With so much environmental doom and gloom in the news these days, the recent unveiling of North America's largest ocean reserve, the Revillagigedo archipelago, has been something of a ray of light. Spanning a staggering 57,176 square miles and made up of four volcanic islands, the protection zone will preserve the area's unique biodiversity and represents something of a win for both the environment and us divers too. It also just so happens that one of our favourite regions in Mexico, Los Cabos, acts as the perfect springboard to this wild World Heritage region. Think excellent culture, food and beautiful beaches to land, and some of the best diving in the world to sea, particularly around Socorro, where you can dive with an impressive array of 'big fish' (more on that later). So read on to discover why voyaging to this remote corner of the earth will be one of the most exhilarating dive expeditions you will ever have.
Destination: The Revillagigedo Archipelago
Where desert meets coastline on the very tip of the southern Baja peninsula lies Los Cabos, the closest access point to the Revillagigedo marine reserve some 400 kilometres south. Its remote location in the vast open ocean means it's very open to the elements and consequently suited to advanced divers. However, beneath the surface you're rewarded by whirlpools of marine life that flurry around the magnificent volcanic ridges.
Where safari has the big five, Socorro is home to staggering proportions of big marine life. Attracted to the nutrient-rich waters of the Pacific Ocean, divers will have the opportunity to see giant manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks, humpback whales and up to ten species of shark (snorkelling with white tip sharks at night is a particularly magnificent moment). There's also a smattering of the smaller species, including moray eels and clans of giant lobster.
Whilst we could prattle on all day about the plethora of fascinating dive sites around Socorro, some of our favourite sites include the Roca Partida cleaning station, which comprises an eroded rock shaped like a whale's tail against the deep blue. But what makes it particularly magical is the reflecting sunlight that illuminates the soup of surrounding marine life. The stars of this area, however, are the very friendly protected giant mantas which are practically guaranteed at The Boiler at San Benedicto Island (between November and July).
Whilst many see Los Cabos as an overnight necessity, we recommend staying a few days to unroot its authentic Mexican flair. Visit San José del Cabo for its colourful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Explore the hidden coves and cliffs dotting 'The Corridor' (the stretch of coast separating San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas) and visit 'The Arch' to snorkel, or dive, with its playful resident sea lions. If you're visiting in May, take a day trip up to La Paz to witness hundreds of leaping mobula rays arrive in the Sea of Cortez.
In Cabos, you can't beat One and Only Palmilla. Backed by tropical palms overlooking the Pacific, this seriously stylish bolthole is conveniently located just south of San José del Cabo, which is replete with high-end restaurants, boutiques and galleries and is great for a potter around. Diving in the Revillagigedo archipelago is only possible by liveaboard. Hop aboard the spacious Nautilus Belle Amie from Cabo San Lucas' harbour to make the 400 kilometre voyage south.
When To Go
Whilst Los Cabos boasts sunny climes and warm sea temperatures year-round, diving in Socorro is best between November and July when the seas are calmest. Giant manta rays and bottlenose dolphins can be seen year-round but visit between January and April for the chance to see humpback whales, and April and June to spot hundreds of schooling hammerheads passing through. May and June are prime for bait ball season, whilst April to December is ideal for spotting the gentle giant whale shark.
From The Expert: Louisa Fisher, Head of Original Diving
"The divemasters of the Nautilus Belle Amie have built a magical relationship with the resident giant mantas so you can have amazing interactions with them up close - tickling their bellies by purging air bubbles below them"
Interested in booking for 2018/19? Call us on +44 (0) 20 7978 0505 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and begin your exhilarating adventure