Where to Dive

A Guide To Shark-Friendly Dive Sites Worldwide

When you dive, we think it is important to promote the protection of sharks! The following constitutes a comprehensive list of dive sites that are simultaneously excellent places to see sharks, and are situated in locations that work towards the conservation of their shark species. They are either shark sanctuaries, marine reserves or areas that have banned the sale of shark fin. This is just an initial list - if you'd like to add a favorite location to the list, please contact us!

Shark Sanctuaries

Bahamas

  • Shark sanctuary- all shark fishing and trade in shark products banned in July 2011
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- average 30 m/100ft
    • Water temperature- average 24 Celsius/75 Fahrenheit (December-March), average 27 Celsius/80 Fahrenheit (March –May, September-November), 31 Celsius/88 Fahrenheit (June-August)
  • Species
    • Caribbean reef sharks, tiger sharks, lemon sharks, silky sharks, oceanic whitetips, nurse sharks
  • Sites
    • Shark Buoy- silky sharks (Nassau)
    • Runway and Shark Arena- Caribbean reef sharks (Nassau)
    • Shark Alley- Caribbean reef sharks, hammerheads (Grand Bahama)
    • Tiger Beach- tiger sharks, lemon sharks (Grand Bahama)
    • Shark Rodeo, Walker’s Cay- Caribbean reef sharks, blacktip sharks (Abacos)
    • Cat Island- oceanic whitetips
  • Year round
  • Liveaboard, boat diving, freediving, snorkelling

Egypt

  • All shark fishing banned 12 nautical miles from shore; commercial sale of sharks also banned
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 15-70m/ 50-230 ft
    • Water Temperature- 21-30 Celsius/ 70-86 Fahrenheit
  • Species
    • Oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, silky shark, silvertip shark, tiger shark, whale shark, whitetip reef shark, zebra shark and grey reef shark
  • Sites
    • Hurghada, Panorama Reef, Red Sea- hammerhead sharks
    • Sharm el Sheikh, Shark & Yolanda Reefs- silky sharks, hammerheads
    • Southern Red Sea, Erg Wadi Gamal- whitetip reef sharks
    • St John’s, Sha’ab Mahrus- grey sharks, silvertip sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, thresher sharks
  • Year round
  • Liveaboard, shore diving, boat diving, free diving, snorkelling

French Polynesia

  • Shark sanctuary- all shark fishing and trade in shark products permanently banned in 2012
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 30m +
    • Water temperature- 26 Celsius/ 79 Fahrenheit (June-September), 29 Celsius/ 83 Fahrenheit (October-May)
  • Species
    • Great hammerhead, blacktip reef shark, whitetip reef shark, grey reef shark, silvertip reef shark, lemon shark, nurse shark
  • Sites
    • Shark Cave, Tahiti- reef sharks, nurse sharks
    • Muri Muri, Bora Bora- grey reef sharks
    • Tapu Dive, Bora Bora- lemon sharks
    • Garuae Pass, Fakarava- great hammerheads, whitetips
    • Avatoru and Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa- great hammerheads, grey reef sharks
  • Liveaboards, boat diving, snorkelling, freediving
  • April-November (poorer visibility from December- February due to rainy season)

Maldives

  • Shark sanctuary- all shark fishing has been banned here since 2010
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 15-40m/ 50-130 ft
    • Water temperature- 27-29 Celsius/ 80-84 Fahrenheit
    • Mild to strong currents
  • Species
    • Whale shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, whitetip shark, blacktip shark, grey reef shark
  • Sites
    • Middle Point, South East North Male Atoll- grey reef, whitetip and silvertip sharks
    • Cocoa Corner, Maaya Thila- grey reef sharks
    • Rasdhoo-Madivaru- schooling scalloped hammerheads
    • Whale sharks on snorkel, as seen from liveaboards
  • Liveaboards, boat diving, freediving, snorkelling
  • Year round

Palau

  • Shark sanctuary- the first official shark sanctuary, all shark fishing has been banned in Palau since 2009. There are no baited/chummed dives here- just natural shark encounters.
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 15-30+ m/ 50-100+ ft
    • Water temperature- 25- 27 Celsius/ 78-82 Fahrenheit
    • Mostly drift dives
  • Species
    • Grey reef, whitetip, whale, tiger, leopard, hammerhead, oceanic whitetips, silver, bull, nurse and silky sharks
  • Sites
    • The Blue Holes- sleeping nurse and whitetip sharks
    • Blue Corner- grey reefs, hammerheads (March- April)
    • Anquar- larger pelagics, including whale sharks, tiger sharks and oceanic whitetips
    • Ngeremlengui Pass- territorial grey reef sharks, as well as occasional larger pelagics
  • Liveaboards, boat diving, free diving, snorkelling
  • Year round, though best from December-April

