15 Of The World's Greatest Shark Sightings

15 of the World’s Greatest Shark Sightings

Contrary to popular belief, sharks are generally not a threat to people. The giant sea creatures do not normally hunt humans. When they do, it is usually a case of misguided identity, according to NOAA. Encountering the giant fish is an exhilarating adventure many people want to participate in. If you're curious but not quite ready to get that friendly with these large sea species, a cage dive will likely better suit your appetite for a shark-viewing adventure. More experienced divers are brave enough to literally swim with the sharks.

Tiger Beach, Bahamas

Aptly named, Tiger Beach off of Grand Bahama is one of the world's top spots for seeing tiger sharks. Most diving expeditions guarantee an up-close sighting of these toothy creatures, which can grow up to about 16 feet in length. Tiger Beach is on the bucket list of underwater photographers and adventurers. Occasionally, they will also come close to other shark species such as reefs to hammerheads.

Gansbaai, South Africa

Go on an undersea safari in the "Great White Shark Capital of the World." It's a premier cage diving location that promises a truly thrilling experience. You can stay on the boat and still see all the action as the sharks circle around and descend. They hunt year-round. In the winter months you can even witness great whites hunting and breaching out of the water in pursuit of the seals. 

Ambergris Caye, Belize

The barrier reef is known for sightings of all kinds of large creatures. The reef shark and nurse shark are occasional visitors as well as the whale shark and the loggerhead turtle. Also, Manta Rays and larger species of sharks are known to visit these waters. Along Ambergris Caye, nurse sharks are more common than elsewhere in Belize. The Shark Ray Alley is right next to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, just 10 minutes away. The sharks are known to be friendly and even "pose" for photos.

Maui, Hawaii

Maui is a true paradise for divers. Get friendly with locals and they will tell you about the secret spots where scalloped hammerheads assemble. Lahaina Divers, a scuba tour agency, will organize small groups and take them to a secluded part of Lanai for kayaking, snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding. You'll see the stirring scalloped hammerhead sharks, the sunken schooner Carthaginian and Turtle Reef.

Galapagos Islands

With an extremely unique and diverse wildlife population, a dive into the waters of the Galapagos offers the chance to encounter several species of sharks, including hammerhead, dusky and whale sharks. Plus, while you're exploring beneath the sea, you may even have the opportunity to see other creatures like sea lions and large schools of tuna.

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Cocos Island is one of the world's most famous places for shark sightings, especially to see hammerhead sharks in the summer. The inspiration for Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park is about 300 miles offshore from Costa Rica. Drop down on the legendary seamount Bajo Alcyone and you'll share the water column with a half-dozen shark species, sailfish, tuna and wahoo, according to Scuba Diving.

San Diego, California

Southern California is a great place to see fast shortfin mako sharks. These open-ocean hunters follow their food to the San Diego coast from June to November, according to Scuba Diving. Divers often spot them alongside sleek blue sharks. La Jolla Water Sports will take you on a shark tour to see leopard sharks. They usually start migrating to the calm waters of La Jolla Shores in the spring.

Bora Bora, Tahiti

Bora Bora is mostly known as one of the most romantic paradises on Earth. Its name has become synonymous with overwater bungalows, lavish floating villas with glass floors so people can see the lagoon life below, according to Tahiti.com. It's also a hotspot for sharks. Snorkeling trips to see lemon sharks are very popular.

Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Guadalupe Island, or Isla Guadalupe, has become a top viewing spot for great white enthusiasts over the past 12 years or so, according to Travel Nation. Crystal-clear underwater visibility and warm water temperatures (averages range from 67 to 72 degrees F) make it an especially inviting dive location, as well as a premiere destination for big-game fishing.

Beqa Lagoon, Fiji

There are only a couple of places on this planet where you can dive with the "Sea Tiger" eye to eye, up close and personal. One of these sites is Cathedral, Beqa Lagoon's own Tiger Shark dive, according to the resort's website. During one dive you may also see several tigers, bulls and lemon sharks.

Montauk, New York

The Atlantic Ocean is home to several species of sharks. Maybe it's not the most popular location for swimming with these large and intriguing sea creatures, but a dive off the coast of Montauk in Long Island offers the chance to see mako, thresher and blue sharks, sometimes a dozen at a time.

Hebrides, Scotland

People normally associate Scotland with incredible castles, golf and unspoiled nature. But divers can actually encounter the basking shark, a rarely seen but huge shark (30 feet, 12 tons), in the archipelago. They like cold water which explains why they can be seen in the North Sea. Scotland has some of the richest cold waters in the world.

Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa, French Polynesia

Divers are likely see many reef sharks and lemon sharks here, according to Reef Traveler. Some divemasters have even reported seeing tiger sharks in the pass.  Spotting manta rays, large javanese eels, Napoleon wrasse, large titan trigger fish and even bottlenose dolphins is also possible. The strong current will take you through many more motionless and quiet sharks. This is known as drift diving.

Red Sea, Egypt

If you want to see oceanic whitetips and snaggletooth sharks, also known as fossil sharks, the Red Sea is the place to dive. Thousands of tourists come to Marsa Alam every year for diving or snorkeling in areas where sharks are common.

Point Judith, Rhode Island

Point Judith offers adventurous divers the opportunity to come face to face with both blue and mako sharks. Blue sharks are the most common, though, and according to organizers at Snappa Charters, they're also considered one of the most cooperative species when it comes to snapping photos. Additionally, excursions in June and early July offer the chance to catch a glimpse of the lesser known and essentially un-harmful basking shark.