Plumbers and scuba divers don’t share the same opinion about water. The first one makes his living out of it, and the second one would die without it. A scuba diver sinks on mainland, but in the deep sea, feels safe enough to challenge the Little Mermaid to a hundred meter butterfly style race.
Cabo de Gata is the biggest protected land and sea area of the Mediterranean; a very well deserved category. This cliff-lined coast of fifty kilometers is beautiful in appearance and even more overwhelming on the inside. Its seabed is almost more beautiful than its beaches.
Under the water you will find a great diversity of species. The finest of the Mediterranean flora and fauna can be found in this area, with plenty of caves, submarine caverns and reefs. Even a wrecked ship gives notoriety to this marine scenery.
If neoprene is like your secondary skin, we will show you 13 ways to get your suit a little wet in Cabo de Gata, from north to south:
1. San Andres Island
Right in front of La Puntica Beach, in Carboneras, stands this volcanic island, listed as a Natural Monument. The island can be reached from the ports of Agua Amarga and Carboneras.
As a matter of fact, this island is the sum of the two small islands, called Isla Grande and Isla Chica. Its depths are covered with posidonia, the so-called “seagrass” and ¨fountain of life¨, where groupers, sea basses, cuttlefishes, octopus and crabs can be found. So don’t be surprised if you see marine birds diving under water for a little snack while you visit.
Keep in mind that if you want to dive into the dark waters of San Andres, you need to apply for an authorization to do so.
2. Wrecked Ship Chocholita
Near Carboneras, just a mile away from Martinicas Beach, you can dive into see the “Chocholita”, a wrecked steamboat caused by a hurricane on April 12th, 1927. The wrecked ship rests on a bed of sand, 10 meters deep.
Among its remains, some marine squatters have established their residence, such as octopus, groupers and damselfishes, just to mention a few.
3. De los Muertos Beach
Don’t let the name scare you. You will not find any “Walking Dead” extras here. That name stems from the water currents that used to bring the dead bodies of the shipwrecks and also those dead on the pirate battles from North Africa.
The access to this renowned beach is not easy. Cars must be left at the parking lot located on the road that connects Agua Amarga and Carboneras.
From there, going down a steep slope of 700 meters will take you to the shore. On your way down you may see some chameleons, partridge birds and foxes.
In the crystal-clear waters of that beach, only comparable with those from the Caribbean, a wide variety of animal and vegetable species are found, hidden in little caves and caverns.
Make sure you go to the rock at the end of the beach. That is where most coral and aquatic plants assemble.
Just some advice: it’s very dangerous to go diving when the easterly wind is blowing.
4. Cala de Enmedio
A path leaving Agua Amarga village takes you to Enmedio Cove. That cove is rocky, made of fossilized dunes, shaped by the waves.
Its rocky depths are rich in biodiversity, making it ideal for diving.
After taking a look at the seafloor, if you wish to continue, stay on the same path until you reach two more coves: San Pedro and Plomo.
5. Punta del Cuervo
In Cuervo Cove, 30 minutes from Las Negras village, you can find a natural rock wall that is home to a large amount of marine animals.
To get there, take the highway heading south from Las Negras. Once you reach your destination, carefully dive in and enjoy the various species that hide in the sandy depths of the sea.
6. Cala del Carnaje
Carnaje is a wild cove; scruffy and untidy, like when you just get out of bed. If you get a little closer, do not expect to lie in soft, fine sand and bask in the sun. It will be quite the opposite actually, filled with volcanic rocks and stones.
However, in exchange, there are hardly any swimmers, so you’ll be able to dive in, in total tranquility, and admire the posidonia.
To arrive to Carnaje from Rodalquilar, you’ll have to take a detour on your right, following the signs to La Polacra lighthouse.
Halfway there, you will find a path that splits in two. The right paths leads to Carnaje and left path takes you to the Polacra lighthouse. This last leg of the journey that leads to the lighthouse is fenced, so if you want to get all the way there, you’ll have to go by foot.
In order to arrive at the cove, the last few meters are also by foot. Small groups of palm trees will be your clue that you are getting closer to the water.
