Top 4 Places to Dive with Hammerhead Sharks - Bluewater Dive Travel
Top 4 Places to Dive with Hammerhead Sharks

Top 4 Places to Dive with Hammerhead Sharks

Hammerhead sharks are some of the most unique looking fish in the ocean, and we have rounded up the top 4 places to scuba dive with hammerhead sharks. With several varieties of hammerheads found throughout the world’s oceans, there are certain areas where these enchanting creatures congregate. The Bluewater Travel team has selected the 4 most reliable locations in the world for scuba diving with hammerhead sharks:

  1. 1. Socorro Islands, Mexico
  2. 2. Malpelo Island, Colombia
  3. 3. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  4. 4. Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Characterized by their distinctive flattened heads, there are several species of hammerhead sharks, including the great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, and smooth hammerhead. These fascinating sharks can be found in warm temperate and tropical waters, where they prey on a variety of marine species including fish, squid, octopus, and crustaceans. Depending on the species, hammerhead sharks can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) in length and live up to 30 years.

Hammerhead sharks are easily spooked by flashing strobes, erratic movement, and divers’ exhaust bubbles, so it is important to find a suitable location to observe these beautiful sharks from a comfortable distance. Camouflaging with the rocks and following the dive guide’s instructions is critical for ensuring a memorable experience diving with hammerhead sharks.

Looking for the best place to dive with hammerhead sharks for your next trip? Our staff at Bluewater Travel have guided hundreds of dive trips to the best dive locations of the world and they used their experience to come up with this hammerhead diving list, just for you!

Are you ready to plan your hammerhead shark diving trip? Let this list tell you where and when to go for the best hammerhead shark dives of your life! 



1. Socorro Islands, Mexico

One of the overall best dive destinations in the world and a top shark diving hotspot, it’s no surprise to find Socorro Island on the list of the best places to scuba dive with hammerhead sharks.

hammerhead SHARK DIVING IN socorro

Scuba diving with hammerhead sharks can be done at Socorro Island, located 240 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The island is well known for schooling hammerhead sharks, plus a variety of other shark species, as well as dolphins, whales, manta rays, and other awesome pelagic marine life. 

Socorro is one of the islands making up the Revillagigedo Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Reachable only by liveaboard, each dive around Socorro offers the opportunity to see something unique, including possible encounters with huge schools of hammerhead sharks.

Read more about scuba diving in Socorro and take a look at the incredible photos from our February 2023 group trip to Socorro to get inspired for your trip!

Best Hammerhead Shark Diving

Hammerhead sharks in the water around Socorro Island.


when to dive with hammerheads in Socorro

The best time to dive with schooling hammerhead sharks in Socorro is between November and May, when water temperatures hover around 75-81°F (24-27°C) and strong currents are present. Due to its remote location, Socorro can only be visited by liveaboards departing from Cabo San Lucas.

Interested in diving Socorro? Join our next trip:

Socorro Warm Water Pelagic Trip | Nov 10 - 19, 2024 | From $3,990

Socorro Big Animal Photo Workshop | Feb 19 - 28, 2025 | From $4,195 

OR view the availability of some of the best liveaboards in Socorro and book online at the best price! 

2. malpelo island, colombia

Located 300 miles off the coast of Colombia, Malpelo Island is a small, barren island known for a concentration of pelagic life. The abundance of marine life around Malpelo is astounding in this highly regulated diver’s paradise.

Hammerhead SHARK DIVING IN malpelo island

Malpelo Island is the perfect place to scuba dive with hammerhead sharks, as these impressive sharks can be found even in shallow waters surrounding the island. Underwater photographers can wait patiently near the cleaning station to capture stunning images of hammerheads from a comfortable distance. Dive sites La Nevera and El Altair de Virginia are most popular for scuba diving with hammerhead sharks in large schools.

Best Diving with Hammerhead Sharks

Schooling hammerhead sharks around Malpelo Island.

With the quality of marine life encounters rivaling more famous locations including Galapagos, Socorro, and Cocos, Malpelo deserves its place on this list and many more. Strong currents and surrounded by open ocean, the small Malpelo Island is only suitable for experienced divers comfortable in challenging conditions.

when to dive with hammerheads in malpelo

Hammerhead sharks can be spotted year-round at Malpelo Island. That said, the best time to dive with hammerhead sharks in Malpelo Island is from July to December, with the largest schools typically encountered in December. Divers hoping to check off some other big bucket list animals such as giant mantas, Galapagos sharks, and whale sharks may choose to visit in June and July, although schooling hammerheads may be less likely. Malpelo Island can only be visited wil diving from liveaboards due to its location far from the coastline. With strong currents and surrounded by open ocean, Malpelo Island is only suitable for experienced divers comfortable in challenging conditions.


3. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

A long-standing top scuba diving destination, the Galapagos Islands boast some of the most unique animals on the planet, both above and below the water. Among the incredible underwater photography opportunities is the chance to capture massive schools of hammerhead sharks.

hammerhead SHARK DIVING IN the Galapagos

It’s difficult to imagine a better place for diving with hammerhead sharks than the Galapagos Islands. The northern Galapagos, specifically the Wolf and Darwin Islands, are teeming with schools of hammerheads and other shark species. The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site and regulations are in place to protect the diverse range of flora and fauna.  

Scuba Diving with Hammerheads 

A hammerhead shark in the Galapagos Islands. 

While schooling hammerhead sharks are often encountered while scuba diving in Galapagos, there are plenty of other bucket list species to check off during a dive trip to this hotspot. Whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, manta rays, sea lions, dolphins, and marine iguanas all thrive in the waters here. 


WHEN TO dive with hammerheads in Galapagos

The best time for hammerhead shark diving in the Galapagos Islands is during the warm-water season in January through June. This time of year offers larger schools of hammerheads with higher temperatures, better visibility underwater, and sunnier skies. Like many destinations on this list, scuba diving in Galapagos is suitable for advanced divers comfortable in challenging conditions. Liveaboards are the best way to dive the Galapagos Islands, with some of the best sites for diving with hammerhead sharks too distant to visit from land-based operations. Read our top tips to learn more about traveling to the Galapagos.

Join our next photography workshops on the Galapagos Master:

Galapagos May 2026 (10N) | May 7 - 17, 2026 | Led by Nirupam Nigam | From $10,400

OR view the availability of some of the best liveaboards in Galapagos and book online at the best price! 

4. Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Another popular destination for big animal encounters, Cocos Island in Costa Rica is home to a diverse variety of marine life and some of the best diving in the world. Like Malpelo, Cocos is a small, barren, uninhabited island surrounded by open ocean and strong currents.

hammerhead SHARK DIVING IN cocos island

Cocos Island is famous for diving with hammerhead sharks, who come to the island to be cleaned by a variety of small fish. Encountering schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks is one of the top bucket list dives around Cocos, but there are plenty of other exciting animals to see around the island. Look out for whale sharks, silvertip sharks, manta and mobula rays, and possibly even tiger sharks

Hammerhead Shark Diving

A hammerhead shark at Cocos Island, Costa Rica.

“Cocos is scalloped hammerhead central. If you want to get close to hammerheads daily, and see a wall of hammerhead sharks, there are not many places that can compare.” – Bluewater Travel General Manager, Tim Yeo

Find out more about other great Costa Rica dive destinations.

when to dive with hammerheads in cocos island

The best time to scuba dive with schooling hammerheads at Cocos Island is throughout the rainy season from June to November, and it is one of the best locations to dive in June. With plenty of rain, the crossings can be rough, but the hammerhead sharks are generally found in greater numbers. Diving at Cocos is only possible from a liveaboard. With few liveaboard boats in Cocos, they can fill up years in advance, so book early! 

Interested in diving Cocos? View the availability of some of the best liveaboards in Cocos and book online at the best price! 

Other Places places to dive with hammerhead sharks

The above locations may be the best places to scuba dive with hammerhead sharks, but there are plenty of other locations to encounter these majestic creatures. Rangiroa in French Polynesia is best visited from July to November to increase chances of hammerhead sightings. Miyako Island in Okinawa, Japan, offers possible sightings. Visit the Maldives’ North Male Atoll for the chance to spot several species of hammerheads attracted to the area for its strong currents. The Bahamas are a well known shark diving destination and hammerhead sharks can be seen year round, but are most commonly found from December to April.

Have you been to any of the destinations on our list? Let us know your thoughts! 


how to book a trip

Bluewater Travel can book you on a liveaboard or resort in Socorro, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Cocos, the Bahamas and 40+ other destinations in the world for the same cost or less than booking any other way. We know the diving, seasons, boats and cabins and when to go better than anyone else!

Email us or write to us in the live chat box to book a resort, liveaboard, or a Bluewater trip! 


Further Reading

Check out these useful resources from our sister websites, Bluewater Photo, and the Underwater Photography Guide

Malpelo in Photos - Sharks & Big Fish Galore

5 Amazing Underwater Photo Encounters in the Galapagos

Wet Wide Angle Comparison

Best Underwater Cameras (2023)


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