A Divers Guide to the Socorro Islands
The Revillagigedo Archipelago is made up of four islands: Socorro, Roca Partida, San Benedicto, and Clarion. Due to the popularity of the largest island, the archipelago is often referred to as the Socorro Islands. All of the islands are volcanic. The islands were declared as a marine reserve and a Mexican national park in 2017. The waters typically reach a low of 68 F (21 C) and a high of 82 F (28 C), and the weather is typically warm and sunny.
Socorro Island rises abruptly from the sea to 1,050 meters (3,440 feet) in elevation at its summit. The island is the emerged summit of a massive, predominately submarine shield volcano. The island is part of the northern Mathematicians Ridge, a mid-ocean ridge that became largely inactive 3.5 million years ago when activity moved to the East Pacific Rise. All four islands along with the many seamounts on the ridge are post-abandonment alkaline volcanoes. Socorro Island is unusual in that it is the only dominantly silicic peralkaline volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean. It most recently erupted in late January-early February 1993, which was a submarine eruption off the coast from Punta Tosca. An earlier eruption was on May 21, 1951. Earlier eruptions probably occurred in 1905, 1896 and 1848. The island's surface is broken by furrows, small craters, and numerous ravines, and covered in lava domes, lava flows and cinder cones.
There is a naval station, established in 1957, with a population of 250 staff and families living in a village with a church. The village stands on the western side of Bahia Vargas Lozano, a small cove with a rocky beach, about 800 meters east of Cabo Regla, the southernmost point of the island. The station is served by a dock, a local helipad and Isla Socorro airport, located six kilometers to the north. There is a freshwater spring about 5 km northwest of Cabo Regla, at the shoreline of Ensenada Grayson. This is brackish and sometimes covered by the sea at high tide. In the 1950s, a small freshwater seep was known to exist some 45 meters (49 yards) inland at Bahia Lucio Gallardo Pavon, about 800 meters NW of the naval station.
The islands are located nearly 400 km (250 miles) from the Baja California peninsula. Due to the isolated location, the only way to visit Socorro is through liveaboard. Most visitors begin their trips by arriving at Los Cabos International Airport in Mexico. Then, divers travel 45 minutes to Cabo San Lucas where they take off on a liveaboard. It usually takes about a day for the liveaboard to arrive at the islands.
The diving season lasts from November to May as that is when the often-rough waters are at their calmest. However, even the calmer waters have strong currents, making this trip best for advanced divers.
Although the Socorro’s waters are not filled with the colorful reefs many divers look out for, the marine life more than makes up for it. Manta rays, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, are just a few of the common sights in these waters. Humpback whales can even be seen on their migration path through the months of January and February, and the dolphins are known for coming into close contact with divers, most commonly from January to March.
When divers first arrive at the islands, they often begin their scuba adventure at El Fondeadero. This dive site is located in San Benedicto’s shallower waters where there are three pinnacles and sightings of lobster and eels. The famous sightings of humpback whales are east of Socorro island at the Cabo Pearce dive site. Abundant pelagic life can be seen at the isolated Roca Partida dive site. This site is over 80 miles from San Benedicto and has a pinnacle peaking up out of the water. This site is best suited for advanced divers and has over 100 feet of visibility.
When planning your next dive trip, make sure the Socorro Islands are at the top of your list. The close encounters with dolphins, sharks, and manta rays at this location are unmatched, and the humpback whale sightings are one of a kind.
Rocio del Mar Liveaboard
November 19-28, 2022
Published Rate $3995, Our Rate $3500 PPDO
10 Berths Available
** Get our discounted rate of $3500 USD per person double occupancy **
The Revillagigedo Islands (also Revillagigedo Archipelago or Islas Revillagigedo) are a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, known for their unique ecosystem. The islands are home to many endemic plant and animal species, and are sometimes called Mexico's "little Galapagos". Socorro island is the most diverse in flora, fauna, and topography.
The islands lie 250 miles off Baja Mexico's southern shore. When embarking on a trip to the Socorro Islands; possible destinations on the itinerary are San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion Islands.