Honduras (Bay Islands)

  • Shark sanctuary- all shark fishing banned since 2011
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 15- 30+ m/ 50- 100+ ft
    • Water temperature- average 28 Celsius/ 82 Fahrenheit in summer, 25 Celsius/ 78 Fahrenheit in winter
  • Species
    • Utila- whale sharks
    • Roatan- Caribbean reef sharks
  • Sites
    • North side dive sites, Utila- whale shark
    • Cara a Cara, Roatan- Caribbean reef sharks (feeding)
  • Roatan, year round; Utila, best time for whale sharks is March-April and September-December
  • Boat diving, shore diving, liveaboards, snorkelling, free diving

 

States With Bans on the Practice of Shark Finning and the Trade of Fins

Hawaii

  • The sale, possession and trade of shark fins was banned in Hawaii in 2010
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 15- 60m/50- 200ft
    • Water temperature- 25- 28 Celsius/ 77- 82 Fahrenheit
  • Species
    • Sandbar sharks, whitetip reef sharks, scalloped hammerheads, tiger sharks, oceanic whitetip, occasional whale sharks
  • Sites
    • Fish Rain, Molokai- schooling scalloped hammerheads
    • All islands- whitetip reef sharks
    • Big Island- oceanic whitetips
    • Oahu- Galapagos and sandbar sharks (caged)
  • Year round
  • Liveaboard, boat diving, shore diving, snorkelling, free-diving

California

  • The sale, possession and trade in shark fins was made illegal in 2011
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- 10- 20m/ 30-65 ft
    • Water temperature- 9- 22 Celsius/ 48- 72 Fahrenheit
  • Species
    • Common thresher shark, shortfin mako, grey smoothhound, brown smoothhound, blue shark, leopard shark, great white shark
  • Sites
    • Farallon Islands- great whites (caged dives only)
    • Catalina Island- blue sharks and makos
    • La Jolla- leopard sharks
  • Predominantly shore diving, also boat diving, snorkelling, liveaboard (to the Farallons), freediving
  • Summer for higher sea temperatures, winter for better visibility (Northern hemisphere seasons)

 

Marine Protected Areas

*It should be noted that while the following are in theory safe havens for sharks, marine reserves are notoriously hard to police and therefore unfortunately, finning and fishing of sharks often still occurs*

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

  • Shark fishing is prohibited within the Cocos Island National Park
  • Conditions
    • Visibility- averages 60-100 ft/18-30m
    • Water temperature- 26- 29 Celsius/ 79- 84 Fahrenheit
    • A minimum of 25 hours experience underwater is recommended before diving Cocos Island, due to the depth of the dives (most deeper than 18m/ 60 ft) , and the strength of the currents around the island.
  • Species
    • Bigeye thresher, whale shark, scalloped hammerheads, silky sharks, whitetips, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, blacktips, silvertips
  • Sites
    • Manuelita Outside- hammerhead cleaning station, also whale sharks and whitetips
    • Punta Maria- cleaning station for hammerheads and Galapagos sharks
    • Submerged Rock- nursery for whitetips
    • Bajo Alcyone- seamount with schooling hammerheads and whale sharks
    • Silverado- cleaning station for silvertips
  • Liveaboard only
  • Year round

Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador

  • Shark fishing is banned within the boundaries of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, an area of 6,937km
  • Conditions
    • December- May
      • Visibility- 12-30m/ 40- 100ft
      • Water temperature- average surface temperature of 21-30 Celsius/ 70-86 Fahrenheit with thermoclines as cool as 16 Celsius/ 61 Fahrenheit
    • June-November
      • Diminished visibility due to Cromwell Current
      • Water temperature- average surface temperature of 16-24 Celsius/60-75 Fahrenheit with thermoclines as low as 16 Celsius/ 61 Fahrenheit
  • Species
    • Scalloped hammerheads, whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, whitetips, blacktips
  • Sites
    • Gordon Rocks, Santa Cruz- schooling hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, whitetips
    • Enderby, Floreana- most likely site for whale sharks
    • Darwin & Wolf- schooling hammerheads, whale sharks (in season), Galapagos sharks
  • Primarily liveaboard, although a few of the islands have land based operators. Make sure that the operator you choose has a permit.
  • December-May has better visibility, June-November has more marine life