Mexico's Pacific Ocean has plenty to offer in its thousand-mile-long coastline, which does not include the Sea of Cortez in the north. The shoreline would be even longer if you factor in the numerous bays and coves scattered along this gorgeous stretch of land. Scuba diving shops and dive sites are found along the coast, in all the country's main cities, and in most of its beach communities, so you will not be stuck for options!
The Pacific calm waters can be challenging due to currents and less visibility than the warm Caribbean waters of the Yucatan and the Gulf coast of Mexico. So, what is on offer? Mexico's rocky shores provide divers with many underwater canyons, reef walls, and secluded places to explore. However, the Pacific coast offers unique beauty only an underwater explorer can experience.
You can expect to witness various shark species depending on the time of year you travel. One of the best spots would have to be the Socorro Islands. The Galapagos and Cocos Islands are UNESCO World Heritage Sites with abundant shark species and other pelagic giants. The Revillagigedo Archipelago, which consists of four islands, is located approx. 380kms south of Cabo San Lucas on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and is only accessible by liveaboard. Deep ocean currents and storms over the years have smashed the towering walls and pinnacles of the island's coastline, so be warned; diving here is not for the faint-hearted! Still, once you arrive, the journey will be forgotten! The benefits outweigh any negatives for those prepared for the choppy 24-hour sea voyage.
If that isn't enough, you'll also have the opportunity (if luck is on your side!) to get up close and personal with bottlenose dolphins. All this while swimming through jacks, barracuda, tuna, and marlin schools. Oh, and did we mention the manta rays and whale sharks?
If diving with great white sharks is something you're interested in, Guadalupe Island is the place to go. It is located 240km off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula. The great white sharks are the focus of the diving here, and it's one of the best places in the world to get up close and personal with these fearsome predators. Isla Guadalupe is only accessible by liveaboard, and the dive operators specialize in shark-cage diving.
The great white season runs from August to October, with a substantial number of energetic young males arriving, ready to mate early in the season, and the larger males coming in late September. When the weather changes in October, the larger females arrive, which is peak breeding season and can lead to once-in-a-lifetime interaction. You'll also see whales and dolphins on your journey to and from the island. Divers will also be able to see the indigenous Guadalupe seals and sea lions gorging on big schools of mackerel, all the while sharks are distracted by the cages.
Further South, you'll want to check out the Islas Marias, a group of four beautiful islands located about 100km off the coast. In 2010, UNESCO recognized the Islas Maras as a biosphere reserve, a highly protected biodiverse territory. Since this prison island became an environmental education center in 2019, Researchers have discovered 21 distinct shark species, 10 different ray species, 3 sea turtle species, and flourishing coral reefs. Whale sharks frequent the Maras seas, and other species, such as red snapper tuna, thrive.
Follow the coast South, and you'll arrive at Sayulita, where you'll get to explore Corbetena, a dive location just off the coast. The dive locations Islas Marietas and El Morro are located south of Punta de Mita and out in the bay from Puerto Vallarta. The dive sites of Los Arcos, Majahuitas, and El Chimo are situated on the southern rim of Banderas Bay.
Scuba diving in and around Manzanillo Bay is an excellent spot to learn for beginners or those who want to get certified. This is a safe and relatively straightforward diving for beginners, with a maximum depth of 60ft. You'll find Cortez angelfish, moray eels, trumpetfish, and various other species. There's also a famous shipwreck, San Luciano, which is fantastic for divers of all experience levels. Scuba divers and snorkelers can explore the ship, which was washed up in the hurricane of 1959 and sits at a depth of 25ft. The ginormous 300-foot-long boat offers the chance of exploration chambers for advanced divers. As the seas are reasonably safe and the wreck is shallow, it's a brilliant first wreck dive for newbies.
Getting to and from Mexico's extensive Pacific Coast involves flying in and out of Mexico City's huge International Benito Juarez (MEX) or a United States city such as California's Los Angeles International (LAX). There are also flights from Central American and South American cities.