Lanzarote is one of the best places on the planet for snorkelling. Why? Because the water is warm, teeming with life, and there are very few “nasty” things in it! We don’t have jellyfish, the only sharks you may see inshore are harmless Angel Sharks, and the water is clean and clear.
If you’re planning to go snorkelling, it’s worth investing in some decent gear. don’t fall into the trap of buying a cheap mask, as leaks just spoil the fun. Get a good quality mask, a snorkel with a long tube and fins with enough length to give you decent propulsion. The trick to stop the mask misting up, is to spit onto the glass, wipe the spit around, and then rinse in sea water. Don’t do the straps up too tight – a mask to fit your face should almost stay on without a strap, if you breathe in through your nose.
Now that you’re kitted up, where’s the best place to go? The three best snorkelling beaches on the island are:
Unless it’s rough and windy (and if it is Arrieta is great for boogy boarding!) the beach called La Garita at Arrieta is perfect for snorkelling. Swim off to the left, and hang around near the pier and pier legs, and you’ll see Sama, rainbow fish, various bream, zebra fish and parrot fish. Swim to the end of the pier, where the water is deeper, and you’ll see urchins, maybe an anemone or two and lots of small crabs. Be sure to check above you for fisherman and to keep an ear out for boats.
Play Chica, Puerto del Carmen
This beach is used all the time by scuba divers, and with good reason – it’s got loads of fish! Again swim off the beach, or jump in from the little harbour wall. Look out for divers, there’ll be loads around! As well as the fish noted above, you may well see Barracuda here, starfish and arrow crabs, and if you’re very lucky an Angel Shark, as they sometimes sleep in the shallows – they will be at least 5 or 6 meters below you on the seabed, but you’ll be able to see them clearly. You may also spot cuttlefish in the bay, and if you venture out to where the boats are tied up, there are often sea horses, living in the ropes.
Playa Flamingo, Playa Blanca
Now that the sea wall has been repaired, you’ll find all of the fish named in the first two places, but you may also spot a big school of sardines here, as well as small lobsters, sea cucumbers and grey mullet. Be careful if you go outside the wall, as there can be a current, and you may be affected by the wash from the high speed ferry.
Snorkelling is one of the many great things you can do in Lanzarote without spending any money, and whilst getting a great tan – give it a go next time you’re over here!
All you need is some good fins, a quality mask and a snorkel. Invest in decent gear, because whilst you can buy cheapie stuff, the masks leak, and the fins are often too small and floppy to get decent drive in the water. Go for a mask with a silicon, rather than rubber seal. To check the fit put it on your face, without the strap and “suck.” The mask should stay in place. Go for a long snorkel, so that waves lapping don’t enter the tube, and the fins should be stiff and fit the feet well. The longer the fins, the faster you’ll move, but also remember they need more work, so you will tire more quickly.
Most people don’t need any kind of buoyancy aid, as salty sea water keeps them on the surface.
If you’re going into an area where boats might be around, trail a brightly coloured buoy.
Each time you use your snorkelling kit, rinse it with fresh water and dry out of direct sunlight.
How to snorkel
Walk out of the area of breaking waves, and lay flat on the surface, face down. If you start to sink, just do a few kicks with your fins, and you’ll float back up. There’s no need to use your arms at all, just fold them in front of your chest. Check the surface every few minutes by lifting you head up, to make sure you’re not straying too far, or about to run into some swimmers.
You’ll find the best sea life around rocks, so head for rocky areas, float above them and just watch.
You can dive down for a closer look at anything interesting – take a deep breath, duck dive and use your fins to power to the sea bed. You’ll float back up naturally, and remember to breathe out hard at the surface to remove the water that will have filled your snorkel.
What you’ll see
You’ll see dozens of small species just swimming around you – lots of interesting, colourful fish, and things like sardines. You might see the occasional Stingray on the sea bed, and sometimes Barracuda, who will be eating the sardines! You’ll almost certainly see cuttle fish, squid and an octopus, although the latter are very hard to spot, and usually hide in rock crevices. You’ll sea sea cucumbers and nudibranchs, which look like brightly coloured snails, and look closely at any ropes in the water, as you might see sea horses. You might come across a moray eel, and also look out for the odd, small crab.
If you go a little way off shore, you’ll come across sea urchins and starfish and if you’re really lucky a grouper.
Here’s a kit we recommend:
More on which beaches in Lanzarote?