is small and shallow but it's a magnet for marine life and your' likely to see almost everything on this reef. It's also a favorite for night diving.
Rancho Buena Vista Reef
is only 20 minutes away by boat. This area is a large rock bed that begins in 25' of water and slopes down to approximately 90'. It features large schools of amberjack and lady fish and harbors a wide variety of star fish such as chocolate chip sea stars, tan sea stars, panamic crown of thorns, yellow spotted and spiny stars, to name just a few. There is also a community of Cortez sting rays and garden eels living in the sandy floor on the north side of the rock bed. This area is also a seasonal provider of Nudibranch.
Cerro Verde (25' to 90')
translates as Fisherman's Point, this site truly lives up to it's name. This site has unusual rock formations and very interesting topography. Resident scorpion stone fish, Cortez sting rays, and large schools of surgeon fish provide this site with grace and beauty. Seasonally, you may see conch, octopus, and nudibranch. Because this site is located on a migratory point, conditions and marine life may change very rapidly and a second dive at the same location, may reveal something completely different.
Punta Pescadero (40')
is a shallow reef located in between the Cerralvo and Pescadero areas. This site is relatively shallow but the large amounts of branching elegant stony coral and numerous varieties of tropical fish make this spot a photographers dream. There are also loads of green moray eels, as well as spotted snake eels, tiger reef eels and the beautiful zebra moray. This is also a site where you are likely to see many different species of Nudibranch.
El Cardonal (35')
has three distinctive terrain changes. The first is an area of large boulders with many cavern-like swim throughs. The site then opens up into unique monument-like rock formations. Towards the end of the dive, it completely changes into large channels that resemble a huge rat maze. This site is home to large schools of lady fish as well as many other species of tropical fish including sea horses, parrot fish, cabrilla and pargo.
Punta Perico (70')
is a difficult place to dive due to the heavy currents but when the conditions are just right, it's really a great site. Descending to the 80 ft. sea floor, you drop down over a ledge that bottoms out around 125'. There you will find many caves and holes big enough to house some extremely large grouper, such as jew fish, pargo, and sea bass that range from 80 to more than 200 pounds.
Punta de la Ventana (80' to 120')
appears as a long rock bar that resembles an actual highway. Surrounded by a sand floor, huge over hangs and crevices are home to many lobster, an abundance of Moray eels and very large dog-toothed snapper.
The Rock Highway (55' to 70')
is extremely beautiful and hosts an array of different types of diving as well as species of fish. To reach this site, expect about a one-hour boat ride.
The Cerralvo Island Area
The Wreck (45')
is an old tuna boat that went down in the early 1980's. Most of the wooden hull has long since disintegrated, but there is still some wreckage there. A large diesel motor and a huge brass propeller engulfed in netting provide sanctuary for fry and other species of marine life. There are also masts and large refrigeration units lying on the bottom. In the winter months, gay bar grunts and goat fish school here by the thousands.
Los Morros Norte (55')
is a long bar surrounded by sand that harbors schools of huge grouper, some in excess of 200 pounds. In the spring it's not uncommon to large amberjacks and schooling big eye jack. The site is also home to many large green moray eels.
Dive Sites: East Cape / Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park
is just a couple of miles south of La Ventana, and features a shallow reef with soft and hard corals and many varieties of tropical reef fish, as well as star fish. This is an excellent snorkeling site.
Las Arenas (35')
is a long bar of ledge-like reef is surrounded by a sandy bottom, similar to many of the reefs in Cabo Pulmo. The many cracks and crevices provide ample hiding places for the many large grouper that fall into the 200 pound category. This site is never a disappointment and there is always something different there to peak your curiosity: stingrays, angel sharks, nurse sharks and even hammerheads.
The Deep Reef (90')
aren't really cave at all because there's no major overhead environment to these structures. With plenty of ambient light shining through the many large portholes, the brilliant colors of the different varieties of corals and an array of tropical fish make this site a perfect underwater photo op.
is a beautiful and well protected bay is just south of Cabo Pulmo. It is a great mooring spot for sail boats as well as an anchorage for larger yachts. A combination of smooth sandy bottom and large platelets of rock provide some very interesting diving.
The Cabo Los Frailes Area
is a sanctuary for a colony of California sea lions. These playful creatures, although cumbersome on land, are extremely graceful under water. This site can be dived or may be used as an amusing surface interval. In addition to the seal lions, large schools of sardines and many species of other tropical reef fish call this site home.
