Trip Report Cabo San Lucas (Manta Scuba Diving)

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

azstinger11

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
600
Reaction score
450
Location
San Diego, CA
# of dives
200 - 499
Greetings all from Cabo San Lucas!

Wrapping up an excellent trip to Cabo San Lucas and wanted to share our thoughts.

Lodging: The Westin. The Westin is located on a strip of high end hotels between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. Its about 20 minutes from the airport, 25 minutes to downtown Cabo San Lucas, and 15 minutes to San Jose Del Cabo. The rooms were quite nice, dishwasher, full size refrigerator, washer/dryer etc. The resort itself is okay. Some amenities were closed either for renovations or hurricane damage repairs. That being said the food on the property was repetitive (3 of the 4 eateries had the same menu), but the bar drinks were free flowing and tasty so ultimately that's all that mattered. Oh also the hotel had the required COVID testing on site which was quite nice.

Dive Operator: Manta Scuba Diving (main harbor of Cabo San Lucas). We elected to do 4 trips with them. 1 at the local marine park, 1 on the corridor, 1 Gordo Banks, and 1 Cabo Pulmo trip.

Dive Operator Main Building: This is a very nice little setup in a shopping mall right by the harbor. The shop has limited but nice gear storage for those (us) bringing your own gear so you don't have to lug it from your hotel. There area also 2 nice gear wash tanks inside the shop (they also had nice gear hangers available for free). Upstairs were bathrooms and a very small training pool. Nearby was a nice coffee/snack place and and a OXXO for any last minute drinks/snacks you may want.

Local Marine Park: This was a 2 tank trip on one of their 2 "full size" (aka non ponga) boats. We dove on air, but nitrox was available. The boat was just my wife and I and and another couple. First side was middle wall and up to near pelican rock. It was a very nice dive down to 100ft then lopping upwards. As is typical outside of California it was a DM lead dive, and it was group air that determined end of the dive. In between dives that the boat had some waters/sodas/crackers/chips available and we generally drove around the arch. Second dive was The Point/Lands end, bit of surge but did see a cool cave, small wreck, and all around the point. Again great dive. Visability was great 80-100ft. We did see one minor sand fall but not the famous one apparently.

Gordo Banks: This was on the smaller ponga boat and left earlier. The plan was for them to drop an anchor with line/buoys on the end then descend the line. Unfortunately they dropped the anchor in water that was too deep and the anchor/bouys were lost. We had to guess at this point for the current and did negative entries (boat was just us and the DM) for the dives. Unfortunately we didn't hit the pinnacle on either attempt, so descended down to our Nitrox mod then blue water drift ascents. I don't blame the DM/Captain, it happens, but do want to go back. This was on nitrox and sandwiches were provided. Visability was phenomonal, we saw tope sharks that were around 200-250ft.

Corridor Dive: I had a stomach bug that day so didn't go. My wife did and said it was nice, generally shallower (Open water friendly). It was upgraded for a nominal fee from 2 to 3 tanks.

Cabo Pulmo: I don't think it's standard but we were picked up at our hotel instead of starting at the shop. The transportation stopped at a phenomenal breakfast burrito/coffee shack (not included in trip price). Arriving in Cabo Pulmo we loaded gear/setup prior the ponga then it was moved just prior to the surf and we boarded. Cabo Pulmo has implemented a system that limits the maximum number of divers on any one site in a week, so per our DM we weren't diving his top choices (and he had previously been a DM in the area), but the top choices of what was available. One divers on the boat didn't really listen to the brief so when they did the backwards roll hesitated which resulted in her landing on my wife injuring her hand. Descending on the reef the current was strong. The DM tried to corral the newer divers into the cracks in the reef where it was less, but ultimately they didn't listen/understand and were on the shallower part of the reef leading to one getting seperated. We all surfaced with 2/3 full tanks but the DM had us reset and explained what he wanted on the surface. The 2nd or 1.5 dive was better, but just shorter. Reef was in great shape, other group members saw a ray and white tip reef shark, we didn't see them though. Surface interval snacks were much as before water/soda/canned juices chips, crackers, granola bars. 2nd dive was on a pinnacle with the plan on hitting the sand at the base and searching for bull sharks before working our way up the pinnacle. Dive went more or less as planned. Some absolutely giant parrot fish, trigger, gaffsail pompanos, and other reef fish. Visability ranged from good 50-60ft to downright murky 10ft. Lunch at the local taco stand afterwards (included) was quite good.

