Are you looking to discover one of the best diving destinations in Europe just a few hours away from the mainland? The Azores archipelago is one of the best destinations for diving in the Atlantic. Composed of 9 lush islands, the Azores archipelago is situated in the North Atlantic Ocean and belongs to Portugal. These volcanic and green islands are full of charm. They offer a paradise for nature lovers, open spaces, and, of course, underwater. But the Azores also have a rich colonial past because of its strategic position on the road to the Americas. There are palaces, churches, fortresses that have earned him the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The position of the Azores archipelago, located at the crossroads of several important ocean currents, has allowed these islands to become the refuge of an astonishing biodiversity. Underwater, the volcanic activity of the islands has created a unique underwater topography that serves as a resort for a variety of wildlife, a mix of oceanic, tropical and endemic species. A dive trip to the Azoresbest places in the world to observe cetaceans.
Best places to go scuba diving in Azores?
Dive trip to Terceira
Terceira is known for its underwater archaeological park of Angra do Heroism. You will discover unique diving spots of Terceira formed by volcanic activity. We recommend the spots of Arcadas do Judeu for its great light structure but especially Cemetarios de Ancoras, the most beautiful dive site in the park of Terceira with its 40 anchors of all times.
Sao Miguel is the largest island of the Azores archipelago. As Terceira, it is a volcanic island composed of 3 stratovolcanoes. The island is simply superb with magnificent landscapes like the Mirador da Lagoa do Canario which offers a splendid view of the island. It offers the most beautiful underwater fauna of the archipelago and it is one of the places where you will have the greatest chance to dive with whales. The dives are very varied due to a submarine architecture resulting from volcanic eruptions. You will pass caves, arches, rocky reefs … but also shoals like Sabrina or Lourenços. It is not uncommon to dive with groups of manta rays. Sao Miguel is definitely one of the best place to dive in the Azores.
Diving stay in Santa Maria
Santa Maria or “the island of the sun” is also part of the Azores archipelago. It is the hottest island with the driest climate of the archipelago. Like the two islands above, it is full of underwater species and is, on this point, the richest island of the archipelago. During the summer, you can see the largest fish in the world and dive with whale shark which is often surrounded by a multitude of tuna. One of the great diving site of Santa Maria that you should not miss is the cave of Cava Maia.
The island of Pico is the central island of the archipelago dominated by its volcano of the same name. In the past, the island was known for its whaling industry. Explore two of the island’s must-see spots: Princesa Alice for mobula rays and Condor bank for sharks.
Faial is nicknamed “Blue Island” because of the blends of hydrangeas and floral blue. The island is famous for having the most numerous volcanic beaches of the archipelago: Porto Pim, Praia do Almoxarife and Praia do Norte. You can see whales when they migrate in the spring and several species of dolphins and sperm whales.
When should I go diving in Azores?
The archipelago of the Azores benefits, thanks to the Gulf Stream, of an exceptional climatic softness! It is therefore possible to go there and dive all year round. However, visibility will be less during the spring because of the greenish color of the water.
Scuba diving conditions
- Visibility: With excellent visibility, the islands of Flores, Terceira, Faial and Sao Miguel offer breathtaking diving sites.
- The current is variable according to the dive sites. In some places, it can even be very strong, check with your dive center in the Azores.
- Difficulty: Whether you are a beginner or advanced diver, there are dive sites for all levels in the Azores.
- The temperature of the water can rise to 25 ° during the summer months, August and September. It can go down to 17 ° from December to April.
What will you see while scuba diving in Azores?
The archipelago of the Azores offers very beautiful dive sites, in the heart of volcanoes like the Baixa Das Castanhetas, or the Ilehu of Vila Franca Do Campo. In one dive, you will encounter a unique biodiversity on the planet, mixing at once oceanic species, tropical and sometimes even endemic! You will see sharks or manta rays in season alongside large marine mammals such as dolphins, killer whales or whales, which are the symbol of the Azores. The islands also offers the opportunity to do great night dives in Azores because they are particularly spectacular thanks to the fluorescent plankton! Dive along the reefs of Ponta Delgada, discover the arches of Caloura to observe some of the 37 species of nudibranchs recorded, go meet manta rays, Mobulas and other sharks skin blue on the famous Princess Alice Bank, 80 km from the coast of Pico … Discover a different dive by diving at night. The Azores archipelago offers unique night dives thanks to the fluorescent planks, which will amaze you! Another must-see is the Cava Maia Cave, which is known as one of the best cave diving in the world thanks to its lava tubes. Among the many diving spots that the archipelago offers, you can explore the wreck of the Dori, cargo ship of the Second World War, make dives in the heart of volcanoes and live a unique experience.
Observation of marine mammals
The Azores archipelago is considered as the largest cetacean sanctuary in the world! There are no fewer than 27 species around the islands, including resident species and migratory species. The archipelago has long lived from this lucrative hunt. In 1984, cetacean hunting was finally banned. Vigils, small white huts perched on the heights, still allow locals to spot mammals but this time only to observe them. There are many diving clubs that offer sea excursions to discover cetaceans. To observe these animals in their natural space will be, undoubtedly, a great moment of emotion for the young ones as for the older ones.