Where to Dive Pre - Socorro (Dec)

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Scott from LongIsland

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I’m booked on the Belle Amie Dec 8 - 16 and I am looking to do a few dives in the Cabo area prior to boarding the boat. I have read suggestions of Cabo Pulmo? Is that where most dive in that area? Any other suggestions? Hotels, dive shops, good tacos, etc? Been trying to get to Socorro for many years and I’m so excited to finally get there. Anyone else on that trip?
 

FettSolo

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Cabo Pulmo can be excellent, but hit-or-miss. I did four dives there one day on a Nautilus liveaboard trip in 2020. Dives 1-3 were unimpressive rocky reefs with lots of fish. Dive 4 was 45 minutes with the famous "jack tornado" of CP. That was utterly amazing, and would ultimately be my second favorite dive of the entire trip.

If you go to CP, standard wisdom on SB is to spend a few days there. A day trip from CSL is long and does not guarantee you will dive the best sites.

If you want to stay around the Cabo area, I would recommend diving with the Nautilus-affiliated shop, SeeCreatures. I did ten dives with them after my liveaboard trip. We usually went to Land's Arch and Pelican Rock, the two most commonly visited dive sites from CSL. These were lovely dive sites, minus the sounds of boat motors above. Land's Arch has a shipwreck and sea lions. Pelican Rock has a massive school of sardines. Both sites are enjoyable for repeat viewings, especially as I frequently saw massive schools of cownose rays flying by (with the occasional mobula mixed in). One day we made it out to the Corridor, which was a welcome change. SeeCreatures gave me a 25% discount due to being a Nautilus liveaboard customer, so my 10 dives only came out to $315, which is pretty cheap.

I enjoyed staying at Donjuan by Melida, but I am in the "basic and affordable" camp. Tesoro is a name I hear often for nicer lodging. For tacos, I love Tacos Guss in CSL. Birrieria Los Paisas is pretty tasty as well. But there are plenty of spots, and everybody has their favorites.
 

Manuel Sam

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Tesoro Hotel is OK, conveniently located, and they serve a decent buffet breakfast; but if you don't like noise, ask for a room that faces the street and not the marina because you'll hear the music and noise til late hours of the night. If you decide to dive with See Creatures, they are no longer at the Tesoro. They moved up to Hidalgo Street, same location as a hotel called Casa Bella. Have never stayed there so can't say if it's any good. But there are at least two other dive shops on the premises at Tesoro.

I second the tacos and burritos at Taco Guss, on Lazaro Cardenas. For an inexpensive sit-down dinner of local fare, try El Pollo de Oro on Morelos St., two blocks north from Lazaro Cardenas. Another good place I like for lunch - they close at 6:00pm so too early for dinner - is Carnitas Los Michoacanos (make your own carnitas tacos) on Leona Vicario, about 5 blocks north from Lazaro Cardenas. On the way to Los Michoacanos, stop at El Dengue, a fresh juice place on Leona Vicario, about block and a half north from Lazaro Cardenas. I get a quart-size cup of fresh-squeezed OJ for about $3 there, but oranges around December tend to be tart. A lot other juice choices, tho.
 

BCSGratefulDiver

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Diving around Cabo san Lucas can be pretty nice that time of year. I like Manta Dive ... located right at the marina. They're a well-run dive op that gives you a good experience for the money.

You're gonna love the Socorros (Revillagigedos is the real name ... Socorro is just the largest of the three islands). It's my second favorite place in the world for pelagics (close second to the Red Sea).

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
 

dflaher

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It's my second favorite place in the world for pelagics (close second to the Red Sea).
Would love to hear a "compare and contrast" of the two places. I have never been to either but looking to go to one or the other. Socorro is definitely closer (except for the 20+ hour boat ride LOL), but I would need to go in November /December for the warmer water - I'm a WWW.

The draw of Red Sea would be the ability to go in the summer - when I want to get outta Dodge - and possibly cost?
 
OP
Scott from LongIsland

Scott from LongIsland

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Would love to hear a "compare and contrast" of the two places. I have never been to either but looking to go to one or the other. Socorro is definitely closer (except for the 20+ hour boat ride LOL), but I would need to go in November /December for the warmer water - I'm a WWW.

The draw of Red Sea would be the ability to go in the summer - when I want to get outta Dodge - and possibly cost?
So it sounds like staying in CSL as opposed to Cabo Pulmo might be the way to go?

Well, the Red Sea is one of my favorite destinations as well. So I will be sure to post a review. I didn’t really think to compare them though as they seem so different though. I am also a WWW so I chose early December for going to Socorro. I am coming from NYC and Egypt is a shorter trip time wise and far cheaper than going to Socorro. You could do 4 weeks on a liveaboard in Egypt for what 1 week would cost going to Socorro.

I am a big fan of the Red Sea and I have done it several times now including 2 trips on the now defunct Red Sea Aggressor I. For me, it is cheaper to go dive the Red Sea than the Caribbean and I find the diving in the Red Sea far superior to anything in the Caribbean.
 

dflaher

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So it sounds like staying in CSL as opposed to Cabo Pulmo might be the way to go?
I can't really address that but based on the responses i would agree. If i get to Socorro next year that is what I will do.
Well, the Red Sea is one of my favorite destinations as well. So I will be sure to post a review. I didn’t really think to compare them though as they seem so different though
Would love to see a trip report. Interested in your thoughts of the Belle Amie and of course the diving :).
 

Manuel Sam

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CSL vs. Cabo Pulmo or even vs. La Paz (for the sea Lions at Los Islotes) is really a matter of what you wish to see and how many days you wish to set aside for it.