These islands are a spectacular magnet for the largest ocean pelagic animals in the world. Schooling Hammerhead sharks, Tiger sharks, dolphins, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, oceanic white tips sharks, whale sharks, and mantas.
Day 1 - Board the boat at 5pm / Dinner is served at 7pm / Boat departs shortly thereafter
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - San Benedicto - 4 dives scheduled
Day 4 - Roca Partida - 3 dives scheduled
Day 5 - Roca Partida - 3 dives scheduled
Day 6 - Socorro Island - 3 dives scheduled (check in with naval station)
Day 7 - Socorro Island - 4 dives scheduled
Day 8 - San Benedicto - 4 dives scheduled - at the end of the day we will start our return to San Jose del Cabo
Day 9 - At Sea
Day 10 - Arrive at San Jose del Cabo in the early morning hours - disembark at 8:30 am
"Great trip to Socorro Islands with Rocio Del Mar. Awesome big animal encounters, the best in the world. Saw 6 types of sharks! The boat and dive crew are unbelievable! Crew is like family, sharing in all the work with a smile. The food is the best of the 8 Liveaboards we have been on." - John M.
Rocio del Mar Liveaboard
Sea of Cortez 2021 Trips
Awesome Dive Adventures
Saturday to Saturday
$2,845 per person, double occupancy
Liquid Diving Adventures Price $2,645 - SAVE $200
Called "The World's Aquarium" by Jacques Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez provides a world-class international dive experience with a domestic flight. Simply fly to Phoenix, Arizona, and, in just a few hours, guests are boarding the boat in Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
The Sea of Cortez is a breathtaking destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, and exploration. Dive on untouched walls and reefs abounding in marine life. Encounter large and small whale species, snorkel with whale sharks, dive with playful sea lions, and see countless eels, octopus, fish, and jumping mobula rays. It's a macro photographer's dream with nudibranchs, colorful blennies, dancing jawfish, and sea horses.
Between dives, guests hike and explore remote uninhabited islets and at night gaze at the Milky Way. Give the Rocio crew one week and they will create a lifetime of memories while forging new friendships aboard Rocio del Mar. Guests will dine on incredible cuisine and enjoy the friendly service that has made the crew famous.
July 3-10, 2021 - July 10-17, 2021 - July 31-August 7, 2021 - August 7-14, 2021
August 28-September 4, 2021 - September 4-11, 2021
Socorro Islands - Mexico - Only by Liveaboard!
Mexico’s Revillagigedo Islands are synonymous with liveaboards and big-animal encounters. The archipelago lies about 300 miles off the southern tip of Baja California, requiring a 22-hour transit from Cabo San Lucas.
Four uninhabited volcanic islands make up the Revillagigedos: Socorro, Clarion, San Benedicto, and Roca Partida. They raise up from sea level from 100 to 3,800 feet out of the water from the seafloor, creating exceptional walls, pinnacles and sheer drop-offs that act as cleaning and feeding stations for oceanic mantas and half a dozen shark species, including mass aggregations of scalloped hammerheads.
Revillagigedos is an oasis in the middle of the eastern Pacific. The four islands sit at the convergence of the cool California Current flowing from the north and the warmer North Equatorial Current, creating an ideal spot for nutrients to rise from the deep and attract passing pelagics. This makes Revilla a hotspot for manta rays, humpback whales, whale sharks, dolphins, hammerheads, Galapagos sharks—nearly every variety of hungry traveler.
The Revillagigedos are part of a unique chain with amazing undersea volcanic mounds. Because of the remote nature, there’s just not a lot of pressure on the sites.
Cabo Pierce, the Aquarium, and El Canyon dive sites offer the chance to see just about any big animals you can imagine—humpback whales, pacific bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks, the list goes on.
Because these are important waterways for endangered megafauna, the islands were deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, and a year later were established as the Revillagigedo National Park. Even though they’re remote, they’re patrolled by the local government to prevent illegal fishing.
Because the archipelago is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, certain protective measures are in place. Night diving, solo diving, and diving in the blue are not offered for safety reasons. Also, reef hooks, knives, dive lights not connected to cameras, and gloves are not permitted. In order to manage the number of divers on each site, liveaboards coordinate the timing of their dives. Because of this, if there are several boats at a site, they may limit the number of dives per day to three. The park has a set limit on the number of liveaboards that can visit, but flexibility is key in these parts.
