Best Places to See Hammerheads


Along with the whale shark and the manta ray, to dive with hammerheads is probably up there with the most coveted additions to any divers log book, and also one of the most elusive. They take their name from the unusual and distinctive structure of their heads, which are flattened and laterally extended into a “hammer” shape called a “cephalofoil”.


All hammerhead sharks are coastal swimmers, swimming out into ocean depths no deeper than 300m. Hammerheads are found worldwide in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves. Unlike most sharks, hammerheads usually swim in schools and an encounter which a large number of these sharks is a phenomenal experience.

Hammerhead at Layang Layang

Layang Layang, Malaysia

Rising from the deep, the island is atop a huge pinnacle – great for pelagics. Scalloped hammerheads aggregate here to mate between March and May each year. You won’t need coffee on these morning dives with 100+ sharks slowly cruising by – you’ll soon wake up.


Cocos Island, Costa Rica

From May to November, schools of scalloped hammerheads visit the waters surrounding Cocos Island. This remote Pacific Island is reached by ten night liveaboard from Costa Rica.


Galapagos IslandsEcuador

Seen year round, larger schools are more common in the warmer months around Wolf and Darwin islands. From individuals to solid walls of sharks, hammerheads are a constant here and great place to capture the experience on camera.


Protea Banks, South Africa

During the summer months shark species often outnumber divers as they gather on the famous fossilized sand bank. Although they keep their distance, encounter schools of scalloped (Nov-Jan) and individual Great and Smooth Hammerheads here.


Zavora, Mozambique

A vulnerable species in this area, the best place for an encounter is at Ponto do Ouro in the south. Large schools of scalloped hammerheads transit through the shallow water between October and May, while smaller groups are found a little deeper.


Rangiroa, Tahiti

Diving the Avatoru and Tiputa Passes is an exhilarating experience, full of pelagic sightings in the strong currents as the waters move in and out of the lagoon. As well as dolphin and schools of grey sharks, great hammerheads are seen here annually.


North Ari, Maldives

If it’s sharks you are hoping to encounter here, then you must dive Madivaru Corner. It will be an early start from resort or liveaboard in the north Ari Atoll, but the experience…truly unforgettable, with year-round encounters.


Malpelo Island, Colombia

Nowhere else will you encounter so many shark species in such abundance and close proximity. Encounters are frequent and walls of hammerhead and silky sharks often exceed 300 individuals. A must for shark enthusiasts!

san salvador hammerhead

San Salvador, Bahamas

Your best bet of a scalloped hammerhead encounter off the coast of this remote island. The sharks can be seen at many sites, cruising in the blue as you also enjoy the magnificent walls. From December to February represents the best time to visit for hammerheads.


Yonaguni, Japan

As well as the stunning sight of the Iseki stones, experienced divers will be overwhelmed by the large numbers of breeding hammerheads that congregate around this exposed island in the far southwest of the country from December to March each year. An incredible adventure!


La Paz, Baja California Sure, Mexico

Tufi, Papua New Guinea

Taveuni & Bligh Waters off the main islands of Viti Levu & Vanua Levu, Fiji

Southern Red Sea, Egypt and Sudan

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June 29, 2016 |

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