Anyone who has seen Jaws knows that the first thing that you’re supposed to do when you see a shark in the water is get to the safety of land. Even those who haven’t seen the movie would instinctually know to get away from a shark that they encountered in the ocean. But some people do everything in their power to fight their human instincts in order to experience incredible events that the rest of the human population hasn’t had the opportunity to experience. Swimming with sharks is one of those experiences. Most of us wouldn’t do it but a small (and growing) population of travellers have taken a strong interest in finding the most beautiful waters in the world to test the fates by swimming with sharks. Here’s where they’re doing it.
Bahamas: If you want to encounter more than just one type of shark, the Bahamas is your place to do it because it’s got the best diversity of any other shark diving location. Sharks here range from the Great White down to the smallest runts in the shark litter. You’ll be swimming cage free on the tours that are given here; just wait for the tour guide to toss some bait into the water and then join the sharks for their food fest. Try not to get mistaken for the meal! West End, Grand Bahama is a favourite place for many people who are seeking to swim with Tiger Sharks but the tours in that area do require cages.
Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Cocos Island: Costa Rica is a terrific destination even if you’re not going to swim with sharks but it’s also top-rated for that specific adventure activity. The favourite animal that you can swim with in these waters is the unique hammerhead shark. In addition to the pleasure of that, you’ll be swimming in and around waterfalls. Cocos Island is renowned as one of the best shark diving locations in the world!
False Bay, South Africa
False Bay: This is a relatively new place for shark diving and one that regular divers have taken a strong interest in. It’s preferred by experienced divers because it tends to get less crowded with tourists than some of the other nearby popular diving spots. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here, though; Great White sharks abound in the area ready to satiate your need to see them feed.
Farallon Islands, United States
Farallon Islands: People who live in or are visiting San Francisco might find themselves itching for even more adventure than the city itself can offer. A boat out to the Farallon Islands to swim with the Great White Sharks might do the trick. It is said that the Great Whites here are some of the largest in the world. The trip here is different from many because there is a focus on preserving the nature of the area. Whereas other tours will throw food in the water (called chum) to get the sharks to feed, the goal here is actually to watch the sharks feed naturally on the seals of the area. Now that’s some animal adventure up close!
Florida, United States
Florida: Every year there are headlines about shark attacks somewhere off the coast of Florida and parents urge their kids to be vigilant in the water. And every year, a set of stubborn folks challenges those parents’ fears and dive into the water to swim with the sharks. There are multiple places throughout Florida where you can enjoy guided tours for the local shark population.
Galapagos Islands, Pacific Ocean
Galapagos Islands: People head to these South American islands to enjoy a luxurious holiday. Most of them go no further than to wade in the waters by the shore and to observe the iguanas and turtles that can be found on the beach. However, a few brave people will go out in the water with a guide and find some sharks to swim around with.
Gansbaai, South Africa
Gansbaai: Head out into the water and keep an eye out for the seals that are hanging around the island shores here. They’re the bait for a swarm of great white sharks in this part of the world that shark swimming travellers regularly trek to enjoy. The area is called The World’s Great White Shark Capital because it’s got the densest population of these babies out of anywhere in the world. The part of the water that you’ll be swimming in is known as Shark Alley; it’s one alley you don’t want to meet a stranger in! It’s dangerous enough that you’ll have to swim inside of a cage if you’re going to try out this adventure.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Great Barrier Reef: There aren’t too many places in the world that are better known for the beauty of their coastline than Australia. If you get the chance to travel to the amazing Great Barrier Reef, challenge yourself to dive into that water with the sharks that love the location as much as you will.
Hin Mu Sang, Thailand
Hin Mu Sang: This is a place where experienced SCUBA divers can go to get away from the guided shark tours into waters where it’s fairly safe to swim with sharks. The sharks that you’ll find here are mostly leopard sharks.
Maldives, Indian Ocean
Maldives: Located off of the coast of India, this is a part of the world that not a lot of travellers take the opportunity to see. Those who do will find that the resorts here offer unique activities including the possibility of a shark swim. It is said to be one of the safer places to swim with sharks and is favoured by people who want to take their children on the expedition.
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Isla Guadalupe: This is one of the most beautiful places in the world to go shark diving. A pristine island off of the coast of Mexico, this area is unpolluted in comparison with other spots located nearby. The water is warm, the sunshine sparkles against it and you’ll feel like you’ve drifted away to paradise – until you see those Great White teeth coming at you that is!
Neptune Islands, South Australia
Neptune Islands: When shark diving first became popular, this was one of the only places that you could go to see a Great White Shark. Of course, what happens when man comes into the wildlife is that the wildlife disappears. For some time, there weren’t sharks to be seen here. However, they’ve recently been spotted in the area again and many divers are excited about going back to swim with these magnificently terrifying animals.
Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Ningaloo Reef: This is a terrific place to go to swim with whale sharks and there’s a good reason that you might want to trek halfway around the world to do that; whale sharks are humongous animals like the Great White but they’re relatively laidback and lack the dangerous traits of most other sharks. That’s not to say it’s particularly ’safe’ to swim with them but it’s safer than in most places!
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea: Those people who are looking to swim with sharks in one of the most remote locations possible will want to try to snag a tour with a guide in Papua New Guinea. The Tufi Reef here is an impressive sight to behold and it’s a place where smaller sharks are drawn to find their food.
Point Judith, United States
Point Judith: There’s a type of shark called the blue shark that not many people get to see because it’s a migrating animal that doesn’t hang out in any one place for too long. However, there’s a time of the year when a group of these fairly frightening creatures is treading water in the Rhode Island area. Brave New Englanders can join them in the water to get a glimpse. Be forewarned: if the sharks don’t get you, there’s a good chance the cold Rhode Island water might!
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Sharm El Sheikh: This resort (also featured in our list of best diving sites) is known for being a terrific place to go deep sea diving. There are all sorts of interesting creatures to see under the water here so you’ll be entertained throughout the time that you’re diving in the area. Of course, it’s the sharks that you’re really there to see and they’ll certainly accommodate you.
Southern California, United States
Southern California: This is one of the best places in the world for the new, casual shark diver. This is the person who travels moderately but not extensively and just wants to shake up his or her world a little bit. You’ll take a cruise boat out into the water, usually in the San Diego area, and then you’ll get to where the sharks are and do your diving. When not diving, you can enjoy the amenities of the ship. It’s about as relaxing as a shark dive can possibly be.
Underwater World, Singapore
Underwater World: For those people who just can’t wrap their minds around the idea of going out into the ocean and jumping in to the water with sharks, there are more controlled situations in which it is possible to go shark swimming. The best of these is Underwater World, an oceanarium on an island off of the coast of Singapore where visitors can get an education in marine life while safely swimming with the sharks.