The large coastline and the diversity of beaches and coves in La Vila Joiosa allows the practice of different sports in the sea. One of the different sports that the sea offers is snorkeling , which consists of the contemplation of the aquatic seabed from the surface provided with goggles and aeration tube. It is for sure the most respectful way of getting into and staying in the sea, since it is generally done from the coast and without polluting means, and it takes place on the surface without contact with the bottom and the life in it.
It is an activity suitable for children and adults, all that is required is to know how to swim and be comfortable in the water. And above all to be respectful of the environment, we must not forget that the sea is the largest ecosystem of our planet. Snorkeling allows us to enjoy the sea and take care of it.
Here you are six snorkeling routes, in the different beaches of La Vila, with spectacular sea beds and marine life waiting for you.
Under the watchtower of the Xarco we find on both sides a charming coastline that folds forming beaches and small coves. One of the most suitable for snorkeling is definitely the one to the right of the tower, where we access through a short path crossing a small hill. Immediately we will have the wonderful zenithal views of the cove and its colourful seabeds where the rocky headlands get into the sea, like tongues of stone.
We equip ourselves and access the water, very shallow here as there is a platform covered with brown algae. After a few meters we can start the route that will take us from the rock to the rich meadow of Posidonia, in very good condition and with abundant fish and marine animals that find home and food in this tropical environment. Shiny coloured fish, usually around, seem to be so busy going here and there.
Other creatures remain almost unmovile like the colourful stars, some others seem to be permanently attached to the seabed like the nacre, a kind of giant mussel.
The depth along the entire route is very low and only in the white sandy areas we can reach -3 meters, being even shallower in the posidonia and rocky areas.
After exploring the outer profile of the rock tongues, when we turn the last one we will reverse course and get closer to the rock, where the infinite folds and holes are home to divers fish and small crustaceans, and where, with a little luck, we may discover the presence of an elusive octopus behind its elaborate stone barrier. This beach is a quiet and discreet place where even in the middle of summer we can be almost alone.
One of the most quiet corners of the coast of La Vila is the beach known as 'La Caleta', at the bottom of an exclusive hotel from which you can access. Although there is another path that leads to the nearby cove of 'L'Esparrelló' from there, cross it to the right and walk to 'La Caleta'.
Here we find two beaches separated by a rocky point. The most interesting section for us is the second one, so we can get into the water at that point and start a route leaving the beach line to our right. At the beginning we find a platform and rocky promontories that go into the sea. The seabed is made of small pebbles that help to make it more gleaming, but that eventually may kind of whiten the water.
As soon as we leave behind the coastline, quite large rocks come out here and there, sometimes isolated and other times caking together. Sometimes we can see a small `pelaya´ over the rocks. That flat and whitish fish will require all our attention to be discovered, given its extraordinary ability to mimic and go unnoticed.
If we go a little further, the posidonia becomes more dense and soon appears as a wide belt that hosts some groups of salps. After the posidonia comes the sand, already over -3 meters, so the best thing to do is to stay near the coast line and fly over the rocks where life is more easily visible. We can have a look at the islet resting about -2 meters deep, and go around it. The walls are covered with brown algae and there are plenty of holes where we can see a wide variety of small life such as `gobies´ and perhaps a `sea rabbit´.
Then it is a good time to reverse course and return closer to the coast, getting around the string of rocks spotting the seabed covered with algae, such as Padina pavonica and Acetabularia (as it is known, biological indicators of the good quality of these waters), to return to the starting point.
To the south of La Vila Joiosa, next to the hotel Montiboli, we will find access to the beach of 'L'Esparrelló', a quiet naturist space. Just down the stairs we will see some huge rocks where we can equip ourselves with fins, goggles and snorkel, and get in the water.
Immediately we will discover a very clean seabed where the polished stone slabs stand out, like large boulders shaped by the action of water throughout the centuries . At the beginning we will keep some distance from the coast, which will be on our left, where the rock becomes rougher and covered with algae and small anemones. We will see clumps of posidonia oceanica surrounded by rocks or white sandy areas, and always frequented by groups of salps with flashy colours contrasting with the intense green of these plants.
It is worth having a look at them because if we are lucky we can discover some needlefish, which looks like a large leaf of posidonia, waiting to catch crustacean larvae.
