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 dive center as where I did my Divemaster internship and worked as a Divemaster, 16 years ago. In this post, I would like to write a bit more about the actual scuba diving by boat on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria.

Shell during scuba diving Gran Canaria by boat

Impressive school of grunts (Roncadores) scuba diving Arguineguin Reef on Gran Canaria
‘Roncadores’ or grunts during scuba diving Gran Canaria

Scuba diving by boat on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria

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 on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria, which is all done in the form of boat diving rather than shore diving.

Boat diving on Gran Canaria is a very relaxing way of scuba diving on the island

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. Here´s a little video of scuba diving Arguineguin Reef dive site on Gran Canaria.

With scuba diving experience all around the world, I still love to dive on Gran Canaria

After having worked as a scuba diving instructor all around the world, and also done some fair bit of dive traveling, I still love to go scuba diving on Gran Canaria a lot. Why? It´s true that 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. This unique landscape has given a home to a variety of marine life which can all be explored during your scuba diving here. Besides the natural reefs, there are 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´.

You can dive some wrecks if you go scuba diving by boat on Gran Canaria
There is a number of  wreck dive sites on Gran Canaria
Moray Eel during scuba diving on Gran Canaria
The volcanic landscape with overhangs and old lava streams gives home to morays and other sea life

What kind of marine life to expect when scuba diving Gran Canaria by boat

Marine life to be seen during boat diving the Atlantic Ocean on Gran Canaria includes, but is not limited to, huge schools of fish (especially the groups of grunts, called ‘Roncadores’ in Canary Spanish), barracuda (and big schools of barracudas), octopus, cuttlefish, trumpet fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, nudibranch, and the cute wide-eyed flounder. There are all kinds of rays to spot including stingrays, butterfly rays, round rays, and electric rays.

With a bit of luck, the Atlantic Ocean gives you some bigger marine life on Gran Canaria

Because of the location on this side of the island, there is also a change of some bigger stuff passing by. Although you need to be lucky, it is not impossible to see a shark or a turtle here. Last year, they have seen a Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) and a hammerhead shark during boat diving on Gran Canaria. You can also find angel sharks laying in the sand in the right season during the European winter months, from November till May (more or less).

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The Atlantic Ocean around the Canary Islands seems to be less affected by ocean pollution

From my personal comparison of working on Gran Canaria as a divemaster 16 years ago, I´m excited to say that the 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 video below. There are more rays, octopuses, and cuttlefish than years ago and 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 ocean life. Scuba diving on Gran Canara, makes you forget that those problems even exist in the world.

Scuba diving in this part of Gran Canaria offers a lot of variety in dive sites

The dive sites to be done by boat are all somewhere to be found between the coast of Pasito Blanco to Puerto de Mogan. The most popular natural reef dives include Pasito Blanco Reef, Arguineguín Reef, Balito Reef, and Bahia Blanca. 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 Mogan wrecks.

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

Besides natural reefs and artificial reefs: wreck diving and spotting a submarine during your scuba diving

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

A couple of more wreck dive sites on this part 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, and you can´t penetrate the wreck anymore as you could before. However, there are still some pieces of the wreck left and this has attracted abundant marine life. Usually, there are big schools of fish and rays to be spotted here. And last but not least, there is a little dive site with a sailing boat laying at a depth of about 30 meters. I saw an impressive massive school of barracudas here the other day!

Little sailboat wreck dive site whilst scuba diving on Gran Canaria
Little sailboat wreck dive site attracts a huge school of barracudas

giant school of barracudas whilst scuba diving on Gran Canaria

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

More advantages of boat diving on this side of the island

Besides that it´s just 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 marine reserve in Arinaga can get crowdy, sometimes you have to queue up at the entry point. But if you go boat diving, there is usually only one dive center at the same time at a particular dive site. Although rare, there can be a dive boat from another dive center doing the same dive spot, but all scuba diving here is done in small groups. You pretty much have the dive site for yourself.


Back in time for lunch with your family or other non-diving travel companions

Also, the dive boat usually leaves for a double tank dive day, and the dive tanks get changed on the boat in between the dives. If you go boat diving on this side of Gran Canaria, you will be back in time to enjoy lunch with your family or non-diving travel partner. But only if you can resist the delicious homemade sandwiches Nautico Dive Academy might offer you after scuba diving! There is such a nice vibe at the dive center, that you might like to stick around after your dive, but that is completely up to you! 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’.

