Socorro Lone Manta Straight On opt

globe th CopyRecently named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Revillagigedo Islands of Mexico, which include Socorro Island, are situated 600 kilometers (375 miles) off the west coast of Mexico & directly south of the Baja Peninsula.   Socorro's three sister islands are: San Benedicto, Roca Partida and Clarion.   Socorro is technically an active volcano, having last erupted in 1998.  This old volcano rises fairly rapidly out of the sea, climbing dramatically to the summit.   Inhabitants include plenty of birds & other wildlife and a small staff, with family members, who inhabit a naval station on the island.  Guadalupe Island lies 241 kilometres (150 miles) off the west coast of Baja California.

Superb Socorro & Guadalupe

Cabo Rocks

Socorro Island diving  ...  in brief

  • big fish action, moray eels and octopus
  • manta rays & huge sting rays
  • hammerheads & silkies
  • whitetip & silvertip reef sharks
  • tiger sharks & whale sharks & oceanic white tips
  • bottlenose dolphins (January through March)
  • humpback whales (January through March)

Guadalupe Island diving ... in brief

  • great white sharks ... that's all ... just you and the cage and those humongous, powerful sharks

The inconceiveable thrill of ocean pelagics viewed through brilliant viz

If you love adventure diving .... if you adore ocean pelagics .... if you've dreamed of diving within inches of a Giant Manta or staring down a Great White through the bars of a solid cage, Mexico's Socorro and Guadalupe Islands should absolutely figure somewhere near the top of the list of your most desired diving destinations.

The visibility in these locations is so fabulous (often 100 feet or more), the immense number of animals so staggering and the photo ops so overwhelming that we have to say you'll have experiences here you can never have anywhere else on the planet. 


Socorro Guadalupe Destination Page Vertical Insert

Colossal giant mantas

Some of the Giant Mantas attain an implausible wing span of up to 22 feet (7 meters) across, though most are a bit smaller than that, and it is not unusual to be surrounded by as many as 5 to 10 individuals of this size.   You've probably heard that the mantas seek out interaction with divers and choose to stick around as long as there are divers in the water. Their curiosity seems to draw them to the divers and apparently they just like to see what the strange rubber-clad creatures are doing in their world !

It's been noticed in the recent past that the bottlenose dolphins have adopted a similar interaction style so you will hopefully have the opportunity to experience this also.


Seasons in the sun .... Socorro or Guadalupe?

Also, it's important to note that in the Revillagigedo Islands, the wildlife varies by season. 

November to December is generally the perfect time for dolphins, giant mantas and 10 different species of sharks – including whale sharks. This is also the time of year for the warmest water temps.  

Moving into January and the early spring months, you still have the big hitters – the mantas & dolphins – but you also get humpback whales and it's the only place on the planet we know of where you can actually scuba dive with them versus swimming or snorkling.   

As the Socorro season finishes, from May to July, the excitement is due to the bait balls which attract all the various species (except the humpbacks) and the waters are a frenzy of hungry pelagics !

At this point, the season opens in Guadalupe and it's time to take your place in the viewing station for an eye-to-eye chat with a Great White shark or two .....


Choose your diving adventure ...

Socorro Giant Manta full body Socorro
At Socorro, you'll dance with the Giant Pacific manta rays, cavort with dolphins, dodge seven different species of sharks and thrill to an occasional lucky interaction - between December & March - with the migrating humpback whale population ... read more ...

Late November to April is the Socorro season. 

This destination is nearly always sold out thanks to its truly magical diving opportunities with Giant Mantas who, for unknown reasons, simply can't wait to initiate interaction with scuba divers! It's a highly charged emotional experience for the diver.

But Mantas aren't the only attraction. You'll find delightfully playful dolphins and seven species of sharks, including silky, Galapagos, silver tip, hammerheads and white tip reef sharks, not to mention tiger sharks on occasion and whale sharks in season. The hammerheads, by the way, are there all year, but from April to June you find really big schools of them for an added thrill.

As mentioned above, you'll almost certainly see numerous Humpback whales during their migratory period of December through March and will often hear them singing ..... (It's reported that there are roughly 1200 individuals at this time of year!) In the autumn, whale sharks are likely visitors.

To top it all off, you will certainly see plenty of lovely reef fish, huge swirls of jacks, wahoo, barracuda & giant dogtooth tuna, handsome octopus, copious quantities of turtles and scorpion fish hiding in crevices. Even the occasional marlin can be sighted.

Do note that these are largely migratory animals and don't appear on cue at the dive sites! So, you may find some dives without a lot of action while others will leave your head spinning. It's part of the adventure.

Roca Partida, which is included in Socorro itineraries, is a little rock out in the middle of nowhere. Part of the Revillagigedo Islands, it lies about 70 miles west of Socorro and 85 miles from San Benedicto Island.

