Spain offers many locations suitable for different types of diving. If you would like to obtain great memories of Mediterranean diving and you do not know which of the places to choose, then head straight to Menorca. The coastline of more than 200 km (124 miles) offers a wide selection of dive sites.
Menorca is one of the less known Balearic Islands. The fastest way to get there is to take a 50 minutes flight from Barcelona to Mahon, the administrative capital of the Island. Renting a car is highly recommended. It will give you an opportunity to dive in the morning and in the afternoon on the one side of the Island and then drive 30 minutes to the other side to snorkel before the sunset.
The best place to dive on Menorca is the Northern Menorca Marine Reserve on the northern part of the Island. It extends from Cap Gros to the Bay of Fornells. You will encounter deep, drift and cave dive sites depending on your level of experience from beginners to professionals. Most of the dive sites are reachable within 10-30 minutes on Zodiac after you dress and prepare equipment on the shore.
The Marine Reserve was created to preserve special species of Seaweed, Red Coral and Crustaceans attracting different fish like Ornate, Peacock and Stripped Wrasse, Anthias, Triggerfish, Lizardfish, Pipe Fish and many more. If you are lucky you might find Seahorses.
One of the best dive sites is Llosa Patró Pere with its Giant Groupers patrolling the area, schools of Barracudas, Octopuses, Orbicular Batfish and Slipper Lobsters (called by the locals “Cigarra de mar”). All of these species can be encountered in most of the other dive sites in the Marine Reserve while Llosa Patró Pere tends to have their biggest concentration.
Best Dive Sites Overview
It is suggested to start your diving adventures in the northern part of Menorca and to continue with wrecks on the other side of the Island.
Llosa dels Ocellers
Llosa dels Ocellers is one of the most beautiful dive sites recommended for all levels of divers. It is located not far from the Cavalleria Lighthouse. The dive site offers to travel through the small arcs, canyons and labyrinths of tunnels. With the average depth of 20m (65 ft.) and the maximum depth of 25m (82 ft.), it can be also enjoyed by photographers. There is a high chance of seeing Giant Groupers, Crayfish, Barracudas, Seabream, Morays and Gorgeous Swallowtail.
Illa Porros Norte
If you are interested in wall diving you should try Illa Porros Norte which is located in the northern part of the Marine Reserve. That dive site is designated for an advanced level of divers with good buoyancy control due to strong currents. The expected maximum depth is 25m (82 ft.) with the average depth of 15m (49 ft.). You will find fantastic vertical walls which you can enjoy while making the drift dive. The current brings plankton and other food attracting schools of Amberjacks and Groupers. On the walls, you should look for Forkbeards, Morays, and Nudibranchs while Rays might be passing by.
In order to enjoy canyons and small caverns try Illa Tirant to the west of the Bay of Fornells. This dive site is recommended for all levels of divers with the maximum depth of 18m (59 ft.) and an average depth of 13m (42 ft.). Due to the good light conditions and picturesque environment in shallow waters the dive site is recommended for underwater photography. After entering the water you will need to go through a canyon at the depth of 3m (9 ft.). The canyon will take you to the Bay through the natural arc. There you will be able to go deeper enjoying other canyons, small caverns, and underwater mountains. Get ready to meet Morays, Groupers including the Giant Groupers, Octopuses, Nudibranchs, Salpas, Damselfish, and Seabreams. Do not forget to look up from time to time to encounter schools of Barracudas. In case you are out of air earlier then you return to the entry point and you have to ascend in the Bay, great care should be taken and usage of the buoy is highly recommended due to the boat passing by from the Fornells’ Harbor.
Es racó des Llamp
For cavern dives head to Es racó des Llamp on the western side of the entrance to the Bay of Fornells. There you will have a chance to see up to 5 caves. The dive site is recommended for advanced divers. The maximum depth is around 18m (59 ft.) while average depth is around 10m (32 ft.). As there will be not enough light in the caves and tunnels usage of a torch is highly recommended. After the first small cave, there will be a tunnel which can take you to the air chamber. There will be a chain of different caves ending up with a huge cave located between the two walls of the rock. You can enter most of these caves and while there look for Crayfish, Prawns, Crabs and try to notice Eels on the sandy spots of the bottom. Among other fauna, you should expect schools of Amberjacks, Groupers, and Seabreams.
The South of the Island has two wreck dive sites: “Ocean Diver” and “Malakoff”. Both of them are recommended for advanced divers.
“Malakoff” was a French cargo steamer sank in 1929 after crashing into the underwater rock. She is standing on the sandy bottom at the depth of 40m (131 ft.) while the deck level is at the depth of 32m (104 ft.). The length of the wreck is about 105m (344 ft.) and now it is home to a large number of underwater creatures like Groupers, schools of Barracudas, Triggerfish, Scorpionfish, and Rays. Look for Eels and Starfish on the sandy bottom.
“Ocean Diver” Wreck
“Ocean Diver” was a Dutch cargo boat but Spanish Coast Guard confiscated it because of tobacco smuggling. Some time later she was turned into the artificial reef where you can now see Nudibranchs, Groupers, Wrasse, and Lizardfish. The wreck is about 23m (75ft.) long and it stays on the depth of 27m (88 ft.).
Another recommendation for advanced and technical divers is an interesting wreck on the western side of Menorca named “Francesquita”. She was a 45m (147ft.) long Spanish steamer which hit the underwater rock in 1952 and sank. The whole crew was saved. Now she stays at the depth of 50m ( ft.) in a very good condition on a sandy bottom. The average depth is around 39m (127 ft.) so most likely it will be a decompression dive which should be taken with a great care and experience.
