SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELING TOURS IN LOS CABOS, BAJA, MEXICOJacques Cousteau, the famed diver who played a huge role in developing scuba gear and in promoting conservation of marine resources around the world, referred to Baja's Sea of Cortez as "the world's aquarium." He had good reason to do so. Over 800 fish species inhabit these waters. The staggering amount of bio-diversity makes it one of the greatest places on earth for scuba divers, free divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. There are many spots along the coast that provide perfect conditions to enjoy underwater activities in Los Cabos – from quick trips out of Cabo San Lucas to dive and snorkel to famed Cabo Pulmo about an hour's drive north of Cabo – you won't have to travel far to enjoy them.
In this section of our site you'll the best scuba diving spots and what you're likely to encounter plus the top spots for snorkeling. We'll also give you links to tour providers and divemasters who have earned a reputation for providing top-quality gear, excellent guide service and fair prices. There are dive operators that we don't list simply because we have yet to visit with them or check out their operations. That doesn't mean they don't deserve your business. Just do your homework before you book and only deal with PADI certified dive shops. Same thing goes for snorkeling tours. It's worth spending a few dollars more to get the best experience... one that's safely operated and offers quality guides. Now go have some fun with the fishes!
SCUBA DIVING IN CABO SAN LUCASPELICAN ROCK - SAND FALLS
Located in Cabo Bay alongside the rocky cliffs that lead the way to Land's End, this area provides dives starting at 20 foot depths. Drop down the walls where sea fans and schools of goat fish, puffers, eels, parrotfish and angels. Other common sitings are lobsters, jacks, rays and the occasional white tip reef shark. Most famous for Jacques Cousteau's discovery known as the Sand Falls, this is a great choice for a quick trip that's only a 5 minute boat ride from the Cabo marina.
Also located in Cabo Bay, this dive brings you to rock piles and boulders covered in sea sponges, gorgonias and sea fans. The usual colorful display of tropical fish complete the picture with a good chance of a visit from a sea turtle. With the help of local protection agencies and volunteers, sea turtles are making a comeback here in Cabo.
LAND'S END (The Point)
Depths start out around 25 ft. with the opportunity to dive the canyon next to the sea lion colony. Calm conditions allow you to get up close and personal with the resident seals that call this spot home. Loads of structure and life-covered rock walls are home to tropical fish, lobsters, hawkfish and even schools of tuna. Eels are another common sighting. Currents can get a little strong and unpredictable so dives here are best suited for the intermediate to advanced diver.
This is one of the best locations for beginning divers and those taking "resort" courses but it still holds wonders that even very experienced divers will enjoy.
GORDO BANKS OPEN WATER DIVES
Experienced divers only. The Gordo Banks are located 28 miles offshore from La Playita. The top of this seamount is 110 feet deep with often strong currents. Quick boats can have you on the spot within an hour or less. Perhaps one of the biggest draws is the appearance of large gatherings of hammerhead sharks. Whale sharks cruise the area regularly as do many pelagic species like marlin and swordfish. Peak periods for diving the Gordo Banks is from the middle of August through the end of November.
DIVE OPERATORS IN CABO SAN LUCASAMIGOS DEL MAR - CABO SAN LUCAS
Amigos del Mar has been operating in Cabo San Lucas for over 30 years, making them one of the most experienced dive operators in Los Cabos. They are a PADI, SSI, NAUI, NASDS Dive Resort Facility offering daily guided natural history, scuba and snorkel tours, a variety of Certification Courses and introductory scuba courses.
MANTA SCUBA - CABO SAN LUCAS
Located next to the cruise ship pier in Gali Plaza. They offer several different dive tours, certifications and PADI professionals. Two tank dives are $85, 3 tank dives $115 in the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park.
SNORKELING IN CABO SAN LUCAS
OCEAN RIDERS BEACH HOPPING SNORKEL TOUR
Fast boats and great fun is what you'll get with Ocean Riders. You'll leave the Cabo Marina near Plaza Bonita for a 40mph+ ride on one of their zodiacs to several beaches including Santa Maria and Chilleno Bays where the best snorkeling in Los Cabos can be found.
They offer several options for snorkeling tours in Los Cabos including their Two Bay Tour visiting Chilleno and Santa Maria Bays, a clear bottom kayak and snorkel tour to Land's End and a day long excursion to Espiritu Santu island off La Paz. Save 20% by booking online.
Want to add a little power to your snorkeling tour? Then check out the video above from Cabo Adventure. It's part of their Snorkel and Sea Adventure, the only one of its kind in Cabo. They combine snorkeling with stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and a high speed boat ride into one fun filled excursion for $75 per adult, $60 for children.
PEZ GATO SNORKELING TOUR
Simple, straight forward snorkeling tour aboard a catamaran style sail boat. For $75 you get your gear, lunch with beverages and an open bar. Kids 5-11 are half price, under 5 free.
