To many, Madeira is a surprisingly interesting diving destination with wrecks, caves and nice marine live, including large groupers and barracuda. Most dive spots are on the Southern part of the island. Madeira’s protected underwater habitats are the islands of Desertas and Selvagens, Rocha do Navio, the Ponta de S. Lourenço, and Garajau – the only exclusively underwater reserve in the country. The Garajau Nature Reserve is well known; it has clear waters and a marine diversity that provides a unique diving environment. The Mero, a species in the grouper family, has become the reserve’s symbol.
Accessibility of all dive sites are good; some can be directly accessed from the shore and others are a short boat ride away.
The nature reserve Ilhas Desertas, or Deserted Islands are 18 km to the southeast of Madeira. There are a few divespots and there is a small colony of Monk seals. Most of the islands (Ilheu Chao, Deserta Grande, and Bugio) are restricted area, but on Deserta Grande the northern part is accessible for permitted visitors. Onshore there are some animals including small rodents, wild goats, reptiles and sixteen birds species on the islands.
Profiting from a privileged geographic location Madeira Island has a mild climate, making it possible to dive year round.