Best Shark Diving in the World - Top 5

Best Shark Diving in the World - Top 5

Looking for the best shark diving location for your next trip? Our staff at Bluewater Travel have guided hundreds of dive trips at the best dive locations of the world and they got together to come up with this diving list, just for you!

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

 

1. Socorro Islands, Mexico

HIGHLIGHTS OF SHARK DIVING IN socorro

Some of the best shark dives can be found while diving in the Socorro Islands, located 240 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The island is teeming with schooling hammerheads sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, silvertip sharks, as well as dolphins, whales, manta rays, and other awesome pelagic marine life. If you’re lucky, you may even see whale sharks, oceanic whitetips, pilot whales or a humpback whale at one of the dive sites, Roca Partida (“Split Rock”).

If you dive during the right time you might even get really lucky and see whale sharks, manta rays, and dolphins in one dive like our group did. Scuba diving with sharks in Socorro is an experience of a lifetime that should be on everyone's scuba diving bucket list.

Hundreds of silky sharks in Socorro Islands, Mexico

Hundreds of silky sharks enveloping divers during a Bluewater workshop in Socorro.

 

when to visit Socorro

The best time to dive in the Socorro Islands is between November and May, when water temperatures average around an ideal 24-27°C (75-81°F). If you want to swim with whale sharks, book your Socorro trip in November to December, or in May to June. Please note that due to the remote location, you will need to book a liveaboard trip to dive in the Socorro Islands. Boats depart from Cabo San Lucas in Baja California and usually take a full day to get to the island. 

"On my very first day at Socorro, I dropped down in the middle of a school of 50 hammerhead sharks. They soon dispersed, leaving me at a cleaning station where countless Galapagos and Silvertip sharks repeatedly made close passes, coming from all directions. While diving Roca Partida, I saw dozens of whitetip sharks laying on top of each other - a true 'wild' moment. I could hardly believe that I traveled so little, but saw so much!" - Bluewater Travel owner Scott Gietler


Interested in diving Socorro? Join our next trips:

Socorro on the Nautilus Under Sea 2019 | Dec 8 - 16, 2019 | Photo Workshop Led by Erik Lukas | From $2,895

Socorro on the Rocio Del Mar 2020 | Mar 18 - 27, 2020 | Group Trip Led by Katie Yonker | From $3,895 

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


2. Fakarava & Rangiroa, French Polynesia

HIGHLIGHTS of SHARK DIVING IN french Polynesia 

Shark diving in French Polynesia has been described as nothing short of spectacular. The sheer variety of what divers can explore in this part of the world is impressive since there are wrecks (a WWII minesweeper, an inter-island ferry, and a seaplane), canyons and atoll passes. As for sharks, you can expect to see silvertips, lemon sharks, blacktips, grey sharks, whitetip reef sharks, and hammerheads.

Hundreds of sharks during a grouper spawning dive trip in Fakarava

Wall of sharks witnessed during our past grouper spawning workshop in French Polynesia. Join Scott on his next grouper spawning trip in 2020!

In Fakarava, come see the infamous wall of sharks and experience what it’s like to literally swim with hundreds of sharks, as well as the famous yearly grouper spawning. At the time of the full moon, once a year, thousands of grouper fish get to come together in the passes to spawn, which naturally draws other marine life, who come for the feeding frenzy. It’s an unforgettable experience.

In Rangiroa, there are hundreds of resident gray reef sharks. You can also expect to dive with other sharks including silky, lemon, silvertip, great hammerhead, and tiger sharks. Sometimes it is the luck of the draw, as some dives can be quiet, while others will bring you an expected sighting.

when to visit french Polynesia

While shark diving is possible in French Polynesia throughout the year, plan your trip between March and November for the best shark diving experience. To see the grouper spawning event, book your trip around June or July.

"In Fakarava, you can swim with hundreds of sharks, on every dive. It is rare to look through the water and not see a shark. But the best part is that it is in warm, clear water - and the sharks are never artificially baited." - Scott Gietler


Witness the epic grouper spawning with Bluewater Travel

Grouper Spawning on the French Polynesia Master 2020

Photo Workshop Led by Bluewater Owner Scott Gietler | Jul 2 - 12, 2020 | From $6,250

Can't join our trip? Find a liveaboard trip in French Polynesia or contact us for land-based options!


3. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

HIGHLIGHTS OF SHARK DIVING IN the Galapagos

For the chance to see unique sea life, you can’t beat a visit to the Galapagos Islands, specifically in the north—at Wolf and Darwin Islands, since most of the sharks and schools of hammerheads can be found there. Since the waters around the northern islands are the warmest in the Galapagos, you’ll find marine life that you won’t find around the other islands.

 Massive school of hammerhead sharks in Galapagos

A massive school of hammerhead sharks at Darwin Island witnessed during one of our Galapagos group trips

Wolf and Darwin Islands, where you’ll find some of the best dive sites, are accessible solely through liveaboard boats, even though there are some land-based operators around the Galapagos that dive the southern islands. If you're looking for the best diving experience in Galapagos, booking a liveaboard trip is the way go.

