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10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Shark Dive in Fiji

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Shark Dive in Fiji

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Fiji is one of the best places in the entire world to dive with sharks. When we first decided to do this bucket-list experience on our honeymoon in Fiji, I had so many questions (and rightfully so!).

Is it safe? How much experience do I need? How long do I get to dive for? Where do we go for the best experience? All of these and much, much more. I mean, it’s an experience everyone talks about doing, but actually taking the plunge requires some planning!

In this blog, I will answer all of those questions and give you some additional info like our favorite experiences, alternatives to diving, what you can expect, and more! So let’s dive in and talk about the ocean’s most notorious residents!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Our shark dive in Fiji was the best dive we’ve ever been on (and we’ve done a lot)! We did this shark dive at Beqa Lagoon where we saw 8 different species of sharks including bull sharks! You get to do two 50-minute dives in one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. Plus, you’ll be kept safe by expert dive masters the whole time.

1. About diving with sharks in Fiji

Bull shark eating a fish during a shark dive fiji
Daniel watches a shark from behind a wall during a shark dive fiji
Sitting behind a coral wall

Shark diving first began in 1950 when marine biologist Jacques Cousteau invented the shark cage to safely study and observe sharks during his work. It wasn’t until the movie Jaws was released over 20 years later that shark diving started to get popular. Today, shark diving in Fiji doesn’t include a cage!

In Fiji, sharks have played an intricate part in Indigenous mythology and worship. Stories have been passed down over the generations of the Fijian shark gods Dakuwaqa and Masilaca.

Fiji’s waters boast incredible biodiversity with 30 species of sharks and a whopping 2,304 different species of fish. However, on a shark dive in Fiji, you will usually only see a few different types of sharks during your time in the water. The bull shark is the most common you will see with its easily distinguishable body that makes it look a little bit like a football with fins. 

Other notable sharks you might spot are the tiger, nurse, silvertip, lemon, and blacktip sharks which are less common to see, but still make regular appearances. On very rare occasions, hammerhead sharks have been known to make their rounds, but chances of this happening are about 1 in every 100 dives.

2. Where are the best places to dive with sharks in Fiji? 

A shark a couple feet away from Daniel during a shark dive fiji
They get so close
Daniel climbing out of the water during a shark dive fiji
Getting ready for round two!

Beqa Lagoon

Easily the best diving location in Fiji and one of the best places I have ever dived in the world is Beqa Lagoon. Located 10 kilometers (6 miles) off the south coast of Viti Levu (mainland Fiji), Beqa Lagoon is near Beqa Island. What makes this area so fantastic for diving is the 305 kilometers (190 miles) of coral reefs. In fact, Beqa Lagoon is one of the world’s largest barrier reefs!

We were stunned by everything we saw in such a short time during this dive. Depending on if you meet certain qualifications, dives in this area can take you anywhere from 5-30 meters (15-100 feet) down into its perfect turquoise blue waters. Its proximity to Viti Levu and incredible marine biodiversity make it the premiere spot to dive in Fiji.

To get to Beqa Lagoon, most people stay in Pacific Harbour (the gorgeous “adventure capital of Fiji”) which is located about 2.5 hours from Nadi and 1.5 hours from Suva by car.

On this shark dive tour, you will meet at the dive center in Pacific Harbour and then take a boat out to the lagoon to do your dives. There are many resort options here, but we recommend the Pearl South Pacific Resort because it’s close to the dive center.

Some people prefer to stay on Beqa Island itself and then do a shark dive from there. The island is a 45-minute boat ride from Pacific Harbour and is an incredible place to visit. We recommend staying at Beqa Lagoon Resort and arranging a shark dive through them if you are staying on the island.

Daniel and another person take a selfie underwater during a shark dive fiji
Beqa Lagoon!
Daniel watches sharks during a shark dive fiji
Watching behind a coral wall

Kuata Island 

Another fantastic dive site we enjoy is Kuata Island in the Yasawa Islands. While it doesn’t have as large of a barrier reef as Beqa Lagoon, it still offers good diving and the opportunity to see plenty of ocean life. It is a 2-hour ferry ride from Port Denarau, making it an easy (but long) day trip if you are staying in and around Nadi. Like Beqa Lagoon, depending on your certifications and skill level there are different depths at which you can explore the waters around Kuata Island.

The diving here is known for its caves, fringing reefs, and gullies. It’s also a great place to watch lots of bull sharks gather and feed which is a super cool experience. Because of how far it is from the mainland, the shark diving tour here is an entire day trip with a dive and time to relax at a resort afterward (but more on that later!).

