Snorkel, scuba dive — even take an inner tube — to get closer to the scariest fish in the sea.
Love a little fear? These shark-themed trips are fill with underwater adventure.
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Slip, slide and walk among sharks at this expansive island resort that includes 141 acres of adrenaline-pumping water play. At the Mayan Temple Shark Exhibit, plop into an inner tube and hang on for the ride. You’ll twist and turn through tunnels and emerge in a clear, acrylic tube deep within a shark-filled lagoon.
For those who want to stay dry, panoramic windows offer views of hammerheads, reef sharks and barracudas. The more adventuresome can don specially designed underwater helmets and walk with the sharks inside their exhibit.
Swimming with the largest fish in the sea is a thrill worth seeking. Whale sharks reach lengths of 40 feet and can weigh 15 tons. Despite their imposing presence, the gentle creatures peacefully share the warm seas with visitors who arrive via boat.
On a Solo Buceo tour, you’ll don a life jacket or wet suit and fins before jumping in for a swim (two at a time, with a guide) with these plankton-slurping vegetarians.
No touching is allowed (the mega-fish are considered a “vulnerable species”), but you can swim alongside as they thrust their supersize square jaws forward and begin filtering everything in their path like a water-born vacuum cleaner.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Join the trip to Cabo Pulmo to experience 300 species of fish, 200 marine invertebrates and bull sharks in what is called the world’s most “robust and healthy marine reserve.”
For the more adventuresome (and those over 15) consider the Cabo Shark Dive that includes swimming with silky, blue, smooth hammerhead and mako sharks. The organization’s founder and professional shark dive guide, Jacopo Brunetti, is an Italian marine biologist, a scuba instructor and a shark behavioral expert. His goal is to encourage shark viewing and diving as an eco-sustainable activity.
Family dive trips
Learning to scuba dive is a great way to learn about sharks and other creatures of the deep blue sea. Tom Peyton, co-owner of Family Dive Adventures, advises families to choose family-friendly destinations where the water is warm and clear and there is no current. “That’s what we recommend for beginners, and Bonaire, Grand Cayman and St. Lucia are good places for early diving practice,” he says.
The company provides group and custom dive trips, and has certified more than 5,500 children during the last two decades. Ask about Kids Sea Camp, during which children and their parents learn about sharks, manta rays and the latest in global marine conservation.
Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, Fla.
The world’s third largest barrier reef, not far from this all-suite resort, can serve as the centerpiece for your water-based exploration and adventure. Snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities for multiple ages and skill levels are available.
Among the options are shark dives — both cage and free — where enthusiasts can share the water with lemon and sandbar sharks, as well as giant tiger sharks. Later, relax near the waterfall pool and enjoy other less pulse-pounding entertainment.