Best Dive Season
The best time for diving is between July and September which is called the High season. The average water temperature should be expected between 25-26C (77-78F) with the average visibility of 15-20m (49-65 ft.). Though you might face some storms in August when diving might be restricted in the Northern Menorca Marine Reserve. Strong winds from the North will ensure calm conditions in the southern part of the Island. So it is recommended to take a 30-minute drive to Son Bou on such days. There you will find a perfect place for snorkeling around a small rock very close to the coast with Morays, Octopuses, and Eels in shallow waters.
The diving season lasts from April to October, July and August being the High season while the rest is the Low season. During the High season, you should expect the best weather and calm sea conditions. However, you might face some showers and storms in the North of the Island already in August while they are more typical as of September.
The sea temperature in July-September will be the highest, from 24C (75F) up to 27C (80F) while during the winter it falls to 18C (64F). The average visibility is between 15-20m (49-65 ft.). The average dive depth is 10-20m (32-65 ft.).
Menorca has plenty of dive sites both in the Northern and Southern parts of the Island thus, anyone can choose the most appropriate dive site for his or her level. Some dive sites in the Northern Menorca Marine Reserve and wrecks are recommended only for advanced and experienced divers due to the strong currents and complex caves and tunnels.
The access to the sea is normally made from small inflatable boats (Zodiac). As the boat normally is not stable you will need to use a back roll entry. For exit back to Zodiac you will have to climb the ladder. Normally the dive club staff will assist you and ask you to take off the fins and the weight belt before climbing the ladder.
It is recommended to stay around 10 days on Menorca. You will have plenty of time to explore dive sites on both sides of the Island as well as to enjoy some of the non-diving activities.
Menorca abounds with marine life. Among fish, you should expect to see such species as Barracuda, Anthia, Lizardfish, Scorpionfish, Wrasse, Giant Grouper, Orbicular Batfish, and Bream. Crustacea is widely represented by Prawns, Crabs, Lobsters and Slipper Lobsters. There is a high chance of seeing Octopus, Cuttlefish, and Squid. If you favor Nudibranchs you will find a great variety of them in Menorca: Yellow Nudibranch, Violet Nudibranch, Feathered Nudibranch, and a lovely Spanish Dancer. Vegetation is represented by different types of Seaweed, Red coral, Fan Coral, Anemones, and Tube Worms.
Dive Resort or Liveaboard?
Liveaboard is normally not offered in Menorca, so you should look for hotels and other land accommodation. There are no special dive resorts as dive centers are normally situated in separate locations. However, you can find several dive centers located on the territory of the hotels.
If you tend to stay close to the Northern Menorca Marine Reserve you should check Grupo Carema. It is offering Carema Club Playa Aparthotel and Carema Aldea Playa Appartments.
Carema Club Playa Aparthotel
A dive club, a small supermarket, and a splash park are located on the territory of the 3 star Carema Club Playa Aparthotel. The hotel has a direct access to Cala Tirant beach. Protected by the rocks Cala Tirant has fewer waves even during August storms and its shallow waters are perfect for very small children and snorkeling. The Resort has a buffet restaurant, animation, and a tennis court. Each apartment has an equipped kitchen with a small fridge and a balcony or a terrace. There is no WiFi in the rooms; however you can use free WiFi in common areas.
Carema Aldea Playa Appartments
Carema Aldea Playa Appartments are located to the right if you are facing the Cala Tirant. They are also offering a direct access to the beach and the dive club. The Resort has studios and apartment with 1 or 2 bedrooms with a terrace or a balcony. There are 2 pools on the territory of the Resort. The guests can also use the facilities of Carema Club Playa Aparthotel.
Royal Son Bou Family Club
If you are traveling with children and prefer to stay at Son Bou beach, then 4 star Royal Son Bou Family Club is highly recommended. The Aparthotel is offering children’s playgrounds, animation, Kid’s club as well as big pool and children’s pool. There is also a tennis court and a fitness center in this family hotel. WiFi is available free of charge in the rooms.
Insotel Punto Prima Prestige Suits & Spa
Insotel Punto Prima Prestige Suits & Spa is located in the southeast of the Island near Punta Prima Beach. The hotel offers big suites with balconies. There are 3 restaurants, 8 tennis courts, 2 squash courts, Spa, and wellness center. The hotel is offering free WiFi in all areas, free bicycles, and free parking. The nearest dive center is located in Sant Luis.
Hotel Tres Sants
If you prefer to stay in a city 4-star hotel where each room has a unique design then head to Hotel Tres Sants in Ciutadella de Menorca. The hotel is located next to Catedral de Santa María de Ciudadela, city center, shops, and restaurants. There are just 8 rooms in that hotel. However, it offers free WiFi in the rooms, hammam, massage, indoor pool, and a library. You will find several dive clubs in the walking distance from the hotel.
Other Activities For Non-Divers
During the non-diving days do not miss an opportunity to get acquainted with Menorca’s zoological park “Lloc de Menorca” and to stroll through the lemur zone enjoying close interaction with these friendly primates. If you tend for more adolescent entertainment try Cova d’en Xoroi then. This is a natural cave over the sea with a bar and live music which is transformed into the Night Club after 11 pm. There is a lovely legend about the man and his beloved woman who were living in that cave. You are almost guaranteed the breathtaking photos, especially in the sunset.