If shows like those on Discovery’s Shark Week or National Geographic’s SharkFest make you think “I’d like to see these creatures up close in the wild,” you should get yourself SCUBA-certified.
There are places you can swim and snorkel with sharks, but as a diver, you can hover underwater and watch them in their natural environments.
The following locations for shark diving have been recommended by diving organisations like the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) as some of the best places to see sharks in the wild.
Before you book tickets, however, remember to exercise caution. Even though sharks aren’t out to harm people, they might bite in a moment of curiosity or confusion, or if you bump into them. Many sharks are also threatened and endangered species, so it’s important to ensure that you’re diving with a group that understands the importance of conservation and doesn’t encourage harmful behaviours like grabbing onto sharks.
But as long as you keep conservation and safety in mind, you really can get out there and enjoy the company of some of the most fascinating fish in the ocean. Here’s where to go.
In Bajo Alcyone at Cocos Island in Costa Rica, you can watch scalloped hammerheads cruise by above you.
Thresher sharks come in from the deep sea to clean themselves at Monad Shoal, near Malapascua in the Philippines.
At Tiger Beach near Grand Bahama, you can get circled by curious tiger sharks.
Check out silky sharks and Caribbean reef sharks at the long-protected site Jardines de la Reina in Cuba.
Get a close-up look at great whites in the clear blue waters near Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.
Watch bull sharks chow down at Beqa Lagoon in Fiji. There, you may also glimpse nurse sharks, lemon sharks, black-tips, tiger sharks, and others.
Giant whale sharks search out snapper eggs at Gladden Spit, near Placencia, Belize.
While drifting through a dive site called The Canyons near Rangiroa in French Polynesia, you can watch grey reef sharks cruise on by.
In South Africa, divers can explore the cold kelp forest at Pyramid Rock in False Bay, where cow sharks (sevengills) are known to reside.
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