Diving Socorro, the Sea of Cortez and the Yucatan Peninsula
This unique trip will take you to the best spots for diving around Mexico, starting with whales and sea lions in Baja California before heading to Revillagigedo Archipelago by liveaboard to see a variety of shark species, mantas and dolphins. Finish up by diving in the sinkhole cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Dive with sea lions and snorkel with whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez
- Have amazing encounters with friendly giant mantas and dolphins in Socorro
- Admire stalactites and stalagmites while diving in the underground cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula
Why Book with Original Diving?
When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
It's time for your Mexican adventure! Toast to your upcoming holiday in the lounge (just one of the perks when travelling with us) before boarding your overnight flight to Mexico City, arriving in the early hours of the following morning.
Day 2: Exploring La Paz
From Mexico City you will board your flight to La Paz in Baja California, which will take just over two hours. Upon arrival you will be met by one of our representatives on the ground and privately transferred to your hotel near the city's marina.
Spend the rest of the day exploring the town. Stroll around the old town and grab a coffee by the main square of Jardin Velazco, which is great for people watching. The three-mile long waterfront, the Malecon, is also worth a visit for spectacular views over the Sea of Cortez, stay for sunset to see the sky become laced in hues of pink and orange.
If you're feeling a bit more adventurous then we can organise a kayaking trip to the beautiful Balandra beach about half an hour from the city.
In the evening enjoy some margaritas at one of the seafront bars before dining on delicious local dishes for dinner.
Day 3: Diving at Los Islotes
Today begin your diving adventure mingling with mischievous sea lions at Los Islotes, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the site of a huge friendly sea lion colony.
You will have a chance to swim with these mischievous and friendly animals while diving around this rocky uninhabited island.
As well as the sea lions, there are lots of other animals to look out for while diving here, including angelfish, seahorses and crabs. Above water, spot pelicans, boobies and frigate birds.
After a surface interval head back under the waves exploring a different dive site such as La Reina, which is regularly visited by giant mantas, or El Bajo, which is a seamount where schooling hammerheads are found regularly.
Day 4: Snorkel with Whale Sharks
Today, tick off the bucket list swimming with the world's biggest fish, the spectacular spotty whale shark.
Whale sharks visit the Sea of Cortez in huge numbers between October and April due to an influx of plankton from deeper waters. Head out in the boat to scan the sea with your skipper; when they find one they will drop you into the water in small groups a little ahead of the shark so it should swim past you. While they don't look like they are making a lot of effort, they are very fast swimmers so it can be hard to keep up. The boat will pick you up and drop you in the water again and again.
While heading back to the city, look out for dolphins and whales - the Sea of Cortez is one of the best whale watching destinations in the world as gray, blue, sperm, finback, pilot, minke and humpback whales all visit the sea over the course of the year.
Day 5: Head to Cabo San Lucas
This morning it's time to head to the southern tip of Baja California. After breakfast you will be privately transferred by car Cabo San Lucas, which will take around two and a half hours.
On arrival into Cabo San Lucas, get settled into your hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure, be it exploring the town or embracing your inner sun lizard sunbathing on the beach. For the adventurous, we can arrange an exhilarating four-wheel-drive ATV adventure to explore the outback of Los Cabos.
The delicious fish taco originated in Baja California, so chow down on these local specialities for supper in one of the taquerias lining the beach.
Day 6: Cabo Pulmo Diving
Today you will have a chance to dive at another UNESCO World Heritage site, the very fishy marine park of Cabo Pulmo.
Cabo Pulmo houses the eastern Pacific's most northerly coral reef and is a real conservation success story. You will dive with the local 'stewards' of the reserve who will explain its history. In 1995, locals in the area decided to close the area to fishing due to declining fish stocks. These days, the biomass in the area has increased by over 400% and divers can encounter everything from huge schools of jacks to resident bull sharks, which your guide will show you as you navigate the reef.
Day 7: Marine Safari
This morning hit the seas again as you embark on a marine safari in the waters around Cabo.
The boat will leave from Cabo marina in the morning and sail up the coastline in search of sharks and cetaceans. If you are lucky you may get close in-water encounters with mako, silky, blue or hammerhead sharks while snorkelling as well as encounters with dolphins, mobula rays and whales.
In the evening, back in Cabo you will board your liveaboard for the next part of your adventure. Settle into your cabin as you sail overnight to the remote Revillagigedo archipelago, otherwise known as Socorro.
Day 8: Sailing and Arrival at San Benedicto Island
As it takes 24 hours to reach the islands you will still be sailing when you wake up and should reach San Benedicto, the most northerly island of the Revillagigedo archipelago, by the afternoon.
After you reach this dramatic volcanic island you will have your first dive of the trip at El Fondeadero, a calm and sheltered site which is home to lots of lobsters, eels and fish, including huge schools of jacks and tuna. Look out for silky sharks swimming under the boat - they are attracted to the vibrations caused by the engine.
This evening, enjoy cocktail hour back onboard before a delicious dinner. Get an early night for your first full day of diving tomorrow.
Day 9: Diving at San Benedicto Island
Today you will have a full day of diving at San Benedicto Island.
