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Sea of Cortez

Playful sea lions, bull sharks and close encounters with whale sharks

The Sea of Cortez is situated along the west coast of Mexico and is one of the richest bodies of water on the planet. Also known as the Gulf of California, the clear, deep blue waters abound with sea life and are surrounded by stark desert scenery, dotted with cacti and rugged cliffs.

The Sea of Cortez is a great destination for those in search of big marine life and exciting diving. Legendary diver Jacques Cousteau once described the Sea of Cortez as the “world’s aquarium” and the “Galapagos of North America”. This is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks, snorkel with sperm whales, dive with mantas, mobulas and hammerheads, as well as delight in the company of playful sea lions.

The Sea of Cortez enjoys fabulous weather all year round, with slight seasonal changes. Daytime temperatures are typically around 28C and water temperatures ranging between 20-25C. We therefore recommend a full 3mm or 5mm suit, depending on your preference, and to bring a fleece or a long sleeved top for the evenings, as repetitive diving, combined with cool offshore sea breezes, can make you feel a bit chilly at night.

How to get there – Sea of Cortez, Rocio del Mar liveaboard
The Rocio Del Mar liveaboard departs from Puerto Penasco in Mexico, a small harbour town situated at the northern tip of the Sea of Cortez. The closest international airport is Phoenix, Arizona, in the USA. Flight time to Phoenix is just 10.5hrs on British Airways non-stop service from London Heathrow. On arrival into Phoenix you will need one night’s accommodation prior to the scenic 3hr drive to Puerto Penasco, where you will embark the Rocio Del Mar liveaboard for your exciting diving in the Sea of Cortez Midriff Islands.

How to get there – Southern Sea of Cortez, La Paz
La Paz is the closest airport for southern Sea of Cortez trips and several airlines service this route. On arrival into La Paz it is a quick car transfer to the resorts from which you will be doing your diving. This is the best place to be if you are looking to dive with the whale sharks and sea lions that Sea of Cortez is famous for.

If it is the bull shark diving at Cabo Pulmo that you fancy, then you can also consider flying into San Jose del Cabo, which is the largest airport in southern Baja California and this will give you more flight options. From San Jose del Cabo it takes just under 2 hours to get to Cabo Pulmo. There is also some great diving to be had around the Los Cabos area, which is 40 minutes or so from San Jose del Cabo in the other direction.

Exploring Mexico
Mexico offers world class diving on both its Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. There is something for everyone here, and at all diver levels. Visit our Mexico section for an introduction to where to go throughout this country, including Guadalupe Island, the Sea of Cortez, the Socorro Islands and the Yucatan Peninsular.

Quick Guide: Sea of Cortez

  • Location: West Mexico, Baja California
  • When to go: All year round, but Jul-Sep wettest
  • Average air temp: 23°C – 34°C (coolest January, hottest August)
  • Average water temp: 20°C – 28°C (coolest January, hottest August)
  • Recommended diver level: Good for all levels



Contact us for details


Contact us for details


Contact us for details

Ready for your next adventure?

Great Escapes Diving Holidays Ltd

Westerfield Business Centre
Main Road
United Kingdom

Office hours: Mondays to Fridays 09.30am - 5.00pm
Tel: +44 (0)1473 921888

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