Diving in Tenerife, Canary Islands – Spain

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A tiger moray at Shrimpcave in Tenerife.
A tiger moray at Shrimp Cave. Photo by Espe Kanela.

WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Today we are diving in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands in Spain!

WHY ARE WE DIVING IN TENERIFE?

The diving in Tenerife is great all year round and the marine life is superb; the famous bull rays, moray eels of all breeds and sizes, turtles, and lots of fish schooling. All within a special volcanic underwater seascape. Diving is safe and fairly easy even for beginner Open Water level divers.

A bull ray in South Tenerife at Bufadero dive site
A bull ray gliding through Bufadero in South Tenerife. Photo by Espe Kanela.

HOW DO WE GET TO TENERIFE?

To get to South Tenerife, you can catch a direct flight from Madrid, the capital of Spain. There are also direct flights from other main European cities, such as London, Zurich etc. to Tenerife South Airport (TFS).

The city of Los Cristianos is about 13.39 km away and requires a short taxi or bus ride from the airport.

WHICH DIVE SITES ARE MUST-SEE?

Dive site depths vary from 10 to 25 meters, with water temperatures from 18 to 24° Celsius with the warmer temperatures between April and October. There are very mild to non-existent currents, which makes the diving in South Tenerife a favorite for Open Water divers. The amount and variety of wildlife also make it a favorite for photographers like myself. 

Shrimp Cave

A few minutes away from the Los Cristianos harbor is the world-famous Shrimp Cave, where there are gatherings of bull rays and moray eels coming out of every crack. This dive site attracts photographers worldwide and even renowned Nat Geo experts. This dive is 45 minutes of bliss!

Bufadero

Another famous site is Bufadero, where you can find green turtles all-year-around. It begins at a depth of 6 meters (20 feet), then goes down a gentle rock slope that descends to a sandbar around 25 meters (82 feet) deep. The shallow area features two small caves. Very often, you will find a pod of dolphins playing alongside the boat on the way to Bufadero. 

El Condesito

If you enjoy diving wrecks, a very pretty and easy wreck is El Condesito, which sunk in pristine waters near the Rasca lighthouse. It is a 30-meter (98-foot) long cargo ship and is split into several parts. Most of the wreck will be found around 15 meters (50-feet). Some parts of the wreck can be found as shallow as 6 meters and as deep at 21 meters. The wreck is fairly unstable so penetration is not recommended. At El Condesito you can find marine animals such as octopus, scorpionfish, barracuda, trumpetfish, stingrays, eels, and more!

Diving around the El Condesito shipwreck in Tenerife.
Luisa Rinaldi diving around the El Condesito shipwreck. Photo by Espe Kanela.

The dives are just 5 to 15 minutes away in the zodiac boat (an inflatable small boat), and you will often be accompanied by a pod of dolphins!

DO I NEED ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT?

In the summer months of June to August, it is enough to wear a 5mm wetsuit. However, in the winter months of November to February, a thicker 7mm is preferred. You can also pair your wetsuit with a hoodie vest to be more comfortable.

A torch is also handy to discover the cute inhabitants in the cracks!

Moray eel in Shrimp Cave while diving in Tenerife
Martin Gonzalez with a black moray eel. There are moray eels everywhere at Shrimp Cave. Photo by Espe Kanela.

If you do not have your own diving gear, then no worries, all the dive centers will provide you with every piece of equipment. The standard of dive centers is very good in Tenerife, and the staff are really friendly and accommodating. 

WHAT LEVEL CERTIFICATION SHOULD I BE?

South Tenerife is a great place to experience diving for the first time with a Discover Scuba Dive. Due to the pleasant conditions, it is also popular to get your Open Water certification or to upgrade your existing certification.

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?

The diving conditions are good all year round, as the dives are easy and you will very rarely face a current. The visibility is great with views up to 35 meters.

Diving with a turle in Tenerife at Bufadero dive site.
Friendly turtles can be seen at Bufadero dive site. Photo by Espe Kanela.

The neighboring fish farms attract a lot of big wildlife; huge rays of different kinds and plenty of sights of angel sharks on the sandy bottom. The moray eel life is superb and they are used to divers so you find the wildlife-friendly and very photogenic. Diving in South Tenerife is not crowded yet, so don’t leave it too long to visit!

HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND?

Diving prices vary depending on dive operators; whether you have your own equipment, if you come in a group, and how many dives you will do.  The prices are between 20 to 40 Euros per dive, but it is best to ask ahead. 

Personally, I recommend Big Fish Tenerife for your diving experience. Being a local freelance photographer, I know all the operators well, and the international, well-trained staff of Big Fish will give you superb service. Just let them know what you expect from your diving holiday, and they will go to the end of the world to provide for it. From experience, there is a world of smiles in this PADI 5 star dive center. 

THE CITY OF LOS CRISTIANOS

In Los Cristianos, you can choose from a great variety of accommodation from hostels in the old town to 5-star hotels by the harbor. 

Los Cristianos Harbour is pretty unique with gathering traditional fishermen boats, luxury yachts, and ferries that take you to the neighboring Canary islands, with even a huge Viking vessel. From the harbor, it is only a few minutes’ walk to hotels, beaches, and restaurants. You can hire a car if you want to visit the rest of the island or climb the famous volcano Mount Teide

The island of Tenerife provides for a full holiday. It is perfect for a group of family and friends, with a partner, or if you are a solo traveler. Tenerife is great for all ages and is a great place for everyone to enjoy warm sunny weather 365 days a year, pristine beaches, and tons of entertainment for all tastes. The range of accommodation covers all budgets too.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I feel very lucky to dive these sites several times a week with my friends. We have so many adventures and stories to tell. We also feel we know the wildlife as they are so friendly. The best thing is that the sea is flat so you don’t get seasick getting to the dive sites. The ride is also very pretty with no currents or any other hazards to threaten your bliss. Diving in South Tenerife is pure joy at any time of the year.

Encounters with triggerfish while diving in Tenerife.
Triggerfish are popular in Tenerife. Photo by Espe Kanela.

I love to end my day of diving by getting a local Dorada beer at the harbor bar and discussing my dives with other divers. It is a great atmosphere. My little tip for photographers diving in Tenerife is to always have your batteries fully charged and plenty of room on your memory card!

WHAT DO WE DO ON SURFACE INTERVALS?

South Tenerife is famous for its constant great weather and superb tourist resorts. The entertainment on offer is endless; from the famous Siam Park to whale watching tours. There are restaurants for all tastes and budgets that are in keeping with the local flare. The vibe is easy and chill and after the dives, you may have a siesta on the local beach, and a dip in its turquoise waters. Nightlife is ranked amongst the best in Europe.

Espe is a freelance underwater photographer. She loves traveling but also loves her home reef in South Tenerife as you can see from her amazing photos on Instagram. Getting close to the marine life and being able to share her photos with other people makes her truly happy. She also loves taking portrait underwater photography as much as the wildlife.

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