With shark week upon us, some may be interested in getting up close and personal with the intriguing sea creatures as the television programs on Discovery Channel boost interest and create excitement. For those brave souls who are looking to swim or dive with sharks in their natural habitat, there are plenty of excellent areas around the world to fulfill this bucket list item.
Here is a list of some of the best places to swim or dive with sharks in the world.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is home to some of the most outstanding underwater wildlife. Those who snorkel or scuba dive here can find black tip and white tip sharks, as well as wobbegongs,a carpet shark named for its tapestry-like skin. The reef, which spans more than 1,400 miles is also home to 360 species of coral and over 1,500 species of fish.
Guadalupe Island, Mexico
Guadalupe, 160 miles off the coast of California, is a beautiful location to go shark diving. Its crystal-clear blue waters make it the perfect place to photograph and film the sharks that you encounter. The sharks that dwell here: Great Whites. This is an amazing location to get up close and personal with a Great white, while in the safety of a cage of course. These warm waters are also home to several species of tropical fish.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapgos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador, is home to colorful wildlife including iguanas, birds, and turtles, but it's waters are also full of sharks. Here you can swim with hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, white tip sharks, and the gentle and ginormous whale shark. You will also find dolphins, whales, and seals in this location with thousands of different animals.
Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Even if you're not looking to swim with sharks, the uninhabited location of Cocos Island is still a terrific travel destination with its breathtaking waterfalls. Scuba divers come here to jump in the water with hammerheads, manta rays, whitetip reef sharks, and more. It is said to have the largest schools of hammerhead sharks. This spot in 300 miles off the west coast of Costa, so a 36-hour boat ride is required to get to this shark hot spot, but it's worth it for shark fanatics!
Gansbaai, South Africa
This fishing village, located near Cape Town at the tip of South Africa, is known for its dense population of Great white sharks. In fact, it is called The World's Great White Shark Capital. The land is surrounded by seals which attract the sharp-toothed predators. Shark dives take place in an area known as Shark Alley. Another excellent, and less crowded shark diving spot in South Africa is False Bay.
The Bahamas are a terrific location for shark divers at all levels of experience and this place has the greatest variety of shark species. First-time divers can dive with 30 Caribbean reef sharks at a time in New Providence while the braver souls can head to Tiger Beach off Grand Bahama to get up close with dangerous tiger sharks. Species range from Great whites to some of the tiniest shark species on earth. Some tours allow swimmers to dive with sharks without using a cage, while others, like those with tiger sharks, require cages.
Southern California, USA
Southern California is a great place for new, casual shark divers. Divers can take a cruise out on the water, usually around San Diego and they'll be dropped off in areas where blue sharks, horn shark, and Pacific angel sharks reside. The waters off the Channel Islands are also an excellent location to explore shipwrecks, caves and other wildlife.
Palau Shark Sanctuary, Palau, Pacific Islands
This place was created as a safe haven for sharks to stop the practice of shark finning, or removing the sharks' fins and discarding the body. This is the first shark sanctuary in the world. Commercial fishing isn't allowed here, but shark diving is encouraged as it is a better way to boost tourism. Palau gives divers the opportunity to get close to whale sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads, oceanic white tips, silver sharks, bull and silky sharks.
Maldives, Indian Ocean
These exotic islands aren't one of the biggest travel destinations in the world, but it should be. The resorts offer plenty of activites for tourists to do including shark swims. Divers have the opportunity to swim with the largest shark in the world, the whale shark. Luckily, these fish, which grow up to 36-feet long, are among some of the most gentle creatures in the sea.
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Many wouldn't thing of Egypt as a great shark diving location, with the pyrmaids being the most famous attraction, but this city along the Red Sea is a popular site for divers due to its diverse shark population. Around this area, you can find hammerheads, black tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, silky sharks and more.