PADI Scuba Diving in Cyprus
Likely named for its most famous daughter, Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty) and also called Kypron in ancient Greek, Cyprus is nestled in the Northeast corner of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. From simple, sandy-bottom dives for beginners, to excellent enriched air diving on the Zenobia, one of Europe’s most famous wreck dives, the island's diving offers something for everyone. Water temperatures range from 16°-27° Celsius/ 60°-80° Fahrenheit, which provides one of the longest dive seasons in the Mediterranean. Plus, the area boast great visibility - 20-35+ metres/65-115+ feet - nearly all year.
Plan your trip with a PADI Dive Shop or Resort in Cyprus.
In the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey and ordered by Syria and Lebanon to the East, Cyprus covers approximately 9250 square kilometres/ 3571 square miles and is the third largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia. Its climate is typical of the region, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Any rain typically falls around November and March. Nicosia, the island’s capital, sees average air temperatures ranging from 10-15° C/50-59° F in January to 25-35° C/77-95° F in July, with coastal areas being just a degree or two cooler.
Although the coastline is predominantly indented and rocky, there are several long, sandy beaches. Although many of the bordering towns are quite famous in Europe for their nightlife, there is something for everyone here. The water typically Mediterranean, clear year-round and pleasantly warm throughout a main dive season that runs from March to October or November. It isn't surprising that the dive community has found a welcome environment among the Cypriots.
The focus of dive operations is around the major coastal towns of Polis/Latchi, Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and Paralimni. Famagusta, Kibris and Kyrenia in the island's north have seen a resurgence in dive operations. Above the water, culture and cuisine are unmistakably Mediterranean. Visitors can see ancient Greek, Byzantine or Roman remains, enjoy ancient vineyards and citrus groves or just laze away the long, warm evenings with the Cypriot passion for sharing good food, good conversation and good friends.
PADI Dive Shops and Resorts
Find contact information for all the PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in Cyprus.
Depth: 4-40 metres/13-131 feet. Technical diving is available to approximately 100 metres/328 feet.
Visibility: Generally 20-35+ metres/65-115+ feet in calm conditions. Out of season, winter storms typically drop visibility to a few metres/ feet.
Currents: The area is generally calm and almost current free. There are occasionally local surface currents above two knots so local briefings are advised.
Water Temp: 16°-27° C/60°-80° F in the main dive season and slightly cooler otherwise.
Dive Season: Year-round. The wettest season ranges from November thru March.
Weather: 10-15o C/50-59o F in January, 25-35o C/77-95o F in July. January is the wettest month but has less than 10 days of rain on average.
Access: Many beach access points lead to great shore diving and boat diving is plentiful. Please note that the abundance of antiquities make Mediterranean diving unique, but the sensitivity of such remains means that divers should strictly look and never touch.
Skill level: Beginner – Advanced – Technical ; the Zen in particular (see below) provides perfect profiles for Enriched Air diving.
Wreck Diver, Deep Diver, Enriched Air Diver, Digital Underwater Photographer, Diver Propulsion Vehicle, AWARE - Fish Identification, Technical Diving.
Early/Late Season: Temperate Scuba Equipment
Mid-season: Temperate Scuba Equipment
Other seasons: Cold Water Scuba Equipment
Underwater Photography Equipment
Diver Propulsion Vehicles
Length of stay:
One to two weeks
Indigenous life flourishes among the rocky shorelines and outcrops around Cyprus - providing an ideal home for octopus and crustaceans. Green and loggerhead turtles are regular visitors - especially in breeding season (see Topside Treasures below). A reserve near Akrotiri - with a maximum depth of 9 metres/ 30 feet - brings divers face-to-face with groupers, moray eels, bream and bass. Many PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in Cyprus offer a Fish Identification program to help you make the most of your diving.
Most Famous Dive Site
The wreck of the Zenobia - typically called The Zen
Average Depth: 16-43 metres/52-141 feet with a sandy bottom.
Although any list of the world’s dive sites is certainly subjective, the wreck of the Zenobia is certainly deserving of consideration. A former Swedish roll-on, roll-off (RO-RO) ferry, the Zen developed computer ballasting problems during a July 1980 stopover in Larnaca and sank a short distance offshore. Now lying on her port side, the Zen rests at depths from16-43 metres/52-141 feet – perfect for Enriched Air diving. Nearly all of the vessel's 178 metre/584 foot length is colonized by local marine life and the cavernous hold provides an interesting and unusual penetration dive for those with suitable training and qualifications. Many of the More than 100 trucks were chained to the cargo deck for the journey and many now sit suspended from the wall like a bizarre 3-D picture.
With so much history, it comes as no surprise that Cyprus also offers ancient wrecks, amphorae viewing and even a site called the Amphitheatre. But, the Zen is one of the best known dives and well worth a visit to Cyprus in itself.
Getting to the site:
The Zen lies just about a ten minute boat ride offshore, directly opposite Larnaca airport. Boats leave from Larnaca Harbour and there is ample parking at or near the harbor. Many PADI Dive Centers or Resorts also have their guests park at the business then provide transportation to the harbor. The wreck has a number of buoys with permanent lines at a variety of entry and exit points, and enriched air nitrox is widely available for those suitably qualified. Check with any PADI Dive Shop or Resort on the island to reserve your spot.
• Turtles, turtles everywhere:
Cyprus has numerous turtle watching areas, including protected nesting sites which can be visited with suitably accredited local facilities - ask your PADI Dive Shop or Resort for details. The best time to watch nesting and laying activities is from the end of June to the beginning of July. If you'd like to see the delightful new clutches returning to the sea after hatching, look towards late August and early September.
• The Kataklysmos:
The Cypriot Flood Festival - is celebrated around the time of the Christian Whitsun or Pentecost - 50 days after Easter in the Greek Orthodox calendar. Seafronts bristle with stalls selling toys and traditional food and local culture takes center stage with music, dancing and a competition for chatista (rhyming songs in the Cypriot dialect). Events even include some competitions in the water.
• Viticulture, Viniculture and Œnology:
Winemaking has been a facet of Cypriot life stretching back nearly forever and has seen a renaissance since the 1980’s. The local trade has a growing range of interesting – and very affordable –gems awaiting interested visitors. Cyprus is home to Commandaria, the oldest named wine still being produced. The name comes from the Cyprus-based headquarters of the Knights of St. John - the organization's history is suffused throughout the island).
• Language: The official language is Greek, with Turkish predominant in the North, but English is widely spoken.
• Currency: The Euro is Cyprus' official currency but the Turkish Lire may be more widely accepted in the North of the island.
• Tipping: Gratuities are not normally included in the bill and 5-10 percent is customary for exceptional service in restaurants, taxis. etc. Housekeeping and room service is usually included in the bill, but it may be worth asking at reception regarding tipping on concierge services.
• Transportation: Renting a car is a great way to explore Cyprus and most major towns will have plenty of options. Don’t forget your drivers license and passport, as renters will usually want to see both before releasing their vehicle.
Related Resources on Cyprus
• Cyprus Tourism Board
• Visa Requirements
• Trip Advisor
Submit a request to a Dive Travel Specialist
• Contact a PADI Dive Shop or Resort to plan your trip
• Submit a request to a Dive Travel Specialist
Want to know more? Visit www.scubaearth.com for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.