In this corner of the world, when diving you’ll also see Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, whale sharks, blacktip sharks, as well as spotted eagle rays, big-eye jacks, barracudas, sea lions and sea horses, and even a marine iguana or two. If you go at the right time of year, you may well end up seeing humpback whales or orcas. And on land—giant tortoises, penguins and boobies.

 

WHEN TO VISIT the Galapagos

The best time for shark diving in the Galapagos Islands depends on what you want to see. The warm-water season in January through June offers higher temperatures and the best chance to see hammerhead sharks and manta rays, better visibility underwater, and sunnier skies. The cool-water season in late June to mid-December offers the best opportunity for whale shark encounters

"I have dived at Wolf and Darwin in the Galapagos many times, and you will see many, many hammerheads there and many Galapagos sharks. It really lives up to expectations. Everyone should visit the Galapagos once in their life". - Scott Gietler


Join our next photography workshops on the Galapagos Master:

Galapagos May 2020 (10N) | May 18 - 28, 2020 | Led by Mark Strickland | From $7,450

Galapagos July 2020 (7N) | Jul 20 -27, 2020 | Led by Craig Dietrich | From $5,850

Galapagos August 2021 (7N) | Aug 2 - 9, 2021 | Led by Craig Dietrich  | From $6,150 

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


4. Cocos Island, Costa Rica

HIGHLIGHTS OF SHARK DIVING IN costa Rica

Another one of the best shark diving destinations in the world is Cocos Island, Costa Rica, particularly if you’d like to see massive schools of hammerhead sharks, for which the island is famous. Because the waters are so rich, you’ll also see whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, and silvertip sharks. You may even see a night feeding frenzy of whitetip sharks, and, those who hit the jackpot may even see a tiger shark. Cocos is also home to both manta and Mobula rays, as well as enormous schools of fish.

Diving with a hammerhead shark upclose in Cocos Island, Costa Rica

An up-close shot of a hammerhead shark, taken during a Bluewater trip to Cocos.

If you're looking for massive schools of hammerhead sharks, the best time to dive in Cocos is during the rainy season, between June and November. Coincidentally these are also the best months for spotting whale sharks and manta rays. That said, you still have a good chance to spot hammerhead sharks in large numbers and other shark species throughout the year! 

The only way to dive in Cocos is on a liveaboard. There aren't many liveaboard boats in Cocos, so if you want to dive there, book early! 

cocos island vs  Galapagos islands

"Cocos Island is called the Island of Sharks for a good reason. There are a lot of resident sharks there, including massive schools of hammerhead sharks, similar to Wolf and Darwin in the Galapagos. The difference between Cocos and the Galapagos is that you only dive Wolf and Darwin for 2 to 4 days of your trip, while in Cocos you are diving the 'Island of the Sharks' every day!" - Bluewater Founder & CEO, Scott Gietler


Interested in diving Cocos? Get an early bird discount on our next workshop in Cocos: 

Cocos on the Okeanos Aggressor 2020 | Jul 25 - Aug 4, 2020 | Led by Mark Strickland

From $3,999* (EARLY BIRD DEAL - Save $1,200) 

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


5. Bahamas

HIGHLIGHTS OF SHARK DIVING IN THE Bahamas

Last, but certainly not the least, on our list, is shark diving in the Bahamas. Let us give you three great reasons: tiger sharks, hammerheads and whitetips. Not to mention bull sharks, lemon sharks, silky sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks. These are all found in the Bahamas.

Diving with tiger sharks at Tiger Beach on the West End of Grand Bahama Island is probably what the Bahamas is most famous for. Here you can dive with tiger sharks cage-free. The water is also ultra-clear and calm, which is perfect for photographing the sharks. You can also expect to see lemon sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks, and occasionally great hammerheads.

Shark diving in Bimini, Bahamas

At certain times of the year, operators will bring bait into the water to attract the sharks at Tiger Beach. Divers descend to a shallow sandy bottom and wait. The sharks can be very big and can come very, very close. For a true shark lover, there is nothing quite like this experience.

The Bimini coast is known for great hammerhead sharks. The encounter success rate, especially from February to April, is reported to be nearly 100 percent - although rough weather is common and you may miss some planned dive days because of it.

While the Bahamas is generally sunny, it’s best to avoid diving during the hurricane season. November through May, when water temperatures average between 24-27°C, would be the ideal time to have an amazing shark diving experience. 

The Bahamas is very driver-friendly. There are many land-based dive operators and liveaboards in the Bahamas that you can choose from. 

See also: What You Need to Know about Diving Tiger Beach, Bahamas


 Interested in diving Bahamas?

Find a liveaboard trip in the Bahamas or contact us for land-based options!


Other Places places to dive with sharks

There are plenty more great locations to scuba dive with Sharks. Shark diving in Fiji is world-renowned, thanks for its Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Beqa Lagoon, which lies south of Viti Levu, Fiji's main island. There you can regularly encounter 8 different shark species: whitetip, blacktip, grey, tawny nurse, sicklefin lemon, silvertip, bull and tiger sharks. 

Palau, Maldives, the Red Sea also offer great shark dives, although they might be harder to get to, compared to our top 5 locations if you're traveling out of the U.S. 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

Top 5 Big Animal Encounters 

Shark Photography Tutorials

Wet Wide Angle Lens Buyer's Guide

Best Underwater Cameras (2019)


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