Dive wrecks and walls then explore ancient ruins
By Fabio H Cesario
Cyprus, a new member of the EU, is located in the far east of the Mediterranean with crystal clear waters. Water temperatures range from 16-25Â°C during summer (May to October) and is a perfect spot for divers of all levels. It is also a great place for summer holidays as the temperature starts rising in May with 25Â°C up to 40Â°C in mid August and it does not rain at all during the summer season. Airlines operate direct or connecting flights and most travel agencies worldwide offer holiday packages in Cyprus.
In each bigger city you will find a few diving centres, they have different prices and offer different qualities of service so it is advised to shop around and keep in mind that the price is not the most important thing. The staff is mostly multinational so it is not a problem to find someone who speaks your own language. Some of the diving centres are doing promotions in the hotels, offering a free try dive in the hotel pools. You can find diving courses for all levels – from discover scuba dive up to dive instructors.
The good thing about diving in Cyprus is that there is no current, the tides are low and the underwater topography can be interesting. In Pafos, in depths of 12 metres, you can find the wrecks of Archilleas and Vera K, the water is crystal clear with visibility from 8-10 metres with a chance of seeing groupers, rainbow wrasses, fire worms, and moray eels.
Another adventure not to miss is a two-tank dive on the famous wreck of Zenobia, a Swedish ferry sunk in 1979 which lies on the seabed at 42 metres. It is located one mile off the coast of Larnaca, with bluish water and extremely good visibility. Bottom temperature varies from 16-20Â°C during the summer. During the dive you can find a lot of beautiful marine life including groupers, parrot wrasses, red mullets, jacks, even barracudas. There are hundreds of trucks and trailers lying on the bottom and few are still shackled in place on the AF deck.
On your second dive explore the inside of the Zenobia where the cafeteria remains intact. You’ll see pots on the stove, coffee and soft drink machines. I can guarantee it’s the type of dive which takes your breath away. I have been there twice already and yet to explore the whole wreck.
You can also dive in the Protaras and Ayia Napa area, located in the east of the island where you’ll find lots of caves, walls and canyons especially in Cape Gkreko, the ideal place for wall diving. You see more marine life such as stingrays, jacks, lots of octopus and moray eels than in the west of the island and very good visibility from 15-18 metres, which is perfect for night dives. Protaras is a huge bay protected against the wind. When the sea is rough in the rest of the island and the diving conditions are poor, there are only two places you can go diving: Protaras and Polis near Akamas Peninsula. It’s guaranteed you’ll find clear water and good conditions there.
There are other activities besides diving in Cyprus such as water parks, kite surfing, hiking and sites to visit such as the famous Troodos mountains and Lara beach where you can see the green turtles laying their eggs during July.
You can visit many historical sites: the Mosaics of Pafos, Limassol including the famous Kourion and on the way from Pafos to Limassol or vise-versa, don’t forget to stop at Aphrodite’s birth place which is located along the coast. Take the opportunity to visit Nicosia which is the last city in the world still divided, half of it belongs to Greece and the other half to Turkey.