Baja and La Paz

    From Tijuana in the north, on the border with California, USA, the Baja Peninsula stretches 1250 kilometres/775 miles to Cabo San Lucas at its southernmost tip. To the west lies the Pacific Ocean and to the east, the Sea or Cortez separates this peninsula, the second longest in the world, from mainland Mexico. The region is dominated by desert and shrubland, though pine and oak forested mountain ranges are found in the north and the south; it's a pristine region of great natural beauty. There are three distinct regions: in the north, winter cold fronts bring fog and higher precipitation, the central zone is arid desert and the south experiences late summer tropical rains. The waters around the Baja Peninsula teem with life and scuba diving opportunities abound, particularly in the southern reaches where La Paz and Cabo San Lucas are activity hubs. With an established tourism infrastructure, visitors will find it easy to enjoy this magical dive destination.

    Great Dives

    • The Socorro Islands, or Revillagigedos Islands, are firmly located in liveaboard territory. These uninhabited volcanic islands provide some seriously adventurous diving. Vast schools of hammerhead sharks congregate here. Giant mantas with “wingspans” of up to 6 metre/20 feet are regularly encountered and Galapagos and whitetip sharks are possibilities on any dive. One particular spot here, Roca Partida, is a seamount reaching to within 3 metres/10 feet of the surface. Its walls plunge nearly straight down to the abyss and it’s a great place for huge tuna, and even humpback whale and whale sharks in season.
    • Pelican Rock, near Cabo San Lucas, has something for divers of all abilities and is readily accessed from town. From a shallow sandy bottom in 5 metres/15 feet, divers can head down the gorgonian encrusted wall and spot myriad parrotfish, angelfish and more on their way. Sharp-eyed divers may find frogfish and lobsters hiding in the crevices and schools of jacks and rays often pass by. Sea lions, whitetip sharks and sometimes manta rays and whale sharks visit Pelican Rock, which hosts a staggering array of marine fauna for a dive site so close to town.
    • Marisla Seamount, or El Bajo, is about 13 kilometres/8 miles northeast of La Paz. Here a series of three underwater peaks rise to within 18 metres/60 feet of the surface. This is a dive for the experienced, but those who make the effort may well be rewarded with the world’s signature schooling hammerhead dive. The hammerheads cruise clockwise around the peaks for as yet unknown reasons. The region also attracts massive schools of amber jack and tuna with occasional whale sharks and manta rays putting in appearances. 
    • Los Islotes, lie just off the north tip of Isla Espiritu Santo, close to La Paz, these small islands attract huge schools of sardines, which in turn keep the main attraction, California sea lions, well fed and happy. A colony of more than 200 of these pinnipeds is resident here and the dive is famous for the interaction between the sea lions and the divers who visit them. The sea lions are playful and inquisitive and usually put on a great aquatic ballet. While a playful fin nip is about as exciting as it usually gets, bull sea lions can be protective, and aggressive, during mating season.
    • La Bufadora, on the Pacific coast in the northern reaches of the Baja Peninsula, has been a popular dive site for decades. Dramatic walls, caves and arches are covered with an intense variety of invertebrates making this a paradise for the macro photographer. Nudibranchs, tunicates, sponges, gorgonians and anemones compete for every available space. There’s also a sea lion rookery and a must see blowhole to while away the surface intervals. While shore diving is possible here, the entry is relatively challenging and the better sites are more easily reached by boat.
    • Punta Concepcion, is a short boat ride from Mulegé on the central shore of the Sea of Cortez. The diving here is characterized by boulder-strewn bottoms, which create fissures and crevices that harbor a variety of angel and butterfly fish species and provide a substrate for a diverse array of invertebrates. Moray eels lurk under the rocks and divers occasionally encounter sea lions and larger pelagic species.

    Want to know more? Visit ScubaEarth® for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.

    Dive Summary

    Visibility –  Up to 30 metres/100 feet and beyond.

    Water Temperature – Water temperatures range from 26-30°C/80-86°F year-round.

    Weather –  From the low 20s C/high 60s F in winter (January) to the low 30s C/high 80s F in summer (August). The Pacific waters in the north of the peninsula can be significantly cooler, particularly during periods of offshore winds when upwelling occurs, check locally.

    Featured Creatures – Hammerhead sharks, manta rays, schooling pelagics, sea lions and incredible invertebrates.

    Recommended Training –  Take the PADI UnderwaterPhotographer course for the amazing macro photo opportunities. The PADI Deep Diver course is also a recommended for the more adventurous dive sites.

    Travel Info

    Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

    Language – Spanish is spoken throughout Baja. Due to tourism, English is also widely spoken. 

    Currency –  Mexican pesos and US dollars (bills, not coins). Major credit cards are widely accepted.

    Major Airports – I Ensenada (ESE), Bahia de Los Angeles (BHL), San Felipe (SFH) 

    Electricity and Internet –  110 volt 60 Hz. Socket types A and B (same as USA). Internet available in hotels and cafés.

    Topside Attractions –  Whale watching, beach combing, trips through the desert, excellent Mexican seafood, star gazing, visiting the Spanish Missions.

    Locate PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in Baja

    Information links:

    Baja Travel
    All About Baja

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