Another great option is to stay a couple of nights on the island at Barefoot Kuata Island Resort, and book the shark dive through them. This way you get time to really explore the stunning island and do the shark dive without feeling rushed! Or check out our guide on the best Yasawa Islands resorts for more info on the best places to stay.

Related Read: There are lots of great day trips from Port Denarau, including Malamala Beach Club and Seventh Heaven just to name a couple!

3. When is the best time of year to go shark diving in Fiji?  

Equipment on a boat during a shark dive fiji
We had great weather
Bailey and Daniel smile as they surface during a shark dive fiji
Ready to go!

There are actually two parts to answering this question. 

The first part is when you will see the most sharks. Regardless of when you visit Fiji, there will be sharks, but bull sharks are more frequently seen between February and October when it’s not their mating season. This goes for most sharks in the area as well.

The second part is the weather. While Fiji is lucky to have pretty good weather year-round, it does still have a wet season that runs from November to April. You can definitely still dive if it’s raining, but there is a chance they will cancel the tour if the weather is bad enough. That makes diving during the dry season (May to October) a better choice.

So considering those two things, the best time to go shark diving is between May and October when it’s dry season and the sharks aren’t busy going on dates with each other!

4. What are the best shark diving tours in Fiji?

Beqa Lagoon 2 Tank Shark Dive

Daniel giving a thumbs up underwater during a shark dive fiji
Such a rush!
Three sharks come close during a shark dive fiji
So many sharks

This comprehensive Beqa Shark Diving Experience is one of the coolest things we’ve done during our multiple trips to Fiji. Personally, I rate it as the best dive I’ve ever been on and between Bailey and I, we’ve done well over 150 dives!

Located in the stunning Beqa Lagoon, you visit two dive sites as you get up close and personal with 8 different species of sharks including bull sharks, nurse sharks, lemon sharks, and possibly even tiger sharks! It is the best way to dive with sharks in Fiji with over an hour and a half of time underwater!

It’s required that you are advanced dive-certified to take this tour, but if you aren’t, there are also some incredible shark snorkeling tours like this one that we highly recommend. If you are dive-certified, but not at the advanced level, you can still participate if you have proof of 10 or more open-water dives. 

The day begins at 8 am where you jump on a boat to Beqa Lagoon. Once you’re there, it’s time to get geared up and briefed about safety protocols and what to expect (more on this in the next section “What to expect on a dive”) before jumping in. If you have your own dive gear, you can use it as long as it isn’t white or light-colored. Otherwise, you can rent gear from the company for the day.

Daniel and Bailey and friends smile on a boat on the ocean during a shark dive fiji
Our group for the day

As I mentioned this tour brings you to two different dive spots and takes you down approximately 30 meters (100 feet) for 50 minutes of diving each time. Now I have done plenty of diving before this, but never with sharks, and let me tell you, it is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had and a bucket list item for any diver out there. The adrenaline rush is insane!

Besides sharks, we saw some beautiful fish, and diving in one of the world’s largest barrier reefs was an amazing experience. If you’re coming to Fiji and you dive, believe me, you don’t want to miss this! This tour costs $192 USD and runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the year.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

The Awakening Shark Dive

A bull shark swims by during a shark dive fiji
So big!
Reef sharks during a shark dive fiji
Reef Sharks!

The Awakening Shark Dive takes you to the island of Kuata for an incredible day of diving. As a bonus, after you return from your shark encounter you will have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy Barefoot Kuata Island Resort and relish in your experience. It is a well-put-together and rewarding tour that you’re sure to love.

It is important to note that you need to be dive-certified to take this tour. If you aren’t you can look at booking their introductory dive with reef sharks or snorkel with reef sharks experience instead.

For the shark dive, you’ll leave Port Denarau in the morning for a two-hour boat ride to meet your guides and suit up at the island. If you didn’t bring your own gear, it will be supplied for free. Once you’re good to go, the team will take you to Yakawe Reef nearby. The reef wall you dive to is 12 meters (39 feet) underwater where you will hunker down and watch as bull sharks swarm the area to feed on the fish provided by the guides. If you’re lucky you’ll even get to spot a 16-foot tiger shark!

After 45 minutes of dive time with the sharks, you will surface and head back to Kuata Island. Complimentary lunch and use of paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear means there is plenty to do on the island before you return back to Port Denarau. This tour is $270 USD ($599 FJD) – so it is more expensive than the first tour (and the one we took).

5. What to expect on a shark dive in Fiji?

A reef shark during a shark dive fiji
You see many kinds of sharks
A bull shark swims overhead during a shark dive fiji
30 meters (100 feet) under the water

So I’ve talked about the best places you can dive, the best tours, and the best time to go so far, but what can you expect when you sign up for a shark dive? Let me break down your day step-by-step so you know exactly what to expect from a day like this. For reference, I will be talking about our epic experience on this Beqa Island diving with bull sharks.

