Galicia, nestled in the northwestern corner of Spain, is a region drenched in Celtic influence, rich history, and dramatic landscapes. Its rugged coastline, often battered by the Atlantic Ocean, hides a myriad of underwater secrets. Galicia offers an entirely different diving experience from other Spanish regions, characterized by cooler waters and a distinct marine ecosystem.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers
The Atlantic Islands National Park: Comprising islands like Cíes, Ons, Sálvora, and Cortegada, this national park is a marine-protected area and a haven for experienced divers. Here, you'll find dramatic underwater landscapes, caves, and an array of marine life unique to the cooler Atlantic waters.
Cabo Ortegal: Located near Cariño, this dive site is famous for the Aguillóns, three dramatic sea pinnacles that rise from the ocean floor. The site's depth and occasionally challenging conditions make it best suited for experienced divers.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners
Ría de Arousa: This estuary is one of the largest rías in Galicia. Its calm waters and sheltered bays offer several diving spots, perfect for beginners. The marine life here is abundant, with octopuses, spider crabs, and various fish species making frequent appearances.
Sanxenxo: A popular beach destination, Sanxenxo also caters to newbie divers with its serene dive spots, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the inland rías. Dive sites here are teeming with marine life and provide a gentle introduction to the underwater world.
The cold Atlantic waters of Galicia are home to a unique mix of marine species. Divers can expect encounters with octopuses, spider crabs, conger eels, and various species of nudibranchs. The kelp forests, typical of colder waters, provide shelter to various fish species and crustaceans. In the deeper and more remote dive sites, encounters with larger marine animals, like rays and sharks, are possible.
Given its northern location, Galicia's waters are cooler than those in the rest of Spain. Temperatures usually range from 50°F in winter to about 64°F in the summer. The visibility varies, often influenced by the weather and can range from 10 to 30 feet, with occasional clear days providing up to 50 feet. Due to its Atlantic position, divers should be mindful of changing conditions and occasional strong currents.
Diving in Galicia is competitively priced. A standard dive with equipment rental generally ranges between $50 to $100. Beginner courses, which provide certification upon completion, can start from $350 and go up to $500 or more, depending on the depth and intricacy of the training. Dive centers in Galicia frequently offer package deals, ensuring divers receive excellent value for their money.
Galicia, with its rich maritime tradition and unique location, provides a distinctive diving experience set apart from the typical Mediterranean encounters. The allure of its cold waters, brimming with life and interspersed with captivating underwater landscapes, ensures that diving in Galicia is a memory to be cherished. Whether exploring the depths of the Atlantic Islands National Park or gliding through the serene waters of Ría de Arousa, Galicia promises an underwater journey like no other.