From the much anticipated Shark Week to the infamous Sharknado, people’s interest in sharks seems to grow more and more each year. Lucky for those shark aficionados, you can take an ordinary beach trip and make it a shark-filled extravaganza! From spotting sharks from the inside of a cage to diving with schools of hammerheads (our heart rate jumps at just the thought!), here are the best places to swim with sharks.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
False Bay in Cape Town is home to Seal Island, a land mass filled with Cape Fur Seals—aka the great white shark’s favorite snack. Home to some of the largest sharks documented, daredevils can cage dive with these hungry hungry hippos sharks. This is also a prime location for seeing the powerful Great Whites breach the surface of the ocean, sometimes even propelling their entire bodies out of the water when catching prey—a true site to behold!
2. Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Located over 300 miles from mainland Costa Rica, Cocos Island is a hot spot for scuba diving. The uninhabited island is surrounded by very deep waters filled with a variety of sharks and other marine life. Divers are surrounded by hundreds of scalloped hammerhead sharks as well as tiger sharks, white-tip sharks, and manta rays (oh my!). But this adventure isn’t for the faint of heart…to get to Cocos Island divers must ride on a boat for 36 hours and in total the trip must last for about 10 days.
3. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Some people prefer to swim with sharks that don’t launch fully out of the water to devour a seal (I’m looking at you, Great White.). Enter Isla Mujeres. Home to many whale sharks, this island gives snorkelers a chance to be around the largest breed of sharks—some reaching over 40 feet! No need to fret though…these gentle giants’ main prey is plankton, and they are typically docile towards humans.
4. The Bahamas
Crystal clear waters and a variety of shark species make the Bahamas a top destination for swimming with sharks. The most common one is the Caribbean reef shark, and it is spotted on most dives. More advanced divers can do an open water dive for a chance to see the fearless white-tip shark. No diver certifications? No worries. The Bimini Bull Run offers a floating cage where swimmer can safely swim surrounded by bull sharks.
5. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
It comes as no surprise that the Great Barrier Reef is on the list. The world’s largest coral reel system is a thriving environment for hundreds of animals, including sharks. The most common species is the typically harmless reef shark. Divers may also see the tiger, lemon, or whale sharks as they venture into deeper waters or dive sites.
6. Guadalupe Island, Mexico
This volcanic island located west of the Baja Peninsula is another key locale for great white sharks. With beautiful, clear waters, divers can easily spot these enormous creatures from the safety of a diving cage. Like the trip to Cocos Island, Guadalupe Island also requires a long boat ride, but most dives see five to ten great whites per trip.