The hidden gems of La Manga
La Manga is distinctive for its active and sportive spirit and it’s ideal for all kind of activities between which, scuba diving is the hidden gem.
Scuba diving is both; sport and adventure and gives us the opportunity to explore a different world and to experience firsthand an extraordinary wildlife that usually we just see in documentaries. It will open the door to a completely new universe that is waiting for you, right below the surface. Once that you are down there, you will be amazed not just by the stunning scenery but also by the calm, quiet and peaceful feeling that will invade you.
The region of Murcia and the area of La Manga and the Mar Menor, have been for years Spain’s best secret; as it is without doubt, one of the best places for diving in the country.
Is not just us saying it: in 2015 the marine park of Islas Hormigas (just 15 minutes away from the resort) was selected as the best diving destination in Europe. The reasons? The variety of different spots, perfect for beginners or advanced divers, the important part of history that lies in the wrecks resting in the sea bed and the huge amount of life that blooms and spreads in this unique region.
The marine reserve of Islas Hormigas (Ant’s Islands) close to the town of Cabo de Palos, was founded in 1995 by the fisheries department, as a way to keep a sustainable source of fish. Due to its exceptional state of conservation and its great biodiversity, it slow started serving more and more for diving purposes. It currently attracts thousands of diving enthusiasts every year from all around the world, which come ready to enjoy the incredible abundance of marine life.
The location of this reserve, it’s a place where currents from the Atlantic Ocean mix with the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. These nutrient rich waters are the key to attract small species which in turn, will attract bigger fishes in a never ending food chain.
Marine life comprises from enormous groupers to tiny nudibranch, including elegant eagle rays, exotic moonfish and even pelagic and whales on their way to the Atlantic Ocean. These waters are an explosion of life and colour where even snorkelling you can enjoy observing playful octopus or watching the incredible colours of a cuttlefish hunting. Keeping your eyes open, you may be lucky enough to spot a seahorse camouflaging between the fields of the unique algae Poseidonia.
The reserve it’s a 19 square kilometres protected area where you can find an underwater continuation of the rocky outcrop of Cabo de Palos, and extends North West direction for about 6 kilometres, surfacing just in the Hormigas islands. Some of these underwater mountains descend as deep as 70 meters and rise as shallow as just three meters below the surface: this has been a fatal shipping trap for multiple vessels.
The area has witnessed numerous shipwrecks from Phoenician times until the recent last century. The museum ARQUA in Cartagena has fragments of ancient shipwrecks that sunk in this part of Spain. During World War One, a German U Boot submarine patrolling in these waters sunk many international ships. Also the dangerous shallow depth of the underwater pinnacles, made this zone specially challenging for navigation. Some examples are: the SS STANFIELD, a merchant cargo 120 meters long that was sunk in 1916 and currently lies between 50 and 60 meters deep. The Thordisa or Carbonero, sunk in 1917 by the Germans, resting between 36 and 45 meters, also a very popular dive between the wrecks enthusiasts. The Sirio, an Italian cruise liner, called the “Mediterranean Titanic”, which went to the bottom in 1906 after a fatal accident in the shallowest point of the marine park and had more than 200 victims.
All of them and many more are resting in the seabed, holding a significant part of our history and acting as artificial reefs that provide shelter to marine life.
To all this, you can add the gorgeous landscape, both underwater and on surface, that offers a unique scenery for this activity. The magnificent lighthouse, 150 years old and still working, overlooks the beautiful small bays, protected from the winds and ideal for snorkelling and for learning to dive for the first time.
However, if after reading how amazing this sport can be and how many wonders you can discover, still you don’t think is for you, don’t despair! The region has much more to offer. The special conditions united in the Mar Menor (little sea) makes the area ideal for all kind of water sports. The Mar Menor is the largest sea lagoon in Europe and thanks to its location and characteristics is the ideal setting to practice and learn fun and exciting nautical sports such as windsurf, kite surf, kayak or SUP. Catamaran trips for chilling out and for the adrenaline fans, Jet Ski excursions give the final touch to a fantastic offer in activities.
Fun, adventure, sport and nature! There is nothing more to ask when you can combine the best scuba diving with the best outdoor activities, all in one place.
So, if you are wondering about what new adventures are lying ahead of you, the answer is waiting for you here in La Manga !
Article written by Laura Quijano of Adventure Divers & Activity Center
PADI Dive Resort #-799389
Office: +34 968 338 485 ext:4485 Mob:+34 606 507 464