Scuba Diving Gran Canaria: boat dives on the southwest coast

In my previous post, you could read about my personal experience scuba diving with Nautico Dive Academy in Arguineguin on Gran Canaria. The same scuba dive center as where I did my Divemaster internship and worked as a Divemaster, 16 years ago. In this post, I write a bit more about the actual scuba diving on Gran Canaria. More specifically, in this post is written about the boat diving on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. But if you’re interested in shore diving in the marine reserve El Cabron in Arinaga, you can check out this post!

Here´s a little video of scuba diving in Gran Canaria. This video was recorded during my scuba dive at Arguineguín Reef dive site. You can also switch on subtitles in most languages. And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button to stay updated with the Splashpacker YouTube channel!

Scuba diving on Gran Canaria: boat diving on the southwest coast

Gran Canaria has a lot of scuba dive sites to offer, the dive spots are located all around the island. I have previously written a blog post about the marine reserve in Arinaga, which was featured on ‘The Scuba News’. In this post, I share more about scuba diving in Gran Canaria, and on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. This is all done in the form of boat diving rather than shore diving.

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Boat diving is a very relaxing way of scuba diving in Gran Canaria

Although Arinaga is beautiful, the shore diving with entry and exit points over the rocks can be a bit rough sometimes. It all depends on the conditions and your scuba diving experience. But in my personal opinion, boat diving on the southwest coast is the most relaxed way to go scuba diving on Gran Canaria. By the way, you might also like to read my post about why scuba diving is such a spiritual experience!

 

Scuba diving Arguineguín reef on Gran Canaria
Arguineguin Reef Dive Site gives home to a big school of bastard grunts, named ‘Roncadores´ in Canarias

With worldwide scuba diving experience, I still love scuba diving on Gran Canaria

After having worked as a scuba diving instructor around the world, and also with some fair bit of dive traveling, I still love to go scuba diving on Gran Canaria. Why? Indeed, Gran Canaria does not have tropical corals. But the Atlantic Ocean has a lot to offer and is full of surprises. The volcanic origin of the island has created lots of little caves, overhangs, and old lava streams.


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A variety of marine life during scuba diving on Gran Canaria

The unique landscape has given a home to a variety of marine life which can all be explored during your scuba diving on Gran Canaria. Besides the natural reefs, there are also quite some wrecks around the island. And there are a couple of artificial reefs. There is even a dive site called ´the lost city of Atlantis´.

Wreck diving in Gran Canaria
There is a number of  wreck dive sites on Gran Canaria
Moray Eel at Arguineguín reef dive site in Gran Canaria
The volcanic landscape with overhangs and old lava streams gives home to morays and other marine life

What kind of marine life to expect when scuba diving in Gran Canaria?

Marine life to be expected during scuba diving in Gran Canaria consists of many fish. There are huge schools of fish, especially the big schools of grunts which are called ‘Roncadores’ in Canary Spanish. But barracudas can also be seen in big schools at times. Furthermore there is octopus, cuttlefish, trumpet fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, nudibranch, moray eels, and the cute wide-eyed flounder. You can also spot many kinds of different rays whilst scuba diving in Gran Canaria, such as stingrays, butterfly rays, round rays, and electric rays.

 

Stingray whilst scuba diving Arguineguin Reef on Gran Canaria
a stingray was hiding under a rock at Arguineguin Reef dive site

With a bit of luck, you can also see bigger marine life whilst scuba diving on Gran Canaria

There is also a chance to spot bigger fish when you’re scuba diving on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. Although you need to be lucky, it is not impossible to see a shark or a turtle on this side of the island. Last year, they even saw a Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) and a hammerhead shark during scuba diving by boat on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria.

Angel sharks on Gran Canaria

You can also see angel sharks, you probably find them lying in the sand during scuba diving in Gran Canaria. The best time to see angel sharks is during the European winter months, from November to May.

If you like bigger marine species, you might also like to go whale- & dolphin-watching on Gran Canaria in a responsible way!

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Octopus during scuba on Gran Canaria
There is a big chance to spot octopus during your scuba diving on Gran Canaria

Are the Canary Islands less affected by ocean pollution and climate change?

Comparing the scuba diving in Gran Canaria to my time when I was working as a divemaster on Gran Canaria, I honestly feel that 18 years later the amount of fishlife has grown abundantly! I was scuba diving in Gran Canaria a couple of weeks ago, and I saw a group of about 100 barracudas! Well, I didn´t count them but I don´t think I exaggerate, see the photo and video below!

