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Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
18 Jul 2016

Vast Las Canteras beach is the main reason I live in Gran Canaria’s capital city. It is one of the world’s great urban beaches (after visiting 40 countries, I’ve seen a few).

At over 3 Km, it’s so long that it’s a playground for everyone who lives or visits the city. Surfers and beach footballers stick to the south end where the sand changes colour with every tide. The locals prefer the golden centre of the beach behind the reef. Visitors and tourists choose the north end where the pale sand is wide and shaded by coconut palms.

But while sitting anywhere on the beach is fun, my favourite bit of Las Canteras is underwater.

There’s a world under the surface that has appeared in just 10 years.

Small sargo

The miracle of the Las Canteras marine reserve

The beach and El Confital Bay became a no-take marine reserve in 2009. All fishing, trapping and shellfish harvesting was banned.

It turns out that fish are far brighter than anyone thought. It didn’t take them long to work out that they were safe behind the reef. They came in droves, stayed and bred.

The change has been more dramatic than anyone expected.

Las Canteras reef

After 10 years of protection, diving into the clear waters of Las Canteras is like sneaking into an aquarium tank.

And it gets better every year. Predatory fish like grouper, triggerfish, white trevally and moray eels are coming back. New species colonise every year as the food chain gets longer and the ecosystem matures.

Parrotfish are the key

There’s something almost sensual about the smooth lines and puckered mouths of parrotfish or viejas. They don’t so much swim as drift over the bottom and aren’t shy about having a lie down on the bottom.

But viejas are far more than just pretty fish.  They are a keystone species and when you see schools of parrotfish you know that the ecosystem is healthy.

Viejas crunch up the sea urchins that used to stop weed and sponges from colonising the lava rock. Small fish and fry shelter in the weed and draw in larger species like sea bream, barracuda and jacks.

There’s now so much to eat at Las Canteras that the resident fish spend a lot of their time just lolling about. You can stop and look around you and see schools of a dozen species just floating in the shallow water.

Parrotfisch or viejas

Where to snorkel at Las Canteras

One of the great things about snorkelling at Las Canteras is that most of the marine life is in the shallow water. Just jump in off the sand and the fish are waiting for you.

To get an overview of the diversity of the reserve, head to Playa Chica, the mini-beach right in the middle of Las Canteras. It’s best at low tide but impressive at any time.

Swim south towards the rocks and the fish surround you. The striped bream have now lost all fear of people and hang around swimmers in little gangs. Vast schools of parrotfish drift over the lava followed by wrasse and damselfish. Sinister but harmless lizard fish and scorpion fish lurk on the bottom.

Pejeverdes

There’s always an octopus watching you from its cave.

Can’t see it? It’s there.

For a more adventurous snorkel, drift out to the reef to see clouds of grunts, porgies and damsels. The water is clear and shallow and the colours just pop.

At low tide climb onto the lava reef and look back at the city (walk on the dry bits as it can be slippery). Or dive into deep, cool water on the ocean side. Here you’ll see black seabream and clouds of porgies.  Watch out for moray eels amongst the crevices.

Even at the sandy north end of the beach there’s plenty to see. Salmon pink cleaver wrasse and tiny flatfish (tapaculos or bum-coverers as they know in Gran Canaria) hand out over the sand and big schools of oceanic mullet rest in the calam water. In late summer, rays visit to breed and the odd turtle grazes on the outer part of the reef.

Sargos

When to snorkel at Las Canteras

The water is warmest in late summer but is always warm enough for a snorkel. It’s best to plan your day so that you’re in the water at low tide because the water is clear and the fish closer to shore.

The perfect time to snorkel is at dawn on a sunny day when the tide is right out. If you make it, I’ll see you out by the reef.

Tip

Fish are always happier if you’re at their level rather than on the surface. Dive down, grab a rock and just hang in the water and the bream and parrotfish will drift closer for a good look at you.

 

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Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
www.hellocanaryislands.com