If you were ever a fan of off-road racing, you remember the fabled Baja 1000 from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas. Now here is the Ocean version...!
Rocio del Mar
Explore Baja Expedition
September 19-October 1, 2020
13 Days / 12 Nights / 11 Days of Diving
Puerto Penasco to San Jose del Cabo
$4000 per person, double occupancy
Save $295 Per Person
Start in Puerto Penasco and end in San Jose del Cabo. Cover over 1000 kilometers in 13 days as you go where there are no roads, a handful of people, and only an occasional boat.
Each day you will awake to a fantastic sunrise amongst some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world…clear skies, deep blue seas, and terrain only millions of years could create. Enjoy 3 to 4 dives daily as we move from island to island. Dive on untouched walls and reefs abounding in marine life. The north is a macro photographer's dream with nudibranchs, colorful blennies, dancing jawfish, and sea horses. Encounter large and small whale species, snorkel with whale sharks, see jumping mobula rays, and dive with playful sea lion colonies.
As we go south, you will dive on wrecks, Fan Ming and Salvaterra, do a night dive with mobula rays, and we are seeing schooling hammerheads and giant manta rays again. Last year guests even got to snorkel with an orca.
If you wish to hike the remote islands during surface intervals, there is always a dingy available to take you to shore. We also have kayaks to take a serene cruise around the islands. Between activities get spoiled with amazing meals and the best crew in the industry.
Dive the Socorro Islands & Save 20%
* * * Quino El Guardian Liveaboard * * *
Baja California, Mexico
Contact Us for Discounted Rates Today...!!
1-866.690.3483 Toll Free
Regularly $3300, you'll dive with giant pacific manta rays, 7-species of sharks (including schooling hammerheads), and playful bottlenose dolphins. And December is whale shark season!
Price includes 10 days/9 nights and 6 days of diving aboard Quino el Guardian Liveaboard with the best crew in the industry, taxes, port fees, meals, beverages, tanks, weights, and complimentary beer and wine. The only things not included are:
$28 park fee
$120 Nitrox (if you want it)
Transfers to and from the boat
Boat departs and returns to San Jose del Cabo
Subject to availability
Cannot be combined with any other offer
We are excited to be offering liveaboard diving adventures on the Rocio del Mar sailing out of San Jose del Cabo, Baja California. The Rocio is 110 feet of all steel construction, powered by twin turbo diesels, equipped with the latest marine electronics to get you to the best dive sites quickly and safely. Rocio del Mar has 10 staterooms, all with private bathrooms with hot shower stalls, western style toilets, lavatories and above height window. Each cabin is carpeted and air conditioned, with convenient gear and clothes storage drawers beneath the beds.
Come and dive with the friendliest giant mantas in the world. Whale sharks and humpback whales in season. Dolphins, schools of hammerhead sharks, six different types of sharks, along with a variety of other sea life.
The 3 islands regularly visited are; San Benedicto, Socorro and Roca Partida. The Socorro Islands are 250 miles off Mexico’s Baja southern shore and are accessible from November through the end of May.
This trip is 9 days long with 6 full days of diving!!! Liveaboard packages are $3195 with limited availability in 2013, booking into 2014. Book your trip today!
If you want a "Galapagos experience" with all the big pelagic critters, hammerheads, mantas, whale sharks, but want a trip closer to home, here's your deal! We are now booking the Rocio del Mar in Baja California that cruises the Socorro Islands in search of the ocean's most majestic creatures. Built in 2008, the Rocio del Mar is the newest and best liveaboard ship in Baja. Unlike other ships that are refurbished fishing boats, the Rocio del Mar was built specific for divers. Your trip includes all the usual amenities, room and board, plus beer and wine are included. And if you book a space for a November or December 2012 trip, we will pay for your nitrox! Space is limited for the remaining 2012 charters but we do have better availability in 2013. Book a trip today! Our trips to the Socorro Islands are 9 days with 6 full days of diving.