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Our round-up of the best of the best:

Last updated: 11 January, 2023

These sleek, stealthy hunters are man’s most feared predator – just the sight of a ‘fin’ can be enough to strike terror in our hearts. Yet these misunderstood and maligned creatures are to be admired, not feared. Getting into the water with them reveals not only their magnificence, but also their often curious natures and even unique personalities – there are well-documented cases of sharks befriending divers.

See for yourself. Here are the best places in the world to swim with sharks.

Table of Contents

Blue & Mako Sharks

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

While Great White Sharks have been the star attraction of Cape Town’s marine adventures for years, shark-lovers can also delve into the waters south of Cape Point to snorkel and scuba dive with mako and blue sharks. You may also see yellowfin tuna, bonito and sunfish. Full-day tours depart from Simon’s Town.

Best for ages: 13+ | £125 | Full day

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Bull Sharks

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Like great whites and tiger sharks, bull sharks have a fearsome reputation. Getting within metres of these apex predators on a carefully controlled dive is astonishing: and in the clear, calm waters off Playa del Carmen, it’s as safe as any such encounter can be. Diving only, October to March.

Best for ages: 16+ | £150 | 6-8 hours

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Shark taking bait from diver in metal suit at Stuart Cove
Experience

Caribbean Reef Sharks

Nassau, Bahamas

This famous shark diving experience sees group of divers sitting on the ocean floor, as tens, if not, hundreds of hungry Caribbean sharks circle around, gobbling up fish morsels from the bait box of the official feeder. It’s a full day trip, with two dives (the second being a ‘wall’ dive). Visibility is excellent. All year round, min 10 years.

Best for ages: 10+ | £150 | Full day

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Great White Sharks

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Home to a large population of Cape fur seals, Dyer Island and its renowned ‘Shark Alley’, has in the past supported a healthy population of great whites. Tours depart year-round from Kleinbaai harbour (two hours from Cape Town). At time of writing, sightings have diminished with the arrival of predatory orca… so check before you book.

Best for ages: 13+ | £100 | 5

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Great White Sharks

San Diego, California, United States of America (USA)

This remote island off Baja California offers unquestionably the best great white diving in the world – almost 75 different individuals have been identified – with almost guaranteed sightings, excellent 40m visibility and pleasant water temperatures of 18-20°C. 5- to 6-day liveaboard trips depart July to September from San Diego. It takes 20 hours to get there.

Best for ages: 18+ | £3,500 | 5+ days

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Close up of great white shark head just outside of the cage
Experience

Great White Sharks

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

The Neptune Islands Marine Park is one of the world’s best and most accessible great white hotspots. Full-day cage diving tours depart year-round from Port Lincoln (and some include swims with sealions). In winter months, opt for 2-5 night liveaboards to allow for unpredictable weather and reduced daylight hours.

Best for ages: 18+ | £300 | 1-5 days

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Close up of a ragged-tooth shark
Experience

Grey Nurse Sharks

Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia

A 2.5-hour drive north of Sydney at Port Stephens is the Great Lakes Marine Park, a sanctuary for endangered grey nurse sharks, and one of the best places to dive with them. These fearsome-looking, but harmless 3m sharks – aka sand-tiger or ragged-tooth sharks – congregate at North Rock on Broughton Island, a dive site enclosed by large rocks and walls that’s like a natural aquarium. Divers can sit and watch them glide by.

Best for ages: 18+ | £90 | 3-4 hours

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Hammerhead Sharks

Cocos Islands, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

550km off the Costa Rican coast, this world-class dive site is famous for huge congregations of hammerhead sharks and rays which converge in the swirling currents welling up from deep water. Access is on 11-day liveaboard dive trips, from June to December, departing from Puntarenas.

Best for ages: 18+ | £3,500 | 11 days

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Hammerhead Sharks

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

One hour from Puerto Ayora, Gordon Rocks is the best one-day dive in the Galapagos (for advanced divers only) and one of its best sites to see hammerheads. Also expect to see turtles, white tips, large morays, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, stingrays and the weird and wonderful oceanic sunfish (mola mola).

Best for ages: 18+ | £190 | 1+ day

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Hammerhead Sharks
Experience

Hammerhead Sharks

Bimini, Bahamas

Only recently discovered but readily reached from Bimini, this dive site is arguably the best place to get close to the great hammerhead shark. Accessed is limited to only a few divers each time, who sit on the ocean floor as the sharks circle. It’s a 2-hour dive, min 10 years. Full- or half-day trips available from December to April.

Best for ages: 10+ | £230 | 4+ hours

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Thresher Sharks

Egypt

These two tiny islands, around 5 hours’ sailing from Hurghada, are a thresher shark hotspot and one of the few places you can dive with them. They’re present year-round, though September to March, is best for weather and light. Access is by live-a-board, with most trips lasting 3 days and up.

Best for ages: 18+ | £700 | 3+ days

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Tiger Sharks

Umkomass, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Aliwal Shoals, a 5km long pristine reef 20-minutes offshore, is one of the best, and only, places to dive with the enigmatic tiger shark – either in a cage, or without. Dives operate all year round, but November to April is best for weather, visibility and shark numbers. Full- or multi-day trips depart from Unkomaas.

Best for ages: 18+ | £120 | 5-6 hours

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Tiger Sharks

West End, Grand Bahama, Bahamas

‘Tiger Beach’, 2 hours from Old Bahama Bay, is one of the only sites in the world where you can free dive with these apex predators. These enigmatic, 5m sharks with a reputation for eating anything are unnervingly inquisitive, bumping into divers and biting cameras. It’s a 2-hour dive on full-day tours. Run year-round weather permitting; December to April is optimal.

Best for ages: 18+ | £250 | 1 day