Scuba Diving the marine reserve on Gran Canaria

Marine Reserve ´El Cabron´ on Gran Canaria

Scuba diving is probably not the first thing you think off when considering activities to do in Arguineguín. You might be surprised that Gran Canaria offers spectacular diving with lots of variety. Ellis takes you on an underwater tour exploring the marine reserve ´El Cabron´, in Arinaga.

Arinaga is the base of the Angel Shark Conservation Project

“After diving many destinations all over the world, I’m still very excited to dive ´El Cabron´ again. I think it’s Europe’s best diving,” says one of the other divers as we make our way to Arinaga. The marine reserve the base of the Angel Shark Conservation Project. The angel sharks are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN ´Red List´. The scientific name for these beautiful sea creatures is ´Squatina squatina´.

More than 400 marine species in the marine reserve on Gran Canaria

We go off-road and enter a rocky path through a moon-landscape to enter the marine reserve. “The jeep-safari is free of charge”, jokes Matthew Astill, owner of Dive Academy and our dive guide today. “Fishing and boats are prohibited in this area, so people are often surprised by the amount of fish they see”. I also learn today that the marine reserve is home to more than 400 marine species.


Diving the marine reserve Arinaga, Gran Canaria
Scuba Dive ´el Cabron´ in Arinaga, Gran Canaria

´El Cabron´ is Spanish for ´the bastard´…

We walk down the rocks to enter ´El Cabron´ which means ´the bastard´. It got this name because sometimes it can be a bit difficult to enter and exit the water. Fortunately, the staff of Dive Academy is very professional and helps each of us to enter the water safely.

So much sea life to be spotted during our first dive

Once we descend we first find our way over a sandy bottom where I already spot a cuttlefish and some trumpet fish. As soon as we arrive at the reef Matt points to something and I see a giant lobster staring at us from his cave. We follow the reef and descend a bit deeper till we again come to a sandy bottom at about 18 metres depth. There’s a lot of life to be spotted here!

An interesting fact about the torpedo ray

There are morays and crabs between the rocks, two angel sharks are laying in the sand and a bit further down an electric ray, also called torpedo ray. Did you know that this type of ray specie can produce real electrical impulses up to 200 volts?

We also see the distinctive giant anemone at Arinaga

It’s important to keep an eye in the blue too because anything can pass by here. We continue our dive at the other side of the reef where big schools of fish are hanging around. We need our torches to enter a small cave that is home to a huge round ray. I’m surprised to see the distinctive giant anemone hiding between two stones, while we’re making our way up to our safety stop.


Round Ray scuba diving the Atlantic Ocean from Gran Canaria
The marine reserve in Arinaga gives home to this round ray


Giant Anemone scuba diving El Cabron in Arinaga, Gran Canaria
El Cabron on Gran Canaria also gives home to this Giant Anemone

You can dive many wrecks around Gran Canaria too

Once our ´jeep safari´ leaves the reserve, Matt tells us that also seahorses, and less frequent filefish and reef sharks can be seen in Arinaga. But not only in Arinaga, there’s also great diving all around Gran Canaria. The west coast is full of nice boat dive sites with Mogán offering a submarine and two wrecks in the same dive. More wrecks can be found close to Las Palmas, where you can also do the famous ´Cathedral´ dive.

More dive spots around Gran Canaria

There are many more amazing dive sites from ´Sardinia´ in the north-west of the island to ´Tufia´ close to the airport and a variety of spots on the places named above including wrecks and an artificial reef, constructed by marine biologists, which attracts a lot of life.

The dive sites in the Atlantic oceans are full of surprises

Common interesting things to spot around Gran Canaria are barracudas, groupers, morays, octopus, and rays. However, everything is possible because the Atlantic Ocean is full of surprises. Even the whale shark was reported in the north of Gran Canaria by scientists from the University of Las Palmas in 2010.

Practical Information about the dive centre

Dive Academy Gran Canaria is a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Center and Gold Palm Resort. Guided dives are offered for certified divers from €35,- per dive, this includes tank, air, and weights. Rental equipment is available too. If you´ve never scuba dived before, you´re also at the right place! All PADI courses are available with Dive Academy and because they use their own private swimming pool you can take as much time practicing your skills before you feel comfortable for the open sea. The first complete ´PADI Open Water Diver Course´ starts from €370,-


Dive Academy dive center on Gran Canaria
diving centre Dive Academy in Arguineguín, Gran Canaria

Scuba dive information on Gran Canaria

You can wear your wetsuit all year round and the water temperature varies from 19ºC till 23ºC. The best time to spot an Angel Shark is from November till May. Dive Academy is situated in ´Puesta del Sol´ in Arguineguín, and is opened from 9 AM to 5 PM every day, except on Mondays. Please see their website for contact details:

Where to stay during your diving holiday to Gran Canaria?

If you´re looking for accommodation for your stay during your holiday on Gran Canaria, please do so with Just click on the link and you can guarantee your stay for the same price as booking directly with your accommodation or travel agency. Another company I can highly recommend is Agoda, click on this link is you like to check out the current accommodation deals in Gran Canaria on Agoda. If you click through from one of the links provided in this article or use the search box below. I will earn a small commission. Thank you for supporting Splashpacker!

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Are you also considering to do your Divemaster, become a scuba pro or scuba diving instructor?

If you´re looking into becoming a PADI Pro member, I can recommend them too. I have done my divemaster course with Dive Academy in 2006 and even though the owners have changed in the meantime, I´m pretty sure they offer the same level of quality up to today and I know the new owner of the dive school. When I did my IDC (dive instructor course) in the Dominican Republic 2 years later, I realized even more how grateful I was for doing my course with them, providing me an excellent basis. If you´re interested in becoming a scuba dive instructor and read my story, you can click on this link


A big thanks to Dive Academy Gran Canaria for providing all the photos in this article!

This article is now featured on Scuba News!

* This article was written by me as an assignment for the ´Australian Writers Centre´ when was I attending the course ´Travel Writing´.

* Prices are subject to change and last updated in November 2017

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Black Moray Eel during a dive on Gran Canaria
Black Moray Eel (muraenidae), scuba diving Gran Canaria


7 thoughts on “Scuba Diving the marine reserve on Gran Canaria”

  1. Hi Geir,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes El Cabron will never get boring! Are you living at Gran Canaria? Happy Bubbles and all the best for the new year 🙂

  2. Could not agree more, Even with hundreds of dives in El Cabron I never had a boring dive, always something out of the ordinary to be spotted 🙂
    Have fun all and hope to see you under water in 2018..

    Cheers, Geir

  3. And thank you for the photos, it looks much better now 🙂

  4. Hi Matt and Dive Academy 🙂
    Thank you for your feedback! It was a great day, haha!! When I come back to Canary Islands I definitely come over for some diving with you!!

  5. Hi Neil, Thank you for your comment! You´re absolutely right. For me, it´s the best diving of all Canary Islands I did so far 🙂 The night dives are spectacular too!!!!

  6. This article takes me back to many happy and interesting dives around Gran Canaria with Dive Academy over many years. I never tire of diving El Cabron, you describe it perfectly, what's on offer and a night dive there is a truly awesome experience.

  7. Hi Ellis,

    Love the blog! It was a great day at Arinaga wasn't it (including the jeep safari :-)?!

    Happy diving and look forward to seeing you again soon. X

    Matt and the Dive Academy Team

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