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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.

Red starfish in seagrass meadows at Cala Flores
The red starfish is a common sight in Islotes del Descargador’s seagrass meadows.

How to get to the Islotes del Descargador snorkeling spot

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.

Islotes del Descargador snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Islotes del Descargador

Enter the water from the beach, in front of the islets.

Islotes del Descargador snorkeling exploration tips

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.

Broadnosed pipefish at Islotes del Descargador
The broadnosed pipefish, which appears like a drifting blade of posidonia seagrass, is a fantastic fish to observe and photograph.

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 that 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.

Sand steenbras in seagrass meadows at Islotes del Descargador
Sand steenbras are generally seen schooling in the shallow seagrass meadows.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

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.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth25ft/8m on the drop offs
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • 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.