Summary: Not sure we'd pay for Gordo Banks or Cabo Pulmo again when the local stuff was just as good if not better. There were some minor mishaps/missteps but nothing I wouldn't sum as up as **** happens. They handled stuff the best they could and I don't have any complaints would use them again.

Dining:
Mi Casa (Cabo San Lucas Location): Highly recommended but not sure why, by far and away the worst meal of the trip. Would not recommend

Resteraunte Maria Corona (Cabo San Lucas): Very good. Great atmosphere, killer margaritas, and excellent food. They do tend to have some off menu specials and they are great. Don't skip the quese fundito!

El Circuelo: The high end restaurant on the Westin. Excellent views and great food. Marrow butter steaks, need I say more?

Pan Di Bacco: Really simple but really great Italian/pizza place in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Cocina Del Mar: Heading there in 30 minutes, will update later haha.

Don Sanches (San Jose Del Cabo): Fish was amazing! Sadly something here upset my stomach for a night, I think it was the sort of spicey mexcal drink (since wife and I split all the normal food and she was fine).

Los Desos (breakfast): Very good breakfast menu for a place by the harbor. Maybe not the most off the tourist track location but zero complaints.

Captain Tony's (lunch): Nice spot that is walk-able from the dive shop, good tacos/drinks

Solomon's Landing (lunch): A bit nicer that Captain Tony's but was good. A Mexican shrimp cocktail is a bit different than expected haha. Dinner menu looked great.


 

jonhall

Contributor
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
830
Location
Indianapolis
# of dives
100 - 199
Nice report. I'm going back to CSL in January and plan to dive with Manta. How long did the trip to Gordo Banks take? Can't remember from my last trip to CSL if Jan. water conditions are very good for that trip. Sorry that day of dives didn't turn out great. Also curious about the trip length to the Corridor dive sites.

Agree about Cabo Pulmo, but again, we were there in January and visibility wasn't as good as what you had. I knew the Gordan Banks and Cabo Pulmo trips cost more - we dove Cabo Pulmo mainly because we got a 2 for 1 deal with Cabo Adventures which included all transportation (actually paid $184 for the CP trip and 2 dives in CSL marine park.) We'll be there for a couple of weeks when we go so hope to get more dives in than last time.
 

kumimonster

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
260
Reaction score
174
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
# of dives
500 - 999
Cabo Pulmo is amazing. I go every year.
But the way to enjoy it and get the most of out if is to stay in town instead of commuting from CSL or San Jose. That way you're gearing up and your DM can check in with the tower to get a chance to visit the more popular dive sites.

I've almost never had bad vis in Cabo Pulmo. But then I also dive Monterey, CA all the time and sometimes 10' is a great day.
The times I do remember having bad vis in Pulmo was during those visits just prior to canceled dive days followed by a hurricane. So I'm not going to blame the location for that one ;-)
 
OP
azstinger11

azstinger11

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
600
Reaction score
450
Location
San Diego, CA
# of dives
200 - 499
Nice report. I'm going back to CSL in January and plan to dive with Manta. How long did the trip to Gordo Banks take? Can't remember from my last trip to CSL if Jan. water conditions are very good for that trip. Sorry that day of dives didn't turn out great. Also curious about the trip length to the Corridor dive sites.

Agree about Cabo Pulmo, but again, we were there in January and visibility wasn't as good as what you had. I knew the Gordan Banks and Cabo Pulmo trips cost more - we dove Cabo Pulmo mainly because we got a 2 for 1 deal with Cabo Adventures which included all transportation (actually paid $184 for the CP trip and 2 dives in CSL marine park.) We'll be there for a couple of weeks when we go so hope to get more dives in than last time.
The trip to Gordo Banks was a 7:30am check in for an estimated 2pm return. It’s a decent boat ride for sure.

The corridor my wife says was maybe 20-30 minutes to the furthest dive site.
 
OP
azstinger11

azstinger11

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
600
Reaction score
450
Location
San Diego, CA
# of dives
200 - 499
Cabo Pulmo is amazing. I go every year.
But the way to enjoy it and get the most of out if is to stay in town instead of commuting from CSL or San Jose. That way you're gearing up and your DM can check in with the tower to get a chance to visit the more popular dive sites.

