You Don’t Have to Be Michael Phelps to Swim with Sharks in the Caribbean

WhaleShark2Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps recently lost his bid to beat a shark in a race, and some fans cried foul because Phelps and the shark weren’t even in the water together. That’s not the case in the Caribbean, where you can get up close with some finned friends flashing toothy grins year-round — not just during Shark Week.

Swim With Whale Sharks in the Mexican Caribbean

From May through September, visitors to Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Mexico can swim with migrating whale sharks off the coast of the Riviera Maya. As their name implies, these sharks are big — up to 40 feet long and weighing 40 tons — but they are gentle giants, feeding only on plankton. Guests at resorts on both islands, including the Marriott Cancun Resort and the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, can take a boat ride to the whale shark feeding grounds and snorkel right alongside these magnificent mammals.

Ham It Up with Hammerheads in Bimini

IF you’re feeling a bit more daring, head the the Bahamas Out Island of Bimini, where Resorts World Bimini can arrange for a scuba swim with hammerhead sharks through on-site tour operator Bimini Undersea. This cage-free shark dive is available December to April, with peak season Jan.-March. By the way, Phelps may not have raced sharks side-by-side, but he did come face-to-face with hammerheads in Bimini for a Shark Week 2017 segment!Hammerheads 3

A Shark Bait Adventure in Nassau

Stuart Cove Dive in Nassau, Bahamas will set you loose on a two-tank dive with reef sharks that includes a free dive where sharks will follow you around in expectation of a meal (don’t worry, it’s not you) before the outfitter’s expert shark-feeder chum the waters to bring the sharks right up to your facemask.

Wall to Wall Sharks in Turks & Caicos

The coral reefs surrounding the Turks & Caicos islands make these northern Caribbean islands prime territory for reef and hammerhead sharks who congregate naturally along thousand-foot walls to feed. Caicos Adventures will lead you on a shark diving expedition where the marine life is as spectacular as the reef.

Chill Out with Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

Nurse sharks are as gentle as they sound, so if you want a shark swim minus the fear factor, dip into the waters surrounding Compass Cay in the Exumas islands of the Bahamas. These bottom-feeding sharks are up to 15 feet long and they are so used to swimming with people that you can pet them as they glide by!