Start at El Boiler, a large underwater pinnacle which is a popular cleaning station for giant mantas. You are likely to encounter several of these graceful creatures at this site and they are very friendly and curious - they will swim very close to you to check you out and hover over the top of you to allow your bubbles to tickle their bellies.
Dolphins are also regular visitors to this site and they are equally friendly, especially if you make a fool of yourself and act like a dolphin as they are likely to rush over to you to investigate.
In the afternoon head to El Canon which is visited by lots of sharks, including Galapagos, silky and schools of hammerhead sharks.
This evening, regale the day's marvellous marine sightings over dinner as the boat sails to Socorro Island.
Days 10-13: Diving at Socorro Island
For the next three days you will be diving around the island of Socorro. This is the largest island in the archipelago and is surprisingly green and fertile, with dramatic cliffs and rock formations that plunge into the sea.
There is a wealth of dive sites surrounding the island so you'll likely never experience the same site twice. Cabo Pearce and Punta Tosca are two big fish sites where you are likely to be greeted by more friendly dolphins and mantas, as well as a range of shark species, including Galapagos, silky, silvertip and hammerheads. If you're lucky a whale shark might also slink by.
On one of these evenings you will have a chance to snorkel with the silky sharks as they surround the boat at night. Lights are suspended off the back of the boat with bars for you to hold onto as you watch the sharks circling under the boat.
On the third evening the boat will cruise to Roca Partida.
Day 14: Diving at Roca Partida
During the night the boat will have arrived at Roca Partida and you will get your first glance of this remote rocky outcrop as you head out for your first dive.
The island is small enough to swim around in one dive, checking out the large lobsters and whitetip sharks stacking themselves on the shelved rockface. Looking out into the blue is where the real action is though and everywhere you look you will see life. Huge schools of jacks and tuna surround the rock followed by sharks and mantas. Look down and you'll also likely see large schools of hammerhead sharks beneath you.
If you are travelling between January and April you may find yourself in the company of giants - humpback whales stop off here during their migration from Alaska and even if you don't see them underwater, you are likely to hear their singing during dives.
Days 15-16: Back to San Benedicto
After exploring Roca Partida the boat will head back to San Benedicto for your last couple of days in the archipelago.
Stop off again at El Boiler and El Canon for more amazing encounters with huge mantas and friendly dolphins. Look out for shark species which you haven't seen yet such as tiger and whale sharks, which are known to visit the islands on occasion.
After your final dive you will say goodbye to this amazing archipelago as the boat sails back to Cabo San Lucas, arriving early the following morning.
Day 17: Off to the Yucatan
This morning you will disembark the boat and will be privately transferred to the airport for the last stop of the trip: the Yucatan peninsula.
Fly to Cancun via Mexico City, taking around five hours. Upon arrival, you will be transferred south of Cancun to Tulum. Check into your hotel, which is delightfully nestled between lush tropical jungle and white sandy beaches, before spending the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 18: Aaaand Relax
Today catch up on some much-needed R&R.
Boasting turquoise Caribbean seas and glistening white beaches, Tulum is all about barefoot luxury. Relax on the beach, feasting on delicious fresh tacos, or borrow a bike and cycle to the town to explore its colourful shops for souvenirs. There are some great bars and restaurants to refuel with local delicacies, from ceviche to delicious salads, and, of course, tacos.
Day 19: Cenote Diving
Today you will do your last dives of the trip in cenotes close to Tulum.
Cenotes are sinkholes filled with water, formed by the collapse of the region's limestone bedrock, which were believed to be portals to the underworld by ancient Mayans. While there are hundreds scattering the Yucatan Peninsula, we have a few favourites to recommend, which are very different from diving in the sea.
Head first to El Pit cenote which is a large cavern with a small opening, letting in beams of light that penetrate the crystal clear freshwater like the filament of a lightbulb. Do a loop of the cenote starting down at the deepest point where there is a small sulphur cloud then head back up through the halocline (where the fresh and salt waters mix) - you will see strange formations in the walls and get views of the light from different angles.
After a surface interval, head to Dos Ojos cenote where you can do two dives along different lines into separate caverns. In one of the caverns you can surface in a cave which has bats living in it. This cenote is very different to the pit in that you are swimming between stalactites, stalagmites and other formations to caverns with less light coming in from the outside. Alternatively head to cenote Angelita for your second dive. Angelita is a large pool which opens suddenly from the jungle. During the dive you will swim through a large sulphur cloud which leads to what appears to be a dark underwater forest rising from the floor.
Day 20: Tulum Ruins Tour and Visit to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Today embrace your inner culture vulture as you visit Tulum's ruins, which are spectacularly located on a craggy cliff above the beach. Take a guided tour around the ruins as you learn about the history and meaning behind each of the buildings in the site.
After this tour, head down to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, an hour-and-a-half south of the town. Take a boat tour through the mangroves system looking out for tropical birds, sunbathing crocodiles and even manatees. On reaching the sea, go snorkelling in a spot on the reef which is frequently visited by turtles and dolphins.
Head back to your hotel this evening for sundowners on the beach and enjoy your last night in Mexico.
Day 21: Home Time
Sadly, it is time to leave Mexico and head home. You will be dropped off at the airport in plenty of time for you flight, which will fly via the US, arriving back into London the following morning.
Day 22: Arrive Home
Your flight will touch down into London in the morning.
Louisa, Lizzie B and India are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.