6 of the best shark cage diving locations around the world
There are only a few places cage dive with sharks. Even less where you can safely cage dive with great white sharks. Great whites are apex predators and a spectacular sight to see. Female great white sharks can grow to 6 metres (19.65 feet). These huge females can weigh around 2 tonnes too.
6 of the best places to cage dive with sharks:
- Shark Alley, Dyer Island South Africa Gansbaai.
- Isla de Guadalupe Mexico.
- Neptune Island, South Australia.
- Stewart Island New Zealand.
- Farallon Islands, USA.
- Florida shark cage diving.
It’s important to distinguish between diving with sharks in open water vs cage diving with sharks. The 6 shark cage dive sites above means you experience the sharks inside a cage, which is why it’s called cage diving. But if you would prefer to dive with sharks without a cage, you should visit the following dive spots:
- Galapagos Islands to dive with 100’s of scalloped hammerheads, reef sharks and whale sharks.
- Tiger beach to dive with tiger sharks, bull sharks, nurse sharks, lemon sharks and reef sharks.
- Cocos Islands to dive with 100’s of scalloped hammerheads, nurse sharks and reef sharks.
- Isla Mujeres, Mexico to swim with whale sharks.
Let’s now take a look at where is the best place to cage dive with sharks in more detail.
1. Great white shark cage diving South Africa Gansbaai – Shark Alley Dyer Island
The best place to see great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in South Africa is off the Western Cape Of South Africa.
South Africa is often referred to as the “great white shark capital of the World”. Shark Alley is off the southern tip of South Africa from a small town Gansbaai. This is one of the top great white shark cage diving locations in the world. You’re almost guaranteed to see great whites from cages.
South Africa is a “great white hot spot“, these “great white hot spots” in include:
- Dyer Island and Geyser Rock near Gansbaai
- The infamous Seal Island in False Bay. See more about Seal Island in False Bay below.
- A second Seal Island in Mossel Bay where you can experience white sharks. But this is even further along the coast from Gansbaai and another three hour drive.
Why great white sharks congregate in South Africa
The reason why great white sharks congregate in this part of South Africa is because of the large colonies of fur seals.
Great White sharks have the highest metabolism of all sharks. As a result they need a high calorie intake. Fur seals provide this for these huge predators.
How to get to Gansbaai
The best way to get to Gansbaai is to drive from Cape Town. This is just over a two hour drive. But before you get on your way to Gansbaai, you may want to visit Simon’s Town first (see below).
If you live in Europe or the UK, South Africa is possibly the best place to travel for cage diving with great white sharks. But also, if you live on the African Continent, South Africa is an easy flight away.
Seal island ring of death in False Bay South Africa
As a bonus for visiting South Africa and diving with great white sharks, why not also visit Seal Island in False Bay too. False Bay itself almost looks like a great white shark has taken a chunk out of the coast of South Africa! See above map.
Seal Island in False Bay is home to the “flying” Great White Sharks.
Why not experience great whites in their natural predatory state hunting fur seals. Seal Island in False Bay is considered the best place on the Earth to witness these natural predatory events of the Great White Shark.
This video around Seal Island is worth a watch. This boat does a trip from Simon’s Town, which is south from Cape town and a 40-50 minute drive.
2. Isla de Guadalupe Mexico shark diving
Isla Guadalupe is a premier destination for great white shark cage diving too.
The Isla Guadalupe (not to be confused with Guadeloupe) has fast become one of the best spots to cage dive with great white sharks.
One of the advantages of Isla Guadalupe for great white diving enthusiasts is you can easily get to it from the USA.
Join one of the liveaboards from San Diego or Mexico to dive this great white shark hot spot. The waters are relatively warm and the visibility can be up to 30 metres (100 feet).
Guadalupe Island is 250 miles from San Diego and has the worlds biggest great white sharks. Known also as Island of the White Sharks. This Mexican nature reserve is home to a colony of elephant seals, which is food for Great Whites.
The island itself is 35 kilometres (22 miles) long by 9.7 kilometres (6 miles) wide. It is the remains of a dormant volcano where the cliffs around the island plunge down into the Pacific Ocean for 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) to the ocean floor.
