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Diving and Snorkeling

A spectacular underwater world awaits

Pafos offers a gateway to the magical wonders of its undersea world. The tranquil warm waters that touch the shores of this beautiful island offer the ideal diving experience for both professional and first time divers.

From the remains of ancient amphora and stone anchors, spectacular underwater caves and tunnels, to magnificent wrecks inhabited by exotic marine life, an incredible subaquatic adventure awaits. The underwater coastal reefs are abound with a rich variety of underwater life, and are areas of reproduction, growth, feeding and refuge for a multitude of marine organisms. Many divers have seen turtles, swimming about or sleeping under ledges in reefs and rocks. The Pafos Region is home to a turtle conservation project that has been going on for many years.

Diving Spots

White River

Aspros Potamos, or “White River,” is one of the most popular local dive sites, situated after the quaint fishing harbour of Agios Georgios (Saint George) in Pegeia, and flanked by slices of tall, weather-beaten cliffs.

Located 20 minutes’ drive from the Pafos harbour, and heading off the beaten tourist track at the starting point of the Akamas Peninsula, there is a small pebble beach that is visible from the top of the cliff. Upon entering the Akamas Region, the road takes a sharp bend, which eventually leads you to White River. The view of the site is awe-inspiring, revealing an underwater sand bar that cuts through the bay creating a visual effect of a white river cutting through the ocean.

The dive site itself has a gentle slope into the water, and a gradual decline that is suitable for all levels of scuba divers. Heading out, the site cuts around underwater rocky ledges, bringing you into a maze of gullies – some of which have a depth of 24 metres. White River diving spot offers a wonderful opportunity of exploration through numerous hidden swim throughs, small caves and caverns, making it the perfect diving experience for the most discerning scuba diver.

Amphitheatre

Diving in Pafos is incomplete without a visit to the Amphitheatre. This exciting diving spot derives its name from its natural amphitheatre shape and sea-carved tiers of rock steps. The stunning location is ideal for underwater photography, and an fascinating site that feature reefs, walls, hard corals and a huge array of varying marine life.

Located immediately after Coral Bay and Coralia tourist beaches, heading towards Agios Georgios and the Akamas Peninsula, Amphitheatre enjoys excellent visibility and offers the diver a truly unique and interesting geological perspective, since it has three different diving areas from the shore.

The Witches Cauldron is a 10-metre deep hole accessed from a so-called, sandy shelf (largely due to the effect caused by the waves breaking against the back wall as it protrudes from the water). Once submerged, divers are often in awe upon witnessing the bubbling phenomena (“cauldron”) – tiered walls of nooks and crannies hiding all sorts of marine life. This is a great place to spot trumpet fish, sea hares, and various types of wrasse.

Formed from underwater currents, the Amphitheatre lies at a depth of 12 metres beneath the surface.

The Stage derives its name from a large overhang that features a central hole; when the sun’s rays filter through the hole it creates an effect of a lit stage. A stunning area to explore, the Stage offers divers the chance to witness an abundance of marine life, ranging from wrasse, bass, bream, blennies and sea cucumbers, to the occasional loggerhead and green marine turtles, and even the occasional seal and stingray.

Boat Ramp

Located in the fishing harbour of Agios Georgios (Saint George) and the Sea Caves, divers will find a boat ramp used by local anglers. Positioned within a natural cove, the ramp offers excellent visibility during dives, at the same time allowing scuba divers the opportunity to enter and exit the site with safety and ease. From here, one can easily head across to the nearby island where the depths range from six to eighteen metres, making it suitable for all levels of divers.

Alternatively, divers can head out across a large sandbar, teaming with sea life that surrounds the various small reefs and sea grass areas. This is a great place for octopus spotting and underwater macro photography, especially if extreme close-up shots are what you are after. The dive site leads onto a submerged tiered wall, sitting at a depth of 18 metres, when one will discover a huge array of ancient pottery and ornaments that lie on the seabed.

Cynthiana

From the novice to the more advanced divers, Cynthiana is a great dive site located in front of the Cynthiana Beach Hotel within its own natural sea formed lagoon. Host to several swim throughs and many reefs located across the bay, Cynthiana features overhangs, gullies and beautiful rock formations. Reaching a maximum depth of 18 metres, and renowned for its stunning topography, this dive site is home to large shoals of sea bream, saddle bream, ornate and rainbow wrasse, octopus, cuttlefish, trumpet fish and damsels. Suitable for every type of diver, Cynthiana certainly will meet every expectation and beyond.

