Sharks species identification guide

The biggest predators in the oceans can be objects of fear or fascination. More than 450 species of sharks are found in the world’s seas and oceans, and about fifteen of which can be easily spotted by snorkelers.

Where to encounter sharks at snorkeling depths?

The blacktip reef shark, found in the shallow waters of coral reefs and lagoons of the tropical Indopacific, is one of the easiest species to spot.

Blacktip reef sharks in Moorea
Blacktip sharks are common in many snorkeling locations in the Indo-Pacific. Here, at the Sharks Sandbank, in Moorea.

French Polynesia (especially the Society Islands and the Tuamotu Islands) is a true paradise for swimming with blacktips, but they can also be seen in many snorkeling spots in the Maldives, Southeast Asia and Australia.

In the Caribbean, some specific locations allow snorkelers to closely encounter nurse sharks (abundant in Belize Shark Ray Alley) and lemon sharks (unmissable in Petite Terre, Guadeloupe).

Whale shark at the surface of the ocean
In some specific locations, it is possible to swim with whale sharks at the surface of the sea. Here at Whale Shark Point, Maldives.

To snorkel with whitetip reef sharks, head to the Galápagos Islands, where you can encounter them by dozens in some of the archipelago snorkeling spots.

Up to 5 to 10m long, the whale shark is considered the largest fish in the world. Often busy feeding on plankton just below the surface of the water, it is easily seen in Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia.

Shark species

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