Scuba Diving in Cabo San Lucas
This is Part 1 of our new series on scuba diving in Baja California Sur. We’ve realized there just isn’t a good level of up to date info online about diving, and dive travel, for Baja. So Team Ninja is here to fix that. Over the coming months we’ll cover all the ins and outs of diving in Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo, La Paz, Loreto, & Bahia Magdalena.
The Mexican city of Cabo San Lucas sits on the Southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The coming together of these two bodies of water creates a magical scene below the surface resulting in one of the top, yet lesser known, scuba diving locations in the world. Here you can embrace an abundance of marine life in pristine waters and enjoy gorgeous beaches backdropped by amazing landscapes. But unlike Cozumel or Playa del Carmen, it’s big brothers on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, diving in Cabo San Lucas is home to only a handful of operators. This means your Cabo diving will include quieter dive boats, more relaxed diving, and a lot more to explore.
In 1973, the president of Mexico recognized the significance of this unique wildlife abode and declared the bay area of Cabo San Lucas a protected underwater marine park. Making this a real wildlife aquarium. Dive sites range in depth from 8m (25ft) to 40m (130ft) for recreational divers, with many deep walls extending down below 100m (330ft) for technical dives. The seas are usually very calm with minimal current and good visibility.
Cabo San Lucas Marine Park
The Cabo San Lucas Marine Park is just a 10 minute boat ride from the marina. The waters are clear and calm. Here you can swim with large schools of tropical fish, enjoy the playfulness of sea lions, adventure out on a shark dive and so much more. One of the highlights of diving in Cabo San Lucas is to swim with large schools of migrating Mobula Rays. Tens of thousands of Mobulas show up every spring and autumn when the water begins to change temperatures. They can often be seen flying from the water doing backflips, showing off their acrobatic skills, as they search for mates. Divers can also swim with a diverse amount of other ocean creatures such as; schools of snapper, white tip sharks, tornados of sardines, turtles, eels, puffers, groupers, sea horses, tiny nudibranchs, frogfish and much more.
The Cabo San Lucas Marine Park contains some incredible dive sites. One of Team Ninja’s favorites is Land’s End, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. Here you may find yourself surrounded by schools of jacks, butterfly fish, and rays. You can also encounter the playful California Sea Lion at Land’s End. These curious salty sea dogs love to investigate divers. Not far from Land’s End is Neptune’s Finger, where you can find the biggest sandfall of the Marine Park. A sandfall is a unique phenomenon where sand pours down a cliff in the same way a waterfall does, caused by a combination of special circumstances that occur in only a few other locations around the globe. Other dive sites within the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park include the South Wall, Middle Wall, and North Wall. Explore the rocky crevices of these walls and discover moray eels, lobsters, octopus, moorish idols, guitar fish, seahorses, frog fish and more. Lastly, dive at Pelican Rock, this is a fantastic place for both day and night dives. The waters here are exceptionally calm and teeming with tropical fish, sea turtles, porcupine fish and many others. If you are lucky you may even see a see a whale shark (check out the video)!
Looking for something different? Ask one our team to take you to one of our secret ninja spots. Visit the outer wall to spot big game fish and schools of rays. Or check out Ninja Rock, a secret pinnacle that reaches up from the sea bottom away from the main sites. If you’re an experienced diver and feeling adventurous Team Ninja can even take you out exploring some of our uncharted areas.
The Corridor, located about 30 minutes from the marina, contains 6 main dive areas (Chileno Bay, Gavilanes, Blow Hole, Santa Maria, Whales Head, and Los Moros) that contain unique rocky bottom topography with large boulders and colorful sea fans. The dives here are more atmospheric than the Marine Park. This area is also known to be less crowded with less tourists but tends to see less marine life than the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park. However the waters are calm and shallow in most parts which makes it a great location for those looking for a nice relaxing morning. At Whales Head we can see schools of eagle rays. At Blow Hole Deep we can sometimes spot silky sharks or big white tips cruising the outer wall. In the winters sometimes on our dives we can even hear the mesmerizing songs of the humpback whales who cruise the corridor.
