Nearly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Cantabrian Sea and the Mediterranean, Spain offers a wonderful array of dive options. A combination of cold and warm water attracts a large variety of aquatic life and there are numerous points of interest, including marine reserves, in various locations throughout the territory. Over the next several years, the number of protected areas is set to increase and include areas like Islas Medas, Cabo de Palos, Cabo de Gata and the coastal waters stretching 40 kilometres/25 miles from Lloret de Mar to the Cap de Begur.
Each of the areas has its own attraction. Some, such as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean or the Columbretes Islands in the east, are known for their visibility. In the south of Spain, near the straits of Gibraltar, are areas such as such as Granada, Málaga, and Cádiz, with warmer water nearly all year round. In the transition zone from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, marine mammals are common and there are businesses solely dedicated to watching whales.
In the north are Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country, which have colder waters and more demanding diving. There are also significant tides and a bit less visibility, but this is made up for with the proliferation of sea life.
PADI Dive Shops and Resorts
Here you can find all the contact information for the PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in Spain.
Dive summaryDepth: from 10 to 40 metres/33 to 100 feet
Visibility: from 3 to 50 metres/10 to 160 feet
Current: Variable from mild to intense
Water temperature: 10° to 26° C/ 50 to 80° F with a maximum of 30º C/86° F in the Balearic island zone during the summer months.
Dive season: From March to November, although some dive centers remain open all year.
Summer - Temperate Scuba Equipment
Winter - Cold Water Scuba Equipment
Grouper, eel, morays, moon fish, codfish, marine eagles and barracudas are all frequent visitors. You'll also occasionally see dolphins, whales, turtles and some angel sharks in areas with sandy bottoms. The invertebrate life and abundant coral are of particular interest to photographers.
Most Famous Dive Site - Canary Islands
Due to its location, water temperatures and climate, it is possible to dive year round off of the seven Canary Islands. There are hundreds of possibilities to dive in unforgettable places that are teeming with abundant marine fish, colorful flora and boast dramatic underwater landscapes.
The Canary Islands' 1400 kilometres/870 miles of coastline benefit from the Gulf Stream current, which regulates the water temperature - keeping it between 17 - 18° C/63 - 64° F in winter and around 23° C/73° F in summer.
The water is exceptionally clear, often providing more than 30 metres/100 feet of visibility and light that penetrates deep underwater, which is a must for underwater photographers.
Many divers visit the Canary Islands each year, taking advantage of the affordable airlines that offer frequent flights to the main islands of Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, and Gran Canary. Flights between the islands are frequent, as are ferries and passenger ships.
Accommodation is plentiful and varied, but is all of generally high quality. When you're not diving, you can simply relax by the pool, engage in some nondiving watersports or visit the many restaurants to enjoy the delicious local specialties.
Where to dive
Good places to dive are not hard to come by here and there is a generally dense network of PADI Dive Centers and Resorts on each island. Most dives are actually guided by PADI Divemasters or Instructors and briefings are normally multilingual - possibility including Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Russian and various Scandinavian languages.
Each island has spectacular dive sites particular to that location. You'll find different fish species, impressive drop-offs and numerous caves and caverns - which should only be explored if you have proper training. Shipwrecks are also scattered around the islands.
With such a large area and diversity, it's impossible to mention all of the great dive sites. The following is just a sample to whet your appetite. For more information, contact a local PADI Dive Center or Resort prior to your departure.
Because of the diversity of dive sites, diving in the Canary Islands is perfect for every skill level - from beginner to experienced. Enriched air nitrox is available in some locations and underwater photographers will generally find all the logistics they need.
There are numerous PADI Dive Centers located along the east coast - especially on the stretch from Las Galletas and Los Cristianos to Los Gigantes - along with those located in Abades, Radazul and Puerto de La Cruz. Key dive sites:
- Las Rayas (towering Los Gigantes cliffs, famous for rays)
- La Atlantida (dramatic lansdcape and sea life close to Los Gigantes)
- Las Galletas (rays)
- Radazul (large variety of fish)
- El Condesito (wreck diving)
PADI Dive Centers are available in Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste and Morro Jable. Key dive sites:
- Anfiteatro (amphitheatre - rock formations with abundant of marine life)
- Caleta de fuste (sandy bottom and a shallow dive with plenty of fish)
- El Jablito (shallow dive and plenty of fish along a sandy bottom)
- El Veril Grande (rocks, great fauna and moray eels)
- El Bajon del Rio (this volcanic site has numerous beautiful sponges)
PADI Dive Centers are located in Playa del Carmen, Puerto Calero and Playa Blanca. Key dive sites:
- Punta del Carmen
- Punta Jabillo (a sandy bottom with angel sharks and plenty of sea life)
- Punta Tinosa (wrecks)
- Temple hall (wreck)
PADI Dive Centers are located in Las Palmas, Arinaga, Arguineguin, Pasito Blanco, Playa del Ingles, Puerto Rico and Mogan. Key dive sites:
- Amadores Bay (rocky reefs with lots of marine life)
- Mogan wrecks (has various sized wrecks)
- Pasito Blanco (school of fish and moray eels)
PADI Centers are located in La Restinga, which is a popular dive spot. It is the location of the mythical Bajon. Key dive sites:
- El Bajon (shallow from the crest to the drop off and exposed to strong currents, which bring barracudas, bonito and incredible manta rays)
- Punta Restinga (a rocky bottom is covered with seaweed and sponges while triggerfish and grouper hover overhead)
PADI Dive Centers are concentrated in Los Cancajos, Brena Baja and on the east side in Puerto Naos and Los Llanos. Key dive sites:
- Las Gorgonias (spectacular black coral and sea fan colonies)
- El Laberinto
- Casa de la Bombilla
There is one PADI Dive Center in Valle Gran Rey on this UNESCO World Heritage site that is linked by ferry to La Gomera and Tenerife. Key dive sites:
- La Baja del Secreto
- el Roque de Iguala
- Punta Nariz and Cala Canteras
- La Antorcha.
