Shark Point in Playa del Carmen is the perfect underwater oasis to observe bull sharks between November and March. Its 78-foot/24-meter depth, coupled with its location far enough out into the sea and yet near shore, offers unparalleled views of these majestic creatures – nothing but a sandy bottom surrounded by an ocean playground! There’s truly no better way to come face-to-face with nature than scuba diving at Shark Point.
About Shark Point in Playa del Carmen
During the winter months, numbers of expectant female bull sharks make their way to Playa del Carmen for one purpose: giving birth. After a quick 5-minute boat ride from the beach, divers will enter the water and make their way to an observation area on the sandy bottom.
Why are the bull sharks coming to Playa del Carmen?
The bull shark is one unique species of animal that can flourish in both warm and shallow salt, as well as fresh water. Playa del Carmen offers an ideal environment for them due to the abundance of cenotes that are found along its coastline. The streams of freshwater exiting the cenotes straight into the ocean along with an abundance of fish make this area a hotspot for life, drawing in many creatures.
Every year, bull sharks migrate to the area in their final weeks before giving birth to baby bull sharks. We don’t know for sure where they are migrating from, but it’s assumed they travel from all over the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
The gentle giants seek protection for their offspring in near-shore regions. Juvenile sharks are prey for larger sea animals – even other sharks. The shallow waters close to the shores offer more protection than the open ocean.
Skilled divers who frequent this area can recognize individual sharks and observe them as they grow with pregnancy throughout the gestation period (see the below photo for a late-stage pregnant female bull shark). Mysteriously, these aquatic animals evacuate around February or March for a week before returning in an increasingly slender state prior to their departure until the next season.
The dive plan for Shark Point Playa del Carmen
Once you descend to the bottom, make your way to a point of observation at about 78 feet (24 meters) depth and take up residence on the sand. Divers will kneel on the sandy bottom. A rope is spread out at this site should you require any support while underwater. It’s also recommended to add some extra weight due to sometimes stronger currents.
You’ll be surrounded by sharks – plenty for everyone to watch and admire their grace. The sharks will be at a distance of 16 to 20 feet (5 – 6 meters). They will quickly move by the group and as fast as they appeared they will wander off into the blue. Without any guarantee – of course – generally, 2 to 10 bull sharks are seen by divers on any given dive. It’s best to check with your local dive center about the current shark season.
Don’t just focus on the sharks on this dive, keep a lookout for remoras who also enjoy partaking in this area’s relaxing atmosphere.
The dive itself is fairly short. It will take about 30 – 40 minutes. After all, you will be spending a long time at 78 feet/24 meters depth.
Bull Shark Point, Playa del Carmen dive site brief
- Access: From the boat
- Maximum depth: 78 feet/ 24 meters
- Visibility: Good
- Dive time: 30 – 40 minutes
- Certification level: Advanced Open Water
- Water temperature: 78℉/26℃
- Type: Deep dive, shark observation dive
Is it safe to dive with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen?
Sharks are wild animals and predators. Therefore, scuba diving with bull sharks comes with a certain level of risk. Anyway, regarding Florida Museum, there was not a single reported bull shark attack in the entire area since data collection in 1900.
Observation vs feeding bull shark dive in Playa del Carmen
There are two kinds of bull shark dives in Playa del Carmen: observation and feeding. Most scuba operators only facilitate observation dives – like those described above. We will not cover feeding dives, as we don’t want to support this. Please, check with your local dive center if they will bait the sharks or if it’s purely an observation dive.
Observation dives are very interesting for human and sharks alike. You will notice that the bull sharks are circling around you – not because they see you as potential prey, but out of curiosity. Sharks in general are very noisy animals.
Because of their curiosity, they also get enticed by color changes. Therefore, a single-colored long full wetsuit is recommended.
When is bull shark season in Playa del Carmen?
The bull shark season in Playa del Carmen starts in November and ends in February. Female, pregnant sharks migrate to the area in November in their final weeks before giving birth.
They leave for a week in February to actually give birth and then come back to Shark Point in Playa del Carmen generally for a week before leaving the area.
Plan your trip accordingly, if you want to experience this unique dive adventure in Playa del Carmen.
What certification is required to dive at Shark Point?
This is a deep dive at 78 feet or 24 meters. Divers must obtain the Advanced Open Water certification level or at the very least the Open Water and Deep Dive Adventure.
It’s also recommended to have some experience. Divers must be comfortable at the depth and surrounded by sharks. Additionally, good buoyancy is required to stay at the bottom.
How much is a bull shark dive at Playa del Carmen?
Most dive centers offer a two-tank dive at Shark Point in Playa del Carmen for roughly 150 USD including rental gear. Prices may vary.