Located at the end of a trail winding between the arid hills of Cabo Tiñoso, the blue waters of Cala del Bolete Grande appear to hikers as a mirage. The cove shelters a wonderful underwater world, where seabream, starfish, cardinalfish, and sometimes a small grouper or a stingray can be seen. The perfect spot for those seeking off-the-beaten-track snorkeling.

Mediterranean cardinalfish at Cala del Bolete Grande
Mediterranean cardinalfish are common sights in the cove’s cavities and rocky overhangs.

How to get to Cala del Bolete Grande snorkeling spot

Cala del Bolete Grande is located in Cabo Tiñoso Natural Park, west of Cartagena. To get there by land, you’ll have to hike about 2,5km (each way) from the surroundings of the village of Campillo de Adentro.

To find the start of the hiking trail, reach first Campillo de Adentro (a 30 minutes’ drive from Cartagena), and turn left some 100m after the Bar Cantina, towards Camino Bocaoria/Camino Boletes. After 1km, the road turns into a dirt track on which you can continue another 500m before finding a parking lot on your left. Park your car and continue on foot along the track, then the small path (which follows the dry bed of a torrent) leading to the creek. The hike includes several steep passages in the rocks, so wear good shoes.

Cala del Bolete Grande, Cabo Tiñoso snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Cala del Bolete Grande

You can get into the water wherever you want from the beach.

Cala del Bolete Grande snorkeling exploration tips

You can snorkel throughout the cala, which can be divided into several areas (the numbers below correspond to the numbers on the map):

1 / The pebble and posidonia beds extending in front of the beach (↕2-6ft/0.5-3m). Salema, sargo, annular seabream, saddled seabream and gilt-head seabream are common sightings in this area. Pelagic stingrays are often reported here, including in shallow areas.

Purple sea star at Cala del Bolete Grande
The purple sea star, pretty rare, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful starfish species living in the Mediterranean sea.

2 / The rocky drop off that edges the south side of the creek (↕10-30ft/3-10m). You will encounter many red starfish on the walls. There are also many small caves at the foot of the drop off, where cardinalfish are easy to see. Many ornate wrasse twirl in the most oxygenated areas.

3 / The small coves found north of the beach (↕6-18ft/2-6m). It is undoubtedly the most fishy area, where salema and seabream (often seen in schools), damselfish and wrasse are easy to spot.

4 / The surroundings of the islet located a hundred meters from the beach (↕3-30ft/1-10m). Two-banded seabream, painted comber and cardinalfish hide in the crevices on the walls of the islet. By taking a look inside, you might also find a purple sea star, a rather rare species in the Mediterranean.

Snorkeling with a pelagic stingray at Cala del Bolete Grande
If you are lucky, you may snorkel alongside a pelagic stingray in the cove’s shallows.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Cala del Bolete Grande is a wild and untouched location, perfect for a picnic. Bring enough water with you, as the hike back to the parking lot can be tiring in summer.

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaSierra de la Muela, Cabo Tiñoso y Roldán
  • Maximum depth30ft/10m on the drop offs
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.