To start the day, you meet your guides, get fitted, and rent your scuba gear (at an extra cost). If you bring your own gear they will check that it isn’t white or light-colored and that it meets safety standards. It’s important to remember that bringing cameras is fine, but they also need to be dark and not light colors. This is because light colors are more appealing to sharks and might encourage aggressive behavior.

Once on the boat and headed toward the dive site, we learned about the different sharks we could see, their behaviors, fun facts, safety protocols, and how to act underwater for a safe and fun day. Then, the onboard shark handler gets into the water to locate the sharks. Once they find them, they will distract them with food and give you the signal to get into the water with the other dive masters.

Daniel and friends smile in their diving gear during a shark dive fiji
Such a good time!

This is where the fun begins! Once in the water, you descend 30 meters (100 feet) down where there is a reef wall to sit behind and watch the action. One of our dive masters attracted the sharks nearby with a bin full of fish. Then, the sharks get within a couple of feet of you to eat while you gawk at the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen. Behind us, our guides were nearby with long steel poles to push sharks back if they got a little too close. 

After approximately 15 minutes you will start heading up and making stops along the way to see reef sharks. Sometimes your guides will also do feedings in these areas! We spent about 15 minutes here before making one last stop a little higher up to see small sharks and do a safety stop. Once you surface, it’s time to head to the second location and do it all again!

6. Is shark diving in Fiji safe? 

Daniel watches as sharks come to eat chum during a shark dive fiji
The chum bucket to lure the sharks

While I can’t tell you that diving with sharks is 100% safe, I can tell you that accidents are incredibly rare and that the guides who accompany you do a fantastic job of keeping the sharks at a safe distance. It’s important to remember that sharks, especially bull sharks, are predators and even though they are only interested in fish there is always the chance they become aggressive and see you as a threat. 

Do this activity at your own risk, but remember that the guides you are going with are certified dive masters trained in shark behavior and want to make sure you have a fun and safe time!

7. What qualifications do you need to shark dive in Fiji? 

Coral during a shark dive fiji
Lots of coral everywhere!

Like with any great roller coaster having a sign that says “you must be this tall to ride,” diving with sharks comes with some skill and physical qualifications. So let’s split them into two sections, skill level and physical requirements.

The Ultimate Beqa Lagoon Shark Encounter requires that you are certified at the advanced level. However, if you have the standard open-water certification with proof of 10 or more open-water dives, you are also qualified to take this tour. Alternatively, the Awakening Shark Dive only requires that you are dive-certified at the standard open-water level with no proof of other open-water dives needed. The reason for this is that you only descend 13 meters (42 feet) during the Awakening Shark Dive while you go 30 meters (100 feet) down when you do the Ultimate Shark Encounter.

Each of these tours requires you to fill out a medical questionnaire to be reviewed by the company before diving. They will inquire about any pre-existing medical issues such as asthma, back problems, heart problems, etc. as well as when you will be flying (it is recommended you wait 24 hours after you dive to fly). Ultimately, if they think it will be a risk for you, they won’t let you dive. If you have any doubts, talk to your doctor or the companies beforehand. 

8. Is shark diving in Fiji ethical? 

Daniel underwater watching a shark go by during a shark dive fiji
Bull sharks swarm for food

Shark diving is incredibly popular and fortunately, both companies take these tours and conservation seriously. Beqa Lagoon is owned by locals, and a portion of the money you spend on this tour goes to local education and maintaining facilities. The Awakening Tour on Kuata Island follows suit with money from each tour going directly to the school on the island. You can book either of these tours knowing that you will have a great time and be contributing to the local economy!

The other question that comes up is, what about the sharks? Sadly, many beautiful ocean areas in the world have been irreversibly damaged by tourism. Luckily, both the Ultimate Shark Encounter and the Awakening Shark Dive have very strict guidelines for the protection of the various species that live in the dive areas. Divers can’t touch sharks or coral and the dive areas are protected by local laws and maintained with the help of marine biologists. 

So the short answer is, yes, diving with sharks with either of these specific tours is ethical! 

Related read: If you’re staying around Nadi, make sure to check out the Fiji Culture Village and the Mud Pools!

9. Shark diving vs snorkeling with sharks in Fiji 

A reef shark swims below on a snorkeling tour in Fiji
Snorkeling with sharks is incredible too!

If you’re trying to decide between diving or snorkeling with sharks I highly recommend you dive instead of snorkel. We have done both and both are fantastic, but when you dive, you get to see more types of sharks up close and the experience is once in a lifetime. The price point for each is also very close so I think diving is the way to go! 