It’s the rich upwellings that make these seas really fertile. With its remote location, Isla Guadalupe is also home to seals that like the elephant seals feed on the abundance of sea life.
Deep Blue The biggest shark ever in Guadalupe filmed with Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, shark expert
Say Hello to Deep Blue: ‘The Biggest Shark Ever Filmed’ | NBC Nightly News
If you want to listen to some commentary of Deep Blue, the largest filmed female great white shark, here’s NBC Nightly News version.
One of the advantages of having greater visibility in the waters around Isla Guadalupe is that you’ll be able to spot the great whites even where they don’t get right up close to the shark cage. See liveaboard boats travelling from San Diego below.
3. Neptune Island great white shark diving Australia
The only place in Australia to cage dive with great whites is South Australia. Great white sharks congregate around the Neptune Islands, which you can get to from Port Lincoln.
The reason why great white sharks congregate around Neptune Island is also due to the fur seals there, but also Australian sea lions too. The great white shark viewing opportunities for Neptune Island is good all year. But the main season for cage diving there is from May to October.
As with Isla Guadalupe, the visibility around the four Neptune Islands is good and can be up to 25 metres (82 feet). During May to October the average water temperature is 16° Celsius (60° Fahrenheit). So you may be better off scuba diving in a drysuit to keep warm.
Orcas Attack Great White Shark – Neptune Islands, South Australia
4. Stewart Island New Zealand great white sharks
Stewart Island, which is known as Rakiura (Glowing Skies) in Maori, is New Zealand’s third largest island. This island is located south of the large South Island of New Zealand.
There are huge great white sharks that congregate around Stewart Island in late summer where they feed on seals. Jeff Kurr a shark expert believes they are among the largest white sharks anywhere on earth.
Similar to most great white shark diving hot spots, Stewart Island has seals that the great whites predate and eat.
5. Farallon Islands, USA
The Farallon Islands are located near to San Francisco in the USA. In fact the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is only about 46 kilometres (29 miles) from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is an area of 8,534 square kilometres (3,295 square miles) and is off the northern and central California coast.
Great white sharks are migratory fish and arrive in the Farallon Islands in July each year. They remain in the area hunting the sea lions and elephant seals until around January.
However, this area is also popular with Orcas or killer whales (Orcinus orca). These large predatory whales are known to also hunt and kill great white sharks.
The best time to visit the Farallones is mid-September through to mid-November.
The visibility in these waters can be limited and the temperatures are between 10-13 C (50-55F), so relatively cold and ideal for drysuit diving.
6. Florida shark cage diving
Florida is one of America’s top shark diving destinations in the world. But most think the sharks in Florida are not Great White sharks, but you might want to read this article about great white sharks in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico
The dive boat operates from U-Tiki Beach Marina, Jupiter in Florida. This is just north of West Palm Beach on the east coast. The shark cage diving includes Tiger sharks, Great Hammerheads, Bull sharks, Dusky, Silky sharks, Reef, Sandbar, and Lemon Sharks.
You are almost guaranteed to see sharks on every trip. The boat goes out 3 miles from the coast line to the deep waters of the Gulf Stream.
Video of a Tiger Shark seen with Florida Shark Cage Diving.
The best great white shark cage diving locations nearest to you
As I writing this article on where is the best place to cage dive with sharks, I thought it would be helpful to add the best locations for where you live in the world too.
So let’s take a look at a few of the best great white shark cage diving locations nearest to you.
Best place for great white shark cage diving from San Diego and therefore America and the USA
If you live in San Diego, you’re in luck as you can easily travel to the Guadalupe Island in Baja, California. There are four liveaboard boats that travel from San Diego.
This means also that if you live in the USA, you can simply travel to San Diego using an internal flight. So whether you’re traveling from in the US either Florida, Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York or New Jersey or wherever, it’s only a short internal flight away.
Liveaboard boats travelling from San Diego California for one of the best places to cage dive with sharks
Horizon Charters is the only Guadalupe Island shark cage-diving company departing from the U.S. Which means no need to get on a bus to Ensenada, Mexico. But having said that, I have also include three further liveaboards where you depart from San Diego by bus, but join the liveaboard in Mexico.
