Baja California Sur Diving
Surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and ‘the world’s aquarium’ the Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur diving is exceptional, with cheeky sea lions and hammerheads, impressive mobula ray migrations and humpback whales. Cabo Pulmo, a famed conservation success story and UNESCO World Heritage site, draws divers from around the world.
World-famous as a conservation success story, Cabo Pulmo has exceptional diving along a 20,000-year-old reef and will leave you truly inspired. The waters are teeming with around 6000 species of fish, plus sharks, turtles and numerous mobula rays. Mantas have even recently returned to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The second marine park established in Mexico, Cabo San Lucas offers well-protected dive sites full of pelagic fish, sharks, sea lions and whales. All with a backdrop of deep plunging walls, plenty of corals and unique underwater ‘sand waterfalls’.
La Paz is a large marine life mecca with rich waters hosting hammerheads and whale sharks, mantas, curious sea lions and huge schools of mobula rays. Famous for its friendly grey whales that come close to boats, you can also spot humpbacks, sperm whales, minkes, orcas and more.
Diving in Baja California Sur
Baja California, a golden strip of mountain and desert hanging off Mexico’s western edge, is kissed by two great water bodies: the vast Pacific Ocean and the one-of-a-kind Sea of Cortez. Scuba diving in Baja California Sur, the peninsula’s lower half, takes full advantage of both coastlines. The Pacific offers two premier dive destinations- Socorro and Guadalupe- with mantas, great whites, and hammerheads. But Baja California Sur divers don’t have to travel so far for excellent diving.
The Sea of Cortez dubbed the ‘world’s aquarium’ by Jacques Cousteau, holds around 900 fish species and 32 marine mammals, all within reach of a day-trip. Scuba divers in the Sea of Cortez can expect world-class marine life encounters with sea lions, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins, whales, huge schools of mobula rays, manta rays, and loads of fish, plus the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific.
Liveaboards in Baja California Sur depart from Los Cabos (either Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo), mostly headed for Socorro and Guadalupe. Some liveaboards explore the Sea of Cortez instead, which provides a great opportunity to catch all the best destinations and maximize dive time.
Baja California Sur is blessed with plenty of dive centers. Baja Sur is also a great place to sign up for dive courses, from beginner diving to technical diving. Some resorts partner with top-tier dive centers to offer accommodation-and-dive packages, either from onsite or offsite dive centers. In addition, divers can find charter options for special trips, like reaching a remote destination, or swimming with sharks or manta rays.
Best places to dive
Baja California Sur diving is concentrated in the southern half of the province. At its southern tip, where the Pacific swells into the entrance of the bay, lies Cabo San Lucas, a world-famous vacation destination. Cabo’s underwater scene is just as famous, with a deep seamount, sheer walls dropping into an abyss, unique ‘sand falls’ formations which look like waterfalls underwater, hammerheads and friendly sea lions.
As the smaller of the two Los Cabos towns, San Jose del Cabo feels relaxed and intimate, above and below water. Diving in San Jose del Cabo offers impressive scenes of huge underwater rock formations, teeming with fish and rays. Massive mobula ray migrations visit regularly, and divers often report hearing the songs of humpback whales underwater.
Cabo Pulmo, a tiny fishing village 60 miles north of Los Cabos, is a world-famous conservation success-story. After its designation as a national marine park in 1995, the reef saw a 460 per cent increase in fish within 10 years. Diving in Cabo Pulmo, visitors will witness huge schools of circling jacks, masses of snapper and surgeonfish, playful sea lions, and even bull sharks.
La Paz, the cosmopolitan capital city of Baja Sur, is a world-renowned whale shark destination, and a great place to interact with playful sea lion pups. Baja California Sur divers also flock to La Paz to see hammerheads and mantas. With wrecks, whale-watching, and plenty of dive courses, La Paz is one of Baja California’s dive meccas.
Loreto, north of La Paz, offers sea lions, mobulas, macro-life, colorful reefs, wrecks, dolphins, turtles, stingrays, sea fans and black corals against a backdrop of massive rock formations. Twenty years of protection as a marine park has helped Loreto Bay bloom into a vibrant dive destination.