Big school of barracuda's during scuba diving in Gran Canaria
Can you count the amount of barracudas in this photo?

 

Scuba diving in Gran Canaria makes my heart smile!

There are more rays, octopuses, and cuttlefish than years ago, but also the big schools of fish have also grown enormously in size. It´s something that really makes my heart smile because we all know of the commercial overfishing issues and plastic problems that are doing so much harm to marine life. Scuba diving on Gran Canara, makes me forget for a moment that those problems even exist in the world.

Big variety of dive sites for boat diving on Gran Canaria

Most dive sites that are done in the form of boat diving on Gran Canaria are to be found between the coast of Pasito Blanco to Puerto de Mogán. The most popular natural reef dives include Pasito Blanco Reef, Arguineguín Reef, Balito Reef, and Bahia Blanca.

Artificial reefs in the south of Gran Canaria

There are a couple of artificial reefs, one was an experiment of the faculty of marine biology of the university in Las Palmas and has attracted a lot of sea life over the last two decades. Another artificial reef dive site is called ´the Lost City of Atlantis´ which is created more recently. The dive site looks a bit like a tiny underwater historic museum. It´s located close to the famous Mogán wrecks.

 

Big schools of fish are to be found in the waters of the Canary Islands
The amount of marine life seems to have increased over the years in the waters of the Canary Islands
Soft corals in the Atlantic Ocean close to the Canary Islands
Although there are no tropical corals in this part of the Atlantic Ocean, you will see soft corals during scuba diving on Gran Canaria

Wreck diving and a submarine during your scuba diving on Gran Canaria

There are several wreck dive sites located in this part of Gran Canaria. Close to the coast of Puerto de Mogan, you can find two wrecks lying pretty close to each other. With a bit of lucky timing, you can also see the submarine touring around during scuba diving at this dive site on Gran Canaria. This makes it quite an interesting experience. Make sure to wave to the tourists in the submarine, so you look happy in someone holiday´s picture, LOL!

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More wrecks in the south of Gran Canaria

Just off the coast of el Pajar, also called la Bahia del Pajar, there is a dive site called the Russian wreck. Unfortunately, the wreck is being destroyed for a big part, so you can´t penetrate the wreck anymore during your dive. However, there are still parts of the wreck to be found and this has attracted abundant marine life, making it a nice spot to go scuba diving. Usually, there are big schools of fish and rays to be spotted here.

And last but not least, there is a little scuba dive site with a sailing boat lying at a depth of about 30 meters, on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. This is where I saw that impressive school of barracudas!

 

Little sailboat wreck dive site in Gran Canaria
The little sailboat is a deep dive site that attracts lots of schools of fish
Barracadu's at the little sailboat wreck dive site in Gran Canaria
A big school of barracudas at the little sailboat wreck dive site in Gran Canaria

Advantages of boat diving on this side of Gran Canaria

Besides that it´s very relaxing to enjoy a nice boat ride before rolling yourself into the blue, there are more advantages of scuba diving on this side of Gran Canaria. First of all, the Arinaga Marine Reserve can get crowded, sometimes you have to queue up at the entry point.

Scuba diving in the south of Gran Canaria is usually done in small groups

If you go boat diving in Gran Canaria, there is usually only one dive center at a particular dive site at the time. Although rare, there can be a dive boat from another scuba dive center doing the same dive spot. But most of the dive boats are small and scuba diving is done in small groups. You pretty much have the dive site for yourself.

What kind of boats are used for scuba diving in Gran Canaria?

Most scuba diving takes place by zodiac boats in Gran Canaria. Some dive centers use another kind of boat.

 

 

How far are the scuba dive sites from the coast of Gran Canaria?

Most dive sites in the south of Gran Canaria are a 10 to 20-minute boat ride away. Some are a little further away, but of course, it also depends on where you leave from. Most dive sites in the south of Gran Canaria are located off the coast between Pasito Blanco and Puerto de Mogán.

Will you be back in time for lunch if you go boat diving in Gran Canaria?

The dive boat usually leaves with double tanks for the morning dives, and the dive tanks get changed during the surface interval. If you go scuba diving on the southeast coast of Gran Canaria, you will be back in time to enjoy lunch with your family or non-diving travel partner.

What is the water temperature in Gran Canaria and what kind of suit should I wear while diving?

