What do you think about, when you imagine a tropical beach? Probably, you see a beautiful, paradise-like picture of the waves gently crashing on the shore and can even feel the pleasant sea breeze on your face...What you don't think about is a less visible side of this picture. This side doesn't look like a paradise at all and it can even frighten you and make you look for another place to spend your vacation at. This side is the presence of sharks and jellyfish in the waters of these beaches.
Sure, we're not talking about all beaches now, because they're absolutely safe ones in the world. And those that are unsafe usually have warning signs on the shore, letting visitors know that it can be hazardous to swim in the sea at the moment. But even if these signs are absent, travelers should still know the places, where the attacks of sharks are potentially possible and where they can be stung by jellyfish (by the way, note that if you do get stung, don't rub the sting area, but apply vinegar on it and seek medical help immediately).
So if you're a brave traveler and still want to visit the places infested by sharks and jellyfish, this is the list you need. But think about it and decide for yourself whether you're going to swim in the sea in this case, or better stay on the shore and concentrate on getting tanned.
25 Okinawa Beach, Japan (Jellyfish)
Looking at the beach in the photo above, you might be admiring its beauty. If you think that it looks like paradise on earth and want to visit it during your next vacation, be aware that it's Okinawa Beach in Japan and that it's infested with jellyfish.
The particular kind of jellyfish that lives in the waters of Okinawa Beach is box jellyfish. It's a small (only 10 centimeters or 4 inches long) and the almost transparent creature that's hard to see with naked eye. But if it stings you, you'll certainly feel it, because it causes strong pain and may leave a welt on your skin.
24 Gansbaai, South Africa (Sharks)
Also known as the Shark Alley, Gansbaai in South Africa is so infested with sharks that it was turned into an attraction for tourists. Visitors of the beach are free to choose one of the two kinds of shark tours. If they're not into extreme stuff, they can take a nice and safe boat tour and see the sharks from the surface. But if they strive to get their adrenaline pumping, they are let down into the ocean in a cage, from where they can take a very close look at great white sharks.
23 Jellyfish Lake, Palau (Jellyfish)
If you aren't afraid of jellyfish and would like to swim around them, being sure that they won't harm you, the Jellyfish Lake in Palau is a place to visit. This isolated water body became a heaven for jellyfish because there's plenty of food for them there and no natural predators. For this reason, lots of them live and strive in this lake.
The two species that dwell there are Golden Jellyfish and Moon Jellyfish. Both of them have stingers, but they're too small to do any harm to a human. For this reason, snorkeling tours to the lake are so popular among travelers, who'd like to swim among gorgeous medusae.
22 Coffin Bay, Australia (Sharks)
Coffin Bay is located in South Australia and it would be a beautiful place that would attract many people, but swimming in its waters is rather dangerous, due to a large number of sharks living there. Every year, there are at least a few shark attacks registered in this area. Thankfully, most always they're not fatal. But still, divers and fishermen need to be very careful while exploring Coffin Bay to avoid being attacked by these deadly creatures. And, best of all, they should choose another bay, to be on the safe side.
21 Whitsundays, Australia (Jellyfish)
If you want to go diving, snorkeling, or just swimming in Whitsundays, Australia, you should wear a "stinger suit" like the ones in the photo above. You need to be especially careful if you go there in the period from October to May, which is the high-risk season.
The two species of jellyfish you should look out for in the waters of Whitsundays are Irukandji and box jellyfish. Both of them aren't very large and they're transparent, so it's hard to see them in the water. Be especially careful on calm sunny days, because jellyfish seem to like them, just like we do!
20 Bolinas, California (Sharks)
What do you know about Bolinas, California? Do you know that it's a small beach enclave famous for its reclusive atmosphere and seaside vibe? And do you also know that it has a lot of great while sharks inhabiting its waters?
There have been multiple occasions when these sea creatures attacked surfers along this stretch of coast. Possibly, one of the reasons why sharks decide to clench their jaws on a human is their wetsuits that make surfers look a little bit like sea lions, the predator's favorite meal. Yum!
19 Cape Tribulation, Australia (Jellyfish)
In the period from November till May, swimming in the waters of Cape Tribulation, Australia, may be hazardous, due to a high number of jellyfish that can sting the swimmers. For this reason, it's better to wear a stinger suit, if you want to get into the water.
The jellyfish species that inhabit Cape Tribulation and present a serious danger for swimmers are box jellyfish, Irukandji, and the bluebottle. The latter has a blue color and it's very small, so you should be very careful and watch out for it and other medusae in the ocean. Or, you know, just stay on the shore...