The cove is presided by Cerro de los Lobos, on top of that hill where we find one of the numerous towers of Cabo de Gata.
7. Cala del Toro
To reach this cove, you’ll have to cross an authentic forest in the middle of the desert.
The Cala del Toro is located between Isleta del Moro and Rodalquilar. It’s impossible to get there by car, so you will have to park on one of the shoulders of the highway, and continue by foot through a path of palm trees and pines.
After fifteen minutes of walking, you will have reached the little valley that leads to that cove of fine and dark sand. Its waters harbor a multitude of fish, however, Groupers are the main inhabitants.
La Amatista lookout is just 750 meters away from where you parked your car. It’s definitely worth going and enjoying the views of the cliffs over the Cabo de Gata Sea.
From there you will see Cerro de los Frailes, the highest point of this Natural Park, and the remains of an extinguished volcano.
8. Cueva del Francés
This cave is located between the villages of La Isleta and San José. It can only be reached by boat.
It is one of the classic submarine routes of the diving schools, in both villages.
This small cave surrounded by posidonia, is home to breams, morays, groupers, octopus and scorpion fishes. Make sure you grab your flashlight in order to illuminate your adventure.
9. Punta de la Isleta
If you enjoy tranquility, go and observe the life of the Cabo de Gata fisherman in Isleta del Moro. This tiny coastal village, made up of small, white houses, is linked to the sea, both because of its fishing activity and the two diving schools.
La Isleta Beach is the best choice for those wanting to partake in this particular activity. Dive in at La Punta, an area filled with posidonias and rocky sands. Here you will find banks of small fishes, morays and conger eels. If you are lucky enough, you can even see some sea-horses.
All the way inside the beach, from Isleta del Moro, we find Piedra de los Meros. This amazing rock, 26 meters high, is home to conger eels, morays, brotolas, haddocks and sea basses. Also, the name of the beach comes from one of these fish, since Mero means grouper in Spanish.
This diving is only for experimented divers due to its depth.
10. Los Escullos
From the same road that takes you to Isleta del Moro, you can also reach Los Escullos. Before arriving to the beach, you will take a detour on your right at the indicated path.
The underwater route begins at a corridor, from where you will see the rocky depth on one side, and the posidonia right on the other side.
Right in front of Los Escullos, the Restinga de las Anclas can be found. It’s a two-meter high wall formed probably as a consequence of the collision of two plate tectonics.
Take your flashlight and underwater camera so that you can take some shots of groupers, conger eels, morays and hermit crabs. Also, the area is named by the anchor found there, which is covered in posidonia.
11. Cala Higuera
This is a tiny stony cove, which can be reached from a path leaving San José. With barely any sand on it, this explains why it’s not the most favorite one for beach goers. But as for the scuba divers, it’s a great option that allows them to spend some time with groupers, breams and red mullets.
The cove is also quite visited by fishermen that throw their rods in at dusk, so you better be out of the water by sunset.
12. Los Amarillos
From the parking lot at the Genoveses Beach, you can reach the Amarillos cove by foot.
The name comes from the color of the volcanic rocks that surround it. It is also known as the Playa de los Burros, due to the amount of triggerfish that live among its rocks.
In addition to that, you will find courges, sea bass, brotolas, morays, cuttlefishes and octopuses. You might even see a hermit crab or some shrimp as well.
Just like in the Playa de los Muertos, you must be careful while diving, because of the strong currents.
13. La Media Luna
At the border of the Natural Park, right by the cape that it’s named after, you will find the most natural beaches in the entire area.
Media Luna is a small cove shaped like a crescent moon, with sandy depths that make the observation of the fauna difficult. Even so, the visit there is definitely worth it to admire its desert-like landscape with perfect dunes.
To get there, just follow the dirt road that takes you to the Genoveses and Mónsul beaches.
In soccer, the ball is more important than Messi himself. At sea, the glit-head bream is even more relevant than the water itself. Without fauna, the sea would be nothing more than a filled up bathtub, and nobody goes scuba diving in a bathtub. The scuba diver that chooses Cabo de Gata knows that its seafloor is the savannah of the Mediterranean.
You can also check an interesting article on underwater cameras at Dive In.
Go for it and tell us what you see!