Guide written by local expert, Tim Smith
It is hardly surprising that Tenerife is starting to become such a popular diving destination! The fantastic year round climate and huge abundance of marine life, ship wrecks and volcanic rock formations means that there is simply no excuse not to visit Tenerife and uncover the amazing underwater secrets for yourself!
Tenerife is the largest of the seven islands that make up the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are located off the west coast of Africa, approximately 200 miles from the Sahara dessert. Formed from volcanic eruptions, (the last eruption being in 1909) the landscapes both above and below the water are absolutely stunning.
Types of Marine Life in Tenerife
With Tenerife;s amazing underwater landscape and the subtropical climate, a huge variety of marine life are attracted to the waters surrounding the island. Pilot Whales and Dolphins inhabit the waters year round and are often seen breaking the waters surface! Groupers, Barracuda, Angel Sharks, Grunts, Sea Bream, Cardinal Fish, Turtles, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Stonefish, Trumpet Fish, many varieties of Eels and Rays to name just a few, are common sights on dives.
Tenerife Diving Guide
Scuba diving in Tenerife is conducted by either boat or shore so you can rest assured of interacting with outstanding scenery and marine life. With scuba diving available to suit every level of diver from the beginner to the advanced, there is something for everyone! The majority of the dive centres are located in the south of the island around the resorts of Costa Del Silencio, Los Cristianos, Playa De Las Americas and Los Gigantes.
Wrecks to Dive in Tenerife
There are a number of wrecks to dive in Tenerife. Probably the most popular wreck site is that of the Condesito, situated off the Punta Rasca, a protected national park located in the south of Tenerife. This cargo ship sank some 30 years ago after running aground, one Christmas. At the time she was carrying bags of cement which are still visible. Over the years the sea has taken its toll on the ship. The amidships to the bow has collapsed which has made a fantastic habitat for marine life. The depth of this wreck is between 10 and 25 metres.
The Condesito Wreck
There is also the fascinating wreck of the Meridian, situated off the coast of Palm Mar in the south of the Tenerife. She was purposely sunk a few years ago after many years of working as a whale and dolphin excursion boat, prior to this she was a German naval minesweeper. The Meridian sits upright on sand with a maximum depth of 30 metres. Entry is possible into the wheelhouse and a trip up the mast to the crows nest always makes for a fantastic photo opportunity!
The wreck of El Raton is situated in Tabaiba, in the north of the island, just before Santa Cruz. This is solely a shore dive. This boat is a decommissioned tug boat and was purposefully sunk in 2006; she sits at a maximum depth of 30 metres. The typography of the coast in this area causes some big drop off points close to shore; this dive is therefore only a 2 minute swim out! Penetration is possible into the engine room and wheelhouse as all doors and obstacles have been removed. Even though she was only sunk a short while ago, a wide variety of marine life have set up home here making it well worth a visit.
Dive Sites and Dive Resorts in Tenerife
The dive site known as Palm Mar Cave is another superb site, well worth fitting into your dive schedule! It is situated just off the small community of Palm Mar, located in the south of Tenerife. This boat dive has a maximum depth of 32 meters where a statue of Virgin del Carmen resides. When heading towards the cave, notice the rock walls, they are particularly stunning. Penetration of the cave is not permitted however, living in the rocks around the entrance of the cave are Moray Eels and Tiger Moray Eels. It is very common for a Ray or two to appear, gracefully gliding across the sand!
The resort of Playa Paraisso on the west coast of the island plays host to another fantastic dive site. It can be reached by both shore and boat. This dive site is a must for seeing a large variety of Rays, including Atlantic Rays, Eagle Rays and Bull Rays. With depths between 18 and 25 metres, this makes a great dive for most certified divers. Following sandy bays with rocky walls, you will pass a large anchor (which a ship has lost at some point) and you will discover a spectacular swim through.
El Puertito is situated on the south west coast of Tenerife and it is the one dive that everyone should do! It is a typical Canarian fishing village with a sandy beach which can disappear under water at high tide. The dive site is a small nature reserve managed by the University of La Laguna in Santa Cruz. All the Sea Urchins have been removed and the rubbish has been cleared. Greenback Turtles were introduced a couple of years ago, they stayed and successfully mated and now there are five turtles that can be seen, the babies (born late 2008) are a little more elusive! The adult turtles are very inquisitive when it comes to divers and love to come over and investigate. They do like to have their shells scratched by the divers and have been known to find a comfortable resting spot between the legs of a diver kneeling on the sandy sea bed! With a maximum depth of only 12 metres, this dive is a must for everyone, from Discover Scuba Diving to the most advanced diver.
These dive sites are just a tiny example of what Tenerife has to offer! There are over 35 dive sites around the island to choose from. Dive centres vary in size and offer diver training and guided dives. They can be found in most resort areas in the south although there are far fewer dive centres in the north. Most also offer accommodation for customers at very reasonable rates. Dive centres are closely monitored and controlled by local authorities to ensure they meet local laws and diver insurance is strictly managed. If you plan on travelling to Tenerife for a diving holiday then please ensure you have comprehensive diving insurance, however all reputable dive centres on the island can arrange this for you.
Tenerife Diving Fact Sheet
Average air temperature: 19C - 28C
Average water temperature: 17C - 24C
Recommended exposure protection: From a 3mm suit in the summer to a 7mm suit in the winter.
Average visibility: 20 to 30 metres.
Coldest times: December to March.
Hottest times: May to October.
Best times to dive: All year round, winter/spring is the best times to see Angel Sharks.
Worst times to dive: The weather does not affect the diving too much in the south of the island. If the wind is affecting one side of the island then the diving is simply switched to opposite side. Neap tides can cause some very strong currents, so on these occasions some dive sites may be unavailable.
Getting here: Flights operate daily from most major European airports. There has also recently been the introduction of a weekly flight direct from Miami, USA with Air Europa. Flight times from the UK are 4-4.5 hours.
Other information: It is not necessary to bring your own kit as all dive centres rent equipment or include it in the price of your dive. Currency is the Euro. Time zone is the same as the UK.
When looking to choose a dive centre for your diving it is well worth considering one that offers both shore and boat diving. This gives you to opportunity to enjoy the widest range of diving around the island.
Diving in Tenerife Video
About the author
Tim Smith runs Sol Scuba Divers in Tenerife, a knowledgeable and friendly guide.