Leonardo Cypria Bay - 'The Bay'

Located directly in front of Leonardo Cypria Bay Hotel, The Bay offers both first time and experienced divers the opportunity to admire the large and varied marine life inhabiting the waters of the Pafos Region. With a maximum depth of 6 metres, amid fantastic underwater landscapes, divers have the chance to spot rainbow and ornate wrasse, sea bass, blennies, octopus, various types of sea bream, Moray eels, and even the occasional school of barracuda.

The Bay is suitable for training and refresher courses, and convenient for local divers. The site offers easy access from a walk-in entry from the beach and through various sand patches, rock walls and grasses.

Manijin Island

The Pafos coastline offers great advantages to divers, particularly near the Akamas Peninsula where there are small outcrops and islands located offshore. Manijin Island is one of these rocky outcrops, accessed from the beach, with sand and grass patches en route. Suitable for both first time and experienced divers, Manijin Island has depths ranging from twelve to twenty-two metres, and comes highly recommended.

The site features an impressive colourful wall, almost Jurassic in appearance, and a spectacular cave with several swim throughs. An explosion of colourful calciferous algae cover the cave, while on both sides there are excellent dive sites with a huge array of underwater flora and fauna. This diving site is the perfect opportunity for observing some of the local marine life that include wrasse, sea bream, barracuda, and the occasional loggerhead and green marine turtles.

Wreck Dive Oniro / The Channel

An 83-metre long cargo ship, the Edro III is located a few kilometres from Pegeia and the Sea Caves area. In 2011, during a winter storm, the freighter carrying grain lost steering and ended up wedged onto a reef, butted up against the coastline, without any fatalities. The ship has remained stranded on the rocks, and today serves as a diving site suitable for both first time and experienced divers.

The site features two anchor chains leading out in opposite directions. Both anchor chains have transformed into mini ecosystems, and offer fantastic macro photo opportunities for underwater photographers. There are two separate reefs to visit, featuring local marine life that includes schools of barracuda, sea bream, wrasse, octopus, and even the occasional stingray.

If double dives are what you are after, the site is beyond every expectation. The Channel is renowned for its beauty, both above and below the water. A large rock wall runs parallel to the shore, while a natural gully or channel is created reaching depths of five to six metres featuring crustaceans and marine life immersed within the nooks and crannies. Two small caves offer easy access to amateur cave divers.

Pistol Bay

Adjacent to the Amphitheatre dive site near Coral Bay, Pistol Bay is the perfect site to exercise one’s navigational and photography skills. Suitable for divers who enjoy swim throughs, caves and wall dives. The minimum certification level for this dive is Open Water.

Offering easy access from the shore through a rock slope entry, divers are guided by the rocky crags and sand patches as they make their way to the Pit – a large sand bar surrounded by huge boulders and a rock wall around the perimeter. This wall offers underwater photographers the opportunity to capture images of local marine life (nudibranchs, hard corals), before heading towards the Rock Valley at a depth of twenty metres.

This dive site offers and extremely varied topography, and is the perfect opportunity to explore an endless amount of swim throughs of varying depths, stretching out into large caverns.  Pistol Bay is the an excellent introduction for those wishing to explore cave diving, and the chance to see a wide range of marine life that includes wrasse, sea breams, sea bass, tuna, loggerhead and marine turtles, and the occasional seal, trumpet fish, barracuda, parrot fish and stingray.

Queens Bay

Queens Bay is an idyllic sandy bay, located adjacent to the Queens Bay Hotel, directly in front of Theo’s Sunset Beach Village. A quaint dive site, with easy entry and exit points, Queens Bay lies perfectly flat on a sandy seabed. Newly qualified divers prefer this site for its ease of access and immediate showcase of rocky plinths and outcrops. The site offers various routes with sand bars, baby rock walls, grass patches, and gradual declining depths varying from two to twenty-six metres.

The site’s fantastic topography, together with excellent visibility, make Queens Bay a firm favourite amongst local divers. It is the perfect breeding ground for local marine life and offers divers the opportunity to swim alongside local rainbow wrasse, sea bream, trumpet fish, cardinal fish, groupers, flounders, damselfish, starfish, weaver fish, combers, parrotfish and more.

Sea Caves

Carved into the coastline, and located close to the fishing harbour of Agios Georgios (Saint George) in Pegeia, this magnificent site is renowned for its superb visibility and rich sea life. Accessible from the shore or by boat, Sea Caves dive site ranges from twelve to thirty-six metres in depth. The area itself remains one of the most beautiful parts of the Pafos Region featuring panoramic coastal views; the sea caves are visible by car from the coastal road.

