Diving Larnaca

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Larnaca, Cyprus

Ornate Wrasse
172173174175

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Country: Cyprus  Area: Cyprus

Water Temp: 18 - 27°C (64 - 81°F)

Visibility: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

Depth Range: 7 - 42m (23 - 138 ft)

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Larnaca is Cyprus’s third largest city situated on the island nation’s southern coast. It lays claim to being the oldest city in Cyprus, given that residents date back over 6000 years. For divers, the primary attraction is the wreck of the Zenobia, which sank in 1980. That said – it also offers a rich variety of caves and tunnels, which can be explored by all levels of experience.

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Today this typical Mediterranean holiday spot offers its guest all the amenities of a modern metropolis with the relaxing feel of a sleepy fishing village. Quieter than the neighbouring southern towns in Cyprus – but certainly no less beautiful – Larnaca remains a gem on the coast. Beyond diving, visitors here can explore a variety of antique crafts as they wander the palm-fringed shore and then old Turkish neighbourhoods. A visit would be incomplete without traveling a short distance outside town to the flamingo-filled salt lake – as this is possibly the city’s greatest attraction.

Larnaca has a number of interesting sites for both beginner and advanced divers that can be reached by boat or from shore. Squid Nest Dive Point is one such shore dive that makes an excellent introductory dive during the day as well as being an incredible night dive. The Cricket wreck is a military war ship that lies offshore in 32 metres of crystal clear water and is accessible to all levels of divers. Pirates Cave Reef is a deep site for the more advanced offering an abundance of marine life hiding among the stalactites hanging from the cave’s ceiling. These are just a few of the many magnificent opportunities that await divers at Larnaca.

Hey, don't come closer! Credit

Marine Conservation

Natura 2000 protects a portion of the beachfront near Larnaca, given that it is home to endangered natural habitats and species. Cyprus in particular is noteworthy among European countries for its early and targeted efforts at preserving its endangered species, which include Green and Loggerhead turtles. The national government funds a number of hatcheries and scientific studies to better understand the threatened population.

Little fishes hovering, Credit

In June 2014, conservation initiatives were expanded as Noble Energy adopted another segment of the beach, in cooperation with the Pervolia Community Center and the Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association. The company intends to increase conservation initiatives in the adopted portion. This begins with the installation of trashcans and the deployment of clean-up crews both on the beach and in the ocean.

Otherwise, a number of studies are conducted by a wide-ranging group of academics and businesses to asses and preserve the marine life that supports this prosperous diving community.

Seaside, Credit

Climate

Cyprus has a classically Mediterranean climate. The winter months are cooler, with average daily temperatures of 12 degrees Celsius between December and March. The spring and fall are the most ideal months for visiting, given that they have generally pleasant temperatures that range between 17 and 22 degrees Celsius. The summer months (June – September) get quite hot, with days reaching an average of 26 degrees. Rainfall is overall quite limited, though the wettest months occur in the winter. 

 
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Shore Diving

There are a number dive sites that can be accessed from the shore – though getting to the particular points along the rocky shoreline can sometimes be a bit challenging. Cyclops Cave is one of the post popular destinations. It begins in the heart of a nature reserve just above the cave. Divers then descend into the cave to explore a variety of fossils, vibrant marine life and the resident octopus population. The Chapel too is accessed through a cave, while the Canyon is accessed climbing down a cliff.   Rangers and Pyla Range are two sites that are more easily accessed from the shore.

Grouper, Credit

Boat Diving

The wreck of the Zenobia is the single biggest attraction for divers visiting Larnaca. This ferry sunk in 1980 as a result of a fault in a computer. It lies at depth of 42 meters (the top is at 18 meters), and can be accessed by those with Advanced Open Water. Trucks and cargo all remain visible to those exploring it. 
Beyond the Zenobia, there is one other wreck dive (HMS Cricket) and a series of other sites. All levels of expertise are catered for and there are a number of caves that can be safely explored by beginners. Favourite dive sites include Octopus Reef where, unsurprisingly, there is a large octopus population. Green Bay by contrast has a number of old pots from ancient ship wrecks (that are no longer present). Mushroom Rocks is likely the most challenging site, given that it descends 50 meters. Here, there are fascinating rock formations and a number of very large fish. 

The wreck of the Zenobia is the single biggest attraction for divers visiting Larnaca. This ferry sunk in 1980 as a result of a fault in a computer. It lies at depth of 42 meters (the top is at 18 meters), and can be accessed by those with Advanced Open Water. Trucks and cargo all remain visible to those exploring it.

Beyond the Zenobia, there is one other wreck dive (HMS Cricket) and a series of other sites. All levels of expertise are catered for and there are a number of caves that can be safely explored by beginners. Favourite dive sites include Octopus Reef where, unsurprisingly, there is a large octopus population. Green Bay by contrast has a number of old pots from ancient ship wrecks (that are no longer present). Mushroom Rocks is likely the most challenging site, given that it descends 50 meters. Here, there are fascinating rock formations and a number of very large fish.

Diver, Larnaca, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

There are no liveaboards in operation around Cyprus.

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How to Get There

Cyprus’ largest airport is located in Larnaca, just 6 kilometers west of the city center. The airport has international flights that connect with airports throughout Europe. The airport also happens to be favoured by a number of budget airlines. .

Cyprus Airways, Credit

The drive by taxi or private vehicle takes roughly 15 minutes.

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Where to Eat & Drink

Restaurants in Larnaca tend to be on the more expensive side – with a few options available for budget travelers. Most are located along the palm-fringed main promenade, though the beachfront is also fringed with tourist-orientated restaurants serving a variety of seafood. The most economical options are generally centered in the downtown core. A staple dishe certainly worth trying is fasolaki – French beans cooked in red wine with lamb. Mezes are also a great way to sample a variety of local specialities (grilled black olives, sausages, aubergines) over a series of small plates.

Greek Tavern, Credit

Nightlife in Larnaca generally revolves around the central promenade. Here, you will find a decent variety of bars and clubs. Club Deep and Times are among the most popular. Clubs here are not especially large. For that, you will have to travel towards Ayia Napa.

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Other Activities

In addition to diving, there is some unique local shopping to be done in and around town. The neighbouring town of Lefkara, is famed for its lace and silverware, and much of this is sold in Larnaca as well. There is also a fantastic collection of antique crafts, jewellery and watches – some of which are the oldest in Cyprus. This city is of course simultaneously home to some very modern stores, including Top Shop and Zara.

A monument in Larnaca, Credit

Otherwise, the town has a few interesting sights including the 9th century Church of St. Lazarus. Outside of town, there is a salt lake worth visiting, that is typically fringed by large flocks of flamingos. There is also a mosque here that houses the alleged tomb of the foster mother of Mohammed. 

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Tips

Technically, all cabs are required to use a meter when transporting passengers but many will try not to.

Car rentals allow short-term guests to best maximize their time in Larnaca. Public transit operates only during the day and tends to be somewhat patchy. Taxis by contrast can get quite expensive when used regularly.

Shallow sea warning sign, Credit

When visiting churches, know that appropriate dress is required and photography is almost always prohibited.

There are two hyperbaric chambers in Larnaca. One is at the Poseidonia Medical Center, and the other is at the General Hospital. 

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