The water temperature around Gran Canaria ranges from 19°C (66,2°F) in winter to about 23°C (73,4°F) in summer. Most scuba divers dive in a wet suit. It is best to dive in Gran Canaria in a 7mm suit, especially in the winter months. But some divers dive in a 5 mm suit in the summer, or in a dry suit in the winter. To stay warm during your dive, you can also put on a neoprene hat or gloves. You can also wear dive socks to keep your feet warm! (add, link to Amazon)

Wreck of a little sailboat in the waters of the Canary Islands
There are several wrecks to be found scuba diving on Gran Canaria

Is it better to go boat diving or shore diving in Gran Canaria?

Looking at the logistics, comfort, and variety of dive sites, boat diving is a great way to go scuba diving in Gran Canaria. This is especially true when you are traveling with a non-diving partner or family members who aren’t scuba diving during your holiday on Gran Canaria. If you want to get the most out of your vacation in Gran Canaria, you save time by doing boat diving instead of shore diving if you’re staying on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. Because shore diving is done on the other side of the island, you have to drive much further.

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Shore diving in Gran Canaria is beautiful too!

Although El Cabron in Arinaga offers scuba diving in a protected marine reserve on Gran Canaria, and Sardina del Norte is also amazingly beautiful. But you need to count on almost a full day to dive those dive sites if you’re staying in the southwest of the island. Also, keep in mind that you need to be a more experienced scuba diver for certain dive sites. Arinaga can be windy and a bit wavy at times, you enter the water over the (sometimes slippery) rocks.

Barracudas and little sailboat wreck in the Atlantic Ocean
Not the best visibility this day, but lots of barracudas!

My conclusion about boat diving in Gran Canaria

Personally, I love to be on a boat and cruise a bit over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean whilst enjoying the view of the island. Then rolling yourself in the blue and descending to your dive site by the anchor line is a very relaxed way of scuba diving to me. There is a variety of scuba diving sites on this side of Gran Canaria, and I especially love the huge schools of fish and the number of wreck dive sites here. You will be back in time, there are not many divers at the same dive site, and the conditions are usually awesome for scuba divers of any level.



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If you can, go both shore- and boat diving in Gran Canaria

Of course, it all depends a bit on your personal preference, scuba diving level, and experience. There is a big difference if you are used to going scuba diving in the United Kingdom on a weekly base, or only just did your Open Water Diver Course in Thailand. That said however if you are coming purely for a diving holiday without being accompanied by any non-divers, I would plan a bit of both: boat diving and shore diving.

You can also stay longer than a week for a diving holiday in Gran Canaria

I can even recommend staying longer than a week because you won´t get bored easily if you plan on scuba diving Gran Canaria. There is a lot to discover here, but definitely don´t skip the boat diving on the beautiful southwest coast! Click here for my post about whale- & dolphin watching on Gran Canaria in a way that respects and protects marine life.

Roncadores or bastard grunts in the Canary Islands

Tip! Go scuba diving with Nautico Dive Academy in Gran Canaria

I can recommend booking your scuba diving in Gran Canaria with Nautico Dive Academy in Arguineguín. There is such a nice vibe at the scuba dive center that you also might like to stick around after diving, to have a chat with your fellow divers.

The dive center is extremely family-friendly, it´s a great place to experience scuba diving for the first time in the form of a ‘Discover Scuba Diving’, get your children to do a ‘ Bubble Maker’ in their private swimming pool, or to get your ‘not-yet diving partner’ rolled into an ‘Open Water Course Diver Course’. More information can be found in the blog post I have written about this dive center in Arguineguín on Gran Canaria, or on https://nauticodiving.com/ 

Scuba Divers doing a course

More recommendations & tips for your scuba diving holiday to Gran Canaria

I will now share some practical travel information for your scuba diving holiday and travels to Gran Canaria. I will share a few tips regarding where to stay and other activities to do on Gran Canaria (ad), on the days you’re not scuba diving or for non-diving travel partners. I’m working on more blogposts for Gran Canaria, but for now, keep reading for some travel information.

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Where to stay during your holidays in Gran Canaria?

There is a variety of accommodation options for your stay when you’re planning on scuba diving in Gran Canaria. Next to the mass touristy places full of hotels, apartments, and other holiday homes in Puerto Rico, Playa del Inglès, and Meloneras in Maspalomas, there are also smaller, quieter places off the beaten track. They include guesthouses, hostels, rural tourism, and even camping options. I do recommend renting a car if you choose one of the latter options.

