Diving in Volcanic Reefs

diver underwater

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and holds one of the two international airports in the area–incredibly accessible for any tourist or diver. The Canary Islands were created through volcanic eruptions, so much of Tenerife is volcanic. With the latest eruption in 1909, the volcanoes have long been dormant, but the lava and rock formations create unique diving experiences for every season.

The Best Volcanic Dive Sites in Tenerife

There are multiple dive sites in Tenerife where you can experience caves, tunnels, and black sand sea floors. No dive site is ever the same, no matter what characteristics they share, and in Tenerife you can maximize your diving range without once getting off the island. The north side is the best place to go for more volcanic rock formations.

Yellow Mountain, or Montaña Amarilla

If you’re a beginning diver, this is a wonderful introduction to the volcanoes of Tenerife. Montaña Amarilla showcases a row of volcanoes that, because of their proximity, are also surrounded by basalt rock formations. These rock formations and their layered erosions are the foundation of coral reefs and much marine life. They also protect you from sea currents that can throw you off balance. 

Learn more about our Yellow Mountain experiences.

El Simplon Reef

Also a good choice for beginning divers, swimming through El Simplon Reef brings you directly under and into volcanic rock formations. The seemingly poured and also hexagonically cut rock is a surreal experience. You see both poured smoothness of the molten rock frozen in time, with sharp edges or flat layers when broken. Additionally, the protection of the rocks shelters coral reefs, large groups of fish and moray eels, and even stingrays. It’s the perfect place to browse marine life with minimum difficulty (depth at 12 to 20 meters).

La Rapadura

La Rapadura, at 50 meters, is not a dive for the inexperienced, but it is well worth the certification. As the lava from the previous volcanic eruptions hit the sea water, the basalt formed hexagonal columns. Over time, as water and weather broke against the columns, some fell and some were broken at the top. It’s close to the view at El Simplon, but at 50 meters it is a deeper immersion into the underwater volcanic world. 

If you’re going to dive into this more experienced arena, learn all the ins-and-outs of La Rapadura

Cueva de los Cerebros

Cueva de los Cerebros, or Cave of the Brain, is a cave formed by volcanic rock. With a maximum depth of 12 meters, even a beginning diver can chance it. You will get to see coral fully covering rock surfaces, many schools of fish, some rays, and other crabs and crustaceans that enjoy the surfaces of the cave. There is little technical experience needed, but some basic training in cave diving (lights, balance and trim) would enhance your experience.

Diente de Ajo

Diente de Ajo is another one of the coral reefs that formed over lava after it flowed into the sea and cooled. The depth the lava reaches (average of 20 meters) creates a wall of volcanic rock well populated with coral and other sea creatures. You can browse the wall of coral or explore the area to see the marine life around you. It’s a light dive, fun for beginners, good for a day when you don’t want too much on your mind but the dive. 

Pack Your Gear

Diving in Tenerife is the easiest thing to pack for. Tenerife water temperature rarely drops below 64 degrees Farenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and rarely goes above 77 degrees Farenheit (25 degrees Celsius). It’s basically summer all year round, so short sleeves and shorts on your wetsuit would work. 

The volcanic dives are also easy enough, rarely going beyond 20 meters (except for La Rapadura at 50 meters). The gear you need is basic: mask and snorkel, BCD, regulator, light harness. It’s your choice to add torches, cameras, and accessories to your gear. Diving in Tenerife is basically plug-and-play–all your base gear works with it. 

Pro tip: If you haven’t been diving in a while, you may want to check a dive gear checklist to see if you have any equipment gaps.

Tenerife is the perfect getaway for divers, beginning to advanced, who are ready for a gentle dive with spectacular scenery.

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