The Algarve region of Portugal, known for its stunning cliffs, golden beaches, and vibrant sea life, is a hidden gem in the world of scuba diving. Offering a variety of dive sites that cater to different skill levels, the Algarve is an exciting destination for underwater exploration.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers
Ocean Revival Underwater Park: Near Portimão, this is an impressive dive site, home to a purposely sunk fleet of naval ships, creating one of the largest artificial reefs in Europe. Advanced divers can explore these wrecks, which have become teeming habitats for marine life.
Lagos Artificial Reef: This site comprises various structures sunk to create an artificial reef. The depth and currents can be challenging, so it’s more suited to divers with experience. You can expect to see large schools of fish and occasionally, pelagic species drawn to the structures.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners
Praia da Marinha: Known for its clear waters and gentle conditions, Praia da Marinha is an excellent spot for beginners. The underwater topography is interesting but manageable, with plenty of nooks and crannies where marine life tends to gather.
Sagres: This area is protected from the stronger currents of the open Atlantic, offering beginners a chance to dive with ease. The visibility here is usually good, making it an enjoyable location for new divers to practice and gain confidence.
The Algarve's waters are home to a rich biodiversity. Divers can expect to see an array of colorful fish species, octopuses, cuttlefish, moray eels, and sea horses. The region’s underwater caves and crevices are also ideal for spotting lobsters, crabs, and various species of nudibranchs.
The dive conditions in the Algarve can vary; the best months to dive are from May to October when the water temperature ranges from 64°F to 75°F. Visibility can be up to 30 meters on a good day, but it averages around 10 to 20 meters.
Dive costs in the Algarve can vary based on the dive center, season, and length of the dive. On average, a single boat dive might cost between $60 to $100, with full equipment rental. Prices for PADI certification courses range from about $400 for an Open Water Diver to $500 or more for Advanced Open Water Diver certification.