Roncadores, or bastard grunts whilst scuba diving on Gran Canaria
Arguineguin Reef Dive Site gives home to a big school of bastard grunts, named ‘Roncadores´ in Canarias
Scuba diving on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria offers lots of wreck diving sites
There is a number of wrecks to be found scuba diving on Gran Canaria

Final words about scuba diving in Gran Canaria: boat diving vs shore diving

Looking at the logistics, comfort, and variety of dive sites, I think boat diving is a great way to do your scuba diving on Gran Canaria. This is especially true when you are traveling with non-divers or with non-diving family members. If you want to get the most out of your holiday on Gran Canaria, you save time by doing boat diving rather than shore diving.  Although Arinaga is a naturally protected marine reserve, Sardina del Norte is also amazingly beautiful, and you have the famous cathedral dive in Las Palmas, you need to calculate almost a full day to dive those dive sites. Also keep in mind that for certain dive spots, you need to be a more experienced scuba diver. Arinaga can be windy and a bit wavy at times, you enter the water over the (sometimes a bit slippery) rocks.

Scuba Divers during Advanced Open Water Course on Gran Canaria

Soft corals in the Atlantic Ocean around Gran Canaria
Although there are no tropical corals in this part of the Atlantic Ocean, you will see soft corals during scuba diving on Gran Canaria
Barracudas and little wreck dive, scuba dive on Gran Canaria
Lots of barracudas!

My conclusion about boat diving on Gran Canaria

Personally, I really 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.

Every scuba diver is different, for a scuba diving holiday I recommend doing both

Of course, it all depends a bit on your personal taste, 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. 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 in the beautiful southwest coast!

Roncadores or bastard grunts, big schools of fish in the waters around the Canary Islands

More barracudas to be found in the Atlantic Ocean marine life, Canary Islands

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

Keep reading for a bit of 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 your non-diving days or for non-diving travel partners. Also, I can recommend booking your scuba diving with Nautico Dive Academy in Arguineguin, which I have written more about in this blog post. They make you feel comfortable from the minute you walk in and they are also environmentally conscious, don´t use plastic, and take care of the ocean.

Where to stay during your scuba dive holidays and travels to Gran Canaria?

There is a variety of accommodation options for your diving holidays or vacation to Gran Canaria. Next to, the known mass touristy places full of hotels, apartments, and other holidays homes in Puerto Rico, Playa del Inglès, and Meloneras in Maspalomas, there are smaller, quieter places off the beaten track and they include guesthouses, hostels, rural tourism and even camping options. I do recommend renting a car if you chose 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

Authentic, charming Arguineguín stretches out to the beach of Patalavaca and to the new hotel in el Pajar

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. 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 also a brand new resort is to be found. You can read more about this in a new upcoming blog post about Arguineguín. Scroll down for booking or use the search box from Agoda below to book your accommodation on Gran Canaria. ( I receive a small commission on your booking).

Arguineguin is a little fishing village on Gran Canaria
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

I am working on a blog post just about sweet Arguineguín, to give you an idea about what to expect from this charming town, and will include most accommodation options for your holiday to Arguineguín in that post. But for now, I quickly would like to say that in Arguineguín itself, there 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 percentage of commission with your purchase.

Airport transport to your hotel on 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 goes from €44,- for up to four people and you can book it on Get Your Guide by clicking here. Or you can use the search box below. The above prices are subject to change and were last updated in December 2022.

Non-diving excursions or day tours for non- scuba diving travel partners during your holiday on Gran Canaria

If you´re looking for things to do on your non-diving days during your holiday on Gran Canaria, you can pre-book day tours, tickets, or excursions on Get Your Guide below. 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 go visit the botanical gardens or some museums in Las Palmas. Check it out by clicking on this link!

Tip for your flight deal to Gran Canaria

Use the search box below from to find the best deal for your flight to Gran Canaria. They scan all available airlines for you. You can choose any departure airport in the UK or anywhere in Europe. Pick the one most convenient for you!

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Stay tuned for more information about traveling and scuba diving on Gran Canaria 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 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. You can sign up for my mailing list below.

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Little sail boat wreck dive on Gran Canaria
There are nicer wrecks that I will include in a future blog post 🙂


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