Divespots on La Palma
Scuba Diving on La Palma can be done all year round. Due to the location of La Palma, the Northeast Passage and the high ridge, the Cumbre Vieja, there is always a part of La Palma in the lee. But also because of the alternating wave current which makes the wave direction and wave height different every season, there is always a place on La Palma where you can walk into the water without surf or high waves.
If the West Coast of La Palma is plagued by high waves and also a big storm then we can dive on the East side without problems, and vice versa. The wave direction and the wave height are the most important ones that we have to take into account. This surge, which originated somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, can vary from 0 meters to 5 meters. And with a big storm up to 8 meters. The wave direction runs regularly from North-West to North-East and very rarely from the South. In winter it is mainly more western and in the summer more often eastern. In the other months it varies more often. That is why we look at where we can dive the best every day. On the basis of weather sites such as AEMET and Windfinder and by looking on the webcams we can very well estimate which place is best. All dive sites are unique, all have something special. That makes diving on La Palma very special. A lot of varied landscape ensures that your dive is never boring. And that I combined with a lot of marine life makes La Palma a unique diving destination.
Roque de las Hermanas
To get to the Roques de Las Hermanas we take the exit to La Bombilla for Puerto Naos and follow the road between the banana plantations. Playa Nueva is just above La Bombilla. In the past there were beautiful holiday houses of the Palmeros and a kiosk. Very cosy. Unfortunately, everything has been demolished and what remains is a large beach.
Located in front of Playa Nueva, there are 3 rocks, the Roques de las Hermanas, which just appear on the surface at low tide. From the beach it is still a nice walk, so this place is better with a boat. But the place is worthwhile to dive from the beach too.
This dive site is suitable for all levels. The maximum depth for this dive is 20 meters. The 3 rocks make it easy to orient yourself and you also dive here through the most beautiful arches. There is a lot of moray eel and trumpet fish. This is also one of the few places where you can encounter turtles. So … who knows!
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Playa Nueva – Los Guirres
You go towards Puerto Naos and just before Puerto Naos you take the La Bombilla exit. After a winding road through the banana plantations you finally arrive at Playa Nueva. Previously there were (illegal) rentals of the Palmeros, now it is only a beach. Very accessible and you can go in all directions. The ocean remains shallow for a long time and there is much to see on the rocks along the coast.
The dive site is ideal for beginners, it starts with a sandy surface and then you dive at a maximum depth of 12 meters through a beautiful maze with at the end a beautiful arch to dive under! In short, fun and easy, what more could you want!
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Less than a kilometer from Puerto Naos, in the direction of the North, lies the coastal town of La Bombilla. A village that mainly consists of illegal (holiday) cottages of Palmero’s.
Here we dive left, right or straight on. It does not matter. In all directions La Bombilla is a beautiful dive site, for all levels. Another dive site where you can discover enough in one day. We usually make two dives here: a little deeper (depending on the level) and a shallow dive where we encounter numerous bows to swim under. Exercise your buoyancy? Then that is the right place, the ideal place for a PPB-specialty!
A nice dive site for photos also because of the special underwater landscape. In general, there is not much fish here, but we often encounter sepia’s and rays. And also trumpet fish, trigger fish and the Gallo Azul.
After diving you can sit on the shaded terrace of Kioska Varadero, the neighborhood bar. A diving day at La Bombilla is a real diving holiday!
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The dive site at Puerto Naos on the beach at “la Roca del Mar” (the Rock of the Sea) is a dive site that we visit often. This dive site has a lot of possibilities and is suitable for every level. The dive site can be done in many different ways and after 4 dives you have not seen it here yet.
The soil starts with sand and gradually turns into rocks and stones of medium size. But soon you will encounter large rocks that can be up to 15 meters high. Around the rocks is a lot of life, a lot of life. The rocks themselves are black / gray, but often overgrown with very nice colors. Deep red and bright orange. Around the huge rocks it is beautiful diving, it is like a maze. Here and there you go through small canyons and you reach large sandy plains where “Garden eel” sits, at a depth of 15 meters.