The Sea Lion Colony
This site is the deepest of the Frailes area and begins in approximately 50' and gently slopes to well beyond the recreational dive limit. There are some very unique rock formations that were created when the platelets of the earth erupted over thousands of years ago. These large ledges and over hangs provide homes for an abundant supply of lobster and other marine life. It is not uncommon to see schools of manta rays, big grouper and a large supply of conch.
The Submarine Canyon (50' to ?)
Dos Dagos Reef
was officially declared a marine preserve by the Mexican Government in June, 1995. It's approximately 11 miles long with at least 8 different fingers of coral reef and is considered by many to be the only substantial living coral reef on the west coast of North America. (However, living hard coral reefs also exist near La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, Gordo Banks and on the north coast of the Sea of Cortez) This remote site is a haven for divers who wish to enjoy the sea and have an amazing day of diving away from Los Cabos. Several reefs are available for exploring. The reef attracts schools of rays, turtles, huge gropers, schools of jacks, pork fish, tropical fish, and even a whale shark every once in a while. In total, there are more than 300 species of tropical fish and over 2000 invertebrates in this biologically diverse natural ecosystem. There more than a dozen sites to explore, including the coral reef, a shipwreck and a large sea lion colony. The Park is an excellent adventure for divers of all skill levels. In optimum conditions, visibility reaches 140' or more and the water temperature peaks near 90 degrees.
Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park (25' to 80')
provides a large array of diversity. With large heads of elegant stony coral and a ships mast and motor, this is an interesting site. Lots of giant green moray eels and a wide variety of other tropical reef fish reside here.
(Cabo Pulmo) El Islotes
is small island that protrudes just slightly from the surface but widens into a thick hearty structure under water. This pinnacle-like structure is like diving in the round. It features many varieties of sea fans, gorgonian, and colonial cup corals that have become the signature of the Sea of Cortez. The structure itself is similar to the topography of the nearby beach, with large boulders providing small caverns with portholes for great photo opportunities. Huge bumbhead parrot fish, and scrawled leather jacket file fish are residents, as well as a seasonal, schools of swarming big eye jacks.
(Cabo Pulmo) El Cantil (55')
or "the canyons" is another very popular reef for a number of reasons. It includes many small caverns that harbor large grouper and dog-toothed snapper. There are many ledges and crevices to that provide protection to octopus, resting turtles, playful puffer fish, schools of goat fish, surgeon fish and a wide variety of star fish. Since Cabo Pulmo is now a protected area, a large school of bat rays has taken residence here and it is not uncommon to see manta rays as well. The top side of this site is covered with what seems to be acres of elegant stony coral which provides a safe environment for frog fish, damsel, wrasse, and other colorful tropical reef fish.
(Cabo Pulmo) El Bajo (40' to 60')
is one of the favorite dive sites of most visitors to Cabo Pulmo. The boat ride is nor more than 10 minutes out to the reef. We enter into the drifting current and glide over a pristine coral reef 55' below the surface. Large groupers, amberjacks, schools of big eyed jacks, yellow snapper and others, too numerous to mention, are frequently sighted here. Schools of mantas are known to move gracefully across the sands on either side of the reef. Some divers have commented that "the visibility would have been better but we couldn't see through all the fish!". Surrounded by sand and thousands of garden eels, it's not unusual to see large pargo and grouper and you might spot whale sharks, porpoise, and manta rays. Swim into the current to prolong your dive but remember that this is a national park. Gloves, knives and the touching of anything are all strictly prohibited.
(Cabo Pulmo) El Moro (40' to 60')
is another fine section of the reef at Cabo Pulmo. Running parallel to El Bajo, it has many of the same features and marine life that you will witness at El Bajo. Be sure to look into the cracks and crevices to see large lurking grouper, giant green moray eels and other life.
(Cabo Pulmo) Las Casitas (25' to 40')
The little houses is a system of caves in shallow waters at the south end of the Bay. The unique geological formations are interesting. Of course you will witness the same corals, fans, tropical fish and Pelagics common to the area.
Diving in La Paz is a whole day of adventure and worth the extra effort! La Paz offers a number of dive sites to choose from including four different ship wrecks and a huge sea lion colony with several hundred sea lions in residence throughout the year. You may also see hammer head sharks, whale sharks, and big Cuban mantas. All these species can be bigger than 8 feet long.
