Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
Islotes del Descargador is one of the most famous snorkeling locations in Cabo de Palos. While starfish, pipefish and wrasses are found in the shallow seagrass beds bordering the beach, the rocky drop offs around the islets are visited by schools of seabream and damselfish.
The Islotes del Descargador are located on the south coast of Cabo de Palos, about 2km southwest of the lighthouse. The spot is in a residential area and is not signposted – use an app to find it (location here). There are a few parking spaces near the beach.
Enter the water from the beach, in front of the islets.
The snorkeling area extends in front of the beach and around the islets. Do not snorkel the other side of the islets, where the sea can be rough.
This spot offers an interesting diversity of marine ecosystems. Near the beach you’ll snorkel shallow cymodocea and posidonia meadows (↕2-6ft/0.5-2m). Red starfish, brown wrasse, rainbow wrasse and broadnosed pipefish, a species of pipefish that perfectly mimics the shape of a posidonia leaf, can be found in the meadows.
In the center of the cove, you’ll find deeper seagrass beds (↕6-12ft/2-4m) where sand steenbras and European seabass are pretty common. The rocky drop offs which border the islets (↕10-25ft/3-8m) are also a nice area to explore, where gilt-head bream, sargo and damselfish are easy to spot.
There is no food option near the spot, but the port of Cabo de Palos (where there are several restaurants) is just a 5-minute drive away.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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