There are many different things that people have on their bucket lists. Many times, these goals involve traveling to new places and experiencing new and exciting adventures. One such activity that many people wish to experience at some point in their lives is shark cage diving. The thrill of being face-to-face with nature's fiercest predators is something that would create the memory of a lifetime!
For those unfamiliar with shark cage diving, you literally descend into the water in a cage, wearing full scuba gear so you can breathe underwater. Many tour companies will drop bait, or chum, into the water to attract the sharks, and then you get front row seats to observe them swimming around you and feeding. Here are 10 travel spots with some of the best shark cage diving experiences.
10 Gansbaai, South Africa
At the southern tip of South Africa, two different water currents come together, the warm currents from the Indian Ocean mixing with the colder currents of the Atlantic Ocean. At the point where these two oceans meet, there is a wide variety of marine life.
Cape Town, South Africa has become known as the Great White Shark Capital of the World, due to the huge populations that live off the coast. While there are about 400 species of sharks in the world, South Africa is home to 100 of them. The great white gets the most attention, however, due to its sheer size and ferocity, and there are countless shark cage diving tours available to pick from in Gansbaai to get up close for a good look at these magnificent creatures.
9 Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are an amazing place that almost seem to be out-of-this-world, with their stunning landscapes and incredibly unique wildlife. The islands are home to over 400 species of marine life, and 17% of those are unique to only Galapagos.
Among the dolphins, seals, sea lions, and other aquatic life, there are many different kinds of sharks in this area, including scalloped hammerhead, the Galapagos shark, whitetip reef sharks, and blacktip and grey reef sharks. The scalloped hammerheads are an impressive sight to see, as they gather together in groups of three hundred or more!
8 Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Tiger Beach, Bahamas got its name for a very distinct reason, based on a frequent visitor to its waters: the tiger shark. In recent years, this shark has garnered a lot of attention at Tiger Beach, with many people coming here to swim with, and observe, these massive sharks.
The reefs near Tiger Beach are home to plenty of marine life including vast amounts of coral. If you were to go shark diving in these waters, you might also catch a glimpse of other sharks that live here, including the lemon shark, hammerhead sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, and nurse sharks.
7 Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is well-known for its lush greenery and abundant animal life, and the waters surrounding the area are no different. Many species of sharks frequent these waters, including the enormous whale shark, large groups of scalloped hammerhead sharks, and the intimidating bull shark. There are also nurse sharks, whitetip reef sharks, and Galapagos shark.
One less-common type of shark is the Thresher shark, which also lives in the waters off Cocos Island. These sharks are unique in that they possess a huge caudal fin that they use to stun fish before they eat them. There has been an increase in sightings of these animals in the past 10 years.
6 Farallon Islands, California
The Farallon Islands, off the coast of San Fransisco, are remote, rugged, and out of reach for most people. Three out of the four islands were designated a national wildlife refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909, with the fourth island being added in 1969. The area is teeming with amazing marine life and a vast assortment of birds as well.
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Due to their status as a wildlife sanctuary, the Farallon islands are a safe haven for migratory species like the great white shark. These sharks usually arrive in the area around mid-July, and they hunt along the California coast throughout the summer and into the fall, heading back out to the Pacific Ocean before winter starts.
5 Neptune Islands, South Australia
The Neptune Islands are, in fact, a group of two islands - the North Neptune and South Neptune Islands, located off the southern coast of Australia near Adelaide. Both islands are home to seals and sea lions, as they make an excellent breeding ground for them. Due to the abundance of prey, of course, there are lots of predators as well.
Great white sharks migrate to these islands to feed on the seals and sea lions. There are many tour operators that offer spectacular tours to view these magnificent animals, many of them providing a natural setting to observe them in rather than using the chumming method.
4 Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres is known for its stunning white beaches and crystal clear waters. Located off the coast of Cancun, it is a popular tourist destination and offers plenty of different opportunities to swim with sharks. At the southern tip of the island is Punta Sur, where you will find a lighthouse, the remains of a Mayan temple, and much more.
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One of the most popular features of Isla Mujeres is the opportunity to swim with huge groups of whale sharks between the months of mid-May to September, with the peak time being July and August. They even host a Whale Shark Festival, in celebration of the arrival of these beautiful beasts, and visitors can enjoy a parade, children's activities, and hand-crafted art to buy.
3 Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
While Isla Mujeres is well known for its large groups of whale sharks to see, Isla Guadalupe is known for a more ferocious visitor: the great white shark. This volcanic island, located off of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, has become one of the most popular spots in the world to find the great whites.
According to Nautilus Liveaboards, a local professional diving company, they have identified 322 individual great white sharks that frequent the area, and this count was only done in the small bay where they operate, not even counting the number of sharks in the open waters. You are pretty much guaranteed some awesome shark sightings!
2 Pacific Beach, San Diego
With warming waters and an increase in government protection, many young sharks have been flourishing in this area, and it has becoming a breeding ground for several different species of sharks.
The thresher shark, with its unique ability to stun its prey before eating it using its flexible tail, frequents the waters off the coast of California. Other species of shark that visit these waters include the mako shark, leopard shark, soupfin shark, hammerhead shark, and even the ancient seven gill shark. Team up with a local shark cage diving company to go and see all of these amazing creatures up close.
1 North Carolina's Crystal Coast
North Carolina's Crystal Coast is known for its long nautical history, with more than 2,000 sunken ships laid to rest along the coastline. With beautifully warm water and abundant marine life, the Crystal Coast offers an amazing diving experience. It is also home to a wide variety of sharks in the area.
If you are planning a shark cage diving experience along this coastline, you could possibly see Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, bonnet, bull, or smoothound sharks. The Crystal Coast is proving to be an exciting destination for a shark cage diving experience!