Snorkeling in Lanzarote is an activity you can’t miss when visiting this wonderful destination in the Canary Islands. The spectacular landscape and year-round summery weather make the island a top choice for sun-seekers and heaven for activity holidays. Thanks to the wave and wind conditions, surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding are the most popular water sports, but it is easy to find sheltered golden and black sandy beaches too, that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Let us show the best places to snorkel in Lanzarote where you can explore the Atlantic Ocean’s marine life using only mask and fins!
Table of Contents
- 1 Lanzarote snorkeling places
- 1.1 Puerto del Carmen – Playa Chica
- 1.2 Playa Blanca – Playa Flamingo
- 1.3 Arrieta – Playa del Charcon
- 1.4 Costa Teguise – Playa del Jablillo and Playa Bastian
- 1.5 Papagayo Beaches
- 2 What to see while snorkeling in Lanzarote?
- 3 Lanzarote snorkeling conditions
Lanzarote snorkeling places
Due to the island’s geographical location and characteristic, Lanzarote’s best snorkeling beaches can be found on the east, south and south-west side of the island. The north and west coast don’t offer good places to snorkel due to rough sea conditions, but the main holiday spots such as Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, Arrieta and Costa Teguise all feature some superb snorkeling beaches.
Tip: Did you know that there is an Underwater Museum in Lanzarote where you can see underwater sculptures? Make sure to visit it if you are interested in such things.
Puerto del Carmen – Playa Chica
Lanzarote’s popular resort city on the southeast coast is a true gem that can satisfy everyone’s needs. With many restaurants on the promenade, it is a good choice for couples that seek evening outings, while the wide sandy beaches make it a top spot for families too. Moreover, Puerto del Carmen is also the number one place to stay for those who want to do diving or snorkeling in Lanzarote.
Playa Chica is known as Lanzarote’s best beach for underwater activities. The location’s confined water ensures easy and safe conditions, so it is a recommended place for novice snorkelers and beginner divers too. If you are staying in Puerto del Carmen, you can just simply walk to the beach. Should you arrive by car, there is free parking just on the right of the Playa Chica beach.
Tip: We stayed in Vanessa apartment that is close to the center and within walking distance to the Lidl, McDonald’s, HyperDino but in a quiet residential area!
Playa Chica snorkeling
The sandy, gradually deepening beach ensures safe water access. Put your mask and fins on, swim towards the open water in the middle of the bay. You will already notice that several fish species are around even in the shallows, but it will get better when you reach deeper waters! Swim along the breakwaters (to the right or left, both directions are worth to snorkel) because this is the place where fish love to gather! Keep your eyes on the sandy sea bottom for the chance to spot stingrays and moray eels! If you are lucky, you might see an octopus or seahorse too!
If you have chosen snorkeling to the right side, we recommend swimming along the rocks until you reach a little black sandy cove right before the Puerto del Carmen Harbour’s pier. The rocks providing shelter for thousands of fish, so you can feel yourself like being in a natural aquarium!
Tip: The other Canary Islands also has interesting marine life. Read where to snorkel in Tenerife!
Playa Blanca – Playa Flamingo
The newest resort area on the southern coast, approx. 45 km from Lanzarote airport. With its relaxed atmosphere, long walking promenades and wide sandy beaches, Playa Banca is an ideal spot if you want to stay away from the busy central area. Moreover, this is the best place to enjoy a stunning view of the nearby Fuerteventura. If you feel like, you can hop on the fast ferry that takes you there in just 25 minutes!
Playa Blanca beaches are ideal not only for sunbathing, but also for swimming and snorkeling! The resort town was established around the 9 km long bay, which includes 3 smaller beaches such as the Playa Blanca Beach, Playa Dorada and the Playa Flamingo. Out of these 3, choose the Playa Flamingo if you want to do snorkeling in Lanzarote! You can get to Playa Flamingo by walking from Playa Blanca. There is free parking on the street if you arrive by car.
Snorkeling at Playa Flamingo
Playa Flamingo has breakwaters (concrete walls) around that not only protect the beach from wind and waves, but also attract sea life. Inside the breakwaters the sea often gets murky, therefore you need to swim out to enjoy clear waters. The water is fairly shallow near the walls, about 9-10m/29-33ft. Outside you will find the old breakwaters that turned into an artificial reef with schools of barracudas, trumpetfish, parrotfish and needlefish. Often bigger fish like groupers and sardines are around, while sometimes angel sharks and rays rest in the sand.
Arrieta – Playa del Charcon
The small village of Arrieta lies on the south-eastern side of the Lanzarote. It is a good choice for those who prefer to stay in a rural environment and exploring the traditional life.
The most popular beach in the area is the sandy Playa de la Garita, but head to Playa del Charcon if you want to explore the undersea life. However, this is not the best spot for snorkeling in Lanzarote, but this small rocky bay provides visitors with an enjoyable swim while observing Atlantic fish species such as wrasses or seabreams.
Besides the underwater attractions, Playa del Charcon has definitely something to see above the water too! Walk around the Casa Juanita Blue House, which is one of the most iconic houses of the island! It was built of red bricks and blue tiles going against the strict building laws that restrict the use of these types of materials and prescribe the classical white house design.
Costa Teguise – Playa del Jablillo and Playa Bastian
Lanzarote’s third largest resort town is only a short 15-minute drive from the airport on the south-eastern coast. Costa Teguise is popular by tourists thanks to the first-class sandy beaches like the Playa de Las Cucharas, while the Playa del Jablillo and Playa Bastian are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
One can find excellent night-life around the Pueblo Marinero Square. Several supermarkets nearby and the proximity of the capital Arrecife makes the location excellent for self-catering trips. Should you arrive for a family holiday, don’t miss out spending a day in the Aquapark! In winter, the area turns into a paradise for windsurfers.