If you like to experience Canary village vibes, and stay close to the coast but don´t like to stay in a touristy resort town, I can recommend staying in Arguineguín.

Playa de Arguineguín on Gran Canaria
The main beach of Arguineguín is usually pretty quiet

Staying in Arguineguín on Gran Canaria

Originally a fishermen’s town, and although grown a bit more touristy, Arguineguín still feels like a Canary village. There are small streets, lots of terraces to drink or eat something and the calm main beach always offers a nice sea breeze. I´m told that Arguineguín, which is a name from the Guanches (the indigenous people of Gran Canaria), means: calm seas, warm breeze. And that´s what you will experience here.

Arguineguín is a nice place to relax after scuba diving in Gran Canaria

There are some little natural beaches, natural pools, and manmade beaches to be found all over Arguineguín before it stretches out on both sides. On one side, into the much bigger beach of Patalavaca, at about a 1,5 km walking distance, and at the other side into a new little hiking trail to El Pajar, where a brand new resort is to be found (ad).

You can read more about this in a new upcoming blog post about Arguineguín. Use the search box from Booking below to book your accommodation on Gran Canaria, or click here if you prefer to book through Agoda. ( I receive a small commission on your booking).


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The little fishing village of Arguineguin
Arguineguín hasn´t lost her charm. A full blog post about this authentic fishing village including accommodation tips, on Splashpacker soon!

Hotels in Arguineguín: from budget rooms to charming 3*-star hotels or luxury 5-star resorts

In Arguineguín are a variety of accommodation options for any type of vacation. From simple €50,- rooms in the town itself, to €250,- rooms in the luxury 5* resorts just a couple of kilometers outside the town of ‘La Playa del Aruineguín’. Sign up for my mailing list or stay tuned for the upcoming blog post about Arguineguín. You can find your accommodation by using the map below, I receive a small commission of your purchase.



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Airport transport for your holiday to Gran Canaria

To arrive at your accommodation from the airport, you can either book private transport or take the public bus. Or you can rent a car at the airport. If you like to take the public bus, the price is about €5,- p.p. to Arguineguín. Keep in mind that you might have to wait a while, for current information check out the website of the local bus company Global here.  You can also book a private airport transfer to your hotel on Gran Canaria in advance, the price is around €50,-

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Other activities and things to do in Gran Canaria

If you´re looking for other things to do than scuba diving on Gran Canaria, you won’t get bored! Or maybe you’re planning on traveling to Gran Canaria with a partner or company that isn’t planning on scuba diving in Gran Canaria. There are many things to do on Gran Canaria from boat tours and other water sports excursions to things such as canyoning or parasailing. You can go hiking in the mountains, play golf, go cycling or surfing and kayaking. It´s also a nice idea to visit Las Palmas.

Book your excursion in Gran Canaria in advance with Get Your Guide

Booking with Get Your Guide is very convenient! You can usually book your excursion or diving in Gran Canaria now and only pay three days before this activity takes place. You can also often cancel up to 24 hours before the start of the excursion. Be sure to read the conditions before you book, and click here for an overview of all the things to do in Gran Canaria (ad).

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Flight deal for your holiday to Gran Canaria

Use 12go.com to find the best deal for your flight to Gran Canaria. They scan all available airlines for you to find the best flight option for you. I’ve set the link with departure from London but you can choose any departure airport in the UK or anywhere in the world. Pick the one most convenient for you!

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Stay tuned for more information about traveling, scuba diving, and other Canary Islands

Stay tuned by signing up for my mailing list down here or subscribe to the Splashpacker YouTube channel. You can also follow Splashpacker on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn. You can read more about diving and traveling on the Canary Islands, about how to become a dive pro and work as a diving instructor all around the world, and Safety Stop book.

Splashpacker is a blog focused on scuba dive travel, preferably in an eco-conscious way. Supporting the local population, eco-conscious accommodations and businesses, and dive schools that actively contribute to ocean conservation, always get favored on Splashpacker. I’m a single traveler myself and working abroad since 2006. So I also write about female solo travel. You can read more about me here.

You can sign up for my mailing list below.

As an associate with Amazon, Get Your Guide, Booking, Agoda, and 12go, I earn from qualifying purchases through the links in this post.

Little sail boat wreck dive site
There are nicer wrecks that I will include in a future blog post :-)

Shell during scuba diving Gran Canaria by boat

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