Imagine a Mediterranean island bathed in warm and clear blue water where you can stroll along the shore past the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Long, sandy beaches punctuate the predominantly indented and rocky coastline, and the larger towns are renowned for their night life; the culture and cuisine are unmistakably Mediterranean.
Cyprus, covering approximately 9250 square kilometers/3571 square miles, 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 wrecks, the island’s diving offers something for everyone. On top of this, the dive season in Cyprus runs from March to October or November, one of the longest dive seasons in the Mediterranean, and the waters are clear and pleasantly warm all year.
Most of the dive operations in the Republic of Cyprus (the diving’s good in North Cyprus too, but that’s a different vacation) are found near the major coastal towns of Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca with the Paralimni and Ayia Napa regions among the best served.
PADI Dive Centers and Resorts can arrange just about everything: Discover Scuba® Diving experiences at sheltered sites, directions to some memorable shore dives or boat trips to more remote off shore sites.
Après dive is the time to explore those ancient Greek, Byzantine or Roman archaeological sites, 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.
Plan your trip with a PADI Dive Shop or Resort in Cyprus.
Off Paphos are numerous caves, one of which has an amphorae-encrusted roof. This and adjacent gullies are well worth exploring at depths to 12 metres/40 feet.
The Wreck of the Zenobia
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 stop over in Larnaca and sank a short distance offshore. Nowlying on her port side, the Zen rests at depths from 16-43 metres/52-141 feet –perfect for enriched air diving. Nearly all of the vessel’s 178-metre/584-footlength 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 deckfor the journey and many now sit suspended from the wall like a bizarre 3-Dpicture.
The Zen lies 10 minutes by boat from Larnaca Harbour. Many PADI Dive Centers or Resorts have guests park at the business and provide transport to the harbor. The wreck has a number of buoys with permanent lines at a variety of entry and exit points.
Depth: 4-40 metres/13-131feet. Technical diving is available to approximately 100 metres/330 feet.
Visibility: Generally 20-35+metres/65-115+ feet in calm conditions. Out of season, winter storms can dropvisibility to a few meters/feet.
Currents: The area is generally calm and almost current free. Occasional local currents above two knots will be addressed in local briefings.
Water Temperature: 16-27°C/60-80° F in the main dive season and slightly cooler otherwise.
Dive Season: Year-round.The wettest season is from November thru March.
Weather: 10-15°C/50-59°F in January, 25-35°C/77-95°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. The abundanceof antiquities make Mediterranean diving unique, but divers should strictly look and never touch.
Skill level: Beginner on up.The Zen in particular provides perfect profiles for enriched air diving.
In the main dive season, you'll use temperate water scuba equipment. In the off season when the water gets slightly cooler, you'll want to use cold water scuba equipment.
Length of stay: One to two weeks
Featured Creatures: Indigenous life flourishes among the rocky shorelines and outcrops around Cyprus -providing an ideal home for octopus and crustaceans. Green and logger head turtles are regular visitors - especially in breeding season. 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.
Topside: Cyprus has numerous turtle watching areas, including protected nesting sites, which can be visited with suitably accredited local facilities. 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.
Winemaking has been a part of Cypriot life stretching back nearly forever and has seen a renaissance since the 1980s. 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. English is widely spoken.
Currency: Euro (EUR).
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 driver’s license and passport, as renters will usually want to see both before releasing their vehicle.
Major Airports: Larnaca International (LCA), Paphos International(PFO) and Nicosia International (NIC).
Religion: Primarily Greek Orthodox
Electricity: 240V/50 Hz, Type G British 3-pin plug.
Airport Entry/Exit fees: It is usually included with the airfare, but check with your travel agent or tour operator.
Submit a request to a Dive Travel Specialist
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