The Los Cabos area of Baja Mexico has been on our list of dive spots for a while. We dived Cozumel and the cenotes of Cancun three years ago when we were just starting out as beginner divers. Our dive guide told us wonderful things about the west coast of Mexico, and last week we finally made it down to check out what the Sea of Cortez and Pacific had to offer!
Luckily, Cabo is just a short 2 hour flight from Los Angeles so we were able to make this a relatively quick and short dive trip. I’m sharing the highlights of our itinerary today which we’d highly recommend to any others looking for a few days of great diving from land!
WATCH OUR CABO VLOG
WHO TO DIVE WITH
We reached out to quite a few local dive shops before booking our dives. I always try to find a highly recommended tour operator when it comes to diving — going with someone who is experienced and puts guests’ safety first is of utmost important when it comes to scuba diving.
For ladies who are divers, the Girls That Scuba group is a fantastic resource for dive shops, discounts, and recommendations from a community of divers all over the globe.
Through that group, we found Laura, who owns and operates Cabo Private Guide. We went discussed via email the best options for our three day dive itinerary based on what we wanted to see and our experience and skill level. Communication was really easy and clear and I love being able to work out all of the details of a trip over email before we head out!
You can easily book dive excursions with Laura’s team on their website caboprivateguide.com and I highly recommend diving with them if you’re in the Cabo area. If you’re not into diving but still want to encounter some sea creatures, they can also take you whale watching, snorkeling, and even swimming with whale sharks (we did this in Isla Mujeres and it’s been one of my favorite excursions ever)!
Over the course of our three day dive trip, we were lucky enough to basically have our own private boat and guide, Adrian, who briefed us on every dive site, pointed out animals to us underwater, and took videos for us to keep!
DAY 1: CABO SAN LUCAS
Our original day 1 plan was to dive Cabo Pulmo, but because the conditions weren’t favorable, we decided to stay local and dive two sites just off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. These were two easy, intro dives where we didn’t go too deep and were pretty much in the same area as where most tourists lay out to tan on the beach after a casual snorkel.
This porcupinefish decided to swim right up to us to say hello on our first dive!
Between dives, we were able to hop off the boat and chill on Lover’s Beach and enjoy the view before heading in for our second dive.
Although on land it was quite warm, between 70-80°F, the water temperature was quite cool. 68°F at the surface and much cooler as you dive deeper. We ended up diving in 5 mm wetsuits and hoods — crucial for staying warm! I even added a shortie on top of my wetsuit since I tend to get really cold.
We wrapped up our first day of easy diving by noon and headed back to the marina to grab some tacos before preparing for day two.
DAY 2: CABO PULMO
Luckily, conditions were good enough for us to make the trek up to Cabo Pulmo for our second day of diving. Approximately a two hour drive north from Cabo San Lucas, our guide picked us up early in the morning and we made the trek up the coast to dive this protected national park.
Before it was a popular dive spot, Cabo Pulmo was a small fishing village. When the locals realized they had a problem of overfishing on their hands, they decided to work with the government to make Cabo Pulmo a protected area in the hopes that the fish population would come back.
Ultimately, it was a huge success in changing from the fishing industry to eco-tourism. Cabo Pulmo’s fish grew in size and the population increased dramatically. Since then, strict regulations have been implemented to avoid negatively impacting the environment. Eco-tourism has its pros and cons, and when an area becomes too popular for divers to visit, there can still be negative consequences on the marine ecosystem.
For example, in Cozumel where we dived three years ago, locals were finding turtles with tumors due to the chemicals in sunscreen worn by swimmers and divers. Even when we were diving in Komodo National Park last year, we heard the Indonesian government had to shut down parts of the park to allow for habitat restoration.
Guides in Cabo Pulmo are required annually to pass certifications and stay updated on the status of the protected area and what applies to the divers they take to the area. Each dive site has a maximum number of divers allowed per month to avoid impacting the ecosystem too much. It was amazing to learn more about eco-tourism and the changes this local area has gone through to help the environment — all thanks to our guide from Cabo Private Guide!
What we saw in Cabo Pulmo was amazing and a tribute to the work put in by the locals in the area. Huge schools of fish — LARGE fish too!
We got SUPER lucky on our first dive of the day. A school of cownose rays swam right past us as we were floating along the dive site. I nearly cried into my mask as I saw them glide by. We’d seen mantas and eagle rays in Komodo but never a school this huge!
Cabo is known for the mobula ray migrations where you can see annual passings of huge schools like this. Technically the best time to see them is around April – June, but we were so blessed to see these guys swim by.
Along with the rays, we saw two huge sea turtles, schools of snappers, leopard groupers, broomstail groups, guitarfish, and moray eels, too!
Both of our dives at Cabo Pulmo were super easy and peaceful, and it’s now topped my list as an area we have to come back to in the future.
DAY 3: GORDO BANKS
Our last day, we dived Gordo Banks just off the coast of San Jose del Cabo. Gordo Banks is an advanced dive and was probably the most difficult dive I’ve ever done. With around 50 dives under our belts and our Advanced Open Water Certification, we were able to complete the dives with no problems, but our guide needed to evaluate our skill level before allowing us to dive Gordo Banks. (Thank you Cabo Private Guide for keeping our safety a top priority!)
Gordo Banks is a difficult dive because it’s deep. We went down to around 33m (approximately 108 feet) where there was little light, poor visibility, and you could barely see the reef below you.
Our first dive, it felt like we were in space. There was nothing visually around but blackness and our dive guide. We could, however, hear the loud singing of one or two humpback whales. The high pitched song flowed through the water and deep, low rumbles vibrated through my body as we listened to the humpbacks sing. Although we couldn’t see any whales due to the poor visibility, our guide thinks they were no more than 500 yards way from us based on how loud the singing was. It was an otherworldly experience I will never forget!
On our second dive, we were able to see the reef below us and were surrounded by a school of snappers. I watched a yellowfin tuna hunt the school of snappers… truly amazing to see these predators on the hunt!
The last part of our dive we saw a scalloped hammerhead’s silhouette appear from the distance. We swam alongside it for a good minute before it disappeared into the darkness. It’s not hammerhead season right now, but we were lucky once again to get a glimpse of the pelagic creature! Totally worth the freezing cold temperatures and deep, dark dive.
We wrapped up our six dives and added a number of new animals to our list of encounters! The school of mobula rays and scalloped hammerhead were a real treat. And listening to the humpback whales singing so loudly at Gordo Banks was a life changing experience.
Our first dive trip to Cabo definitely did not disappoint. Although we visited during the low season, we were able to still see so many new animals and experience dives we haven’t had the chance to in other parts of the world. We are already thinking about when we can come back next… maybe October or November when the waters are warmer and the visibility is clear!
HUGE thanks to Laura and Adrian from Cabo Private Guide, who made our three day dive trip one of the best experiences we’ve had yet as divers!