A destination thrumming with biodiversity, San Carlos offers some of the best diving in Mexico. Easy reefs skirting the southern shores are ideal for beginners; more experienced divers head to Isla San Pedro for schooling hammerheads.
Diving in San Carlos has the magical combination of warm, clear water and an assortment of cute critters. Encounters with sea lion pups, dolphins, sea horses, morays and gorgeous tropical fish will no doubt be a highlight of your trip. Underwater photographers, this is your chance to shine.
Thanks to the protected location of San Carlos, visitors from the open ocean cruise through during winter (sperm whales so big they put away a ton of squid a day). To witness these giants breaching at sunrise is one of the most exciting experiences a diver can have.
In San Carlos, August and November have the best conditions in terms of viz and currents, while December-May offer more marine life. Diving can be good in June and July if you're happy to trade a reduced selection of sites for quieter dives.
Diving is San Carlos reaches peak comfort between August and November when the Sea of Cortez is at its warmest - a blissful 80°F/27°C. These are the best months for hammerhead encounters and whale sharks are occasionally spotted blowing bubbles in the blue.
When the temperature dips between December and March, pelagic come out to play. It's the best time to add whales - humpback, sperm and grey - to your log book, as well as mobula rays and sea lions. Lucky divers spot bullseye rays, banded guitarfish and octopus who climb from the depths.
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
San Carlos is located on the beachfront of Guaymas in the northern state of Sonora, Mexico. Positioned just a few hours south of the United States-Mexico border this diving hot spot is best accessed by car from the US and other parts of Mexico.
Departing from southern United States you'll cross the border at Nogales and continue to head south for 4h 40m. You will need to clear Mexican customs en route. This easy drive passes through Sonora on a modern four-lane highway and takes you to the best dive sites in San Carlos.
Diving in San Carlos is accessible to travelers from Europe and Asia via Hermosillo Airport. This airport is a 55m drive from the main diving hub in San Carlos and you can reach Hermosillo Airport by connecting flight from Mexico City (2 h 30). Take advantage of your stop-over in Mexico City to soak up some world-famous culture.