Your Ultimate Guide to Shark Diving


In celebration of SHARK WEEK, here is your Ultimate Guide to Shark Diving…

Shark encounters are high on the list for many divers and rightly so. Nothing beats the thrill of seeing a shark during your dive or joining a dedicated shark diving safari.

Thankfully there is a variety of excellent shark diving destinations to choose from these days. Pick your preferred type of shark and read on to find out where you can swim with them.

Great white sharks

Renowned for its relatively warm water compared to other great white shark diving destinations, Guadalupe is the premier destination for encounters with these iconic sharks.

Calm waters make it easy to spend time in the cage, be that at the surface or at depth, and being crystal-clear, the water is also ideal for photographers wanting to capture that perfect shark shot.

When is go: Visit in July and August to see numerous energetic male sharks, or October and November to see the huge female sharks Guadalupe is famed for.

Our liveaboard top pick: The MV Horizon is a great budget-friendly option for divers and non-divers to go cage diving.

Whale sharks

 If you’re a fan of whale sharks, you have plenty of world-class dive destinations to choose from where you can swim with these spotty giants.

An ever-popular dive choice, the Maldives has numerous whale sharks to encounter. Try scuba diving Ari Atoll, Huvadhoo or Thaa atolls for your best chance of seeing whale sharks there.

The wild and remote Galapagos Islands are another top dive destination for whale shark encounters, as is Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

For somewhere more off the beaten path, take a liveaboard diving trip to Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia, Djibouti or Madagascar.

All three destinations are known for the whale shark swims and are becoming more popular as word gets out.

When is go:

  • Ari Atoll: December to April
  • Galapagos: June to December
  • Ningaloo Reef: March to June
  • Cenderawasih Bay: July to September
  • Djibouti: November and December
  • Madagascar: September to December

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Deli, a beautiful Turkish schooner, is a great option for sailing and diving Djibouti’s pristine reefs with just 12 other guests.

Great hammerhead sharks

Another popular shark diving choice, great hammerheads are a fantastic species to dive with.

Go liveaboard diving at Bimini, Bahamas to dive with these large sharks over white sands and in clear blue waters.

Rasdhoo Atoll in the Maldives and French Polynesia’s Rangiroa and Fakarava atolls are also both excellent options for swimming with these well-known sharks.

Whilst diving French Polynesia, you’ll also likely see the huge schools of grey reef sharks this idyllic destination is known for.

When is go:

  • Bahamas: December to February
  • Rasdhoo Atoll: October to March
  • Tuamotu Archipelago: December to March

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Bahamas Master offers Tiger Beach and Bimini combo-safaris, allowing you to dive with numerous species of sharks in one dive trip.

Schooling Scalloped Hammerheads

To dive with hammerhead sharks in large numbers, choose scalloped hammerheads. They are known for schooling in huge numbers at some of the world’s best dive destinations.

Cocos Island in Costa Rica is the best-known destination for schooling hammerheads, closely followed by scuba diving the Galapagos.

You can also spot scalloped hammerheads at Malapascua’s Kimud Shoal.

When is go:

  • Cocos Island: May to November
  • Galapagos: January to May
  • Kimud Shoal: March & April

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Nortada is a great choice for intimate Galapagos dive safaris, catering to 12 guests maximum.

Nurse sharks

Nurse sharks are a great dive choice for less confident shark divers.

These easy-going sharks can be found in large numbers at the Maldives’ Felidhoo Atoll, especially at Alimatha house reef; where you can go night diving with nurse sharks and numerous stingrays.

Nurse sharks are also commonly seen at Turks and Caicos dive sites, as well as at Ambergris Caye in Belize.

When is go:

  • Felidhoo Atoll: January to May
  • Turks & Caicos: December to March
  • Ambergris Caye: All year

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Ari Queen offers safaris that include Felidhoo, Ari and Rasdhoo atolls; where you can see whale sharks plus nurse sharks and hammerheads.

Tiger sharks

Easy to recognise, these large sharks are  curious, photogenic and graceful as they pass by at close range.

Tiger Beach at the Bahamas is the top destination for dedicated tiger shark dives, where the diving is easy and shallow – plus filled with numerous sharks.

You can also find tiger sharks in the Maldives relatively-unexplored deep south; especially at Fuvahmulah Atoll.

When is go:

  • Tiger Beach: October to January for peak shark season
  • Fuvahmulah Atoll: December to March

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Princess Haleema offers unique tiger shark expeditions to Fuvahmulah Atoll in the Maldives.

Bull sharks

Thought of as aggressive sharks by some, bull sharks are actually relaxed and rewarding to dive with, as well as not being intimidating.

Guanacaste and the Bat Islands in Costa Rica are famed for their large number of resident bull sharks and are accessed by Guanacaste Island liveaboard diving.

You can also see bull sharks at Tiger Beach, the Bahamas during certain months of the year.

When is go:

  • Guanacaste & Bat Islands: June to August
  • Tiger Beach: February to March

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Okeanos Aggressor and Okeanos Aggressor II both offer Guanacaste and Bat Island safari during June to August each year.

Thresher Sharks

The elusive thresher shark can only be dived with reliably at one destination in the world; Malapascua in the Philippines.

These sleek sharks with their huge tails are easy to recognise and are usually shy masters of the deep. However, they come up to the shallow waters of Monad Shoal in Malapascua during dawn most days, offering a perfect start to your shark diving day.

When is go:

  • Monad Shoal: All year

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • You’ll want to be on a liveaboard to make the most of diving with thresher sharks given the early starts. The Infiniti offers Malapascua safaris that include both Monad and Kimud shoals.

Got time for one more shark dive?…Explore this shark diving hidden gem

Whilst Caribbean scuba diving is popular and well-known, Cuba has remained a relatively unknown shark diving destination within the Caribbean.

Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina is a haven for sharks, hosting numerous species of sharks, including lemon, nurse, bull, silky, blacktip reef, Caribbean reef and whale sharks.

It’s thanks to local conservation efforts that Cuba’s sharks and reefs are thriving, making this an excellent choice for both reef and shark dives.

When is go:

  • All year for sharks, except whale sharks
  • Visit in November for whale shark encounters

Our liveaboard top pick:

  • The Avalon I & Avalon II are the flagship Cuba liveaboards.

This article was written by divers and writers at is the easiest place online to book liveaboard diving holidays around the world. Their team has completed well over 20,000 dives and can help you plan your best scuba diving holiday.

scroll to top