America’s Shark Boat MV Horizon
The America’s Shark Boat MV Horizon is the Guadalupe Islands original shark boat and offered great white shark diving since 2000.
The MV Horizon has an added bonus as the only boat that departs from San Diego. This means there’s no bus-ride to Mexico
With an emphasis on safety, cage diving with America’s Shark Boat is suitable for everyone, regardless of experience. There are three full days of cage diving available, which gives approximately 11-18 hours of in-water time per trip. Click this link to see the latest prices and availability.
Nautilus Under Sea
Rated 8.8 and fabulous. The Nautilus Under Sea liveaboard is famous for being the support boat for the James Bond Movie ‘License to Kill’. A 27 metre (89 feet) liveaboard, catering to 17 guests in 8 en-suite air conditioned cabins.
The Nautilus offers liveaboard trips to Guadalupe for cage diving with Great White Sharks and scuba diving the Socorro Islands divers will come face to face with Giant Pacific Mantas.
The Nautilus Under Sea offers 6-day trips with a pick-up at the Ramada Hotel in San Diego and a bus ride to Ensenada. Trips run from July to November. Experience required is Open Water certification and no minimum logged dives required. Click this link to see the latest prices and availability.
Nautilus Belle Amie
Rated 9.3 superb. The Nautilus Belle Amie liveaboard is a 41 metre (135 feet) custom built liveaboard and offers scuba divers with comfort and safety. This liveaboard boat caters for up to 30 scuba divers in 16 cabins all with en-suite and air-conditioning.
The Nautilus Belle Amie also goes to Guadalupe for great whites or the Socorro Islands. The Nautilus Belle Amie offers 6-day trips with a pick-up at the Ramada Hotel in San Diego and a bus ride to Ensenada.
Experience required is Open Water certification and no minimum logged dives required. Click this link to see the latest prices and availability.
Rated 8.8 and fabulous. The Nautilus Explorer liveaboard is a 35 metre (115 feet) custom built liveaboard boat built for divers to explore the amazing sites of Guadalupe and the Socorro Islands, Mexico.
The Nautilus Explorer liveaboard has 13 cabins. These range from a cost effective mixed-gender triple occupancy stateroom to a luxurious premium suite. The Nautilus Explorer offers 6-day trips with a pick-up at the Ramada Hotel in San Diego and a bus ride to Ensenada.
Experience required is Open Water certification and no minimum logged dives required. Click this link to see the latest prices and availability.
Best place for great white shark cage diving from Australia
You’ve also lucked out if you already live in Australia if you want to cage dive with great white sharks. Even more so if you happen to live in Port Lincoln or Adelaide or somewhere in South Australia.
But even if you live else where in Australia, you can easily get an internal flight to Adelaide International Airport and then hop on a short 50 minute flight to Port Lincoln.
Best place for great white shark cage diving from England or the UK
If you live in England or elsewhere in the UK you have a couple of choices. For me the best option is by flying to South Africa. This is because the time difference between the UK and South Africa is just one hour.
This means you don’t have the problems you usually face from long haul flights to America or Australia. There are many reasonably priced flights to South Africa travelling from the UK. Flight times to Cape Town are 11 hours 30 minutes.
The only down side of South Africa is safety there, as it does have a bit of a reputation. I’ve been twice to South Africa and both times had no problems at all. But if you’re nervous about visiting South Africa, the next best place for great white shark diving from England or the UK would be San Diego described above.
Flights from the UK to San Diego
The non-stop flight time from London to San Diego is around 11 hours 30 minutes. The fastest one-stop flight time between London and San Diego takes close to 15 hours. When flying to the west coast of America you will need to factor in jet lag on the way there and on the way back due to the eight hour time difference between the UK and San Diego of
Of course you could still go great white shark diving in either Australia or New Zealand from the UK. But the flight times will be extra long and there’s the jet lag to think about.
The best place for great white shark diving Canada
If you live in Canada, you are probably best to jump on a flight to San Diego or straight to Mexico.
The flying time to San Diego from Toronto is just 5 hours or to Ensenada Mexico its a 10 hour 40 minute journey with one stop via Mexico City.
I hope you enjoyed this article about where is the best place to cage dive with sharks
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