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Gulf of California Options

Sea of Cortez Liveaboards

Top Dive Trip Options and Travel Information

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If the Baja peninsula is "nearly an island" then the Sea of Cortez is nearly a lagoon. It is a very long narrow stretch of water with a relatively small opening at the tip of the peninsula. These rich waters are considered among the most bio-diverse in the world and offer liveaboard diving with both large and small marine animals.

Map of Mexico (click to enlarge in a new window)

Many endemic creatures thrive in the Gulf of California including the endangered porpoise sub-species, the vaquita. Migratory creatures are also common and include whales of the humpback, California gray and killer varieties. It is estimated that 30% of the world's cetacean species are found in this stretch of water that has been called 'The Aquarium of the World'. The list of large creatures that you can see on liveaboards in the Sea of Cortez include schooling hammerhead sharks at various sites including El Lavadero, bull sharks at Cabo Pulmo, and wonderful sea lion encounters throughout the sea at places like El Arroyo.

Liveaboard Diving Safari Options in the Sea of Cortez

• Sea of Cortez

More common are trips called Sea of Cortez North & Midriff Islands, which are usually 7 nights long and do not venture too far south, and Sea of Cortez South tours which don't venture too far north!

Another alternative is to book a trip to the Sea of Cortez South & Socorro Islands - these trips are normally for 10 nights' duration and are unique in that they combine both the Sea of Cortez dive sites and then steam out to the distant islands of Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida.

Click to view product. Special discounted trips highlighted in yellow

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The Climate, Diving Season and Best Time to Visit

August through November, when the water temperatures are around the 80°F (27°C) mark, is the Sea of Cortez liveaboard season. September and October are the best times for hammerhead shark sightings here. The region is considered a year round destination for land-based diving charters.

Liveaboard Ports of Departure for Gulf of California & How to Get There

Sea of Cortez liveaboard cruises normally depart in the afternoon from Puerto Penasco. This is particularly true of cruises that include the northern section of the Sea of Cortez. Those that cover all sections of the sea may begin or end their cruise in Puerto Penasco or San Jose del Cabo. Cruises that include both the southern sites of the Sea of Cortez and the Socorro Islands, depart in the evening from Cabo San Lucas.

Puerto Penasco is on the northern coast of the Sea of Cortez. Most guests fly through Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, 4 hours drive from Puerto Penasco. For San Jose del Cabo departures, guests fly into Los Cabos International Airport (a.k.a. San Jose del Cabo International Airport). You should plan to arrive the day before departure. The marina is 25 minutes from the airport and 5 minutes from downtown San Jose del Cabo. In all cases, an airport shuttle service can be arranged. More information on: How to get to Mexico.

You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's webpage. Whichever ports your boat uses, normally the boat operator provides a transfer to the boat from local hotels (if you overnight beforehand). We will send you full departure details during the booking process.

We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance program for a competitive quotation:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

Places to Stay

If you plan on staying in Mexico before or after your Gulf of California liveaboard diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.

Useful References

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