Then the sandy beach arises, is deeply white and radiates peace like the rest of this extraordinary landscape. We will pass by a small cave in the rock of the cliff wall, and a little further we will see another one, accessible even on foot. Here we can turn around because if we go ahead we will reach the beach of 'Bol Nou'.
On the way back it is recommended to go closer to the wall, which will now be on our right, where the hard substrate predominates, with countless holes and hollows, used as home by many small fish, such as serranos (painted comber) and gobies. During the tour we will be able to see almost everything, such as some bream or white seabream that come here for hunting.A very interesting tour that, as usual , we will do with someone else, ... and please, use sunscreen.
Outside the town, in the south, we find this fantastic cove with parking facilities and a beach bar where you can refresh yourself. It is a rocky cove, not too busy but charming, with clear waters and welcoming depths.
Although this entire coastline section can be visited, we will show you the one on the right handside, as you go onto sea. The access is easy and as soon as you reach the water you will notice the medium-sized stones almost covered with reddish algae, however their color changes depending on the season of the year; and also with Padiva pavonica, a whitish algae with a flowery shape.
Further ahead we find sandy areas, sometimes dotted with rocks and bordered by groups of small stones where we can discover some small octopus that tries to hide.
On the opposite side of the beach we find more rocky areas, sometimes on long platforms with small ledges where it is interesting to look from.
Also here there are spots of posidonia together with Cymodocea sebadal, very often overflown by groups of salps, and in season, especially in late summer and early autumn, by groups of young `espetones´ (mediterranean barracuda) as well.
A perfect place to come with children, as the shallow depth and the variety of landscapes and life will allow them to enjoy a fantastic aquatic tour.
The Varadero beach, also known as 'els estudiants' (the students), is next to the Club Nàutic La Vila, and offers an excellent snorkeling tour, although it also has all the facilities for those who simply want to enjoy the sun.
The most interesting route is the one starting from the southern end of the beach, in front of a bollard that emerges from the water. We will get its direction and we will notice that it is seated on top of a long rocky tongue that together with others, of which only small points emerge, create a series of stepped walls that rest about -6 m on a sandy bottom.
Those who like freediving will enjoy discovering these steep rock walls, abundantly covered with algae, sponges and those delicate bush-like formations known as Christmas trees.
In some stretches we will find ourselves completely surrounded by fish, from the small `castanets´ (Mediterranean chromis) to schools of breams, as well as solitary specimens.
Following all this rocky slope, leaving it to our right, is a great entertainment for the expert snorkeler. While for those who prefer to observe from shallow waters, without descents, it is easier to stay over the rocky platforms and go along the grooves and strata, generated by the walls superpositions, running parallel to the coast where the depth does not go beyond -2 meters, and we can even get on foot in many sections.
Here everything is rocky and compact substrate, although at the end of the route, where the breakwater of the port begins, there are many isolated rocky plates. The space becomes more open at this point, with a great abundance of posidonia and sandy areas, also above -7 meters.
This famous naturist cove, in the north of the municipality, is located in a discreet corner among the mountains, and it has beautiful turquoise waters, usually transparent and full of life.
It is an absolute joy to get into its shiny seabed flecked with clouds of fish: `mojarras´ (bluegill) in the rocky areas, great schools of salps on Posidonia meadows, and `mabras´ , `herreras´ or `pelayas´ in the sparkling sandy areas, … all of them landscapes that we can find in this aquatic tour.
When we go into the water from the tiny cove on the left, we immediately go around the rocky point and fly over a rocky seabed with many holes and hiding places for small fish.
If we continue following the coastline, keeping some distance, we will go through a landscape made of irregular rock formations, very colorful due to the algae carpet at their bottoms, which attract many species searching for food.
These rocks are flecked with clumps of green posidonia, in very good condition, and sandy clearings further on.
When we go on the right handside, as we approach the wall , which is vertical in its submerged section, as we get close to the edge, large and bulky stones emerge, sometimes caking each other and drawing extraordinary windows to the blue. Here the depth can reach -7 meters, so the advanced snorkeler can enjoy exciting descents.
The return will be closer to the coastline, where the depth decreases and we find rock balls and small fish swimming around .
Our thanks to Rafa Martos