Best snorkeling spots in Costa Teguise
- Playa del Jablillo: this sheltered beach in Costa Teguise in front of the Teguise Playa Hotel is a perfect place for snorkeling in Lanzarote. The surrounding breakwaters ensure that Playa del Jablillo is safe even if the open ocean is rough. Snorkel along the rocks and enjoy swimming with various fish species!
- Playa Bastian: a pretty place that the whole family can enjoy! Playa Bastian offers excellent facilities you might need during a day at the beach. There are small shops and restaurants nearby, and one can find shower and toilette as well. The large stones on the shore provide shelter from the wind, while the volcanic rocks in the water attract marine life. If the water is calm, make sure to put your snorkel mask on and check out the sea creatures!
Visiting the Papagayo Beaches is a must-do when you are in Lanzarote! The Papagayo 5 Beaches (Playa Mujeres, Playa del Pozo, Playa de Papagayo, Caleta del Congrio, Puerto Muleas) are definitely the island’s most wonderful places to spend a day by the sea. The clear turquoise water and golden sand give you the feeling you are somewhere in the Caribbean, not on a volcanic island.
Thanks to the area’s great location and surrounding hills, the beaches are well sheltered from the wind. Therefore, the sea stays calm and clear in the protected coves creating safe conditions for water activities. If you want to enjoy superb snorkeling in Lanzarote, make sure to add the Papagayo Beaches to your list!
How to get to Papagayo?
Since the Papagayo Beaches are more exposed, you need to walk (or drive) the extra mile to get there, but believe me, it is definitely worth the effort! Here is how you can get to them:
- By car: if you have a rental car, the easiest way is to drive to Papagayo. Head from Playa Blanca towards Calle de Papagayo, then take the Papagayo exit at the roundabout. There is only a dirt track, so drive slowly and carefully. Since you are entering the Los Ajaches natural park, you need to pay 3 Euros entrance fee per car, but at least there is plenty of free parking around the beaches.
- On foot: if you are staying nearby, just follow the path behind Sandos Papagayo Resort that will take you to Playa Mujeres in minutes which is the first Papagayo Beach. All the other beaches are available by walking, but of course it takes longer time to get the further ones. Therefore, take plenty of water and some snacks with you if you choose to enter the area on this way. Should you arrive by car but don’t want to drive along the long dirt track, you can park it near the Sandos Resort for free and walk the rest of the way as mentioned above.
- By boat: the most comfortable way of visiting the wonderful Papagayo Beaches is signing up for a full-day catamaran trip. Boats are departing from all bigger marinas like Puerto del Carmen, Puerto Calero or Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca.
What to see while snorkeling in Lanzarote?
Snorkeling in Lanzarote provides you with the possibility of observing a wide variety of marine species. Just simply put your snorkel gear on and you might spot interesting creatures besides the common fish species. Crabs, stingrays, eagle rays, moray eels, cuttlefish, octopus and shrimps are common. But you can see harmless angel sharks too. Sea urchins, sea stars, fireworms, seahorses, nudibranches and sea hares also can be seen. However, the cold water doesn’t promote tropical corals to grow, but anemones and yellow tube sponges will sure provide you with a nice underwater view.
Lanzarote fish identification – 5 most common species
There are thousands of fish species that live in the Atlantic Ocean, but here is the list of the 5 most common ones that you will sure see while snorkeling in Lanzarote.
White Seabream (Sargo)
The Sargo’s body has silver color with vertical black stripes. There is a black point around the tail fin. The edges of the back, anal fin and tail are also blackish. White Seabreams live in small groups in surf zones up to 50 m down. They feed on sea urchins, mussels and crustaceans and their maximum size is 45 cm.
If I mention parrotfish, most probably you will think about the rainbow-colored species that live in tropical waters and are very important species in marine ecosystems. The European Parrotfish that you can see in Lanzarote snorkeling places are not that colorful. The male parrotfish is grey with pinkish fins, while the female’s body is red with yellow stripes. They live near rocky shores in shallow water, and can grow up to 50 cm.
The Ornate Wrasse is one of the most colorful fish species you will see while snorkeling in Lanzarote. Females are greenish with pinkish head, turquoise spots and stripes. Male Ornate Wrasses are also greenish with red head. Their vertical stripes are turquoise, black and red. The females are smaller than the males, their maximum size is about 25cm. These species typically live in rocky grounds. At night, they dig themselves into the sand and sleep there.
This species lives in rocky areas from the Bay of Biscay to the Canary Islands, but also in the Mediterranean. Their black and white body is laterally compressed and have thick lips. Zebra Seabreams often swim alone, or in small groups of up to 5. Interesting facts is that they are polygamous, meaning that one male has several females.
Their silvery body, vertical black stripes and flat head make Striped Seabreams easily recognizable. These 40-50 long fish usually live in around shallow sandy beaches and sea grass meadows. However, they can be spotted in deeper waters too. The species is also known as Sand Steenbras.
Lanzarote snorkeling conditions
The most north-eastern Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean has an almost desert climate. Over 300 sunny days per year, mild temperatures (21C/70 F average in January, 29C/84F in August) and very little rainfall make the island not only a perfect summer holiday spot, but also a top winter holiday destination. Trade winds are constantly blowing from the northeast, but the south coast of the island is always less windy and sunnier.
Snorkeling in Lanzarote is possible year-round. However, the ocean might be a bit cold for those who are used to swim in tropical waters only. This happens because of the Canary current, that flows from the open ocean towards Morocco. The sea is the warmest in September-October (22-23C/72-73F) and drops to 18-19C/64-66F in January-February. Thanks to this relative cold water temperatures, you can expect excellent visibility, but wearing a neoprene wetsuit is highly recommended to keep you warm.