Snorkeling in Cala Macarella beach
The cliffs that plunge into the sea of the east end of the cove, with its caves and smaller cavities, is the corner more attractive for snorkelingof Cala Macarella.
The beach at Macarella is a good example of the typical beaches along the southern coast of Menorca: white sands, turquoise-blue waters, tall limestone cliffs and verdant pinewoods. Due to its beauty and its naturalness, this beach is – along with neighbouring Macarelleta – one of the most-visited beaches on the island.
The cove has a relatively wide strand, flanked by white vertical cliffs reaching 30 metres in height. Due to the karstic erosion that has taken place here, the cliffs are full of hollows, cavities and caves that continue underwater. From the beach, you will see that some of these caves have been converted into dwellings where people live or come to spend the weekends. This practice, along with the use of the cavities and caves for tying up boats, is one of the characteristic features of the whole of the Menorcan coastline.
At both Macarella and Macarelleta the central parts of the seabed are mainly sandy and are not that attractive for snorkelling, although the most observant may chance upon a wide-eyed flounder, a sole-like flatfish, well camouflaged on the seabed. The sides of these coves’ bottoms harbour small patches of posidonia where you might surprise a group of salemas feeding on the leaves of this phanerogam (seed-producing plants).
Where the vertical cliffs begin, there are a number of large fallen blocks covered by light-loving algae that include Dictyotales (laminate algae with Y-shaped thalli), Halopteris scoparia (with feather-like thalli) and the introduced Asparagopsis taxiformis.
Nevertheless, the most interesting places for the diver are where the tall cliffs plunge into the sea – above all at the eastern end of the beach – and the small caves and cavities that are found there. On these cliffs you will find the algae that search for shadier positions, starfish and sea anemones such as the yellow cluster and the beadlet anemones. Especially fascinating are the morphology and colours of the different species of sponges such as Crambe crambe or Ircinia variabilis that cover these shady rocks.
How to get there
Cala Macarella beach is 15 km from Ciutadella. From this town, take the road to the southern beaches towards Sant Joan de Missa. After 6 km, ignore the road off to the right to Son Saura del Sud. After 9 km, you will reach the car park for Macarella, from where it is a short stroll along the bed of a shady gully to the beach.
This is one of the most-visited beaches in summer and the number of visitors is determined by the capacity of the car park. During the drive to the beach information boards will tell you whether the car park is full or not. If the car parks are full, try again on another day.
Nearby sites of interest
• Cala Macarelleta: Small, popular, unspoilt sandy beach with turquoise waters on the south coast of Menorca. From Macarella there is on the right a path hewn out of the cliffs that links the two beaches. Help the regeneration of the sand dunes by NOT walking on them.
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See our proposals of snorkeling in Menorca
Best places to snorkel in Menorca
Menorca is an ideal place for snorkeling because its waters are relatively warm and very clear. Although any cove or rocky inlet can be good for diving or snorkeling and for investigating the seabed, the waters of the northern coast are especially recommendable since the restrictions on fishing ensure that its marine fauna is more abundant and just a bit more approachable.
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