DIVING IN THE REGION OF MURCIA
4 DIVING AREAS • 1 PROTECTED MARINE RESERVE• 300 DAYS OF SUNSHINE PER YEAR • DIVING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
It’s time to be surprised. The waters around the Spanish region of Murcia are one of the best scuba diving secrets in the Mediterranean. Abundant fauna and flora and a staggering array of historic wrecks.
In the unspoilt resorts of Cabo de Palos, La Azohía, Cartagena, Mazarrón and Águilas you will find a wide range diving centres offering courses for every level from complete beginners to highly experienced technical divers. Dive into Costa Cálida!
CABO DE PALOS / ISLAS HORMIGAS / ISLA GROSA
Explore wild and wonderful underwater topography in the north-west of the region. In Cabo de Palos, Islas Hormigas and Isla Grosa you can enjoy some of the most scenic dives in the Med. Reefs brimming with fish, overhangs, swim-throughs and caverns galore!
Cabo is Spanish for cape and Palos is derived from Latin and means lagoon. Stretching out to sea beyond the scenic lagoon are the tips of an ancient volcanic chain that form islands and undersea mounts. The area is one of Spain’s oldest marine reserves and it is a great place to encounter the rich marine life.
You can discover traces of wooden vessels both Roman and Phoenician at the Bajo de la Campana site, which is on a small reef called La Laja, just off the Isla Grosa. A Phoenician trading ship is concealed beneath a Roman vessel and both sit on top of another Phoenician ship.
Some of the reefs had been used for target practise by the Navy over the centuries and have created a number of hazards just under the surface which have generated a large collection of wrecks - many fairly modern and in good condition.
CARTAGENA / LA AZOHÍA
The ancient city of Cartagena dates back at least two thousand years and has been an important naval base for much of that time. The clear, clean waters nearby are the resting place for an astonishing range of wrecks some dating to ancient history.
One of the most popular wrecks with divers is the CBA that was purposely sunk by the Spanish Navy 50 years ago – it sits at 20m and has been densely populated with marine life. There is also the fuselage of a Harrier jet nearby which is a great photo opportunity.
If you are lucky you might discover ancient amphora buried in the sands but remember all such artefacts are strongly protected and nothing can be removed from the seabed.
The small seaside village of La Azohía is a real delight. This fishing village keeps Mediterranean traditions alive with ancestral fishing methods such as the 'almadraba' where tuna are herded through a maze of nets to a central pool.
The numerous diving sites range from 12 to 42m and there are some fascinating caves and caverns which are safe to explore.
The Port of Mazarrón, situated between Cabo de Cope and Cabo Tiñoso, at Golfo de Vera, is a wonderful Mediterranean setting. Its 35km of coastline offers plenty of deserted coves and impressive diving sites with underwater caves.
The best dive sites are in the bay of Mazarron just half a mile outside the new marina completed in 2007. Lots of fish including barracuda, swordfish, moray eel, dentex, grouper, conger eel, Mola Mola, triggerfish, wrasse of all varieties, octopus, cuttlefish, scorpionfish, blue-spotted rays, seahorses and many many more.
Top wreck sites include El Bajo which is strewn with a multitude of fishing boats sunk to create artificial reefs, and the Dragaminas Nalon (a Spanish Navy minesweeper) sunk in 1999 to create an artificial reef. Out of the bay are numerous wall dives to depths exceeding 40m - ideal for qualified technical divers to explore.
The huge underwater region from Peñón de la Cueva de Los Lobos to Punta Parda offers plenty of diving sites protected by majestic cliffs and the coast is dotted with beautiful beaches. The protection provided by the crags and mountains of the Sierra del Cantar and the temperature of its waters make Águilas ideal diving territory. The feared Levante and North winds have their route blocked, the Poniente can scarcely get through and only the southerly Lebeche occasionally affects these warm, tranquil waters. One of the principal advantages of this part of the coast is that you will always be able to find a sheltered spot for diving.
Some deep and challenging wrecks plus lots of great scenic dives packed with fish. White limestone walls make some of the caves particularly special.
COSTA CÁLIDA - ADVENTURES BY TWO SEAS
The Region of Murcia is an ideal leisure and sport destination for UK travellers. The area offers year-round sunshine with an average temperature of 19.4ºC and 315 days sun a year. And it is just two hours from the UK by plane.
Located in the south-east of Spain, the Region of Murcia is in a privileged setting within the Mediterranean coastline, known as the ‘Costa Cálida’ or warm coast (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/sun_and_beach ). Visitors can take their pick from numerous sandy beaches; a variety of water sports and diving locations; 22 top-quality golf courses; delicious culinary delights and the opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside and regional parks.
There you will find two seas, the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/mar_menor/, one of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon, making it a paradise for watersports lovers. Due to the good weather, you can practice all kinds of water sports (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/nautical_tourism/ ). There are many teaching schools where you can go sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, kite surfing, speed boating, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, water-skiing, jet-skiing, flysurfing, windsurfing, paddle surf and catamaraning.
Estación Naútica Mar Menor – Cabo de Palos (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/mar_menor_sea_sports_centre/ ) will be delighted to help you organise your stay.
Try a trip across the Bay of Mazarrón http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/mazarron/) on a restored Turkish gulet and enjoy the local dolphins. You can also see the spectacular ‘Bolnuevo Erosions’.
Águilas (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/aguilas/) will captivate you with its beaches, history and Mediterranean charm. Discover the beautiful castle of San Juan de las Águilas and itstwo protected natural areas, El Hornillo and El Fraile Island.
The regional capital of Murcia (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/murcia/) offers a host of attractions including its internationally renowned Santa Maria’s Cathedral. In Murcia it is a must to go out for ‘tapas’. You can enjoy them at any of its lively squares all year round.
Cartagena’s ancient Roman theatre (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/cartagena) is an impressive sight alongside the numerous other archaeological delights in this historic port. One of the most typical dishes in Cartagena and the Mar Menor Area is ‘caldero’ - a fish and rice stew. The icing on the cake would be the asiático coffee.
In La Unión Mining Park you’ll find one of Europe’s deepest mines open to the public.
Salinas de San Pedro Regional Park (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/natural_area/arenales-y-salinas-de-san-pedro-4500/) at Mar Menor is the place to see rosy flamingos travelling to northern Africa. Try the well-known Mar Menor muds skin and beauty treatments.
Calblanque Regional Park (http://www.murciaturistica.es/en/natural_area/calblanque,-monte-de-las-cenizas-y-pe%C3%B1a-del-aguila-4496/) is a protected natural beach, one of the best preserved unspoilt natural landscapes on the Costa Cálida.
There is always something going on in the region with a host of big events and International festivals including the ‘SOS 4.8’ or the varied summer festivals including ‘La Mar de Músicas’, the International Jazz Festival in San Javier or ‘El Cante de Las Minas Flamenco Festival’ in La Unión.
For more information visit www.murciaturistica.es/en