Topside its two pinnacles make a comfortable home to booby birds and gulls. Underwater it is a magnet to giant manta rays, whale sharks, schools of hammerheads, dolphins, white tips, Galapagos sharks, humpback whales, large schools of jacks and tuna, and of course, scuba divers.

"The Boiler" at San Benedicto is world-renowned for the up-close and personal encounters divers experience with the Giant Pacific manta ray which can grow to a wingspan of over twenty feet, yet they are gentle giants. Mantas commonly greet divers upon their arrival and stay as long as there are divers around.

The mantas are only some of the large animals seen at San Benedicto. At "The Canyon" divers have spotted schooling hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, duskies, white tips, dolphins and even an occasional humpback whale or whale shark.

Guadalupe Gr White Lookin Cheeky Guadalupe & San Benitos
Guadalupe Island is known as the Mecca of Great White cage diving in the northern hemisphere.  And, it probably is the best anywhere in the world due to its blue water, fabulous visibility (generally at least 100 feet) and multitudes of Great Whites from August thru October ... read more ...

The Great White diving is done at Guadalupe from August through October.

This action packed adventure is a must do if you're an extreme diver.

Certified divers can descend to roughly 30 feet in the submersible cages to observe the Great Whites in their element. The sharks tend to be curious and will come up to the cage, often placing themselves pretty well nose-to-nose with the divers in the cage! But, you've got highly trained dive-masters with you and plenty of safety equipment, so you can "relax" an enjoy this daunting moment as if it were a stroll on the beach. Well. Metaphorically speaking .....

The liveaboards here make every effort to ensure that you can be in the water with the sharks as often as you like during the day. There will be other enthusiastic divers on your cruise who generally are seeking as much water time as you are .... but the organization runs smoothly and everyone gets equal opportunity – and lots of it!

From time to time, a trip is scheduled to include San Benitos Island where you dive in the giant kelp forests with delightfully playful sea lions. 

The kelp forests are like underwater rainforests brimming with life.  You have abundant seals and sea lions …. plus large numbers of sub-tropical fish … and this regions is home to many sharks, guitar rays, lobsters, abalone, wahoo and tuna …. and the endemic orange Garibaldi.

Check our availability list for the next scheduled trip.

Clipperton Diver, DolphinClipperton Island
On rare occasions, there are trips to Clipperton Island.  Discovered by Magellan, owned by France and named for an English pirate, this tropical coral atoll is one of the most isolated places that exist on the planet and it has a colorful history to match.   Under the waterline, you'll find sharks galore - silky, silvertip, Galapagos, tiger and white trip reef sharks - plus dolphins, tuna, wahoo and tropical fish ... read more ...

You might want visit Wikipedia for the full story of the intriguing history. (click here).

But before all the political intrigue on the island, there existed a true tropical paradise, home to 35 species of algae alone. It has more boobies than anyone has been able to count and a lizard found nowhere else on earth. Plus, there are an estimated 5 MILLION land crabs.

The Nautilus Explorer offers the very rare opportunity to combine the adventure of voyaging to a remote coral atoll with diving the amazing, gentle and friendly giant pacific mantas and dolphins of Socorro Island.  No other operator has ever offered dive trips to Clipperton Island. In fact, the Nautilus Explorer offers the only diving expeditions to have ever visited this place other than Jacques Cousteau, Scripps, the Smithsonian Institute, National Geographic and a French scientific party.

The atoll and lagoon are surrounded by a shallow barrier reef with a beautiful coral reef that descends down to a white sand bottom at 175 feet. The amount of fish life is excellent and varied and ranges from the endemic, rare and beautiful Clipperton Angel fish (Nautilus Explorer brought specimens back to the Long Beach Aquarium and Scripps Institute from their first expedition) to big schools of jacks and other panamic fish, lots of nudibranchs and macro life and more free-swimming green moray eels than you can imagine.

Shark sightings on the very first trip weren't overwhelming ... with a total of 22 assorted hammerhead, silky and tiger sharks as well as 1 giant manta and 1 whale shark spotted in 5 days of diving. 

The animals are there .... so the diving continues to be exploratory.  The 2 mile long atoll itself is absolutely loaded with life including 5 MILLION land crabs, 500,000 boobies (more than anywhere else in the world), coconut trees, Canadian geese (no idea what these guys were doing on a tropical island!!) and even the "skink", which is a lizard duplicated nowhere else on earth.

Trips depart from Cabo San Lucas. It is a one day ocean crossing out to Socorro and then an additional 2 days of voyaging to Clipperton.

These trips are not regularly scheduled trips, so if you are interested, see our Special Expeditions page or contact us regarding schedules.