About 1.5 hours from the marina by boat, 8 miles offshore from San Jose del Cabo in the deep blue Sea of Cortez lies an underwater mountain that fails to break the sea surface. The mount is one of the most remarkable places to dive in Los Cabos. In the spring we can spot schools of hammerheads as they migrate through the area. Then in the autumn we can see schools of silkies as they migrate through. Throughout the year we can spot sharks, Mahi Mahi, wahoo, big pelagic & diamond stingrays, huge schools of jacks and snapper, tuna, and even marlin.
Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas
Don’t miss out on the Humpback Whales. Another major attraction in Cabo San Lucas is whale watching. Every year hundreds of Humpback whales travel thousands of miles to Cabo San Lucas for a little winter vacation. They come to our warm waters to give birth and meet new mates. By late December and into January the Humpbacks start to give birth to their calfs, and by February these babies are actively swimming with their mothers learning how to breach, feed, and dive. They start migrating north in late March with the season ending in mid-April.
We definitely recommend skipping a half day of our fantastic Cabo diving to watch these majestic giants leap from the water and show off to their new mates. Hearing the thunderous splash as these 40 ton beauties dive back into the sea is a memory that will last a lifetime. The official whale watching season opens on December 15 and runs until April 15 every year. We’ve teamed up with our partner, Nautilus Whale Watch, to offer some special whale watching tours this season. All the tours are lead by expert naturalist guides and last around 2.5 hours. There are multiple departures throughout the day as well as a special sunset tour. Plus, for our family ninjas, kids under 6 are free and 6-12 year olds can come along for half price. Give us a shout for more info and one of our ninjas will get you set up.
Shark diving in Cabo San Lucas
Get up close and personal with sharks! The meeting of the 2 seas off the coast of Cabo San Lucas makes it an excellent spot to see migrating pelagic species out in the blue. Team Ninja partners with Cabo Shark Dive to lead shark diving excursions out to blue water to look for, and swim with, sharks and and other big pelagic life. These half- day trips are run by an expert shark biologist with more than a decade of experience diving with sharks. You can get a chance to see silky sharks, hammerheads, makos, blue sharks, and more. As well as other pelagics such as Pacific Manta Rays, turtles, mahi mahi, tuna, marlin, migrating rays, whales, and we’ve even seen orcas!
The trips run mainly in the afternoons and last about 5 hours. Depending on the time of the year and current sightings we will choose which location to go to for the best chance to see sharks. You do not need to be a certified diver to join one of our shark expeditions. You only need to be comfortable swimming in deep water where you can not see the bottom. The majority of the action takes place at the surface making it perfect for snorkeling and great for photography. But if you’d like we can also schedule a special blue water shark scuba diving expedition for experienced certified divers. Although the seas around Cabo are relatively calm we do recommend those that are prone to seasickness to take Dramamine or another seasickness precaution method as we will be a bit off shore for the duration of the trip.
The shark diving excursion makes for a perfect last day since it’s snorkeling and free diving only. This way you can spend your preflight surface interval hanging out with some of Cabo’s gorgeous pelagic species and predators! Contact us today to book your shark diving experience.
Weather and Water Temperatures
Pick the time of year that suits you best. Water temperatures range from 20C/68F – 30C/86F throughout the year with the coldest months being from late April through early June. The warmest water temps run from mid August through early December. The rest of the year tends to stay relatively temperate with the occasional thermocline. The sun is almost always shinning in Cabo. Cabo San Lucas has a BWh desert climate and only sees about 25CM/10 inches of rain in a year, with the majority of that rain falling in the months of August and September. August tends to be the hottest month on land, and January the coldest. Temperatures during the day range from 25C/77F upwards of 34C/94F throughout the year. Humidity tends to stay very low throughout the year due to the desert climate, except in the months of August and September when we see some rain. At night after our beautiful neon pink and red sunsets the temperature tends to cool down due to our beautiful desert landscape. Night time temperatures can range as low as 18C/65F to in the late winter and 27C/81F in the late summer.
Ready to visit?
Book your trip today for some Cabo diving! Cabo San Lucas is an easy destination to get to with direct flights to Los Cabos International airport (airport code: SJD) from all over the world. Accommodations are not a worry from hostels and hotels, to five star resorts, there is something for every budget. Our team of ninjas will be glad to help you set up Cabo San Lucas as part of a stay and dive package, or to get the most of the area, join one of our Baja Explorer Dive Expeditions. Contact us today for more info.