Ullastres I, II, II
In the northwest Mediterranean in the Baix Empordà of Catalonia just off the side of the Far de Sant Sebastiá, these three underwater pyramids reach to within 7 metres/23 feet of the surface. They are draped in colorful gorgonians and are home to prolific sea bass, mackerel, wrasses and nudibranchs. There are also several wrecks in the area as several ships in days gone by passed too close, grazed the pyramids and sank. Depths range from 7-40 metres/23-130 feet.
This is a boat dive and various dive centers in the area will be happy to transport you the five minutes to this site from the Port of LLafranc.
Located just off of the Cape of Begur is one of the Mediterranean coast's most amazing underwater rock formations. This enormous submerged massif begins at 14 metres/46 feet before dropping well below recreational depth limits down to 55 metres/180 feet. You'll head to the site by boat, tie up to the mooring buoy and descend down that same line to the top of the furió.
The principal attractions of this dive off of the north wall are the immense gorgonians and incredibly colorful coral formations. There are also numerous invertebrates and sea life congregating to take advantage of the food supply provided by the constant beating of the currents onto the furió.
Depending on the time of year, there area also octopus, snapper, grouper, rays and silver-plated walls of barracuda patrolling for food. The visibility here is variable and can range up to 40 metres/130 feet. On some occasions it is possible to see the base of the furió from the top.
The north face, however, is better left for experienced divers as it is an absolutely vertical descent with the wall in front and the deep blue sea behind. You'll typically go straight to your planned deepest depth then ascend slowly in a zigzag pattern before making a safety stop at the end of the dive.
For those with less experience, the southeast face has a more gradual descent but still provides a large amount of captivating sea life. Regardless of which side you're diving, you'll want to check with the dive guide or dive leader about the sea state or currents before you leave for the dive.
Murcia and the “Islas Hormigas Marine Park” in cabo de palos
The “Islas Hormigas Marine Park” boasts the best diving in Murcia and arguably the best place to dive in Spain for the abundance of varied marine life you will encounter.
Since 1995 the reserve has been a well established breeding ground for Mediterranean fish and wildlife. Within the 12km² park there are 5 dive sites which are highly protected by the Marine authorities and are home to an abundance of marine life such as huge Groupers, shoals of Barracuda, Octopus, Moray Eels, Eagle rays as well as Nudibranch and the occasional Sunfish. During period August to October, within the reserve, huge bait balls attract Palagic fish, such as Tuna, Comon dentex and Jacks as well as other predatory fish, all of which feed on them offering a spectacular show that is a must see for any Diver!
Adventure Divers conduct daily dives within the marine park where you can also dive several world class ship wrecks within the park and close by. Some of which are from WW2 though artefacts can be found dating back to Venetian and Roman times as well. There are also some extensive cave systems close to Mazarron which is just west of Cartagena town which makes Murcia a gread diving destination for all abilities!
Spain offers a wide variety of activities when you're not diving - ranging from the mountains to the sea. Here are just a few:
- Skiing: the Pyrenees, the Sierra Nevada, Cadí.
- Kitesurfing: Tarifa is a world famous kitesurfing location.
- Cycling: professional teams come from around the world to train and prepare for upcoming races.
- Motorcycle and automobile racing: there are tracks throughout the country, such as Montmeló, Jerez, Valencia, where drivers can practice their craft.
- Monuments: these are found dispersed throughout the country but here are just a couple of examples. La Sagrada Familia by Gaudí, a representation of modern art, is a church without equal in the world. The Alhambra of Granada and the Giralda of Sevilla are beautiful creations that show Arab presence in the Iberian Peninsula.
- Football: The intense rivalry between Football Club Barcelona and Real Madrid is well known and the passion of the Spaniards for the world game is intense and infectious.
Languages: Castilian, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Valencian, Majorcan.
Links to reputable travel agencies
Visit the SCUBA diving information at the Official Canary Islands Tourism website
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