Do I find the diving in CSL interesting? Not anymore - but that is me. With a lot of luck, something really interesting might swim by - mobula rays, cownose rays, maybe even a whale or a whaleshark at the local and Corridor dives, or hammerheads at Gordo Banks. There is a small sea lion colony at Land's End (local dive), but they are not very playful. So for me, not really anything "exciting" for which there is a reasonable chance to see besides fish, eels and bottom-dwelling rays.........as opposed to CP (the bulls at El Vencedor and arguably the largest school of big eye jacks anywhere) or La Paz (the sea lions there are a lot more interactive, especially the juveniles, and there are years when the whole place is shrouded in sardines).

With that said, if you've never dived out of CSL, it might be worth your while: the dives there are categorized as Local dives, Corridor, and Gordo Banks, in ascending order of cost. And from a logistics standpoint, it is by far the easiest for your situation because there isn't the lodging and the transportation that you need to arrange, whether by car rental (see note below) or private shuttle - to get to the other places and back. And when you are done, you are ready to board your liveaboard without the hassle of traveling back to CSL.

I fully agree with FettSolo in that if you want to do Cabo Pulmo - and that timeframe is very good, water conditions and viz-wise - you need to stay there for a few days to have a chance to do the choicest sites. Doing the day trips out of CSL to CP puts you close to the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to CP divesite selection.

(note below) Even tho it is off-topic, I feel that my recent "buyer-beware" car rental experience is worth sharing. This was never like this 3-5 years ago when I last rented at the Los Cabos Airport.

I rented for 11 days with Enterprise - a name of that is well-known in the business, not some obscure local outfit. A friend rented from Budget - also of well-known. And another from Cactus - a local outfit. We all had very similar experiences. When you book your rental online, it shows a very reasonable price (mine was $240 for what they call a mid-size, with all taxes and fees included) for the 11 days.

When I went to pick up the rental, I was showed the total price after the compulsory (supposedly government-dictated) third-party liability coverage......$606. But "today was my lucky day" and for another $81, or $687 total, I could have the entire protection package. $240 to $687....you get the picture.

My friend with Budget paid slightly over $600 and for just 7 days, even tho he asked for the minimum coverage, but he had an SUV. My other friend had a shitbox and hers was about $550 for 7 days.

Primary coverage provided by my credit card? Not acceptable - never mind those cc's that only offer secondary coverage. And the little bit of legalese that I was able to understand on applying your auto insurance coverage from home made it sound like you had to have brought a lot of documentation upfront and it had to meet certain conditions.

I've never been to the Red Sea - I've always wanted to, but never garnered the courage to travel there carrying my American passport. Probably unfounded phobia, but.... But I have read enough and seen enough pictures and videos on the Red Sea to think that to compare it with Socorro is too much of an apples to orange comparison. Shooting from the hip, I'd do them both - and not just once. But if I had to choose one or the other, it'd still boil down to what I'd like to see.
 
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Scott from LongIsland

Scott from LongIsland

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CSL vs. Cabo Pulmo or even vs. La Paz (for the sea Lions at Los Islotes) is really a matter of what you wish to see and how many days you wish to set aside for it.

Do I find the diving in CSL interesting? Not anymore - but that is me. With a lot of luck, something really interesting might swim by - mobula rays, cownose rays, maybe even a whale or a whaleshark at the local and Corridor dives, or hammerheads at Gordo Banks. There is a small sea lion colony at Land's End (local dive), but they are not very playful. So for me, not really anything "exciting" for which there is a reasonable chance to see besides fish, eels and bottom-dwelling rays.........as opposed to CP (the bulls at El Vencedor and arguably the largest school of big eye jacks anywhere) or La Paz (the sea lions there are a lot more interactive, especially the juveniles, and there are years when the whole place is shrouded in sardines).

With that said, if you've never dived out of CSL, it might be worth your while: the dives there are categorized as Local dives, Corridor, and Gordo Banks, in ascending order of cost. And from a logistics standpoint, it is by far the easiest for your situation because there isn't the lodging and the transportation that you need to arrange, whether by car rental (see note below) or private shuttle - to get to the other places and back. And when you are done, you are ready to board your liveaboard without the hassle of traveling back to CSL.

I fully agree with FettSolo in that if you want to do Cabo Pulmo - and that timeframe is very good, water conditions and viz-wise - you need to stay there for a few days to have a chance to do the choicest sites. Doing the day trips out of CSL to CP puts you close to the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to CP divesite selection.

I've never been to the Red Sea - I've always wanted to, but never garnered the courage to travel there carrying my American passport. Probably unfounded phobia, but.... But I have read enough and seen enough pictures and videos on the Red Sea to think that to compare it with Socorro is too much of an apples to orange comparison. Shooting from the hip, I'd do them both - and not just once. But if I had to choose one or the other, it'd still boil down to what I'd like to see.
Thank you for this response. It’s exactly what i was hoping to get. I am not sure what i want to do yet. I do not know where I want to stay yet. I will probably end up doing 3-4 nights prior to the liveaboard and I am leaning towards just staying in CSL since I have never been and it would make the transport less of a hassle like you said. I kinda want to just take it easy before getting on the boat. I am still torn bc it does sound like Cabo Pulmo has some great diving that I would want to check out. Decisions, decisions…
 

dlofting

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The issue with Cabo Pulmo is that the good accommodations book up well in advance. It used to be 6 months but is now almost a year. We'll be staying at Baja Bungalows for 13 days in November but booked in May and even then a lot of the choices were gone...so if you're going get it done.
 

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