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Scuba diving in Pacific Coast of Mexico

Less crowded than elsewhere in Mexico, the Pacific Coast offers a variety of sites, including reefs, deep sea drifts and one awesome wreck.
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Manta Rays at Socorro Island

As a lonely seamount far offshore, Socorro Island attracts a large number of pelagic species, among them are large groups of giant manta rays.

Humpbacks at Roca Partida

Although the location for humpbacks changes from year to year, Roca Partida often yields the best whale sightings and interactions for scuba divers.

San Luciano Wreck

Sunk during a hurricane in 1959, today, the top of the wreck is just 4 feet (1 meter) below the surface, making it a perfect wreck for beginners.

Hammerheads at San Benedicto

An unusually calm dive in the Revillagigedo Islands, the Canyon near San Benedicto Island regularly hosts large hammerhead sharks in great visibility.

Mantas and Whale Sharks

At the Marietas Islands advanced divers can see larger species who ride the currents from the distant blue, including mantas and whale sharks.

Diving in Pacific Coast of Mexico

Quick facts

The Pacific Coast of Mexico is not known for its diving in the same way that the Baja Peninsula or Caribbean Mexico is. However, with several diving areas up and down the coast and many offshore islands, it makes sense that many divers wish to visit the wild west coast. Pelagic species and rocky corals abound in this off-the-beaten path diving destination.

Advanced divers will find plenty of offshore islands with heavy current to explore, while the wrecks and protected bays are perfect for beginners.

To reach the Revillagigedo Islands, a liveaboard trip is necessary.

Outside of the Revillagigedo Islands, diving is not a mainstream idea is many cities along the Pacific Coast. Therefore, you’ll probably be some of the only guests on your dives, meaning you’ll get personalized service. Some shore diving does exist, but the vast majority of diving takes place from small speed boats or small wooden pangas.

Keep in mind, a 16% tax is levied on all diving operations in Mexico and reef hooks are not permitted in nationally protected areas.

When to go

Pelagic species are most easily seen at offshore islands from November to May. June to October feature the warmest water temps and best visibility.

November to May

November to May is considered the best time to dive in Socorro Island. Liveaboards set sail for this remote island at this time, because the sea conditions in the Pacific are calmest during these months. The weather is generally sunny with occasional rain showers.

Manta rays can be seen throughout the year in Socorro, but during the winter months, divers also have the chance of spotting a whale shark or one of the thousands of humpbacks that breed and calve in the area. This is also the best time of year to see mantas and whale sharks near Puerto Vallarta.

At this time, visibility is negatively impacted is by plankton blooms. These are most common around the full moon.

If you love diving with pelagic species, book your holiday between November and May.

Elsewhere in Mexico, November to May is considered high season for general tourism, causing an increase in the prices of flights and accommodation.

June to October

June to October are the offseason for liveaboards in the area. Many set their sights on Guadalupe or remain in dock. However, at this time, the water warms significantly, reaching 84°F (26°C) in August and September. For many divers, especially beginners who will find the open ocean sites difficult to reach, the summer months are an ideal time to dive.

In addition, visibility is at its peak from June to October. It’s also low season for tourism throughout Mexico, meaning you should find excellent deals on accommodation, airfare and excursions. However, you will have to battle the hot and humid summer weather while topside.

If you’d prefer to look elsewhere, try Caribbean diving for a change. The season on the east side of Mexico is year-round.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

The Marietas Islands and Revillagigedo Islands are for pelagic-lovers. Beginners will love the protected sites in Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.

  • Acapulco

    A premier holiday destination with a budding scuba industry, Acapulco’s underwater shrine, wrecks and drifts make it a noteworthy dive destination.

  • Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

    Two neighboring resort destinations, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo boast current-free bays filled with colorful fish, an ideal environment for novice divers.

  • Manzanillo

    With a shallow, penetrable wreck and some of the most pristine coral reefs in Central Pacific Mexico, Manzanillo is an off-the-beaten-path paradise.

  • Puerto Vallarta

    Boasting some of the best diving on the Central Pacific Coast of Mexico, you might happen upon whale sharks or giant manta rays in Puerto Vallarta.

Pricing on request
Pricing on request
Pricing on request

Snorkeling in Pacific Coast of Mexico

While somewhat limited due to visibility in the region, snorkeling is a possibility for anyone not scuba certified. In particular, the San Luciano Wreck can be explored to the surface. It begins just 4 feet (1 meter) below the surface. In Puerto Vallarta, the Banderas Bay is a protected area full of fish flitting along the rocky bottom. No matter where you find yourself, snorkeling tours will abound in these southern waters.
In Puerto Vallarta, Los Arcos is the most popular stop for dive operators. Majahuitas is a close second as it features a coral-covered wall off a remote and beautiful beach. Further afield from the Bahia de Banderas, the Marietas Islands, Chimo and El Morro attract advanced divers. Here you can see larger species who ride the currents from the distant blue, including mantas and whale sharks. Further south, Manzanillo is home to the San Luciano wreck. This ship sank during a hurricane in 1959. Today, the top of the wreck is just 4 feet (1 meter) below the surface, making it a perfect wreck for beginners. Finally in the Revillagigedo Islands, Roca Partida is often a favorite among divers. This is where you’ll meet the most important actors of the Revillagigedo Islands. Mantas, humpback whales, schooling hammerheads and whale sharks often make appearances near the vertical walls of Roca Partida. Other stops in the Pacific Coast of Mexico don’t have as many famous sites, but there are plenty of areas to explore. You never know when you’ll stumble across your new favorite dive area.

What to see

The Central Pacific Coast of Mexico has it all. From tiny to huge, your log books will be full of interesting creatures whether your dive holiday takes to the Socorro Islands or Mazatlán. In terms of pelagic species, frequently reported sightings include humpback whales, whale sharks, oceanic white tips, manta rays, hammerheads, reef sharks and dolphins. You might also see schools of grunts, puffer fish and hawksbill turtles around the brightly colored sponges and stony corals. The seahorses and octopus love to hide out in the walls, reefs and wrecks. The Central Pacific Coast certainly doesn’t disappoint in the marine life category.


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