Los Islotes (25' to 50')
a good beginners' site, is situated half a mile north of Isla Espiritu Santo and Los Islotes, two large rock islets, one of which is a natural arch. Diving through the centre of this natural rock formation brimming with life you can expect to see dense schools of silver sardines, blue and gold king angel fish and yellow surgeon fish amongst golden cup corals. These islets are home to a colony of more than 200 Californian brown sea lions. These inquisitive creatures take great interest in those visiting their home. One can often turn to find the pups pulling at your fins, eager to play, showing off and turning circles around your comparatively clumsy underwater movements. The larger bulls become very territorial during the mating season in protection of their harem. Underwater exploration of these islands is always exciting and offers a unique experience with each visit.
El Baja (60' to 100+)
is a seamount located about 8 miles from Los Islotes. Here you will find three distinct underwater peaks stretching along a three hundred yard line with the northern most rising to within 83ft of the surface, the central peak to within 52ft and the southern to within 69ft. The central peak, with its shallow depths and relatively flattop, is the primary dive site and anchoring location. El Baja is one of the premier dive sites in the world for schooling hammerhead sharks. The schools range from just a few sharks to hundreds, travelling in a clockwise direction around the seamount for some unknown reason. While schooling, hammerheads are not aggressive and actually appear disinterested in divers. The seamount is also home to an abundance of sea life, schooling amber jacks and tuna, octopus and the impressive Panamic green moray; a colony of over fifty can be found in a small canyon. Aside from possible encounters with hammerheads frequent visitors to the seamount include; whale sharks and giant pacific manta rays. This dive is for experienced divers with an Advanced Open Water certification only.
Naked Lady (20' to 70')
is a beginner-level site is along the northernmost point of Isla Espiritu Santo. Its main feature is a long "wall" descending to 75' were you can see passing mantas, several species of moray eels, octopus, gorgonians, colonial cup coral and large sea fans.
The Salvatierra Wreck (60')
is the site of the wreck of the cargo ferry "La Salvatierra" which sank in 1976 moments after striking the reef Swanee Rock (which has since been fitted with a warning light). Of the hundreds of passengers on board, not one life was lost and the insurance company actually paid everyone for their losses… 50 pesos each! This is an easy dive.
Sea Lion Rocks (20' to 100+)
is a dive site boasting a large number of coral heads, small caves and overhangs. This is a popular night dive site, where you can see huge sleeping Parrot Fish cocooned in their own mucus to hide their scent from potential predators. This area was once home to a colony of sea lions who occasionally return to visit their old home. You'll also find a large variety of fish and several species of rays buried in the surrounding sand.
The Gaviota Wrecks (45' to 60')
are just offshore from Isla Gaviota (seagull Island) in the bay of La Paz. Descending to 45' to 60', you can explore two sunken wooden boats that have become home to a variety of creatures. Anemones, sergeant majors and lobster are among the abundant sea life to be found in and around the wrecks and the surrounding coast and its caves.
Tigershark Rocks (20' to 70')
are small offshore rocks that are the tips of a series of underwater rock columns. Diving to 70' you can explore the huge rock formations and the area marine life: morays, cabrilla, Panama graysby, snapper, octopus, king angelfish, parrotfish and more.
Whale Island (20' to 60')
is a small Island off the west coast of Isla Espiritu Santo featuring several dive-through caves, one of which has a pocket of air allowing divers to surface inside the rock. Between the islands there's a sand shelf containing a large "garden" of conger eels - these peculiar creatures feed by extending their bodies vertically from holes in the sea floor, swaying in the currents whilst waiting for passing morsels. Schools of rays and pods of dolphins can be seen passing this tranquil dive site.
of the Fang Ming & Lapas 03 (70')
On the November 18, 1999, two Chinese metal vessels named Fang Ming (180' long) and Lapas03 (118' long) were sunk close to Isla Ballena. These vessels were confiscated by the Mexican government for the illegal transportation of immigrants, and remained in their possession until the opportunity arose to create an artificial reef. Offering full penetration diving over numerous levels, these wrecks provide the ideal location for obtaining your Wreck Diver specialty rating.
The Queen (80')
is a rock islet with a lighthouse just north of Isla Cerralvo. This site is among the most beautiful in the area. At a depth of 80' a large reef is populated by gorgonias of all types, brain corals, large schools of brightly colored tropical fish, rays, green, zebra & jeweled morays. This "must dive" site is subject to some current, but it's the home of several giant Pacific manta rays. This is a beginner to intermediate due to the depth and currents.
The Little Queen (25' to 100+)
is a small rock pinnacle located on the west side of Isla Cerralvo that has a constant current in which schools of fish "hang" waiting for their dinner to pass. Large groupers, sea fans, brain corals and conger garden eels are among the attractions, which make this another favorite beginner to intermediate site.