18 New Smyrna Beach, Florida (Sharks)
Be extremely careful, while surfing in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, because this site is considered to have one of the highest numbers of sharks in the world. Some people even call it the Shark Capital of the World!
The species of sharks that live in the Atlantic Ocean near New Smyrna Beach are tiger, blacktip and spinner sharks. Even though these species aren't as aggressive as great white sharks, they're still able to attack a surfer in a wet suit, if they confuse them with a turtle or other prey they'd like to catch.
17 Volusia County Beach, Florida (Jellyfish)
Let's proceed to another Florida Beach that has no sharks, but has jellyfish instead. This summer, there were more of these creatures on Volusia County Beach than usual and it led to almost 4,000 people being stung while swimming in its waters. Thankfully, none of them received major injuries, but still, meeting a stinger certainly wasn't the highlight of their vacation on the beach.
Experts say that the increased amount of jellyfish was due to weather conditions, winds, and strong waves that moved the sea dwellers closer to the shore.
16 Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa (Sharks)
Would you like to jump into the water of the place that inspired the creation of a shark repellent? Neither do I! So keep in mind that this place is Umhlanga Rocks in South Africa. The pristine waters of this beautiful resort town provide a home for some of the most dangerous and aggressive sea predators - great white and bull sharks.
To protect visitors of the resort from sharks, a string of fishing nets were installed along the coastline. But, obviously, it wasn't enough, because a shark repellent was also invented for surfers and divers there and called a Protective Oceanic Device (POD).
15 La Malagueta Beach, Spain (Jellyfish)
I hope that you're sitting down right now because I have some really bizarre information for you. This summer, La Malagueta Beach in Spain was banned for visitors, because its waters had as many as 11 tons of jellyfish!
Like in Florida's beaches, the huge amount of jellyfish in Spain was linked to strong winds, as well as unseasonable rains. One of the kids of medusae found in Malaga was the Portuguese Man O’War that is highly venomous and especially dangerous to kids, elderly people, asthmatics and people with allergies.
14 Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii (Sharks)
Makena Beach in Maui might look like a perfect place for beach-goers and vacationers. Well, it's actually a very beautiful place, but if you go there, keep in mind that you might not want to take a dip in its waters. Why? Because Makena Beach is famous for its tiger sharks that like to hunt in shallow waters. It means that the most dangerous places in water bodies inhabited by tiger sharks are those near the surface.
Seems like it's one of the few places, where diving is safer than swimming...
13 Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii (Jellyfish)
We stay in Hawaii and proceed to the beach that has jellyfish in its waters. Waikiki Beach is known for having a lot of medusae and, if you decide to visit it, you should pay attention to what's happening around you, to avoid being bitten. In particular, you need to watch the lunar cycle, because the amount of jellyfish on the beach usually increases a week after the full moon. Or, if you don't want to pay attention to the moon, watch out for the jellyfish warning signs on the beach.
12 West End, Grand Bahamas (Sharks)
West End on Grand Bahama is known for having a lot of tiger sharks, for which it was nicknamed Tiger Beach. But the good thing is that more aggressive hammerheads, bull sharks, and black tips that inhabit the Caribbean Sea don't dwell in West End. Does it make you happy?
The high concentration of tiger sharks in this area was turned into the tourist attraction, similarly to Gansbaai in South Africa. Shark cage diving is a popular pastime for visitors of West End, who want to have their nerves ticked and see the scary predator face to face.
11 Claremont Beach, Ireland (Jellyfish)
I'm sure that Ireland isn't among the first countries you remember when thinking about beach vacation and jellyfish that can spoil it. Yet it has both - there's a very beautiful Claremont Beach in North Dublin that was once closed completely due to the presence of Lion's Mane jellyfish, whose stingers could cause anaphylactic shock and even a fatal outcome.
When the number of these dangerous medusae becomes critical and they need to be removed from there, no one wants to swim on Claremont Beach (and no one can, due to the ban).
10 Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua (Sharks)
Yes, you read it right, there are sharks in Nicaragua Lake. And yes, your whole life was a lie and now you know that sharks don't only live in oceans. Bull sharks, for example, can also live in fresh water.
For a long time, scientists couldn't understand how bull sharks got into the lake in Nicaragua and assumed that they could have been trapped there centuries ago. Only in the 1960s, it became clear that these aggressive sharks jumped upstream the San Juan River, just like salmon. Extremely bizarre salmon.
