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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Gran Canaria

snorkeling in lanzarote

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Gran Canaria

Snorkeling and scuba diving in Gran Canaria is one of those activities you shouldn’t miss out on while visiting the tropical Spanish island.   

Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Island archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 115 kilometers off the coast of Morocco.

Gran Canaria is the archipelagos largest island and is a wonderful little microcosm of everything the Canary Islands have to offer.  

As we have mentioned in a previous article, the waters surrounding the Canary Islands present pristine conditions for a wide array of marine life are a protected resource. Gran Canaria’s coastline is no different. Check out our expert’s top scuba diving and snorkeling spots on the island. 

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Gran Canaria

Snorkeling in Gran Canaria

What is snorkeling

Snorkeling is a form of scuba diving whose name that is derived from the German word schnorchel, which consists of using a tube as a mechanism to breathe underwater while using goggles to observe the seabed. The tube and goggles are usually accompanied by the use of fins

Snorkeling actually falls within the category of freediving, where no air tank is used to dive. 

The Canary Islands in general mare an amazing place to snorkle. Gran Canaria in particular, has the perfect coastline for this activity. The waters surrounding the island are clam, warm and very fertile.

It is also an ideal place for snorkeling because, although the waters are teaming with life, there are little or no dangerous marine animals, and the chance of encountering whales and dolphins is high

Now, the important things is to know where to go on the island, because there are kilometers and kilometers of heaven-on-earth level beaches and you need to know where to go:

Playa Chica 

This excellent beach is located in the island’s capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and it is one of the best beaches on the island for beginners and families. The maximum depth is just 5 meters and the water is very calm and clear. 

Playa Grande 

Playa Grande is very close to Playa Chica. The sand area is larger, but it is also a more popular and crowded beach normally. But again, the water only reaches a maximum depth of 5 meters with a gentle swell, it is the perfect place for snorkeling in Gran Canaria.

Las Salinas (Arucas)

Las Salinas is an excellent beach in the north of the island of Gran Canaria. Unfortunately, it is definitely not the best choice for more novice divers or children. The water can get choppy and unpredictable. If you are an experienced swimmer and diver, however, get ready to enjoy one of the most beautiful spots on the whole island- 

Caleta Baja 

Similar to las Salinas, you will need to be a vet to access this diving area. You will have to traverse a rocky patch to get to the prime diving area and is therefore not recommended for children or less able divers. 

Once you access the diving site you are in for a real treat, as this area is bursting with marine life. Manta rays and dolphins are common sightings in this area, and you will be sure to see a wide variety of colorful critters. 

Las Merinas 

Located near the quaint little town of Agaete, we find Las Merinas beach. This diving area is located in a cove, making it an excellent place for novice divers. The water is very calm and the rocky bottom is home to a great variety of marine life. This area is also great for scuba diving. 

Sardina del Norte 

Sardina del Norte beach is well known little area, surrounded by an old fishing village. Here you will find

Here you will find a reef habitat bustling with all sorts of reef-dwelling creatures, including sharks and moray eels. The waves can get unruly, so if you arent a confident swimmer maybe steer clear. 


Tufia is, perhaps, the most accessible of all the diving spots on our list. It is the perfect place for novice divers and children to enjoy the experience comfortably. 

The area has very little waves and abundant marine life. Especially if you are traveling with your family, Tufia is a must. 

Playa del Cabrón

Playa del Cabrón might be the best spot on this list, because of the incredible diversity of marine life it plays host to. In fact, it has recently been included in the Arinaga Marine Reserve. It is however an area only experienced divers should undertake. 

Waves are frequent and strong and can be dangerous for children and weak swimmers. 

Scubadiving in Gran Canaria

Playa de Amadores

Playa de Amadores is easily accessible, located between Puerto Rico and Playa de Mogan. This beach is a man-made, 800m long stretch of sand imported from the Sahara. The diving site is perfect for novice divers or for more experienced divers looking to refresh their skills.

The most popular dive route is outside the bay following the left arm of the breakwater. This route has a maximum depth of 13 meters and allows you to explore the marine life hiding in the breakwater.

You will find artificial reefs where you can easily identify plenty of marine life. If you look to your right on this dive you will see a sandy bottom where Stingrays and Angel Sharks like hideout.

What marine life can I expect to see?

Just 5 minutes into your dive you will be able to spot cuttlefish, Octopus, and huge numbers of Atlantic Damselfish and Bluefin Damselfish easily.

Playa Tufia 

We mentioned Tufia before. This dive site was created by a volcanic eruption. Because the seabed consists of volcanic rock, it is a perfect example of true Canary Island diving. The volcanic rocks create the perfect natural habitat for the rich marine life of Gran Canaria to inhabit.

