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Where To See Turtles In Gran Canaria – 2024 Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to see turtles in Gran Canaria then you’re in the right place.

I’ve been to Gran Canaria several times over the years and one thing that never seems to get old is swimming with turtles!

Based on my own experience, the best place to see turtles in Gran Canaria is in the resort town of Puerto Rico.

I’d recommend joining this boat tour as you’ll sail up and down the coastline looking for turtles & dolphins and when you find them, you can jump into the water for a swim.

But that’s not all! In the rest of this post, I’ll cover all of the exact locations where you can find turtles in Gran Canaria.

Best Places To See Turtles in Gran Canaria

The most common type of turtle found here is the loggerhead turtle which is actually one of the largest types of turtle. Leatherback and olive ridley turtles can also be spotted too.

Keep reading to find out the exact spots and locations where you can see turtles in Gran Canaria.

Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria

The resort town of Puerto Rico is situated on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria.

Puerto Rico is one of the island’s most popular towns and for good reason. It features sandy beaches and turquoise waters, what’s not to like?

If that wasn’t enough, turtles also love to hang around in the ocean which surrounds this beachy town and it’s not uncommon to spot one if you go out into the sea.

For the best chance of seeing turtles, I’d recommend joining this boat tour which cruises around the Gran Canaria coast in search of dolphins and whales.

You will also be able to see turtles, flying fish and other marine life on this tour. They even include an optional swim stop where you can jump into the ocean yourself to meet the turtles face to face.

I did this tour myself last time I was in Gran Canaria and really enjoyed it. The views from the boat are really great and I loved jumping into the ocean for a swim.

Turtles in Gran Canaria

I got to see tons of turtles and lots of other fishies.

A boat tour is your best option if you really want to see turtles in Gran Canaria as the turtles rarely come close to the shore.

For something a little bit different, you can also join a jet ski tour and see turtles this way too! 

Bahía de Santa Águeda

This small bay on the southern side of the island features a range of beaches including El Pajar and Playa de la Montaña de Arena.

You can often spot turtles swimming around in the bay, gliding up to the surface for air or foraging for food. 

When I was here recently, I actually saw 4 turtles within minutes of getting into the water. It was amazing!

Turtle in Gran Canaria.

For the best chance of seeing them, I’d recommend joining a guided kayaking tour like this one

This tour starts at El Pajar where your guide will take you across the bay to the Montaña area, looking out for turtles as you go.

This bay is also a great location to try out snorkeling. This tour also includes a snorkeling activity which gives you a chance to swim right alongside the turtles.

Poema del Mar Aquarium Turtle Hospital

For something a little bit different, you can see turtles at the Poema del Mar Aquarium Turtle Hospital located in Las Palmas on the northeastern tip of the island.

This aquarium actually features the world’s largest curved glass aquarium. Cool, right!?

Not only that, their turtle hospital works with the local government to protect injured turtles. 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for turtles to get caught in nets, plastic bags or be injured by fishing hooks. 

The turtle hospital rescues and takes care of these injured turtles until they are healthy enough to be released back into the ocean.

You are able to visit their turtle tank and see the current patients that they are taking care of. The turtle tank is expertly designed to mimic their natural environment.

Check out what you can expect from this aquarium in the video below:

Tufia

Tufia is a quiet Spanish village located on the eastern side of the island. I went to Tufia for the first time recently and loved it.

It felt super authentic and laid back – it was nice to be away from all the other tourists for a while.

In Tufia, you’ll find a scenic beach that features black sand and a beautiful backdrop of whitewashed houses.

Tufia is one of the best diving sites on the island as it is home to a wide variety of marine life. Expect to see flatfish, lizard fish, sting rays and the occasional turtle too. 

I found that the best place to go diving here was on the right side of the beach as the marine life is more varied compared with the left side.

The dive site itself was created by a volcanic eruption which created various caves and structures underwater that provide a good habitat for marine animals.

💡Tip: Bring a waterproof camera like the GoPro Hero 10 to get some photos and videos of you with the turtles.

Check out the beautiful sea turtle spotted whilst diving at Tufia in the video below:

Best Time Of Year To See Turtles

You can see turtles at any time of year in Gran Canaria.

There is a resident population of turtles which call the Canary Islands home so no matter what time of year you visit Gran Canaria, you will hopefully be able to spot some turtles.

Tips For Swimming With Turtles

First time swimming with turtles? 

To ensure the turtles remain safe, there’s a few key things to bear in mind when swimming with them in Gran Canaria.

Remember that all of the different turtle species are endangered so it’s important that we do all we can to help their chances.

  • Don’t be too loud. Try to be as quiet as possible when swimming up to a turtle as loud noises will scare them away.
  • Do not touch the turtle. Turtles are wild animals and should be respected.
  • Do not get too close. This might scare the turtle and they could bite you if they get really scared (don’t worry this is super rare!).
  • Do not feed the turtles. They don’t need help finding food.
  • Always approach a turtle from the side. This gives them a clear view of you and a clear path ahead of them if they want to swim onwards.
  • Don’t disrupt the turtle’s natural behavior. You can enjoy the turtles by watching them do their thing but try not to disturb them.

These key tips protect both you and the turtles.


And that’s it! Hopefully I’ve inspired you to head out and have your own turtle adventure in Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria is a great place to spot turtles and nothing beats seeing these glorious turtles in their natural habitat.

Did you know you can also see turtles in Crete?

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Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.