9 Cable Beach, Australia (Jellyfish)
Cable Beach in Western Australia is known for having a stinger season that lasts from November to April, like in most other parts of Australia. During this time, swimmers need to be extremely careful while taking a dip into the welcoming waters and watch out for the warning signs to know, when they should better stay on the shore.
The species of jellyfish that inhabit the waters of Cable Beach are box jellyfish and Irukandji. Both of them are quite hazardous and if their number exceeds a certain limit, the beach can even be closed.
8 Reunion Island (Sharks)
Reunion Island is located in an isolated spot in the Indian Ocean. It's home to gorgeous waterfalls, lush forests, and beautiful, pristine beaches infested by sharks. Attacks of sharks on humans don't occur often, but it's actually one of the highest in the world, considering the small size of the island.
Bull and tiger sharks are known to inhabit the waters of the Reunion Island and they're also known as two of the three most dangerous shark species (the third one is the great white shark) that intentionally attack humans.
7 Darwin, Australia (Jellyfish)
Yeah, we're not done with listing Australia here as this country has one more beach infested with jellyfish. It's Darwin, located in the Northern Territory of the country. People who live there, as well as those who head to this beach for vacation, must be used to dealing with the stingers, because they come back there every year, from October to May.
During this period, swimmers and surfers are advised to wear stinger suits, while in the water, because otherwise, it's rather easy to become stung by a box jellyfish, a highly venomous medusa.
6 Kosi Bay, Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa (Sharks)
Kosi Bay in South Africa is a picturesque place that's home to a series of four lakes that connect to the Indian Ocean, as well as to the famous bull sharks that, as we already know, can live in fresh water.
These sharks are also known as the most aggressive sea predators of all that can attack a human without having a second thought about it. So if you ever decide to spend your vacation in Kosi Bay, remember about this threat and be very careful. Or better choose another holiday site.
5 The Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe (Jellyfish)
According to scientists, the amount of jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea is currently increasing and it's due to global warming and overfishing. "I flew along a 300km stretch of coastline on 21 April and saw millions of jellyfish," shared Professor Stefano Piraino of Salento University in southern Italy, who leads the Mediterranean-wide project aiming to track the rise of medusae.
He and other specialists claim that stingers become "a growing problem in the Mediterranean" and something needs to be done with it to make sure that nothing threatens the tourists, who vacation on the Mediterranean beaches.
4 Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia (Sharks)
Australia isn't only known for having a lot of jellyfish. Some of its waters are also home to sharks. Surprisingly, Bondi Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the country, is one of them. This beach even has protective nets installed along the coastline to keep sharks away from the shore and protect vacationers.
In fact, the eastern coast of Australia, where Bondi Beach is located, has one of the highest shark attack concentrations in the whole world. The attacks are so frequent that almost every surfer who tried these waters has a shark story, or at least knows another surfer who does.
3 Casco Bay, Maine (Jellyfish)
In 2014, a lot of people noticed a notable increase in the number of jellyfish in the waters of Casco Bay in Maine. "Some were about the size of your hand spread out and clear," they say, "and then others were about 6-7 inches across and kind of bell-shaped and almost a little bit purplish in color."
Of course, it doesn't make swimming in Casco Bay as dangerous as in some other places mentioned in this list, but since it's unusual to see a lot of large jellyfish in the Maine waters, the rise in number can be a warning sign.
2 Recife, Brazil (Sharks)
Recife is a seaside town on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. It's a popular vacation destination, despite the fact that its waters have a lot of sharks. In fact, Recife is even considered the most fatal place for shark attacks in the world, because since 1992 there were over 50 shark attacks and 16 of them were deadly. In other words, statistically, 1 in 3 attacks becomes fatal.
Can you tell what kind of shark dwells in the waters of Recife? Now, having a more profound knowledge of these sea predators, you should guess that they're bull sharks.
1 Fraser Island, Australia (Jellyfish)
Aaand... One more Australian site for dessert! This year, vacationers on Fraser Island faced an increased number of Irukandji jellyfish. The drastic increase left experts perplexed and even made some of them worry for the future of the tourist industry on the island.
Keep in mind that jellyfish aren't the only hazard of Fraser Island. On its shores you can get attacked by a dingo while swimming in the ocean, you are threatened not only by jellyfish but also by sharks. That's right, it's all there, on a single island. Isn't Australia the craziest place on the entire planet?