Mexico's Best Diving Part 1 - The Socorro Islands

Sitting in the open ocean and washed by ever-changing currents, the Socorro Islands are a paradise for marine megafauna fans. With abundant giant mantas, humpbacks, sharks, dolphins and more, this is Mexico’s premier liveaboard diving destination – and it doesn’t disappoint. If you want to experience some of the best and remotest diving in the world, this is the place to go! Read on to find out more in our guide to diving the incredible Socorro Islands.

The Socorro Islands - Your questions answered.

  1. Where is Socorro Island?

The Soccoro Islands, also known as the Revillagigedo Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, around 400 km off the coast of Baja California in Mexico. Socorro Island is the largest of the four islands, which together are one of Mexico best-loved dive destinations, renowned for their incredible pelagic encounters.
  1. Does anyone live on Socorro Island?

There is a small Mexican navy contingent on Socorro Island, plus a smaller one on Clarion Island. Apart from that, nobody lives on these rugged islands.
  1. How do you get to the Socorro Islands?

The Socorro Islands are only accessible by boat, and it takes approximately 26 – 30 hours to get there. Soccoro Islands dive cruises depart from two ports: Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Both cities are in the state of Baja California and the closest international airport is Los Cabos International Airport.
  1. How do you dive at the Socorro Islands?

You can only go diving in the Socorro Islands by liveaboard. There are a handful of fantastic Socorro Islands liveaboards to choose from, with excellent onboard facilities and added luxuries to create the perfect diving trip. EXPLORE OFFSHORE WITH EASE – JOIN SSI’S BOAT DIVING SPECIALTY.

Diving the Socorro Islands - Essential info to plan your trip.

Experience level needed.

The deep blue water and strong currents of the Socorro Islands are perfect for advanced divers. Most liveaboards request a minimum of 50 logged dives to dive the Socorro Islands. To get the most out of your trip to the Socorro Islands, you need to be comfortable in currents and waves and have good buoyancy skills, as safety stops are often performed in blue water. If you feel your buoyancy or dive skills could do with a boost, the SSI Waves, Tides and Currents and SSI Perfect Buoyancy specialties will give you the refresher and skills you need.

The best time to visit.

The best time to visit depends on what marine life you want to see:
  • November and December: whale sharks, though you can also see them during May to July.
  • January to early April: humpback whale season.
  • January to March: bottlenose dolphins, though you can see them all year.
  • May to July: bait ball season.
  • All year: Giant Pacific manta rays and up to 10 different shark species.

Seasonal temperatures.

The Socorro Islands have a warm sub-tropical climate, so expect warm days and chilly nights:
  • Air temperatures range from 15 to 27 °C (59 – 80.7 °F).
  • Water temperatures range from 21 to 28 °C (69.8 – 82.4 °F).
When planning your trip to the Soccoro Islands, consider how cold you get and your comfort at sea:
  • November to May offers the calmest seas.
  • November has the warmest water temperature: 28 °C (4 °F).
  • February’s water temperature is a little cooler: 21 - 23 °C (8 – 73.4 °F).
  • The water temperature rises again by May: 25 °C (77 °F).

Water visibility.

Water visibility at the Socorro Islands ranges from 15 to 50 meters (49.2 – 164 feet). READ MORE: EXPLORE THE 16 BEST CAVE DIVING SPOTS IN THE WORLD.

Discover the Socorro Islands' best dives.

1. Socorro Island

Rising out of the deep ocean, Socorro Island is an unmissable volcanic island marked with craters, lava domes and lava flows. Head below water and you will find a veritable feast of pelagic action. The most popular of the islands, Socorro Island is all about encounters with big pelagics and offers year-round diving with numerous seasonal highlights. Humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and giant mantas are commonly seen there, as are silky, Galapagos, whitetip and silvertip sharks. You might even get to dive with schooling hammerheads.
  • Dive Cabo Pearce for dolphins, humpbacks and mantas.
  • Punta Tosca is a top dive site for friendly bottlenose dolphins and some silky sharks.

2. San Benedicto Island

San Benedicto Island, the second smallest of the islands, is synonymous with Giant Pacific manta rays, which you can see in abundance there. These enormous rays are an impressive sight with wing spans up to 7 meters across and they are tolerant of divers, often passing by at close range. We know the mantas are the highlight, but make sure you explore San Benedicto’s gorgeous underwater pinnacles whilst you are there.
  • Dive The Boiler, a famous pinnacle and manta cleaning station with numerous mantas.
  • El Fondeadero’s 3 pinnacles offer a great checkout dive for getting used to Socorro’s challenging dive conditions.
  • El Canyon offers an exciting deep dive with mantas, schooling hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks and dolphins.

3. Roca Partida

Roca Partida, the smallest of the Revillagigedo Islands, is a huge pinnacle washed by strong open ocean currents that attract numerous pelagic fish. Dive in and you will be surrounded by large schools of jacks and tuna as you descend. As well as being a fantastic pinnacle dive, Roca Partida has caves full of lobsters, plus plenty of sharks and mantas.
  • Dive Roca Partida at the start of the year for oceanic whitetips and hammerheads.
  • Keep your eyes peeled….whale sharks are occasionally seen at Roca Partida.

4. Clarion Island

With its three volcanic peaks, Clarion Island is easy to spot and offers a different diving experience to the other Socorro Islands. The island’s beautiful topography is framed by crystal clear waters that host a resident pod of friendly bottlenose dolphins. Wherever you dive, you will likely be visited by the dolphins and surrounded by countless vibrant Clarion butterflyfish. With schools of black and big-eyed jacks, wahoos, grunts, silvertip sharks and even Hawksbill sea turtles as well, there is plenty to see at Clarion Island.  If you are lucky, you may see orcas whilst you are there.
  • Visit Clarion Island to go diving with resident bottlenose dolphins.
  • Clarion Island hosts numerous humpback whales from January to April.