Snorkeling in Gran Canaria – Best beaches to visit
If you are looking for a unique place for your next vacation, then look no further than Gran Canaria. This is the third largest island in the Canaries off of the northwest coast of Africa which is an autonomous community of Spain. The sheer range of terrains found here on this single island astonishes visitors. There range from vast forests in the north to parched deserts in the south and verdant mountains in the center. On all sides, there are 37 amazing miles of stunningly beautiful beaches that offer fantastic snorkeling in Gran Canaria. Immersing yourself in the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean is the best way of discovering the beautiful undersea here we look at the best places to snorkel in Gran Canaria!
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Gran Canaria snorkeling conditions
The Canaries are lucky to have a relatively stable climate with hot summers and mild winters that make it a year-round destination. The best time for water activities and go to snorkeling in Gran Canaria is between July and October. At this time of the year, both the water and air temperatures are high and the conditions are excellent with superb visibility that often exceeds 30 metres/100 feet. In September and October, the ocean warms up to 22-24C/71-75F and cools down to 18-19C/64-66F during the winter months. Therefore, snorkeling is possible throughout the year, but if you decide to come for a winter holiday, use a snorkeling suit that will keep you warm.
Best places to go snorkeling in Gran Canaria
The eastern coast of the island is famous for its lovely, quiet towns and Tufia is certainly the best place if you want to stay away from the crowd and go snorkeling in Gran Canaria. It starts out its offerings with a complimentary parking lot that makes it easy for families with little children to come for an enjoyable day out on the beach.
The exotic black volcanic sand and clear waters offer ideal conditions for water activities. By swimming to the right section of the beach, you will find a snorkeling delight in the form of volcanic rock formations lying tantalizingly beneath the water. Here you can observe lizard fish, flatfish, and even stingrays. Look for more interesting sea creatures such as crabs, octopus and eels in the small caves of the lava bottom!
Tip: the small town of Tufia doesn’t offer too many accommodations but if you wish to spend a few days here, we recommend the Atico Apartment!
Playa de Mogán
Playa de Mogán is certainly a place to be if you want a great day out on the beach. The easy water access and crystal-clear waters make it one of the best snorkeling beaches in Gran Canaria particularly for beginners who can safely explore around this protected bay.
This sheltered pebble beach is teeming with wonderful and interesting marine life. For people who have more experience snorkeling, the right-hand part of the breakwater is more challenging and boasts a greater abundance of marine life with boxfish, cuttlefish and shoals of damselfish around.
Tip: Thinking about staying here? Check out Hotel Puerto de Mogán The Senses Collection that is one of the best hotels of the area!
The east coast of the island is the location of an interesting town called Arinaga that boasts a few excellent Gran Canaria snorkeling spots. Beginners can start over on Zoco Negro in the town center. The manmade sea wall here was set up deliberately to make a shallow and safe bathing area inside its walls. Naturally there will be huge crowds of families here who enjoy playing and swimming in this sheltered area, yet even so it is still heavily frequented by many brightly colored tropical fish such as wrasse, damselfish, bream, blennies, and mullet.
The other recommended spot here is called Risco Verde. Open completely to the sea, it also offers great access and even parking options. The reef here is covered by algae that attract a great variety of marine life. Besides the common Atlantic fish species such as barracudas and parrotfish, angel sharks and stingrays have been known to make appearances here in the deeper parts, especially around the time of the high tide.
Tip: Would you like to visit an other Canary Island too? Find here our recommendations:
Snorkeling in Tenerife
Lanzarote snorkeling guide
Fuerteventura snorkeling spots
Playa de los Amadores
Along the famed Amadores Bay lies Playa de Amadores (known also as Lover’s Bay). Despite the name of the beach and bay that makes it sound like it might be more appropriate for couples, this is the ideal spot for the entire family with its 2,500 feet (800 meters) wide stretch of sand that offers a home to many fine restaurants, bars, and reasonably priced shops too. There is plenty of parking so everyone can find a place. It is still a good idea to come early though.
The snorkel trail begins on the left side of the beach following along the artificial formation of rocks on the left. Swim behind the pedalos for the perfect spot to take in the huge abundance of colorful parrotfish, wrasse and bream that populate these underwater regions. It is even possible to see an octopus taking shelter on the rocks beneath your feet too.
Tip: looking for a nice place here to take your beloved one to? We recommend Gloria Palace Royal Hotel & Spa!
Las Cantera Beach boasts the envied status of micro reserve for more than ten years. Thanks to this decision to protect the area, the marine life has really taken off in this golden sandy beach in the heart of Las Palma. Locals and tourists love this fantastic beach because it offers ideal conditions for all kinds of water sports and considered a prime location for snorkeling in Gran Canaria.
During low tide the marine life is at its best along the rocks to the south of Playa Chica. You can look forward to seeing parrotfish schools, striped bream, multiply colored wrasses, blue Damselfish, and even Barracuda and Sting Rays. Octopus and cuttlefish are also frequently seen here along the underwater reefs, along with cardinalfish, scorpionfish, moray eels, and also groupers. The snake eel also puts in an appearance here from time to time, frightening people by its similarities to sea snakes (which fortunately are not found anywhere in the Canaries Islands).
Tip: Make sure you read Spain snorkeling tips to learn what are the country’s best places to snorkel!
Playa del Cabrón
El Cabron is one of the 3 marine reserves of the Canaries that features excellent conditions for diving as well as for snorkeling. The track that leads to this beach though is more challenging and requires a four-wheel drive to reach.
Here at Playa del Cabrón, you can just jump right into the water and be on your way to explore the beauty of the undersea world. All of the amazing sea life of the Atlantic Ocean visit this Gran Canaria snorkeling spot thanks to the fishing-ban and diverse underwater landscape which has arches, caves and drop-offs. It means that you can count on seeing an enormous variety of beautiful fish ranging from lizardfish to groupers, barracuda and also rays.
Puerto Rico is more than just a fantastic all-night long party town by night and swimming and shopping location by day. Moreover, this area on the southeast of the island between Puerto de Mogan and Anfi is also an excellent diving spot and a top site to go snorkeling in Gran Canaria.
The surrounding waters are protected by the Natura 2000 Network that guarantees the protection of the area. The seascape is ideal for snorkeling, though the water depth means that you will be looking down on the marine life a bit as you swim along the shore. Should you want to take your water adventures to the highest level, sign up for a marine life spotting boat tour! This area of the Gran Canaria is the best to see dolphins and whales!
Within the municipality of Agaete, Las Merinas is a popular Gran Canaria snorkeling beach where big sea anemones and corals can be found so it is not a surprise that it has been referred as one of the most beautiful places in the region for underwater activities. This claim to fame stems from the rocky bottom that harbors an incredible diversity of marine life. There is barely a current therefore Las Merinas is suitable for family snorkeling as well.
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