This dive site has two different routes. the first should be atteppted only by experienced divers and can reach maximum depths of 22 meters. The second is much more accessible, reaching maximum depths of only 12 meters.

What marine life can I expect to see?

It is not uncommon to spot one of the islands most emblematic species hiding in the reef: the Angel shark. You will also come across Stingrays and on rare occasions, you might be able to spot sea turtles.

La Catedral 

La Catedral, or “The Cathedral” is located off the northern coast of Gran Canaria. It is a 20-minute boat ride from the shore and is a dive only experienced divers should undertake.

The dive is not particularly hard as long as you are comfortable and dive within your limits. La Catedral has a maximum depth of 40 metres and is home to Gran Canaria’s most breathtaking landscape.

Diving in Gran Canaria is well known for its massive caves, arches and caverns. The volcanic structure that is La Catedral is over 30 tall. the volcanic landscape is twisted and scared, the perfect hiding place for reef dwelling creatures. Make sure to have a flashlight on hand. 

What marine life can I expect to see?

La Catedral is a great place to spot Stingrays and Moray eels hiding in the volcanic rock formations. 

El Cabrón 

Another site we have already mentioned, and perhaps the best of the scuba diving sites in Gran Canaria. In the same general area, there are 4 different dives of varying difficulty:

Route 1: Discovery Bay

This is the easiest dives you will find in El Carbón. The maximum depth is 18 meters and just a short walk along volcanic sand brings us to the entry point.

located on the left side of the beach. Discovery Bay is the perfect dive site for beginners to have an introduction to the amazing dive reefs of El Cabron. 

At a depth of only 4 meters you will start to find volcanic rock formation on your left. This rock formation is your dive route and you shall be following this for the duration of your dive. To the right a flat sandy bottom, perfect for spotting Angel sharks and Eagle rays. At 8 meters you will find a cavern 7 meters wide and 4 meters deep. 

Route 2: Punta de la Monja

This route offers divers a little bit of everything but it is, however, suggested for more experienced divers. 

This path reaches a maximum depth of 22 meters. The best time to enter this dive site is at low tide.

Once you are in the water you will have surface swim for 15 meters out to sea until the water is deep enough for you to descend. You will continue swimming until you find a hole in the volcanic rock formation.

This hole is large enough to safely dive through and it will bring you to the main dive route and to a depth of 9 meters. Once you reach the end of the rocky tunnel you will be greeted with calm and deep blue water.

Here you will find large Trumpetfish, Atlantic Damselfish, and White Seabream.

If you keep descending to 20 meters you will surely encounter the resident shoal of Rhonchorous (sleeping fish.) This species is a rather lazy species and they always stay in the same area in shoals of thousands. 

Punta de la Monja is also home to the longest cavern of El Cabron. The cavern goes on for 20 meters and the bottom is the perfect place to spot sleeping stingray

Route 3: The table top

Another route of el Cabrón reserved for more experienced divers. This is the most popular entry point in El Cabron, a semi-circle shaped rock formation that shelters the entry point from the waves hitting the shore, making this the easiest and safest entry point for this area of the marine reserve. 

You will have to decent 5 meters in depth. The bottom comprised of primarily rock, meaning the visibility is normally better than the other dive locations.

Diving on the tabletop will allow you to encounter Fangtooth eel, Moray eel, and a wide variety of colorful Nudibranchs. After bout 5 minutes you should reach the edge of the reef where you will be able to see the sandy bottom and a vertical descent down to 20 meters.

Once you reach the bottom you will find another impressive cavern. There is a hole at the back of this cavern which allows natural sunlight to illuminate the cavern. Using your torch look for Stingrays, Glass-Eye fish, and Cardinalfish that inhabit these darker areas.

To your right, you will find a volcanic rock formation. From this point, the volcanic reef to your right bursts into life.

You can continue to explore smaller caverns until you reach 23 meters of depth. This is the point in the dive where you should spend the most time so many nooks and cranny’s to explore, home to Barracuda and Groupers.

Route 4: Punta de la Sal

This route is the one that requires the most experience. For this dive, you enter the water at the same entry point as The Table Top.

After diving for approximately 10 minutes and reaching a depth of 18 meters, going away from the reef and down to the sandy bottom. Once on the sandy bottom at 24 meters depth, you will be surrounded by hundreds of Garden Eels that will bury themselves quickly in the sand once you approach them.

From here you continue to gradually descend over impressive large rock formations until you reach a depth of 33 meters. At this depth, the chances of sporting giant Rays goes up considerably. You will also see a giant fan coral formation, which seems out of place in this rocky and eirie environment.

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