CABO REY SNORKELING CRUISE
The largest tour ship in Los Cabos is famous for its sunset dinner cruise but they also have a terrific snorkeling cruise that departs the marina at 10am each morning for a 3 hour trip that takes you to Chilleno Bay where you can snorkel, swim or just enjoy the beach. 20% discount for booking online.
DIVING IN CABO PULMO AND THE EAST CAPEScuba Diving in Los Cabos and the East Cape regions of Baja Sur offers some of the finest diving in the world. From world famous Cabo Pulmo to the Sand Falls discovered by Jacques Cousteau, southern Baja is a diver's paradise. With 800 different marine species you're sure to come away with unforgettable memories. Once you've experienced diving in Cabo, you'll be back again. We cover some of the best dives in Cabo San Lucas on the left hand side of this page, but we also thought you'd like to learn a bit more about diving in Baja Sur and the areas north of Cabo San Lucas that offer world-class dive experiences.
EAST CAPE TO THE ISLAND OFF LA PAZ
The East Cape region of Baja Sur has literally dozens of near shore and off shore dive sites. Most popular are Punta Pescadero, Cerro Verde, Rancho Buena Vista Reef, El Cardonal and Punta Perico. Dives range from beginner level to somewhat difficult and unpredictable dives at areas like Punta de la Ventana where, when conditions are right, cave explorations can reveal grouper, jewfish and sea bass.
La Paz to the north is another great dive destination. The proximity of Isla Cerralvo and Isla Espiritu Santu provides easy access to dozens of dive sites. La Reyna (the queen), located off the north end of Isla Cerralvo, is considered a “must dive” site where an encounter with giant Pacific manta rays is a good possibility. Isla Ballena (whale island) can be found off the west coast of Isla Espiritu Santu and it’s one of the few dive sites that features caves, one of which has an air chamber that allows divers to surface while inside. For the advanced open water diver, El Bajo, or the Marisla Seamount, is a set of three underwater peaks famous for its schooling hammerhead sharks. Anywhere from a half-dozen to several hundred hammerheads can be seen swimming in a clockwise circle around the peaks, and no one yet knows why.
BEST DIVING IN BAJA, CABO PULMO MARINE SANCTUARY
The Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park is located about 40 miles north of San Jose del Cabo on the eastern cape of Baja. The abundant coral growth on the rocky reefs provides shelter and food for countless reef fish, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The marine boundaries are Bahia Las Barracas to the north and Bahia Los Frailes to the south. This nutrient rich water results in a profusion of plankton that forms the base of a vast food web of invertebrates, fishes, birds and mammals making the Sea of Cortez one of the most productive waters in the world.
Cabo Pulmo is by far my favorite spot, and I’m not alone. Noted photojournalist, Bill Boyce, has been diving in Baja for decades and has seen a lot of changes including the positive effects of marine conservation and protection. Boyce first dove the waters of Cabo Pulmo about 20 years ago and has seen an amazing recovery in reef life since the Mexican government created the Cabo Pulmo Marine Sanctuary in 1995.
“When I first dove the area, life was fairly abundant. But over the course of 4 to 5 years, there was a definite drop,” says Boyce. “When the reef was declared a marine preserve and commercial fishing was banned in the area, life began to return in force. My most recent dive there was in late 2008 and the turnaround was dramatic… the place is just completely alive. We were lucky enough to encounter a whale shark, up close and personal.”
Mark Rayor, owner and operator of Vista Sea Sport in Los Barriles, accompanied Boyce on those dives. Rayor has been diving these waters just as long if not longer than Boyce but he also enjoys the added benefits of living and working in the area year-round. If he's not underwater, chances are you'll find him out fishing aboard his boat, the Jen Wren. The Jen Wren is available for fishing charters with Captain Chuy Cota, a well-known and respected East Cape fishermen with a lifetime of experience in these waters.
“It was the sport fishing that first brought me to Cabo 18 years ago. It wasn't until I lived here for more than a year that I discovered that the Sea of Cortez is the best kept secret in the diving world,” Rayor says. “Unlike many other places in the world it is still unspoiled. Any place there is structure, like an outcropping of rocks, an entire ecosystem can be found with eels, rays and hordes of tropical sea life. Day in and day out I see the amazement on people’s faces when they put a dive mask on and take a look below the surface for the first time.”
Rayor’s love of the area isn’t something he’s shy about. “By far Cabo Pulmo has become my favorite dive spot in the world. When we first moved here it was hard to pick a favorite dive site because the entire Sea Of Cortez is so rich with sea life. However, since the Government declared Cabo Pulmo a national park, which has brought vigilance and protection, it has flourished. The sea life can sense the protection. I once had a diver tell me if there were any more fish on the reef there wouldn't be room for the water.”
So why not strap on a tank, don a mask and explore the wonders of the Sea of Cortez yourself. If you’re not a diver, but want to become one, most resorts in Los Cabos have great working relationships with dive shops and resort dive courses are easily arranged. If you're interested in diving Cabo Pulmo, get in touch with Mark at Vista Sea Sport, you'll be in good hands. In the meantime, watch his video below to see what your missing!