Dive Sites to Explore with The Cortez Club

These are few dive sites from our ever-growing lists of great dives.

All dive sites are only accessible by boat.

Los Islotes – The Sea Lion Colony

Difficulty: Novice

Depth: 25-50ft (8-15m)

Situated half a mile north of Isla Espiritu Santo are Los Islotes, two large rock islets one of which is a natural arch. Diving through the centre of this natural rock formation brimming with life one can expect to see dense shoals of silver sardines, blue and gold King Angel Fish and yellow surgeon fish amongst golden cup corals. These islets are home to a colony of over 200 Californian Brown Sea lions. These inquisitive creatures take great interest in those visiting their home. One can often turn to find the pups pulling at your fins, eager to play, showing off and turning circles around our comparatively clumsy underwater movements. The larger bulls become pugnacious and territorial during the mating season in protection of their harem. Underwater circumnavigation of these islands is invariably exciting and always visually diverse.

El Bajo – Marisla Sea Mount

Difficulty: Advanced Open Water

Depth: 60 – 100+ft ( 30+m)

The seamount is located 8.2 miles, 032o degrees from Los Islotes. There are three distinct underwater peaks arrayed along a three hundred yard line running 120o – 300o, the northern most rising to within 83ft of the surface, the central peak to within 52ft and the southern to within 69ft. The central peak, with its shallow depths and relatively flattop, is the primary dive site and anchoring location
This is one of the premier dive sites in the world for schooling Hammerhead sharks. Schools range from between six to hundreds travelling in a clockwise direction around the seamount for unknown reasons. While schooling, hammerheads are not aggressive, and reassuringly enough they actually appear disinterested in divers. As a seamount El Bajo is home to an abundance of sea life, mass schooling fish (amber jacks, tuna etc), octopus and the impressive Panamic Green moray; a colony of over fifty can be found in a small canyon. Aside from possible encounters with hammerheads frequent visitors to the seamount include; whale sharks and giant pacific manta rays. NOTE: this is an Advanced Open Water Dive.

Swanee Reef

Difficulty: Novice

Depth: 25-30ft (8-9m)

Voted as one of the most enjoyable sites by our divers.
With a max depth of 35 ft, great visibility, coral heads, walls covered with gorgonians and hundreds of schooling fish Swanne Reef is an excellent dive site.
This site is where the famous wreck of the “Salvatierra” hit bottom some 35 years ago you can still find the deep gauge left behind by the big ferry, now barely visible because it is so overgrown by corals and sea fans.
The top of this reef is only 6 ft deep and it is covered with living coral where a wide variety of creatures find and call it home.
This reef is now marked with a channel marker to avoid more incidents.
Here big schools of green jack find shelter from larger predators, at any given time you can be surrounded by them just to see them disappear when other fish or a sea lion comes by.

La Reynita

Difficulty: Intermmediate

Depth:25ft – 100+ft (8 – 30+m)

This small rock pinnacle located on the west side of Isla Cerralvo has a constant current in which schools of fish “hang” waiting for their dinner to pass. Large groupers, sea fans, brain corals and conger garden eels are among the attractions, which make this a favourite site.

San Rafaelito

Difficulty: Novice

Depth:20 –100+ft (12 – 30+m)

A local dive site boasting a large number of coral heads, small caves and overhangs.
This is our popular night dive site, where on can see huge sleeping Parrot Fish cocooned in their own mucus hiding their scent from potential predators and upon waking, swim free of the cocoon.
Once home of a colony of Sea Lions who occasionally return to visit their old home.
There’s a multitude of fish life and several species of ray buried in the surrounding sand.

Salvatierra Wreck

Difficulty: Novice

Depth: 60ft (18m)

This site is the wreck of the cargo ferry “La Salvatierra” which sank in 1976 moments after striking Swanee rock (subsequently fitted with a warning light); of the hundreds of passengers not one life was lost and the insurance company actually paid everyone for their losses….. 50 pesos each !

The Salvatierra is laying on a sandy bottom in 60 ft of depth, and is approximately 70 % intact, this has changed recently because of recent hurricanes.
Both propellers are exposed and many of the trucks which where her cargo are still visible and their tyres remain inflated to this day.
The wreck has formed an “artificial reef” attracting a wide variety of marine life. This is an interesting and enjoyable wreck dive with no penetration. Subject to currents.

Fang Ming Wreck

Difficulty: Novice

Depth: 70ft (20m)

On the 18th November 1999, two Chinese metal vessels named Fang Ming and Lapas03, of 56 meters and 36 meters of length respectively were sunk close to Isla Ballena.
These vessels were confiscated by the Mexican government for the illegal transportation of immigrants, and remained in their possession until the golden opportunity arose of taking advantage of the situation to create an artificial reef.
Offering full penetration diving over numerous levels, the wrecks offers the ideal setting for indulging in a wreck diver specialty.

Isla Ballena

Difficulty: Novice

Depth: 20 – 60ft (10 – 20m)

A small Island off the west coast of Isla Espiritu Santo featuring several dive-through caves one of which has a pocket of air allowing divers to surface inside the rock.
Between the islands is a sand shelf containing a large “garden” of conger eels – these peculiar creatures feed by extending their bodies vertically from holes in the sea floor, swaying in the currents whilst waiting for passing morsels. Schools of Rays and pods of Dolphins can be seen passing this tranquil dive site.

Punta Lobos

Difficulty: Novice

Depth: 25-50ft (8-15m)

Also know as “la loberita” was home to some 150 California Brown Sea Lions some 20 years ago, they probably changed their site or residence due to the north winds that slam against the face of this dive site during the winter storms.
A unique dive site that slopes down to 45 ft where a wall of big boulders drop down to 90 ft.
Here you can relax on a drift dive and enjoy watching octopus out and about, watch them change colours at a blink of an eye and while you are looking for this you might spot a giant sea horse in different colours, black and brown are most common and some orange or even white.
In late spring and summer this site is visited by “Mobula Manta”, some times seen in pairs and small groups but a lot of times they will completely block out the sun because they will school in the thousands as a squadron, definitely one of the most amazing sites in the Sea of Cortez.

La Reyna

Difficulty: Novice – Intermediate

Depth: 80ft (25m)

A rock islet just north of Isla Cerralvo with a lighthouse. This site is among the most beautiful in the area.
In depths of 80ft (25m) a large reef is found populated by gorgonias of all types, brain corals, large schools of brightly coloured tropical fish, rays, green, zebra & jewelled morays.
This is a “must dive” site! This dive is subject to current, but is home to over 8 giant pacific manta rays.

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To truly appreciate the beauty of La Paz, you have to look beneath the surface!