But if you are worried about diving with sharks for safety reasons or you don’t meet the requirements, never fear, there is a fantastic Snorkeling with Sharks Encounter that will still blow you away! This is a great way to get your toes wet when it comes to being in the water with sharks as you are only swimming with small reef sharks. And if you love it, you can always try diving with sharks later!

10. Is shark diving in Fiji worth it? 

Sharks eating chum during a shark dive fiji

Absolutely! Without a doubt, this was the best dive I have ever done, and a huge adrenaline rush! If you are a diver going to Fiji, then diving with sharks should be at the top of your list of things to do! I can comfortably say it is one of the best experiences we have had in Fiji recently and I can’t wait to do it again. 

Where to Stay in Fiji

the private island of Beachcomber Island Resort
This place is just wow! Photo Credit: Beachcomber Island Resort

There are so many great areas to stay around Fiji. You can choose to stay on the main island of Viti Levu or venture out to the smaller surrounding islands. With so many choices, it can be hard to narrow it down. To help, these are my top picks for each area in Fiji that fit a range of budgets.

Nadi – The Ramada

Located right on Wailoaloa Beach, the Ramada Suites by Wyndham is the most luxurious hotel in this area. It features an exclusive pool and restaurant for guest use only. It is the tallest building in the area offering incredible views of the coastline and sunsets!

Because of its close proximity to the airport (only a 15-minute drive), many people stay here for a night before or after their flight. It’s a good place to spend some time before catching a ferry out to an island. A King Studio Room with a sea view goes for around $200 USD. Check availability and book a stay at the Ramada here!

Port Denarau – Radisson Blu Fiji Resort

The Radisson Blu Resort is just stunning, and for what you get, the price is very reasonable too. This resort is huge offering tons of activities for both families as well as couples. There is an adults-only pool as well as an area specifically for kids. It is beachfront and offers spa services as well.

Rooms here start from around $400 USD per night and range from standard hotel-style rooms with king beds or two queens, up to two-bedroom suites. Some rooms feature courtyard views while others have a view of the lagoon. All rooms have a balcony and minibar. Check availability and prices at the Radisson Blue Resort here!

Yasawa Islands – Barefoot Manta Island Resort

Barefoot Manta Island Resort is perfect for those wanting a real island getaway experience without paying huge amounts of money. Surrounded by a vibrant protected coral reef, this is the best place to go for ocean lovers. You can even swim with manta rays just off the shore from May-October!

You can easily get to Barefoot Manta Island Resort on the Yasawa Flyer ferry that departs Port Denarau regularly. The ride should take about 3 hours.

They offer dorm beds for only $29 USD a night. There are also private beachfront bungalows available starting at around $200 USD per night. Check prices and availability for Barefoot Manta Island Resort here!

Mamanuca Islands – Beachcomber Island Resort

Beachcomber Island Resort is one of the most popular island resorts to stay in Fiji. Its affordable pricing mixed with its close proximity to Viti Levu make it one of the best places to stay in Fiji. You can reach the Beachcomber Resort from Port Denarau by riding the Yasawa Flyer ferry. The ride should take about 2 hours.

There are many different rooms and bungalows to choose from – something for every budget! Remember all these prices also include ALL your meals. Dorm beds go for as little as $60 USD per night, whereas you can get a standard twin room for $225 USD. Check prices and availability at Beachcomber Island Resort here!

Coral Coast – Maui Palms

Mixing beach life and luxury, the Maui Palms is perfect for those wanting a bit of pampering on their holiday. There are lots of on-site activities and the snorkeling right in front of the resort is great. Expect an infinity pool, games room, bar, restaurant, and beautiful ocean-view villas with private balconies!

The location on the Coral Coast means you don’t need a boat to get there but can still experience some of the tranquility and beautiful beaches you might find on the smaller islands. There are also a few restaurants nearby, so you won’t be confined to the hotel. Rooms and villas here start at around $250 USD and up. Check prices and availability for the Maui Palms here!

If you’re looking for more info about where to stay in Fiji, be sure to read our blog. It includes detailed info on each area, the best things to do nearby, prices, getting to hotels, and so much more.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel smile on a boat during a shark dive fiji
Thanks for reading!

I hope this guide answered some of your questions and got you excited to dive with the sharks! It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we know you’ll love it as much as we did.

For more ideas and help planning your Fiji holiday, be sure to check out the rest of our Fiji guides. You can get started with one of the popular ones below:

12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting South Sea Island, Fiji

Seventh Heaven vs Cloud 9 – My Honest Review of Fiji’s Floating Bars!

8 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji