And if you’ve watched Shark Week, you’ve likely seen the famous “Air Sharks” of South Africa. Next time you’re near Cape Town, head out to Gansbaai, where you can join a company like Marine Dynamics on a trip to the famous “Shark Alley.” You’ll even make the trip on the same boat featured in the documentary about the area’s famous flying Great Whites. Take turns in the shark cage viewing the massive Great White Sharks right up close. While on the boat, keep an eye out for the sharks breaching as they hunt Cape Fur Seals.

Isla Guadalupe, Mexico


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Great White
The Pacific Coast of North America has become one of the best known places in the world to see Great White Sharks, and Isla Guadalupe is no exception. Best from August to mid-November, this small island off the coast of Baja California boasts warm clear waters that offer up to 100 feet of visibility — ideal for shark diving. A number of companies in the area offer a single-day cage diving experience suitable for just about anyone, but should you prefer a really fin-tastic adventure, check out the multi-day liveaboard expeditions offered by Great White Adventures.

Jardines de la Reina, Cuba


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Silky Shark, Lemon Shark, Hammerhead, Whale Shark
As Cuba opens up to more and more travelers, divers should take the opportunity to visit the epic dive site that is Jardines de la Reina. Located just off the coast of southern Cuba, these 250 virgin coral and mangrove islands get their collective name thanks to the colorful coral, varied pristine habitats, and diverse marine life that characterize them. Calling this beautiful “garden” home are a variety of shark types, including hammerheads, lemon sharks, silky sharks, and even the occasional whale shark. If Jardines de la Reina is on your diving bucket list, then act fast! Only a few hundred diving permits are released each year.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Grey Reef Shark, Bronze Whaler Shark
Exploring Komodo National Park in Indonesia is truly an epic experience. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the largest protected zones in the world. It mostly consists of three islands: Rinca, Padar, and Komodo, the latter of which remains home to the fascinating Komodo dragon. While you’ll certainly want to explore what this national park offers on land, we know you’re most interested in what can be found in the surrounding waters. Most notably, sharks. From about mid-April through October, the waters of Komodo National Park are chock-full of reef and bronze whaler sharks, plus rays, dolphins, whales, and turtles. A variety of companies serve the more than 50 dive sites, though we recommend booking a company that offers a liveaboard experience, as there is just too much to see here for a single day trip!

Layang Layang, Malaysia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Silver Tip Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Hammerhead, Leopard Shark
Layang Layang is located about 190 miles off mainland Malaysia. As such, it’s characterized by deep waters, clear and unpolluted visibility, and a massive coral reef with a drop off that is sure to excite even the most experienced divers. Marine life here is quite abundant, and common sightings include hammerhead, grey reef sharks, silver tips, and leopard sharks, plus pygmy seahorses, and giant oceanic manta ray, to name but a few.

Malapascua, Philippines


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Thresher Shark
For those intent on seeing the elusive thresher shark, the Philippines are the place to plan your next epic vacation! In fact, the island of Malapascua might just be the only place on Earth where you’re practically guaranteed a thresher shark sighting. Book a diving trip to Monad Shoal, where the threshers frequently ascend from the deep to enjoy the “spa services” of the cleaners living in the reef.

Malpelo Island, Colombia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Hammerhead, Silky Shark
You’ll have to be one brave diver to dive Malpelo Island. Situated about 300 miles off the coast of Colombia, this tiny island is known for its strong currents and diverse marine life. Only one liveaboard vessel and 25 divers are allowed around the island at one time, and those trips are limited to those with Advanced Open Water qualification. Despite its many challenges, Malpelo Island harbors some truly epic shark sighting opportunities. Huge schools of hammerheads (January to May) and silky sharks (May to August) are common sightings. White tip and Galapagos sharks are also seen frequently, but only the luckiest divers will spot the elusive sandtoothed sand tiger shark.

Maui, Hawaii


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Hammerheads, Gray Reef, Galapagos
The Hawaiian island of Maui is an excellent vacation spot for diving with sharks. In fact, a serious diver could spend a week on the island and dive a different spot each day. Sharks like the gray reef and Galapagos are commonly seen around the sea turtle-infested nearshore reefs and the popular snorkeling site that is Molokini. But if you have your heart set on diving with hammerheads, then you’ll want to head out to Fish Rain, a site off the coast of Molokai that has only recently become known beyond the local population. For a variety of options, check out Lahaina Divers, one of the few companies that make the trip to Fish Rain.

Montauk, New York


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Mako, Thresher Shark, Blue Shark
A trip to the shore on the East Coast tends to be more about building sandcastles and meandering the boardwalk than it does about actually swimming. But for those brave enough to don a wetsuit and hop into the oft-frigid waters, the reward is sharks — and lots of them! Montauk, New York is an especially epic location for shark diving. Book a one- or two-day shark diving experience with Sea Turtle Charters, then keep in eye out for mako, thresher sharks, and blue sharks.

Neptune Islands, Australia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Great White
Southern Australia’s Neptune Islands are well known for their huge colonies of Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals. Of course, such a large seal population could mean only one thing: Great White sharks. And there are a ton of them here! Unlike some other common Great White haunts, the water around the islands is exceptionally clear, offering divers a good view extending up to 25 meters out. You’ll want to stick to cage diving here, and two companies offer the opportunity: Rodney Fox Expeditions and Calypso Sea Charters. Both are excellent and between the two, offer just the right trip to suit anyone’s adventurous needs.

Oban, Scotland


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Basking Shark
Nessie may be Scotland’s most famous sea monster, but we suggest skipping Loch Ness in favor of waters that are more likely to yield an epic sighting. Head to Oban on the Scottish coast, where giant basking sharks are frequently seen in the hundreds! Yes, you read that right. The record for the number of basking sharks spotted in a single day is a whopping 130! Dive Oban & Argyll is a top-rated local company that can get divers to just the right spot for the best shot at swimming among these gentle giants. Whales, dolphins, seals, and otters are also frequently seen around Oban.

Osprey Reef, Australia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Great White
Intermediate and advanced divers are sure to get a thrill out of diving the epic Osprey Reef. Located approximately 217 miles from Cairns, the Osprey Reef has been called a “reef amphitheater.” Divers will swim along a 1,000-meter drop off to feed sharks sans cage, an epic adventure that can bring in anywhere from 30 to 70 sharks per dive. For the most epic shark-diving vacation, check out Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, a top-rated company that offers multi-day liveaboard adventures.

Palau, Micronesia


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Grey Reef Shark, White Tip Shark, Black Tip Shark
Palau in Micronesia is such an epic vacation destination for shark viewings. It’s actually been deemed Earth’s first-ever shark sanctuary. More than 1,000 different fish species call Palau home, including sharks such as white tip, black tip, and grey reef. This makes Palau one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. Palau’s crystal-clear waters make viewing the local marine life simple and enjoyable, while the many World War II-era wrecks add to the incredible atmosphere.

Placencia, Belize


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Whale Shark
Diving with whale sharks is one incredible bucket list item! Not only are these massive creatures beautiful to look at, but they also don’t attack humans. This makes places like Belize one of the safest places to dive with sharks in addition to one of the most epic. Between March and June, whale sharks are a sure sighting at Gladden Spit, near the town of Placencia. Opportunities exist for both divers and snorkelers to swim up close to these magnificent sharks, who often hang around the water’s surface in order to feed. Try to time your trip around the full moon of the month, as this is when the whale sharks tend to be most active.

Port Judith, Rhode Island


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Blue Shark, Mako, Basking Shark
East Coast residents don’t have too many options for diving with sharks, but one great vacation spot where it’s possible is Port Judith, Rhode Island. Those adventurous enough to brave the cold waters are likely to come face-to-face with makos, blue sharks, and in June and July, the rarer basking shark. Check out Snappa Charters for some excellent Port Judith cage diving experiences.

Protea Banks, South Africa


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Ragged Tooth Shark, Hammerheads, Bull Shark
Protea Banks, located on the eastern coast of South Africa, has on more than one occasion been declared the best place in the world for shark diving. Indeed, this fantastic vacation spot offers divers the opportunity to get up close and personal with eight different shark species, including hammerheads, ragged tooth sharks, and the famous bull shark, known locally as Zambezi. African Dive Adventures and Aqua Planet Dive Centre and Charter are top-ranked companies offering various diving experiences. Just be aware that Protea Banks is usually limited to only the most experienced open-water divers.

San Salvador, Bahamas


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Hammerhead
The Bahamas have long been known as a go-to destination for diving with sharks. Still, few divers have experienced San Salvador, a southeastern island known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear visibility, and uniquely healthy coral reefs. These reefs are teeming with diverse wildlife. Divers will also be pleased by the variety of underwater geography, including lots of swim-throughs and caverns that are sure to yield an impressive number of shark sightings.

Tiger Beach, Bahamas


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Tiger Shark, Reef Shark, Lemon Shark, Hammerhead
This Bahamas locale is a shallow sand flat where common animal sightings include Caribbean reef sharks, lemon sharks, and sometimes even hammerheads. Most divers, however, come to the aptly named Tiger Beach for one main reason: the tiger sharks. And there are plenty of those! If Tiger Beach is on your vacation itinerary, some careful planning is required. Companies serving this remote Out Islands diving site tend to leave from the Abacos or the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Try to come between April and June, when the water is clearest.

Vanua Levu, Fiji


Sharks You’re Likely to See: White Tip Reef Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Scalloped Hammerhead
Known for unspoiled beauty, healthy reefs, and crystal-clear waters, the islands of Fiji are an excellent place to enjoy a bit of diving with sharks. The island of Vanua Levu is particularly epic. It’s surrounded by coral reefs and characterized by its picture-perfect beaches. Vanua Levu offers snorkelers and divers both amateur and experienced the chance to get up close and personal with reef sharks, hammerheads, and lots of turtles and fish. A number of companies operate dives around the island, but we recommend checking with your local resort for recommendations due to inter-island transportation needs.

Yonaguni Island, Japan


Sharks You’re Likely to See: Hammerhead, Whale Shark
Divers looking for a truly adventurous diving experience should head to Yonaguni Island, one of Japan’s remote Yaeyama Islands. Surprisingly, this beautiful dive site has remained relatively off the beaten path. A number of companies can help divers plan their diving trip to Yonaguni Island. Regardless of experience booked, divers can expect to see a stunning variety of marine life, including hammerheads, whale sharks, common cuttlefish, and spotted eagle rays, among countless other animals. As an added bonus, the island is also home to the Iseki stones. Huge and pyramid shaped, these mysterious underwater monuments are thought to date back thousands of years to an ancient Japanese civilization.