Scuba Diving Madeira

Scuba Diving Madeira: Everything You Need to Know

Well known for its own wine and subtropical climate, Madeira features beautiful landscapes full of lush green hillsides and mountains. With a series of pebbly beaches to add to that. Madeira is the land of the eternal spring so expect to be met with pleasant and fresh weather conditions.

Madeira is an archipelago comprising 4 islands a stone’s throw from the northwest coast of Africa. The main island is rugged, full of cliffs and volcanic rock. There’s a world of activities to get involved in too. Whether you want to swim with dolphins, explore the cliffside, or relax on the beach.

Thanks to its location in the tropical Atlantic, Madeira also caters well to scuba divers! Scuba diving Madiera promises unique experiences of diving amongst captivating underwater landscapes of rich biodiversity.

Scuba Diving Madeira

Much like Lanzarote and Tenerife, Madeira is actually closer to Africa and brings with it an array of new underwater topographies and unique landscapes to discover and explore.

Incredible marine diversity is brought about by the subtropical climate so you’ll be able to discover an abundance of colorful species of tropical fish amongst the beautiful landscapes, manta diving is very popular in Madeira. Another great thing about diving in Madeira is the number of shore dives for those who don’t enjoy boat rides.

These waters also make for comfortable conditions. Featuring warm blue water and great visibility, making it a great option for divers of all abilities!

Madeira Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

There is no requirement to be certified to scuba dive in Madeira. While there are some dives catered to the more confident and experienced, there are plenty of options for newbies too.

There are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for beginner divers. Thanks to the vastly different conditions and diverse range of dive sites available, there are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.

It’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Madeira as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging caves and wrecks.

If you’re looking to get scuba certified during your trip to Madeira, check out our recommended Open Water Diving course below!

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Madeira Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

There are no specific laws governing scuba diving in Madeira that those diving with an organized tour need to be aware of.

As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 8 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator. You may be required to complete a medical form to confirm your eligibility to dive.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in Madeira, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Dive Sites in Madeira

Situated off the northwest coast of Africa, Madeira has a beautiful subtropical climate. That’s just one of the reasons diving the Azores is not to be missed. Along with the conditions, there’s great variety in dive sites and marine life. Here are some of our favorite dive sites in Madeira.

Madeira Aquarium

Vibrant Coral

If you are new to diving or very experienced, Madeira Aquarium’s scuba diving activity is designed to accommodate you. Located a little way outside of the heart of Madeira in Porto Moniz, the experience takes you on both outdoor pool diving and diving within the aquarium itself.

These different activities are both guided by professionals and marine life experts who will guide customers through the wild and varied coral and marine wildlife in the area.

Madeira Aquarium’s scuba diving experience will take roughly half a day, at an average of 80 euros per customer. The day begins with an exploration of the natural pools, and then moves to the aquarium.

The indoor diving portion of the activity guarantees encounters with morays, sharks, and many more of the natural wildlife preserved in the aquarium.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!

Porto Moniz Natural Pools

Blue Hole

The Porto Moniz Natural Pools can be found right at the North-West edge of Madeira Island. This location is a 50 minute drive away from the town of Funchal, a journey of roughly 49 kilometers. Traveling to the pools takes you on a small adventure right through the heart of the island.

For an incredibly humble entry fee of 1.50 Euro, you can spend all day at the pools throughout its opening hours. The winter hours are from 9am to 5pm, with the summer hours adding 2 hours to that, opening the natural pools until 7pm.

These natural pools are all saltwater pools, so will not sting your eyes like a chlorine pool. In there you can investigate the natural rock formations and the coral that form there. There are also ample opportunities to see natural crustaceans and other marine wildlife. 

If you’re heading to Madeira and looking to get your first taste of scuba diving, this unique dive will definitely make lasting memories, check out our recommended diving package below!

Garajau Reserve

Madeira Reef

The natural reserve sites in Garajau are all underwater and boast the “cleanest diving waters in Maderia”! This site is only a mere 2-minute boat ride away from the nearest diving center.

Having such clean water leads to a huge diversity in marine life that you can explore if you go there. Included in that diverse wildlife range are large groupers and big schools of fish like amberjacks, tuna, manta rays, and barracuda.

All of these are visible during the scuba dive in the Garajau Reserve, the boat ride of which takes approximately 15 minutes (not including diving). During this dive, customers can expect to dive between 15 and 30 meters down before they get to see the wildlife.

Best Time to go Diving in Madeira

Madeira is known for being the land of the eternal spring. It’s warm, sunny summers and mostly mild winters mean that you can scuba dive in Madeira at any time of the year. You may feel more comfortable in a 7mm wetsuit in the winter, but the gulf stream well regulates the water temperature so it’s not too chilly.

Depending on the site and conditions, expect impeccable visibility often exceeding 100 feet and water temperatures around 68°F in the summer. Water temperatures can cool off to around 60°F in the winter.

How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Madeira?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Madeira, you’ll find prices between $50-$100. The prices generally include gear rental and levy’s so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $500, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear in Madeira

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops located in Madeira. This means gear rental is always an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear.

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