Anytime is a good time to go diving in Madeira. The island enjoys optimal diving conditions year-round, giving natives and visitors an opportunity to explore its underwater scenery. There’s a lot to see, from submerged shipwrecks to coral reefs. Madeira’s dive sites include cave diving, wreck diving, snorkeling, and scuba diving. You’ll marvel as dolphins swim past you, and if you’re lucky, you may see the rare beaked whale along Madeira’s shores. With its rich biodiversity and moderate temperature, Madeira is a must for experienced and novice divers.
If you’re a certified scuba diver, you know the importance of safety while exploring the ocean. While you probably haven’t gone on any underwater search and rescue missions as a diver, you’ve likely explored the ocean’s depths. If you’re new to scuba diving, you may consider getting certified while you’re in Madeira. Otherwise, snorkeling is an excellent alternative that will allow you to explore the area’s marine life. Keep reading to learn about the best places to go diving in Madeira.
If you enjoy diving in crystal clear waters, with excellent visibility for up to 40 meters, you won’t want to miss Porto Santo. Diving here is a memorable experience because there’s so much to see. If you enjoy exploring shipwrecks, there are two at this incredible dive spot—the Madeirense and the Corveta General Pereira d’Eça. You’ll have to dive 30 meters to see the Madeirense, which sunk in 2001. As you swim around the shipwreck, you’ll take in the marine fauna that has grown over the ship. The Portuguese Navy Warship the Corveta General Pereira d’Eça sunk in 2016. While it doesn’t have as much marine fauna as the Madeirense, it’s worth checking out.
Housereef – Penha de França
If you’re a beginning diver, head over to Housereef for this easy but enjoyable dive. You’ll find this dive spot in front of the Explora Madeira Dive Center at the old Funchai Port. You can even take scuba diving lessons and go on training dives at the facility. You’ll get to enjoy sea horses, moray eels, sea breams, and spot octopi below the waters here. Hop on a boat and prepare to explore the depths of the ocean at this beautiful site.
Also known as T-reef, groupers, grey triggerfish barracudas, and moray eels, call this reef home. As you explore the reef’s waters, you’ll see hundreds of these sea creatures swimming around the open water. The reef also boasts two colossal pyramid-shaped rocks, giving the area an amazing view. The site’s maximum depth is 35m/115, with its average depth being 25m/82ft. If you’re an experienced diver, this site is well worth visiting.
Garajau Nature Reserve
Divers come from far and wide for this world-class diving experience. Extending from Lazareto to the Ponta da Oliveira, the reserve covers approximately 7km of the coastal area. The reserve’s traditional diving points include Galo, Arena, Lazareto, Garajau Beach, Baía dos Porcos, Mamas, and Pináculo. The reserve’s marine life includes rays, mackerels, morays, barracudas, and mackerels. Friendly groupers make Praia do Garajau one of the area’s most popular diving spots. The groupers are used to divers, and many affectionately call them “diving partners” because it’s possible to see them up close due to their domestication.
Desertas Islands (Baixa da Agulha)
You’ll need to take a boat to reach this nature reserve, which is part of the Natura 2000 network. The reserve is an important nesting place for seabirds and one of the last refuges of the monk seal (monachus-monachus). The waters surrounding the islands have excellent visibility, and you can dive to a depth of up to 60 meters. Tourist and private boats ferry visitors the 12 nautical miles from Ponta de São Lourenço (Madeira Island) to the Desertas Islands. Before setting out, you must obtain authorization from the Madeira Natural Park Service. It’s well worth the trouble to see this islands’ incredible biodiversity firsthand.