If you are a travel junkie and white sand beaches are what you are after, packing your bags and setting sail for the Canary Islands is definitely what you should do. But this archipelago is often associated with having deadly sharks in the waters around it.
How true is it that the Canary Islands have sharks, and what can you expect as a tourist? That is what I am here to tell you.
The Canary Islands have sharks, but the beaches are not dangerous. The most common shark you can find near the Islands is the Angel Shark species. However, there are other types of sharks passing through the ocean as well.
It is known that the sharks living in Gran Canaria mostly eat fish instead of humans. And there have been very few reports of attacks from these sharks. So, if someone told you to stay away from the Canary Islands just because of sharks, do not listen to them. If you happen to be there for a few days, it is doubtful that you will encounter any sharks.
Even if you plan on swimming in Tenerife, there is no danger of encountering a shark. The last time someone reported a shark attack in Gran Canaria was back in 2015. So, let us find out more about sharks in the Canary Islands.
Sharks in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands is an archipelago 100 kilometers west of Morocco, located within the Atlantic Ocean, and is considered one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world.
Known for their lush white and black sand beaches, volcanoes, and resorts, Canary Islands are made up of 8 main islands. The most popular ones are Gran Canaria, Lanzarote Fuerteventura, and the largest, Tenerife.
Being right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, one often asks, are there sharks in the Canary Islands? Well, yes, there are sharks and much other marine life around the beaches.
If we talk about the sharks, however, here are the main species of sharks you might commonly find in the Canary Islands or around the fish farms in the vicinity of these islands:
- Angel Sharks
- Great White Sharks
- Basking Sharks
- Mako Sharks
- Whale Sharks
- Hammerhead Sharks
There are other species as well, but they are not in excess. The Atlantic Ocean is home to the most extensive collection of undiscovered marine life, so finding others is always possible.
Are There Dangerous Sharks in Gran Canaria?
There are no dangerous sharks near Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria is known to have a large population of Angel sharks, but none of them come near the beaches or swimming areas the public, so there is nothing to worry about.
Moreover, Angel sharks are not as aggressive as other species like the Great White or Tiger Sharks, so that is another thing you can tell yourself to avoid intrusive thoughts.
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Are There Sharks in Tenerife, Lanzarote, or Fuerteventura?
Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura are all trendy islands in the Canaries. They are all known for their mountains, volcanoes, and luscious beaches filled with tourists.
There are sharks in the waters surrounding the islands, but nothing to worry about since the sharks like deep water, and if you are swimming anywhere near the beaches, you will not be in any danger.
Compared to Gran Canaria, these islands are not home to as many species of Sharks, which is a good thing for tourists. All you need to do there is enjoy life and have the time of your life.
Are There Great White Sharks in the Canary Islands?
All the tourists are like, “Angel sharks we can deal with but are there any GREAT WHITES in the Canary Islands?”. Well, as I said above, Great White Sharks are a resident of the Atlantic Ocean.
However, they are nowhere near any of the beaches or islands. There is no need for tourists to be worried as long as they’re inside the bounds and don’t stray far away in seeking a thrill.
They may not be anywhere near the Islands, but they sure do pass through Cape Verde and the Canary Islands from quite a distance away.
Now there are many reasons for Great White Sharks avoiding the Canary Islands. One of which is that Great Whites are not small creatures, so they do not swim near shallow waters.
Another primary reason is the fact that Great White Sharks tend to prey upon Penguins and Seals mostly. Since there are none anywhere on the warm weathered beaches of the Canaries, nothing is interesting there for these sharks.
So, while there are Great White Sharks in the vicinity of the Canary Islands, you can go and have a lot of fun partying and witnessing the visual beauty of nature there without a care in the world.
Is it Safe to Swim in the sea?
If you are thinking of visiting the Canary Islands with your friends and family to have a blast on the beaches sunbathing, playing sports, having picnics, there is no way you are going to miss out on swimming. But due to the shark scares, you must be thinking, is it safe to swim on any of the beaches on the Canary Islands? Yes, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and other tourist hub spots are safe for swimming and watersports like surfing.
The Canary Islands are known for the fantastic water surrounding them and the great bathing experiences because of the warm weather and cold ocean temperature. So, as a tourist, you will have a great time swimming with your loved ones definitely, and let me make this precise one more time, you don’t need to be worried near the shore.
You need to avoid the far-away open water because the deeper the water, the more chances of bigger fish being there. So, steer clear and have fun whenever you are on one of the islands there.
Shark Attacks in the Canary Islands
Well, let us talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? Shark attacks seem to scare a lot of people, and rightly so. But when we talk about areas like the Canary Islands, shark attacks are almost non-existent.
There are one or two cases where sharks have attacked tourists, but they’re exceptional cases where irresponsible behavior was displayed. So let’s take about these cases and why you’re unlikely to encounter them.
- Around in 2015, in Gran Canaria, a person was attacked by a shark which caused quite a scare in the tourist community, but later it turned out that the victim was near a fishing farm which was far away from the shore and just was not a good place for a swim.
- In Tenerife, a tourist was attacked by an Angel shark despite their nature being timid and secluded. It was provoked to defend itself and thus ended up attacking the person.
In either case, the victims were saved, and there were not any fatalities. So, there is a lesson to learn from this. Make sure you always stay safe and act responsibly towards the guidance and rules of the locals.
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Can You Go Shark Diving in Tenerife?
A lot of people ask me this question, can you go shark diving in Tenerife? It is definitely possible, and widely done by many tourists and locals, so you can surely do it too! Tenerife Island is the largest in the Canaries and home to some of the best tourist spots, including the largest peak in Spain. But the beautiful beaches are not anything less than the volcano.
Around the beach, you might see a large population of the docile and calm-natured Angel Shark, which is just as casual and chill as it sounds. It is nowhere scary at all. Now, you need to make sure that you still need to keep your distance because Angel sharks are still sharks, and they might not intend to hurt you, but provoking is not a good idea.
Shark diving and swimming in the waters around Tenerife beaches will surely brighten up your day and give you that feeling of refreshment and happiness that you are yearning for. A good thing about the waters of Tenerife is that there have been no severe or fatal injuries or attacks from any Angel sharks either. So, there is not much reason to be scared.
As long as you’re doing great, taking responsibility, having a fun time, and appreciating the beauty the Canary Islands hold, you’re going to have an epic adventure there.
Final words (no pun intended)
The Canary Islands are home to the broadest range of marine life because of the incredible Atlantic Ocean. However, tourism around these parts is entirely safe, and you are not going to contact any predator, so don’t worry. Instead, go out, swim, sunbathe, have cocktails, breathe in the natural air, and enjoy the time of your lives without hesitation. I hope you learned a lot from this guide and that you are going to plan a trip to the Canaries soon. Please have a great adventure there; you will surely remember it!