Madeira is a volcanic island located off the north-west coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. The neighbouring island of Porto Santo is the only other inhabited island of the archipelago. The other islands are designated nature reserves and home to nesting seabirds.
Visitors fly into Funchal, the capital, and the majority of accommodations are located a short drive away along the south coast of the rugged island. The island offers magnificent vistas, miles of hiking trails, endemic flora and fauna, plenty of outdoor activities and delicious local cuisine.
The temperate climate is just one reason to visit and the warm, alluring waters are home to an abundance of marine life including some larger pelagic species, dolphin and seasonal visits from several species of whale (best observed on a whale watching trip).
GARAJAU MARINE PARK
Created in 1986 to help protect the local marine life, Garajau offers some of the best diving in Madeira. The underwater seascape comprises huge volcanic boulders, swim-throughs and a sandy seabed. The water is warm, visibility ranges from 15-40 metres and there's an abundance of marine life to observe. Expect to see barracuda, amberjacks, hogfish, moray eels, mackerel, anenomes, lobster, shrimp, octopus, colourul damsel fish and wrasse. The dive sites here are relatively shallow at 20 metres but the seabed is full of life with garden eels and huge stingray and butterfly rays are found. Keep an eye out for brown eagle and even reef manta rays flying by. The main attraction here are the friendly dusky grouper and if you're really lucky, the park is home to a growing colony of the endangered monk seal so you might catch a glimpse. It's a natural paradise and suited to divers of all abilities.
Our partner hotel and dive centre are located in Machico Bay on the south-east coast of Madeira island. Machico is the second largest town on the island and home to an expansive and picturesque beach with a designated swimming area. Enjoy walks along the promenade and the historic town where there are plenty of bars and restaurants. In addition, there are several dive sites in and around Machico Bay.
Located at the Dom Pedro hotel in Machico, Haliotis is a PADI affiliated dive centre and operates other bases located around Portugal. Daily boat diving is offered from their 8.6 metre long Searib (equipped with a 300hp motor, probe, VHF radio, d-gps, oxygyen and first aid and access ladders). The majority of dive sites are 10 to 30 minutes by boat. Diving courses and snorkelling excursions can also be arranged by the friendly and professional crew.
Facilities include a dive shop with a range of equipment, classroom, hot showers and changing facilities as well as a spacious courtyard with rinse tanks and a dedicated technical area. Training takes place in a 3-metre deep training pool and the Bauer compressor is facilitates air, Nitrox and trimix. The dive centre is rebreather friendly.
The Garajau Marine Park is the most popular area for diving. Suited to divers of all abilities, the underwater volcanic topography is a safe haven for a plethora of marine life in all shapes and sizes from tiny shrimp and crabs, to lobster, moray eels and colourful wrasse plus stingrays, schools of barracuda and amberjacks and regular dolphin encounters. It's the large and curious resident dusky grouper that attract divers to this location. Several species of ray, schools of pelagic fish and endangered monk seals are also found in the surrounding area. Maximum diving depth here is around 20 metres and visibility ranges from 15 to 40 metres.
There are plenty of dive sites to explore in the calm, warm waters including some fantastic walls with black corals and abundant marine life. Other sites visited include the Eco Park of Funchal and several wrecks, all located along the south coast of Madeira.
We offer a 6 dive package from £200 and a 10 dive package from £330 which is available to pre-book for certified divers. Please discuss your requirements with the Regaldive team, who will prepare a quotation suited to your needs.
PADI courses can also be pre-booked for those learning to dive or furthering their education.
EXTRAS IN RESORT
Prices listed below are an indication and subject to change.
- Nitrox 32%: €10 / 12 litre tank
- Equipment hire: €20 per day for a full set (excludes computer - additional €10 per day). Individual items also available
- Marine Park Fee: €3 per dive
- Two tank boat trips to Porto Santo and Desertas Islands (weather dependent)
- The dive centre welcomes technical divers. Trimix is available.
Madeira has a rich history and prides itself on the bountiful nature and wellbeing. The friendly people and relaxed lifestyle make this a great place to unwind and is perfect for all the family. In addition to the fantastic diving there are plenty of activities and experiences to be had. Spend time relaxing by the sea or go stand up paddle boarding, surfing, windsurfing or whale and dolphin watching. Head inland for a round of golf or hike or mountain bike one of the many trails in the natural park. Madeira is also widely known for its wine and cake.
An easy island to access on foot, by bus and taxi or rent a car locally. The airport is no more than a 10 minute drive from the hotel.
Climate and Water Temperature
Blessed with plenty of sunshine, Madeira boasts a temperate climate and is open for visitors throughout the year. The warmer months from May to October are the driest and best for diving and water sports - the sea temperature reaching 24°C. The water can drop to around 16°C from November to April when a 7mm full body wetsuit is recommended for diving. Land temperatures range from 18 to 22°C throughout the seasons.
Madeira is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and boasts a fantastic underwater visibility especially at the main dive sites where visibility ranges from 15 up to 40 metres.
€ - Euros. Banks are normally open until early afternoon from Monday to Friday, and until midday on Saturday. Summer and winter opening hours may differ. Credit cards widely accepted. ATMs are widely available.
Flights are generally with British Airways, Easyjet and Tui available from Bristol, East Midlands Airport, London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Manchester during the main summer season. Winter timetable deapartures may vary.
Flight duration: UK to Funchal, Madeira is around 4 hours
Departure tax: N/A
PASSPORTS & VISAS
For UK citizens your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. Visas are not required for UK citizens.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Madeira, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio for anyone. Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure with your GP or local travel clinic.
For the latest advice on COVID requirements, please refer to UK foreign office advice or ask the friendly Regaldive team.
Further information regarding vaccinations for travel can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider.