Underwater diving is rapidly becoming more and more popular sport all over the world. But it is especially widespread in coastal countries, not to mention Cyprus, which is surrounded by water. Diving is an unforgettable experience of getting to see and know underwater life with its colorful fish, seaweed, corals and even sunken ships.
Diving modes and equipment
Several modes of diving are recognized in the modern world.
Freediving does not require any special equipment and is often completely recreational. You can learn how to dive and swim underwater in several hours, but breath-hold divers are very restricted in time and ability to dive into deeper pools.
For scuba diving (probably the most popular diving mode nowadays) a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus is required. It allows scuba divers stay underwater longer and cover big distances.
Such modes as Surface supplied diving and Atmospheric pressure diving are also distinguished.
As underwater diving involves certain skills, diving schools and centers provide a certificate upon completion of a training program.
Many seaside resorts in Cyprus offer test diving sessions with an instructor, but those who want to experience scuba diving in its full effect will have to complete a course which involves theory and practice. If you already have a certificate from any diving center in the world, you can rent an equipment and continue your underwater journey on the island.
Basic diving equipment set includes a diving mask and a protective suit. Snorkelers use a breathing tube and swim fins. Professional scuba divers have extended equipment sets.
It is very important to give an instructor all the information about your health conditions and contraindications before you start training.
The leading scuba diver training organization is called Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Its techniques and principles are used in most diving centers on the island. The diving season in Cyprus lasts from May until October.
Popular diving spots in Cyprus
There are lots of picturesque diving spots in Cyprus.
The Green Bay is located not far from Protaras and Ayia-Napa: the sea floor at the depth of 12 meters is full of ancient amphorae; the Canyon gorge is famous for its rich flora and fauna. Other popular spots in this area are Tunnels & Caves and the Chapel underwater grottos located next to a beautiful chapel.
The best diving spots next to Larnaca are Zenobia — a sunken ship, that had become home to thousands of fish, HMS Cricket — an armored cruiser with a similar history, the Fraggle Rock barge, Jetty — an armored vehicle located at the depth of 6 meters. Other notable diving areas are Octopus Reef (yes, you can see octopuses there) and a place called Sheep Dip.
Limassol vacationers also can explore sunken ships: the British Cooper, the Phrases II cargo ship, the M.V. Habe barge, the M\Y Diana yacht, perfectly preserved on the depth of 21 meters, and the Three Stars ship. Twin Rocks diving spot, a picturesque Shark Tunnel, underwater caves that remind ancient Tombs, and the Archways & Pinnacles adventure are also located not far from the city.
The Amphorae Reef is one of the best diving spots next to Paphos. Other popular locations in this part of the island are the Amphitheatre (which features something like ancient Greek amphitheater), the Devil's Head (rocks and craters), the Manajin Island (natural arches), the SlipWay scissure and the Vera K sunken ship.
The most common diving courses in Cyprus
Almost all certified diving centers on the island offer the same types of courses for beginners, amateurs, and professionals. Usually, these are the following:
- Discover Scuba Diving — a beginner course that includes theory, practice in a swimming pool and one or several test diving sessions with an instructor;
- Open Water Course — 2 or 3 days long course. Upon completion divers receive an OWD certificate which allows diving in the pools up to 18 meters deep without a supervision;
- Adventure Diving Course — several adventurous diving sessions in locations of the client’s choice;
- Rescue Diving Course — a course developed specifically for experienced divers-rescuers;
- Bubblemaker — a beginner course for children who are more than 8 years old.
Some centers train future diving instructors as well. To participate in one these programs one should have a certificate, proved diving experience and a health certificate.
Cyprus diving centers
The Olympian Divers diving center is located on the territory of the Pavlo Napa hotel in Ayia-Napa. PADI courses for beginners and advanced divers are offered here. Each program includes theory classes, test diving session in a swimming pool, and diving into coastal ocean pools with a certified instructor. The rescue diving course and the first aid classes for divers are also held here. The Divemaster course is designed specifically for advanced learners who want to become professional divers.
Podvodnyi Mir is a Russian diving center in Aiya-Napa. Three-hour long beginner course includes briefing, skill training, work with the equipment, and a diving session with an instructor (the beginner pools depth is 3 to 10 meters). Longer programs (from 2 to 25 days) are also available. If you want to explore more diving spots all over the island, here you can book a transfer to Paphos, Famagusta, Kyrenia and other locations.
Sunfish divers is one the first diving centers in Ayia-Napa, founded in 1978. Here one can not only take some PADI classes but also rent any scuba diving, freediving or snorkeling equipment for independent training. Diving courses for future instructors (for experienced and certified divers) are held here as well.
The DGR Scuba Diving center is located in Protaras. Beginners can undertake their first diving (with a depth up to 10 meters) in the beautiful Green Bay. Children (older than 8 years old) can subscribe for a Bubblemaker course which helps to overcome the fear of the underwater world and learn how to dive and snorkel.
The Windmills diving center is located in Protaras city center. With its instructors, both beginners and amateurs can explore Cape Greco underwater caves and reefs, Zenobia ship and other popular diving spots on the island.
The Poisedon diving center is also located in Protaras. It offers programs for beginners and future instructors. While newly-made divers practice on the beach, certified sportsmen can go for a trip to see Zenobia and Nemesis III vessels, underwater caves and more.
The Dragon Divers school in Protaras also offers classes for beginners.
Just Scuba diving center is located in Paralimni. A basic scuba diving course for children (older than 10 y.o.) and adults here includes briefing, skill training, and a test diving with an instructor (all the equipment is provided by the center, the length of the course is 3 hours). Open water course takes longer — it consists of more profound theory classes, swimming pool sessions followed by an exam, and 4 divings with an instructor. Snorkelers are also welcomed here.
The Dive In center has been offering PADI courses in Limassol for over 22 years. Scuba Diver, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Master Scuba Diver programs are available here.
The Nemo diving center is located in Larnaca. Its instructors accompany beginners to such spots as Zenobia, while amateurs are offered even more breathtaking adventures — night diving, diving from a row boat, and more. Lessons for professionals and transfer to remote diving locations on the island (for an additional fee) are also available here.
The Rusty Divers Russian diving center also offers diving to Zenobia.
The Viking Divers school is located in 20 minutes drive from the Larnaca International Airport. From here you can take a trip to 20 most appealing diving spots on the island, including Zenobia ship, the Green Bay, Pirate Caves, and much more. Some of the tours require a diving certificate.
Diving courses for children (minimum age is 10 years) and adults are offered. They take at least a half of a day.
Marine Divers British diving center is located in Paphos. Beginner, amateur, professional are rescue courses are offered here, as well as the Bubblemaker classes for children 8-9 years old. All the equipment is provided by the center.
The Abyss diving center is known for its snorkeling safari tours which include diving, walking, swimming and sunbathing.