Funchal is the capital of Portugal's two-island archipelago, Madeira. Scuba diving in Funchal is famous for crystal-clear waters filled with an endless variety of marine life. Large pelagic sightings are common here, like manta rays, whales, dolphins, and the rare monk seal. After exploring underwater, you will enjoy this city's historical sites and cute markets.
Diving in Funchal
Scuba diving in Funchal is a very popular activity. Since Madeira Island is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, Funchal's waters are littered with fantastic dive sites, and there are several eco marine parks to explore.
Divers travel to Madeira Island every year to see many unique species like jewfish, monkfish, manta rays, Mobula rays, dolphins, and even whales at certain times of the year.
Best time to dive
Madeira is said to have some of the best weather in the world. The warm ocean currents produce pleasant, mild conditions year-round. Water temperatures fluctuate between 17ºC in the winter and 25ºC in the summer.
However, diving in the cooler months is well worth it, as this is when exciting large pelagic encounters occur.
Types of diving
Funchal diving holds a different adventure every day. There is such a diverse array of marine life that even the same dive site will show you new things every time.
Excellent wreck diving is available in the marine parks. You will also be astounded by the beautiful volcanic reef structure.
What to see
Scuba diving in Funchal, Madeira is a marine life lover's dream! This area of the Atlantic is a haven for large and small fish species such as moray eels, barracuda, jewfish, monkfish, stingrays, giant groupers, and even manta and mobula rays. You can also see some marine mammal species like dolphins, some whales, and the endangered monk seal.
Best places to dive
Garajau National Park - This protected marine park is an underwater photographer's paradise and sits just east of Funchal. You will see abundant marine life, including tuna, mackerels, giant grouper, and barracudas.
The Eco Marine Park - This protected marine park sits just offshore from Funchal. You will see many groupers, eels, wrasse, rays, and barracuda here in the crystal clear waters.
Azul House Reef - Not only will the biodiversity of this Funchal diving site amaze you, but the spectacular volcanic caves and rock formations will blow you away. This is an excellent site for beginner divers.
Reis Magos - This site is a favorite amongst photographers and great for beginners. Reis Magos is an easy-access shore dive with excellent visibility and no current.
Arena - Also called the 'Amphitheatre,' Arena is a popular dive site in the center of Madeira Underwater Park with depths between 10-24 meters.