I've almost never had bad vis in Cabo Pulmo. But then I also dive Monterey, CA all the time and sometimes 10' is a great day.
The times I do remember having bad vis in Pulmo was during those visits just prior to canceled dive days followed by a hurricane. So I'm not going to blame the location for that one ;-)
Cabo Pulmo was way over hyped in our opinion. We had better vis and more encounters Diving the Cabo San Lucas Marine preserve. I’m sure it can be great, but I doubt we’ll be returning any time soon. If we do, I agree it makes sense to stay there versus commuting in. We dive so cal and about half of the second dive would be an average viz day there.
 

drrich2

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
9,562
Reaction score
7,837
Location
Southwestern Kentucky
# of dives
200 - 499
Dive Operator: Manta Scuba Diving (main harbor of Cabo San Lucas). We elected to do 4 trips with them. 1 at the local marine park, 1 on the corridor, 1 Gordo Banks, and 1 Cabo Pulmo trip.
I've never been to any of those. I have a few questions, though some answers would be rooted in factors specific to a given diver's trip plans.

1.) How does the overall cost of a dive trip to that area compare to popular mainstream Caribbean dive destinations such as Cozumel, Belize, etc...? You mentioned how far a place was from the airport, so I inferred you likely flew.

2.) If I understand correctly, people seek this region for larger creatures and Pacific oceanic fauna, which are different from Caribbean, but it's not really a coral reef destination?

3.) How many dives is it practical to do per day, and about what time of day do you finish? I ask because some people do a dive trip just to dive, and some destinations lend themselves to 2/day and done.

4.) Any topside attractions besides laying around/hanging out?
 
OP
azstinger11

azstinger11

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
600
Reaction score
450
Location
San Diego, CA
# of dives
200 - 499
#1 I would say the diving cost seems higher (my base of comparison is Cozumel/Playa, Bonaire, Aruba). The lodging/food costs could be lower or higher depending on what your goal is. We got round trip tickets on southwest for $125 each. We stayed at a resort and ate meals out with the family, that wouldn’t have been our choices (we’d normally keep the cost down more).

#2 The reef in Cabo Pulmo was pretty good but not Bonaire by any means. It does seem the draw to be large Pelagics or huge schools. We didn’t see much in the way, but such is diving.

#3 I think they had an afternoon boat so you could probably do 4 dives a day but it would get pricey. The morning local boat was 8am show to a noon arrival. The other local boat was 7:30 to noon. Gordo banks was 7:30 to 2pm. Cabo Pulmo as a day trip was 6:15 to 4pm.

#4 Plenty to do. Golf, ATV, cultural tours, very good food (we’d rank it as the best we’ve had in Mexico followed by Playa Del Carmen, then San Carlos, with Cozumel being by far and away the least desirable food). Beaches are packed with all the normal stuff, jet skis, parasails, inflatable obstacle courses. Glass bottoms boats, dinner cruises, all the standard ocean destination attractions.
 

horn34

Contributor
Messages
640
Reaction score
457
Location
Austin, TX
# of dives
200 - 499
#4 Plenty to do. Golf, ATV, cultural tours, very good food (we’d rank it as the best we’ve had in Mexico followed by Playa Del Carmen, then San Carlos, with Cozumel being by far and away the least desirable food).
Were you eating at Hooters and Senor Frogs?
 
OP
azstinger11

azstinger11

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
600
Reaction score
450
Location
San Diego, CA
# of dives
200 - 499
Nope, just the stuff recommended in the Cozumel section of scubaboard. Food wasn’t bad but just incredibly mediocre. We avoid the chains, tourist stuff whenever we can.
 

kumimonster

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
260
Reaction score
174
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
# of dives
500 - 999
Cabo Pulmo was way over hyped in our opinion. We had better vis and more encounters Diving the Cabo San Lucas Marine preserve. I’m sure it can be great, but I doubt we’ll be returning any time soon. If we do, I agree it makes sense to stay there versus commuting in. We dive so cal and about half of the second dive would be an average viz day there.

i have regularly gone to CSL as well - I would actually travel there for my dental appointments and turn them into diving trips!

Cabo Pulmo is amazing. I think you ended up with a bad day. I have had some less than stellar days there but those get knocked out after week-long visits. Most of the people I know that have the best things to say about it do stay in the village. Divers that come in for a single day - may or may not enjoy it. It can be a crap shoot especially if you don't get to dive with the school of jacks or bullsharks which is what usually gets hyped up. (I like the sharks but I end up hunting for nudies every single time!)

I really love California diving. I actually enjoy the colder and more challenging water. Warm, tropical, and easy dives start to get monotonous for me. I'll take low vis and night dives any time! Love the Yukon too!
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

Top Bottom