A fascinating underwater world blesses the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.
Its rich biodiversity, average temperatures of 21º C and good visibility are some of its best attributes. You do not have to travel long distances to get to a good diving spot. You can opt to stay in a hotel with its diving centre. There are several professional diving companies at your disposal, namely Focus Natura, Rhea Dive, Explora Madeira and Manta Diving.
Another feature of diving in Madeira is that, besides to the spots where people go by boat, it is also possible to dive directly from the beach. Such is the case of some places like Galo, Reis Magos and Caniçal.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional diver, a visit to Madeira will allow you to experience amazing dives, at different depths and in many different scenarios.
Diving in the crystal clear waters of Porto Santo Island is undoubtedly one of the most memorable dives in the World! You can find excellent visibility up to 40 meters of depth! There are also two ships, the “Madeirense” and the “Corveta General Pereira d’Eça”, which are sunk at 30 meters of depth, with the purpose of creating two artificial reefs. The “Madeirense” ship was sunk in 2001 and currently displays a rich marine fauna with dusky groupers (Epinephelus marginatus), salemas (Sarpa salpa), kingfishes (pseudocaranx dentex) and amberjacks (Seriola dumerili).
The “Corveta General Pereira d ‘Eça”, a Portuguese Navy warship, was sunk in July 2016. The biodiversity already found there, exhibits significant potential for further growth.
2.Madeira – Garajau Nature Reserve
One of the best areas to dive in Madeira is Garajau Nature Reserve, which attracts divers from all over the world.
This reserve covers about 7 km of coast, from the Lazareto to the Ponta da Oliveira and includes seven traditional diving points: “Lazareto”, “Pináculo”, “Mamas”, “Garajau Beach”, “Baía dos Porcos”, “Arena” and “Galo”.
The point “Mamas” also known as “T-Reef” was named after two rocks, which range in depth from 13 to 30 meters, and are only 10 meters apart. Here you can find barracudas, morays, amberjacks, mackerels and rays.
Praia do Garajau is one of the most famous diving spots, thanks to its friendly groupers.
Due to the “domestication” of groupers by divers since the 1980s, the specimens in this area have become like “diving partners”. It is now possible to make close contact with this species — definitely a must do experience! Besides the groupers, you can also see shoals of salemas, barracudas, amberjacks and giant anemones.
3.Madeira – Reis Magos
This diving site is known for its abundant sea life, especially due to small living specimens such as seahorses and frogfishes. Night dives are also popular in this area and allow you a different perspective of the sea, with active algae and “sleeping fishes”.
4.Madeira – Caniçal – Ponta de São Lourenço (Cais do Sardinha)
The geological richness of this area is well worth a visit. Highlights of this diving spot include black corals, barracudas and octopuses.
5.Desertas Islands (Baixa da Agulha)
You can reach the Desertas Islands Nature Reserve, part of the Natura 2000 network, on a boat trip. It is one of the last refuges of the sea lion (monacus-monacus) and an important nesting centre for seabirds. These Islands are located about 12 nautical miles from Ponta de São Lourenço (Madeira Island). Access is made through private or tourist boats, but prior authorisation must be obtained from the Madeira Natural Park Service. Baixa da Agulha is located in the northern area of Ilhéu Chão. The biodiversity found here is incredibly rich, with excellent visibility and allows you to dive up to 60 meters of depth!
If travelling with children, be aware that they can only dive with an instructor, from the age of 10. Otherwise, they can snorkel with the family.
For more information, check the site here.