Offering shallow reef dives, deep walls, exciting drift dives and imposing rock formations, the Nayarit region is a scuba diving playground. You can encounter whale sharks, manta rays, humpback whales and more at protected National Park dive sites or go exploring among the caves.
Diving in Nayarit
Nayarit is one of Mexico’s 31 states and is located on the west coast, nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains to the east. Nayarit includes the Marías islands, which are located about 100km offshore. The Marietas Islands are about 8km southwest of the well-known exclusive resort community of Punta Mita, located in the southernmost part of Nayarit. These islands are at the mouth of Banderas Bay, or Bahía de Banderas, and as a protected wildlife sanctuary, is a popular scuba diving destination.
Ocean conditions are calmest in this region from November through March, making it a good time to visit. This is also when pelagic species such as manta rays, whale sharks, and humpback whales can be spotted.
Best places to dive
The Nayarit and Bahía de Banderas region offers some shallow reef dives, deeper wall dives along the majestic rock formations, and drift dives further offshore where divers have the chance to encounter pelagic megafauna.
The northern part of Bahía de Banderas is home to a series of islands and rock outcrops: Islas Marietas, El Morro, and the dive site “Anegados” in between them. At the Islas Marietas dive sites, divers can see molluscs, echinoderms, nudibranchs, corals, sponges, and sea fans. El Morro consists of a series of rock pinnacles about 9km southwest of Las Marietas and has great wall diving, with many cave and tunnels to explore. Halfway between Islas Marietas and El Morro are “Anegados”, a dive site consisting of a rock bank and caves.
Besides dive sites in Bahía de Banderas, another popular site is Isla Isabel, which is about 30km offshore in the northern part of Nayarit. Isla Isabel is also a National Park, and visitors can see manta rays, humpback whales, whale sharks, loads of tropical fish, and vibrant corals.