We dive here up to 35 meters for advanced and for divers with an OW certificate, we obviously do not get deeper than 18 meters. There is hardly any current, usually you feel the swell of the waves. Visibility is usually good to very good.
We dive – like all our dives on La Palma – from the shore. The ‘branding’ can sometimes be difficult, especially in the winter months, but with our directions everyone comes in and out of the water unscathed.
At this dive site we dive throughout the year. In the winter, the ocean can be too rough on the west side, but then we head for the East, a half hour drive from our diving center in Los Llanos.
For night dives this is “the place to be”. One of the most beautiful places in the Canary Islands to make a night dive.
Besides this dive site, at “La Roca del Mar”, there are two more dive sites at Puerto Naos: Puerto Naos Hotel Sol and Puerto Naos, Casa Blanca. Enough places so to dive a lot.
For diving at Malpique, we all go down to the South. A beautiful car trip along the volcanoes and with a beautiful view over the West Coast and the Atlantic Ocean.
Malpique is a special dive site and with a breathtaking underwater landscape. Beautiful basalt formations, several larger arches (> 40 meters) and the “Torre de Malpique”, a huge standing rock at great depth (> 50 meters). And a beautiful wall where we usually dive (<30 meters). But this dive site is also very well known for the 40 crosses that are about 16 meters deep. There is a special story about it that you can read here.
We always make two dives here, the first dive usually goes (depending on the license) to the Torre and along a wall at about 25 meters depth where there is often a lot of moray eel. The second dive takes the crosses and the labyrinth long. On the way back you will pass an overhanging rock where you often find many large trumpet fish and migratory fish.
For divers who are in possession of a PADI OW license (or equivalent) we make the dives of course up to the prescribed depth of 18 meters. Even then there is plenty to see for 2 dives!
After the two dives we go back home and make another stop at Playa de la Zamora or Punta Larga for a drink and a meal. Again enjoying the beautiful view!
Diving at Malpique is not always possible. At new and full moon we can not dive there because of very strong current. Even with a western wave direction we can not dive at Malpique.
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The story about ‘The martyrs of Tazacorte’.
On July 17, 1570, 40 Jesuits died in the vicinity of Punta Larga (Fuencaliente). The ship “Santiago” departed from Portugal with destination Brazil. The Jesuits, led by Father Ignacio de Acevedo, wanted to stop in Santa Cruz de La Palma (then the third largest port in the world), but when they noticed that they were being chased by pirates, they decided to sail to Tazacorte.
On arrival in Tazacorte, Father Acevedo was obviously very surprised when he met his old friend Melchor de Monteverde y Pruss. Don Melchor invited his old friend to his estate and as a thank you, the priest gave a small chest with relics.
During the Mass in the church of ‘Nuestra Señora de Angustias’, Father Alcevedo received a vision of his future martyrdom. He held his teeth when he held up the calyx. These tooth prints can still be seen.
Thinking that the pirates had given up their attempts, they headed for Santa Cruz (close to the coast). Off the coast of Fuencaliente they were raided by Huguenot and pirate Jaques Souris, a renegade Catholic and papenhater.
At the second entering, a large number of pirates jumped over and above and below decks hunted everything that wore a black skirt. Some killed them immediately, others undressed them to the naked body, chopped off their hands and threw them into the sea. One Jesuit survived the slaughter, Joao Sanchos. He was a cook and such a person could use the pirates. So he could retell it.
At the place where the Jesuits were thrown into the sea, the massacre was commemorated in 2000 by sinking 40 crosses in honor of the martyrs. Before that, the 40 Jesuits had just been declared helpless. A real underwater monument and described as one of the top spots in Spain!
