Being situated in the Eastern Mediterranean, we are lucky here in Cyprus to have one of the longest dive seasons in the med, with warm, clear waters through most of the year. The surrounding waters are also home to a large abundance and diversity of marine inhabitants, from our resident nesting turtles and rays that frequent our expansive seagrass beds, to a large variety of tiny invertebrates and nudibranchs found all along our rocky coastal reefs.
For such a small island, the variety in our dive sites is incredible, and they are perfectly suited to all levels of divers, from complete beginners all the way through to world-class technical masters. Sites range from easy to access shore dives, home to undulating rocky reefs littered with caves and swim-throughs which lead on to deeper walls and sloping banks, to numerous marine-protected areas (MPAs) that have seen a large increase of marine life over recent years due to no fishing laws and the protection offered to the creatures by the selection of shipwrecks which lie just short distances from the coast.
To the west of the island, in the Paphos region is where most of our shore diving takes places, and as such, a lot of our training due to the protected bays and gradual depth changes with safe, accessible entry/exit points. Our most popular of these being Pistol Bay and Ampitheatre where the underwater seascape is incomparable with large overhangs and ridges, little caverns, natural formations created over years of water movement, illistrating the sheer power of the seas. By boat Manajin, Yeronisos, and Koppo Islands can be reached and offered up more of the stunning rock formations like those visible diving from shore.
To the northwest, in the Akamas region of Cyprus, in the opinions of many, is the most beautiful diving on the island. Accessible from Latchi harbor, the coastline along the Akamas national park offers up some unspoilt views of Cyprus, both above and below the surface, the highlight of which being St Georges Island. The island offers refuge to migratory birds, and is a protected sanctuary for them, therefore prohibiting any human presence on the rock! With this protection, the diving here offers up the most abundance of marine life anywhere on the island, helped by the prominent currents and steep walls bringing up a plethora of cool nutrient rich waters for the fish. During the summers, the visibility on this part of the island can be greater than 30m/100ft with temperatures reaching 31c in the shallows. The west of St Georges features an impressive wall that drops from 10m/33ft down to 35m/120ft, along which can be found beautiful bright sponges and seastars, luminous purple nudibranchs, and large grouper. The resident turtle ‘Stumpy’ also likes to grace divers with their presence from time to time! Further along the coast there are selection of sites offering up their own focal points, from more natural rock formations to ancient harbors containing remontants of clay amphora that have since been reclaimed by the reef after being thrown from merchant vessels.
Closer to home, just a short 10-minute boat trip from here in Pissouri, we are lucky enough to have Jubilee Shoals – the largest know reef that we have in our waters here. The vast seamount stretches half a mile east to west, with depths on the southern side dropping down well past 70m/230ft. This is an advanced dive, for individuals carrying their Enriched-Air and Deep certifications or higher, as the main point of interest is one of the stunning grottos that cuts through the reef, with the entrance at 38m/130ft weaving deep inside the earth into the darkness, before snaking left leading to an ever-growing blue glow as you exit back out through another massive archway into the open sea at 35m/120ft. This is an incredible dive with an exciting start and a relaxing and calm middle and end as you corkscrew around the walls and banks that make up just a small section of the pinnacle, watching passing Loggerheads and rays feeding on the seagrass, and sneaky lionfish hiding in the countless crevices in the rockface.
The rocky reefs and pinnacles are stunning around Cyprus, but the highlights to diving here for many, and the reason for such a high level of dive-tourism here, is because of the wrecks that we have so accessible to us along the East Coast. As part of the marine rehabilitation around the waters of Cyprus, there was and MPA set up just a short boat ride from the beaches of Limassol, inside of which there are 3 artificial wrecks, and one large man-made reef. These wrecks are diveable by most divers with a basic Open Water, but an Advanced certification is recommended to make the most of them. The wrecks lie between 11m and 24m, with one being an old barge which is now home to large schools of amberjack year round. The Lady Thetis, an Old German River boat, is littered with hundreds of beautiful nudibranch giving flashes of purple and blue wherever you look, and full of squirrel and cardinal fish hiding in the dark corners of its stripped out interior. The Constandis, is the deepest of the three, and is well protected by the large family of groupers that have called it home ever since it was originally sank in 2014. She was a deep-sea Russian trawler, which is evident in the lines and winches still visible on the deck, and the old information plaques left inside the wheelhouse.
Continuing along the East, off of Larnaca, several more of Cyprus’ wrecks, one of which is the world famous MS Zenobia – a 172m long Swedish RORO Cargo vessel which sank in 1980 due to an alleged computer malfunction. She rests in just over 40m/130ft of water on her Port side, with her Starboard rail reaching up to around 18m/60ft, ideal for divers with their Advanced Open Water certification and above. The Zenobia is the pinnacle of recreational wreck diving in the Mediterannean, and considered one of the top five in the world, and this is large in part to its accessibility, its condition, and the waters she rests in – it’s a dive(s) not to missed, and can be done countless times without ever seeing the same feature twice. With 3 cargo decks, 2 crew decks, and over 100 articulated lorries still laden with all their booty, there’s an immeasurable number of features to see onboard.
Keeping the Zenobia company in Larnaca, as a continuation of the reef rehab projects, lies the Elpida, a 63m/186ft Greek cargo vessel the was sank in 2019, creating a new artificial reef for the island. The name, Elpida, means ‘Hope’ in Greek, which is very fitting as it was done with the idea of increasing the marine life in our waters. She rests upright 27m/90ft to 21m/65ft making her a perfect location for Advanced divers to hone their buoyancy skills exploring her narrow decks and dark, rusty cargo holds. Wrecks can be done over 1 days diving, or explored over the course of several days, as most divers elect for, as 1 just isn’t enough!Further up the East Coast, we have the Cape Grecko and Green Bay dive sites, offering further beautiful shore diving with impressive caves and chilled out turtles, although this does make them very busy sites during the summer.In any, or all of these sites, theres something for everyone, be it marine life or stunning seascapes, never let anyone tell you there are no fish in Cyprus, they don't know where to look or they have dived with someone who doesn't know where to dive.
Regularly you can dive with turtles. jacks, barracuda, breams, wrasses, triggerfish, pipefish, trumpetfish, tuna, grouper, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, moray eels, damsels, blennies, nudibranchs, starfish, anenomes, seahorses. sea cucumbers, lionfish, parrotfish, scorpionfish, rays, jellies, crabs, flounders, lobsters, cardinals, goat fish, mullets, squirrelfish and flying gurnards to name a few!
Diving in Cyprus caters to all tastes, ages, dive type preferences and all experience levels. It is a perfectlocation for training and completing courses, from entry level through to specialities and professional ratings and tec.
With generally calm seas, excellent visibility and warm temperatures, divers are attracted in their thousands to our waters, and more often than not return in the future. Being situation in a central location to all the above-mentioned sites gives us the flexibility and luxury of being able to offer divers a comprehensive insight into the Divers’ Haven that Cyprus and a lot of what it has to offer.
Sound good, then get in touch and let us help you experience your very own Cyprus Diving Adventure!