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Gran Canaria Diving – My experience Scuba Diving in Gran Canaria

by Lisa Stentvedt

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Before my trip to Gran Canaria, Spain, I made sure to do my fair share of research on scuba diving in Gran Canaria. Having been diving in Fuerteventura before, I had a good idea on what to expect, but I still like knowing everything I need before diving in a new place. So, for my Gran Canaria diving adventure, I took my sweet time before reaching out to a dive centre.

I went scuba diving in Gran Canaria with Calypso Dive Center, a PADI 5 Star dive center located in Sonnenland, not far from where I was staying in Playa del Ingles. I was super excited to be invited to join them on a dive during my trip, and loved that I was able to find a 5 Star Dive Center so close to Playa del Ingles. In my opinion, diving in the Canary Islands should definitely be on your Europe bucket list!

Head this way for a list of the best things to do in Maspalomas (and Playa del Inglés)! Or, if you are heading to a neighbouring island, here’s my guide to diving in Fuerteventura, and this guide to Tenerife will definitely get you started planning!

diving gran canaria, el cabron dive site
Diving Gran Canaria is a great adventure!

Diving Gran Canaria – Before the dive

The day got off to a great start, as I was picked up just outside of my hotel at 09:00. I quickly learned that I had hit a lucky strike, as it would be just me and the two dive masters; Alberto and Saraien diving that day!

Once we got to the dive centre, I met André, the owner, and was given an overview of the dive site we were visiting; named El Cabrón. It is part of a natural reserve called Arinaga, where there are two main dive sites; El Cabrón and Risco Verde. To dive El Cabrón you should have the Advanced Open Water Diver certification at a minimum, which I’ll admit made me a little nervous to hear!

Side note: if you are ever in a situation where it’s been a while since your last dive and you are feeling anxious about your next one, it’s always a good idea to take some time out to refresh your scuba diving skills before-hand.

Another thing you need to know if you want to go diving in Gran Canaria, and in Spain in general, is that you need a completed medical form from a doctor declaring you ‘fit’ to dive. As the form is valid for 2 years, I was able to use the one I already had from diving in Fuerteventura. Here is a link to the form, which you must print out and let your physician fill out. Alternatively, there are some dive centres that can arrange for you to see a physician when you have arrived in Spain in case you forgot the form.

Read about my experience in getting AOD Certified in Fuerteventura, Spain here!

Once I had put on my wetsuit and gotten a low-down of the dive site, we were good to go! The natural reserve was about a 20 minute drive, and the last few minutes of the drive was quite bumpy. The roads were quite unique, probably because it’s limited how much construction can be done in a natural reserve.

Gran Canaria diving, arinaga natural reserve
El Cabrón proved to be a great dive site!

Diving Gran Canaria: El Cabrón Dive Site

The El Cabrón dive site is a shore dive, where you start the dive on one end of the dive site, and follow the drift along it. You then ascend about a 5 minute walk from where you started. Some other divers near us both went in and out of the water at the same place, but we were taking on the descent called ‘The Elevator”, which I believe was the reason why the AOD was the minimum requirement for this dive site.

The Elevator is probably the most fun descent I have ever done in a dive, so if you want to go diving in Gran Canaria, and you have the Advanced Open Water Certification, I strongly recommend joining the Calypso team at this dive site! I took a video with my GoPro on the way dive, just to share with you guys. Excuse how it gets a little un-even at the end, but I was focusing on not touching the walls on my way down. Also, do note Alberto’s “you did it!”-clap at the end. I was quite proud, indeed.

This Gran Canaria dive site was great, with caves, lots to see and even some giant arches to swim through on our way. Below you can see a map of El Cabrón, including the Elevator on the left side of the photo. We swam along the cliffs to the very right of the dive site.

Want more? Check out my articles on the PADI blog here!

Getting in and out of the waters when you are diving from the shore is not an easy task. Due to the rocky landscape, having proper dive boots is a must (like these ones!). Balancing on the rocks, walking slowly to avoid tumbling over in the waves (and to avoid stepping on those nasty sea urchins), all in heavy dive gear is probably no one’s favourite activity. And don’t get me started on putting on fins in the waves (sometimes I wish I could just put them on after descending, haha). But, shore dives are super convenient, as you get to explore some great dive sites without too much hassle, and without risking sea sickness.

Getting out from the dive was just as tricky, if not more. But luckily, the team has some great routines for making it as hassle-free as possible, and once we were out of the water and got out of our wetsuits I was smiling from ear to ear!

scuba diving gran canaria
Map of El Cabrón Dive Site – Scuba Diving Gran Canaria

The dive itself was great fun, from descending through The Elevator, and all the way to the end. There were archways to swim through, huge schools of fish to swim with (and get some great videos from), and even caves!

We swam into one of the caves, and I’ll admit it was a little scary. However, the feeling of realising that your buoyancy is so controlled you’re not touching the floor nor the ceiling of the cave was incredible! Once inside, we looked around and ascended into the warmer water for a closer look, before heading back out. The whole dive was definitely filled with me realising my potential and going beyond what I thought I could do! Such an incredible feeling.

The video and photos in this post (with the exception of the map of the dive site) was taken with my GoPro Hero 6, which I am just as in love with today as the day I bought it. Here’s a look at all my photography gear for this Gran Canaria diving adventure!

My dive photography gear:

If you are considering diving in the Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles area, I strongly recommend Calypso. Regardless of where you are on the island, the Arinaga natural reserve is a great place to dive, and a dive experience you won’t forget. If you are and Advanced Open Water diver, don’t hesitate to do the El Cabrón site when you are going diving in Gran Canaria!

In short, going diving in Gran Canaria with Calypso Dive Center was an incredible experience, and I had so much fun with the team! At the end of the dive, I was given my very own Calypso t-shirt, and I officially feel like a part of the family now. I do hope to go back to Gran Canaria for some diving very soon!

Interested in diving Gran Canaria?

Here are some amazing offers and Gran Canaria diving experiences you can book for your trip! If you are considering learning to scuba dive, or would like to just try it out, I definitely recommend having a go while you’re in the Canary Islands.

diving the el cabron dive site in gran canaria with calypso dive center
Here’s how happy I was after my Gran Canaria dive!

Do you dive? Have you been diving in Spain? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Please leave them in the comments below, and do pin this post if you think someone else will find it helpful!

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