In the church of Tazacorte you can see a number of paintings that tell the whole story. In the church of ‘Nuestra Señora de Angustias’ you can find the chalice and the relics.
On 15 July, this event is commemorated during the procession for the saintly Martyrs of Tazacorte (Santos Mártires de Tazacorte, Procesión del beato portugués Ignacio de Acevedo.)
The dive site El Faro (which means lighthouse) is located in the south, near the two lighthouses and salt basins. A beautiful beach where you can walk into the water for two very nice dives.
After a swim, under water, you reach a striking square rock at a depth of 10 meters. There is a good chance that you will encounter a whole school of trumpet fish and hopefully also a hedgehog fish.
The first dive we go to the left and we follow a huge basalt wall, really beautiful! The second dive goes towards the crosses of Malpique. Both dives are not very deep (max 18 meters) so you can enjoy the special landscape for a long time.
Chance of rays, angel sharks, seahorses and sometimes even a turtle. It remains a surprise there in the South!
For diving at Las Cabras we go all the way to the South. A beautiful car trip along the volcanoes and with a beautiful view over the East Coast and the Atlantic Ocean. The ride there is already worth it!
Las Cabras is in a very special place. To get there you pass the El Faro lighthouse and the salt pans and along four windmills. On unpaved bumpy roads through the black lava landscape. If you do not know it’s a dive site, you would never get there. Beautiful rough and pristine.
We always make two dives here, the first dive goes along a wall. This wall has several stairs and can therefore go as deep as we want (can and may). The underwater landscape here is completely different from other places on the island. At this dive site the black short is clearly visible, at about a depth of 30 meters. The second dive is shallower and if the water is calm enough we can swim to a shallow tunnel.
After the two dives we go back home and make a stop at Playa de la Zamora or at Punta Larga for a drink and a meal. Again enjoying the beautiful view!
Diving at Las Cabras is not always possible. At new and full moon we can not dive there i.v. flow. Often in the summer months it is too turbulent with the waves. It is a great dive site for all levels and even for courses!
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One of the dive sites in the East where we regularly come is La Bajita, under the smoke of the airport of La Palma. The special feature of this dive site is that here white sand lies on the bottom, instead of the black sand that is almost everywhere. A very nice and simple dive site, suitable for all levels. We regularly see sepia and cuttlefish here. The visibility is almost always good here and certainly when the waves crash on the West side we can make a nice quiet dive here.
The more often you dive here, the nicer the dive site becomes. There is more and more to discover. Especially, if visibility is good, the landscape with beautifully overgrown rocks that protrude from the white sand is a delight to the eye. One of our favorites!
With a favorable tide you can enter the water here with a giant stride, or you just take the stairs down! El Fraile is located between the airport and the dive site La Bajita. Here too the landscape is very beautiful, wild and lots of rocks. And of course a lot of life in between. Nice to combine with La Bajita, a dive here and the next in La Bajita. And what we sometimes do, dive from one site to another. Enough possibilities!
After the dive we often drink something at Casa Goyo, one of the best fish restaurants in La Palma. We do not eat fish, but we allow everyone to enjoy a fish from the grill here.
To dive at Los Cancajos we have to travel to the East, through the ‘tunnel of the weather’. If the conditions on the west coast are not suitable for diving then chances are that on the east side the ocean is like a mirror and the sun is shining. Recently someone called it ‘the magic tunnel’.
Los Cancajos is not exactly the most beautiful piece of La Palma that we can show you. Although the beach itself is beautiful, the town itself consists mainly of tourist accommodations and some restaurants. Under water it is fortunately a bit more beautiful.
Here you can dive in many different ways, the dive site is large enough to make 4 types of diving. The site is also very suitable for the first few lessons of the Open Water course because a part is located within the seawall, a bay where it is a maximum of 10 meters deep.
After diving there are enough terraces to have a drink and wait before we can go back. Because of the ride over ‘de Cumbre’ we have to wait at least 1 hour before we can return.