14 Best Places Around the World to Swim with Sharks

It’s always shark week here! If you’re looking for the thrill of swimming with some of the largest and most terrifying creatures in the sea, these are the fourteen destinations you’ll want to consider – just make sure to watch out for all those teeth.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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For travelers looking to swim with whale sharks, there are few places as enticing as Isla Mujeres, located just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. This is the largest fish in the ocean, with a body extension of up to 20 meters. However, they feed themselves from plankton, meaning that divers and snorkelers aren’t at risk of catching a bite.

Baja California Sur, Mexico

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Head across the coast of Mexico to Baja California Sur for even more opportunities to swim with sharks. From Los Cabos and the rich Sea of Cortez, you’ll encounter manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, and humpback whales during the whale-watching season from December through April. However, intrepid divers can also head out in search of a variety of species of sharks, including whale sharks visible near La Paz. 

Cape Town, South Africa

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Cape Town, South Africa, is famous as one of the main sites for cage diving and the residence of the great white shark. Despite the depth of experience that locals and experts have around cage dives, swimming with sharks still requires both caution and courage.

Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

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Cuba’s long-protected Jardines de la Reina National Park is the largest no-catch, protected marine reserve in the entire Caribbean. Decades of stringent protection have allowed the marine life in Jardines de la Reina to thrive here in an unprecedented way, with multiple species of sharks growing larger in Jardines de la Reina than anywhere else. Access to Jardines de la Reina National Park is strictly limited to travelers exploring alongside licensed guides with Avalon Diving Center.    

Isla Holbox, Mexico

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Along the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Holbox is renowned for having some of the most reliable whale shark encounters on Earth. The island has its own small airport but is also very accessible for travelers coming through Cancun, especially now that many are aware that whale sharks make for such an impressive attraction between May to September. 

Oahu, Hawaii

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Oahu is well known for its rich Hawaiian customs and magnificent natural sceneries, but under the deep Pacific waters, sharks explore. Cage diving continues to be a dream for many visitors, with guides helping adventurous swimmers find and swim with diverse species of sharks, including sandbar sharks, hammerhead sharks, great whites, and tiger sharks.          


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One of the best places in Jamaica to swim with sharks is Montego Bay, located on the northwest coast of Jamaica, home to numerous species of sharks including the nurse shark. They’re known for their docile nature – perfect for those scared about the prospect of swimming with them – and can often be found in warm, shallow waters in tropical and subtropical regions, including the Caribbean Sea, which surrounds Jamaica. 


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Both the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast of Florida are well known for having sharks, but travelers looking to swim with sharks generally head to Key West and Key Largo for some of the best shark encounters in Florida. Multiple recognizable tour companies with well-prepared personnel will take you to the open ocean to experience responsible wildlife interactions with some of the bigger fishes at the sea, like the bull shark and the mako, among others. 

Kuata Island, Fiji

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Reef sharks are among a variety of types of sharks that inhabit the surrounding waters of Kuata Island in the islands of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. In Florida and the Caribbean, you may encounter these sharks while diving or snorkeling in reef environments, but the crystal clear water of Fiji will definitely provide a singular experience for travelers looking to swim alongside them.

Ningaloo Reef,  Western Australia

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The remote Ningaloo Reef is located on the northwest coast of Western Australia, stretching over 160 miles along the coastline. It is renowned for its stunning coral reef and diverse marine life, including various species of sharks, such as whale sharks, reef sharks, and tiger sharks. The best time to visit Ningaloo Reef to swim with sharks, particularly whale sharks, is during the peak season from March to July. 

Malpelo Island, Colombia

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Malpelo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 310 miles off the Colombian coast, offers a remote haven for shark enthusiasts. Boasting the largest no-fishing zone in the region, it’s home to many hammerheads and silky sharks, drawn to its cavernous spaces and steep walls. Rare sightings of sand tiger sharks add to the allure.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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The Galapagos Islands offer an unparalleled underwater experience with their particular array of marine life including seals, marine iguanas, eagle rays, penguins, and sunfish. Some species are exclusive to these protected waters, enriched by interwoven cold and warm currents. Wolf and Darwin Islands stand out as prime locations for encountering whale sharks in the region, with the best time to visit them typically during the warmer season from December to May. 

The Bahamas

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The islands of the Bahamas are renowned as a fantastic destination for seeing and swimming with sharks due to their clear, warm waters and diverse marine ecosystems. The Bahamas is home to a wide variety of shark species, including Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks, lemon sharks, tiger sharks, and hammerhead sharks, with the best islands for swimming with sharks including Bimini, Grand Bahama Island, and Nassau.


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Located in the southern Caribbean and protected from most tropical storms and hurricanes, Curaçao boasts healthy coral reefs and diverse marine ecosystems, which serve as ideal habitats for sharks and other marine life. Several dive operators on the island offer shark diving and snorkeling experiences, allowing visitors to observe sharks in their natural habitat, year-round.

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.