Turquoise waters, white sand beaches and just a puddle jump from the east coast of the United States, the Bahamas are well known to be among the sharkiest waters in the Caribbean region. But with over 700 islands to choose from, where does your search begin? Take a look at this quick guide for my picks of the best shark dives in the Bahamas.
Nassau, New Providence
Head over to the Bahamian capital and its largest city for one of the most accessible shark dives in the hemisphere. Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahama’s shark dive is the Caribbean region’s most famous shark encounter. The two-tank diving experience includes a dive on a ‘shark wall’ and up close interactions with Caribbean reef sharks in a feeding experience at ‘the Arena’. This feeding practice is considered controversial, but does succeed in offering an intimate experience with these animals, which if nothing else is helping to shift public attitudes. The two-tank dive costs $182 USD per person plus gear rental for any dive equipment you didn’t bring with you. For a considerably higher price, Stuart’s Cove also offers a more immersive shark feeder training program. You will not want to forget your GoPro for this!
If the Caribbean reef sharks off New Providence aren’t big enough for you, head over to Grand Bahama island to test your mettle with the big boys at Tiger Beach. Jim Abernathy’s SCUBA Adventures offers opportunities to dive cage-free with massive tiger and hammerhead sharks in stunningly clear tropical water conditions. The expeditions are tailored to advanced divers with an emphasis on photography and underwater filmmaking. The expert guidance and exceptional access to big sharks makes this one of the absolute best shark dives in the Bahamas. Expeditions operate out of Lake Park, Florida and average about $1350 plus gear rental.
If cage-free diving with big sharks isn’t your thing, the tiny island of Bimini offers close encounters with lemon sharks, bull sharks, tigers and hammerheads from the protective environs of a shark cage. Tour operators include Shark Dive Adventures and Incredible Adventures. Open water cage dives start at around $875. First timers and inexperienced divers are welcome! Neal Watson’s Bimini SCUBA Center also offers a cage dive with bull sharks in a protected marina for $60, although the presence of the sharks in the area is unpredictable. However, they also offer reasonable rates for cage-less diving with reef sharks in the area.
Perhaps interacting with big apex predator species isn’t your thing, but you still have a shark itch that needs scratching? Compass Cay, a private island in the Exumas might be the place for you. The island is home to dozens of resident nurse sharks. These are the teddy bears of the shark world, often lounging around on the bottom like giant catfish and behaving more like puppy dogs than wolves of the sea. But don’t forget, these are still sharks, with teeth, so enjoy their company with respect.
Header image (top of page): Tiger shark in the Bahamas by Albert Kok/Wikimedia Commons
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