Ten things you must do in Costa Cálida, Región de Murcia

Dive the El Naranjito

Lying just over a mile outside the port of Cabo de Palos is the Isla Gomera, commonly known as El Naranjito due to its final cargo – thousands of oranges. Sunk in a storm in April 1946, the 51-metre freighter now sits upright, with the stern in 46m and the top of the superstructure rising to 27m. It is covered in marine growth and penetration is possible into the superstructure, engine room and now-empty cargo holds.

Enjoy nautical sports in the Mar Menor

The Mar Menor – Europe’s largest lagoon, with a surface area of 130 sq km – is a hotspot for kitesurfing, sailing and windsurfing. Being a vast lagoon with a maximum depth of just 7m, it is a perfect location for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike, and just the thing to keep you occupied on a non-diving day.

Greet the grouper at Islas Hormigas

The marine park at Islas Hormigas offers divers the chance to dive among some of the healthiest fish stocks in the Mediterranean. Drop in on sites such as Piles I, Piles II, Bajo de Dentro, Bajo de la Testa or Bajo de Fuera and prepare to be greeted by vast shoals of barracuda, amberjack, trevally and large, quite curious grouper.

Marvel at underwater treasures

A must for any diver is a visit to the Underwater Archaeology National Museum (ARQUA), which houses the famous treasure of the Nuestra Sra de Las Mercedes frigate, which includes more than 570,000 gold and silver coins from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Explore the SS Stanfield

The SS Stanfield is a vast wreck with a length of 120 metres and a beam of 14m. It was torpedoed on 26 June 1916 by a German submarine and sank in a depth of 62m. It sits upright on the bottom, but the bow has sustained a lot of damage and split wide open, allowing access into three deck levels and hold number one. You need to be an open-circuit or closed-circuit technical diver, but for the lucky few, it is an awesome dive.

Try an Asiático coffee

A famous drink in Cartagena, the Asiático is an alcoholic drink made out of coffee, condensed milk and cognac, along with a few drops of Licor 43 and a couple of coffee beans, lemon rind and cinnamon. It is even served in a special thick glass to withstand the heat of it. It has got quite a kick to it, but you will see people drinking it everywhere throughout Cartagena.

Immerse yourself in history by stepping back in time to the Roman era

Check out the Carthago Nova Theatre in Cartagena, which was built in the 1st century BC by Roman Emperor Augustus, but was not discovered until 1990! Now excavated, the interactive Roman Theatre Museum has built up around it, and is a great way to look back into the past.

Savour the view from San Juan de Águilas castle-fortress

The sprawling town of Águilas is watched over by the imposing San Juan de Águilas castle-fortress, which sits atop a tall rocky outcrop on the coast. It was first constructed in 1579 and then rebuilt in the 18th century, and it has now been renovated and made into a mini-museum exhibit, but just the stunning 360 degree views from the top are worth the visit.

Visit the Bolnuevo Erosions

Close to Mazarrón, you can find the weird-and-wonderful Bolnuevo Erosions, bizarre rock formations that have been carved and sculpted by wind and water and resemble something out of a science-fiction movie. Well worth checking out for a photograph.

Venture into the Cueva del Agua

The Cueva del Agua cave system is the most-famous cave in the area and actually one of several in the Costa Cálida. There are over 3,000 metres of lines throughout the Cueva del Agua cave, and the water temperature remains a constant 30 degrees C throughout the year. A must for serious cave divers, but even if you are not cave-qualified, you can do a guided cavern trydive to see just a little of the system for yourself.

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