The Underwater World of Altea: Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Spots

Nestled on the picturesque Costa Blanca in Spain, the charming town of Altea offers more than just its scenic streets and traditional whitewashed houses. Beyond its shores lies an underwater paradise that beckons marine enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Altea’s diverse marine environments and clear waters make it a premier destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, offering a variety of spots that cater to all levels of experience. This article explores some of the most enchanting underwater spots around Altea, diving into what makes each unique and what visitors can expect to see.

1. La Olla Island

Off the coast of Altea, La Olla Island emerges as a favorite among both snorkelers and divers. This small rocky island provides a sheltered environment with minimal currents, making it an ideal spot for beginners. The waters around La Olla are relatively shallow, usually clear, and teem with a rich variety of marine life. Snorkelers can expect to encounter schools of silvery fish darting through the water, while scuba divers might explore further down to see octopuses and small rays hiding among the rocks. The island is also known for its posidonia seagrass beds, an important marine plant that plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of Altea's coastal waters.

2. Cap Negret

A little north of Altea, Cap Negret is a site renowned for its dramatic underwater cliffs and the diversity of its aquatic inhabitants. The area offers more challenging dives due to its deeper waters and stronger currents. Here, experienced divers can plunge into a vibrant world beneath the waves. The site is characterized by its large boulders and steep slopes, which house a wide array of species including moray eels, lobster, and the occasional barracuda. The visibility here is generally good, although it can vary with the weather conditions.

3. Mascarat Point

Mascarat Point presents a unique diving experience with its underwater caves and tunnels, which are a magnet for advanced divers. The topography of the seabed here creates fascinating structures that offer an exhilarating challenge to explore. These caves and tunnels provide a habitat for various species of nudibranchs, which are small, colorful sea slugs known for their extraordinary designs and colors. The complexity of this dive site also attracts larger marine life, such as grouper and occasionally, eagle rays.

4. El Portet

El Portet is an excellent spot for both snorkeling and novice divers. Located near a protected bay, the waters here are calm and inviting. The seabed is sandy with scattered rocks, providing plenty of hiding spots for marine life. It’s common to spot large schools of fish, seahorses, and even small octopuses. The site is easily accessible, making it a perfect choice for families and those new to underwater exploration.

5. Serra Gelada Natural Park

For those willing to venture a little further, the Serra Gelada Natural Park offers breathtaking underwater landscapes. This protected area spans from the northern part of Benidorm to the south of Altea and is characterized by its ecological diversity. Divers and snorkelers can explore rocky reefs, sandy bottoms, and abrupt walls. The area is known for its good visibility and the chance to observe larger species, including dolphins and sunfish, in their natural habitat. The conservation efforts in this park ensure that its beauty remains unspoiled, offering a pristine environment for marine life and an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Conservation and Safety

Exploring the underwater world of Altea is not only a privilege but also a responsibility. Divers and snorkelers are urged to respect the fragile marine ecosystems. It is important to avoid touching or disturbing the wildlife and to be mindful of one’s buoyancy to not damage the seabed. Additionally, safety should always be a priority. Using the services of local dive centers, which offer guided tours and ensure safety protocols are followed, is highly recommended.


Altea’s underwater offerings provide a mesmerizing peek into the vibrant and diverse marine life of the Mediterranean. From sheltered bays ideal for beginners to challenging caves for the experienced diver, Altea has something to fascinate every underwater enthusiast. Whether it’s the serene beauty of La Olla Island or the exotic charm of Serra Gelada Natural Park, the diving and snorkeling spots around Altea promise an adventure that is as enriching as it is exciting. With responsible practices and a respect for nature, visitors can ensure these marine treasures continue to thrive for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

La Olla Island, Cap Negret, and Mascarat Point are among the best spots for scuba diving in Altea, each offering unique underwater experiences from shallow waters to challenging caves

Yes, snorkeling in Altea is suitable for beginners, especially at sites like La Olla Island and El Portet, where the waters are calm and shallow with plenty of marine life to observe

Dolphins can occasionally be spotted in the Serra Gelada Natural Park area, where the diverse marine environment attracts a variety of larger species

Yes, local dive centers in Altea offer guided snorkeling and diving tours, which include equipment rental and professional guidance to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience

Visitors are encouraged to practice responsible snorkeling and diving by maintaining proper buoyancy, avoiding contact with marine life, and following all local regulations to protect the underwater ecosystem

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