Sea Caves offers a truly diverse experience for both first time and experienced scuba divers. Upon entry, the beauty of the area is instantly apparent. Featuring a rocky bottom of small crevices that are ideal for exploration or underwater photography, this magnificent site included an underwater motorbike, wedged upright between the rocks.  Divers who head out of the bay will encounter hidden caves reaching depths of 36 metres.  There are also small coves that create walk-in access points making them excellent for exploration.

St George Caves

A truly amazing dive site that provides endless possibilities for all levels of divers. Saint George Caves offer a choice of entry points that include the main harbour of Saint George, or simply dropping into a partially submerged cave and exiting underwater. Multiple swim throughs, underwater arches, numerous large caves and even a blowhole offer an experience beyond any expectation.

For the more advanced diver, there is a stunning wall drop off located behind the island of Saint George, reaching depths between fifty and sixty metres. An abundance of marine life, including caves covered in purple and pink calciferous algae present the perfect opportunity for underwater photographers. Large shoals of yellow fin barracuda are often sited here, along with wrasse, octopus, tuna, sea bream, loggerhead turtles, and more.

Vera K

An 86-metre long freighter, Vera K was of Lebanese origin, which ran aground off the coast of Cyprus in 1972. Originally, the wreck was used for targeting practice by the Cypriot military, and in 1974 it was deemed dangerous and therefore blown up.

Often combined with the Amphorae Cave, this boat dive is located approximately 20 minutes’ boat ride from Pafos Harbour. The wreck rests in a large crater at an 11-metre depth, allowing divers the opportunity to explore the site fully. Parts of the bridge are still intact, and the large engine block is visible.

Wreck White Star

The White Star was a former Russian fishing boat that sunk in 2007 near Geroskipou Municipal Beach while being transported to Limassol. The boat’s original name was “Ivana Ivanova,” and was part of the Russian commercial fishing fleet in the Black Sea.  A Cypriot company changed its name to “White Star” after purchasing it. Lying on a rocky bottom, the White Star wreck is located between 14 to 18 metres underwater, and is accessible by boat. Divers are able to see black tail combers, sea breams, groupers and a large number of marine life surrounding the wreckage site.

Amphorae Caves

This magnificent site features a number of gullies and caves to explore, including one with an amphorae-encrusted roof. Located at a depth between five and twelve metres beneath Moulia Island, the site was explored by a team of American archaeologists whose findings reported that the feature of the amphorae-encrusted cave roof is due to movements in the seabed over the last 2000 years. The dive site is home to various species of wrasse, sea bream, damselfish, brittle stars, Mora eel and octopus, and features some of the island’s most beautiful coral.

The Wreck of Laboe

Laboe was built in Rendburg shipyard Germany in 1940. It was a cruise vessel and was brought to Cyprus in 2006 by a private company to be used as diving liveaboard vessel. In June 2014 it was sunk in the area of Moulia Pafos as part of the artificial reefs and marine parks project. The max depth on this dive is 26 meters with easy penetration in the engine room, saloon and bridge area. The wreck already attracted various species of marine life such as octopus, groupers and barracudas.

A unique work of art and enrichment of marine life

First Snorkelling Park in Cyprus for free diving in the Protected Area of the known “Municipal Baths” in Pafos, enriched with a unique sculpture composition created by the sculptor Yiota Ioannidou.
Cyprus’ first Snorkelling Park in the Municipal Baths area of Paphos has been enriched with a unique sculpture composition.

Located at the Municpal Baths area of Kato Pafos in a protected area, and enriched with a unique sculpture composition created by renowned local sculptor, Yiota Ioannidou, Cyprus’ first Snorkelling Park is a free diving site popular amongst tourists and locals.

The park consists of three sculptural compositions of supernatural sized shells, in close proximity to one another. A smaller composition of sea urchin shells, located outside the water in the surrounding rocks, predisposing the visitor to the surprise that awaits them beyond the surface.

Sculpted out of environmentally friendly concrete, and in accordance with the guidelines set out by the relevant Protocol of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution, the shells are a tribute to Pafos’ glorious mythological past and to the goddess Aphrodite.

The symbolism of the shell is directly associated with Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, who emerged from the foam of the sea on a shell. In ancient times, the shell was a symbol of fertility, similar to that of eggs, suggesting birth.

The innovative, authentic and environmentally friendly project coexists in harmony with the Mediterranean, functions as a natural system for conservation and reproduction of biodiversity, simultaneously attracting swimmers and enhancing both the swimming experience and Pafos as a destination.

Their geometric composition, together with their internal structure, contribute to the attraction of marine organisms within the protected zone. The area itself is a protected area, and Cyprus’ first Snorkelling Park serves as a reference point for free diving, featuring archaeological treasures and contemporary works of art.

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