The extensive Pacific Ocean coast of Mexico, excluding the long Sea of Cortez in the north is well over a thousand miles long. If you include the many bays and coves, the shoreline would be much more than that. Mexico's Pacific Coast offers scuba diving shops and dive sites all along its shore in all of its major cities and most of its beach towns. From Nayarit's Sayulita, north of Puerto Vallarta, working your way south along the coasts of the states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca and finally Chiapas, which border the country of Guatemala, you can hire a competent dive captain/instructor, and dive almost anywhere.
Mexico's rocky shore offers lots of underwater canyons, walls and places to explore for anyone passionate about scuba diving. The colder waters of the Pacific are swifter and not as clear as the warm Caribbean waters of the Yucatan and the Gulf coast of Mexico. However, the Pacific coast offers its own challenges and beauties that only an underwater explorer can experience.
Nayarit is a small coastal Mexican state not far north of Puerto Vallarta. About 100 km off shore from Nayarit are four lovely islands known as Islas Marias. The islands are used as a penal colony still today and the protected waters around the islands are a designated biosphere reserve. Some of the dive shops in the Puerto Vallarta area take divers to the islands' dive sites. Also in Nayarit is the surf town of Sayulita, and then down into the state of Jalisco you go into the Banderas Bay, where you find Puerto Vallarta and the many smaller towns and dive sites that rim that bay. The Puerto Vallarta area is great for family vacations, shopping, and amazing food and logging in some Pacific dive time.
Working your way down the coast, you enter the small but populated state of Colima, where you will find one of Mexico's largest ports. Manzanillo is the main port that serves Mexico City inland. Manzanillo is an old established Spanish city and has a rich history and amazing museums and restaurants. The city is known as the, "Sailfish Capital of the World" and hosts world famous fishing tournaments. Some of the many shops that take fishermen out also organize scuba diving trips.
The resort cities on Mexico's Pacific coast are old resort towns that have been entertaining for centuries in some cases. The old school vibe of the Pacific’s resort towns like Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco or Manzanillo is much more established than say, the relatively fresh and new resort areas of the Caribbean coast near Cancun. If you want a flavor of old Mexico, give the established Pacific coast resort towns a chance.
Diving in the Pacific waters off Mexico's western shore can be cold... but the old school resorts and history of the area, not to mention the amazing food, will keep you coming back for more. There are established scuba diving sites up and down most of the coast. The industry of scuba diving is well established in and around the major resort cities and many of the hotels and resorts offer beginners classes in their pools or easy access to local dive shops.
There are numerous established scuba diving sites in and around Puerto Vallarta's Banderas Bay. Off shore from Sayulita and northwest of the peninsula of Punta de Mita is the dive site known as La Corbetena. South off Punta de Mita and out in the bay from Puerto Vallarta are the dive sites El Morro and Islas Marietas. On the southern rim of Banderas Bay are the dive sites of Los Arcos, Majahuitas and El Chimo.
Scuba diving in and around Manzanillo Bay is a great place for beginners or even people looking to get certified to learn and practice. Playa la Audiencia is a shore dive location in front of the Hotel Tesoro. The surge can be strong at first but once out past the waves a bit this is a great dive. You will see Cortez angelfish, moray eels, trumpetfish and much more. With a maximum depth of 60 feet this is a safe and relatively easy dive for beginners. Also found within La Audiencia cove is the shore dive site known as Club de Yates because it can be found at the end of Club de Yates Street. Swim 10 minutes out towards the rock in the center of the little bay and you will most likely find sea turtles. You will also most likely encounter spotted eagle rays and yellowtail surgeonfish.
Dive Manzanillo's famous shipwreck the San Luciano. Washed up in the famous hurricane of 1959, the ship rests in just 25 feet of water and can be explored by scuba divers and snorkelers. The huge 300 foot long boat has compartments to explore for advanced divers, and is a great first wreck dive for beginners because of its shallow location in relatively protected waters.
No matter if you fly into a resort or drive Mexico's amazing Pacific coast, you will have access to many dive sites, shops, and even shore dives for the boat-less adventurous advanced diver who can drag along their own equipment. Most scuba divers wear at least a wetsuit when diving in the Pacific because of the water temperatures, but southern Mexico's warm winds and mild weather will warm your heart and skin.
Getting to and from Mexico's extensive Pacific Coast usually involves flying in and out of Mexico City's huge Internacional Benito Juarez (MEX) or a United States city such as California's Los Angeles International (LAX). There are also flights from Central American and South American cities.
Most of the touristy coastal towns and cities of Mexico have their own international high traffic airports. The major Pacific coast cities that offer reasonably priced and direct flights include Acapulco's General Juan N. Alvarez International Airport (ACA), Puerto Vallarta's Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) or Mazatlan's General Rafael Buelna International Airport (MZT). For those who are willing and able to drive to their final destination, fly into Guadalajara's Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport (GDL), then rent a car and explore Mexico's amazing Pacific coast.
When looking for a great dive shop in the Puerto Vallarta area, you will not have a problem finding an abundance of options. Some of the best dive shops in the area include the two locations of Vallarta UnderSea, one at Marina Vallarta and the other shop north along the bay past Nuevo Vallarta. Another popular dive shop in the Banderas Bay area is Vallarta Adventures. There are many boats for hire around Puerto Vallarta, and many beaches and coves to explore. If you get an afternoon or even a few nights while you are in the area make sure you make it up a bit north to the loose and funky surf town of Sayulita.
The busy port city of Manzanillo is famous for its fishing tournament especially for sailfish. There is some great scuba diving in the area and scuba shops to hire, to bring you to the sweet spots. There are also shore dive sites near some of the resorts in the coves and protected beaches of Manzanillo Bay. Check out the dive shop Underworld Scuba Shack in town and also the dive shop Aquatic Sports & Adventures.
The southern coastal state of Oaxaca has a sweet little town on the ocean called La Crucecita. There is diving in the area offshore. Make arrangements with the scuba instructor named Hector that runs the small dive shop called Centro de Buceo Sotavento. This is a less explored Pacific Coast of Mexico and not a touristy place... authentico!
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This was my second visit to Costa Maya while cruising the Caribbean. Last October I dived with the cruise line's excursion. It was enjoyable, but I was ambivalent about returning. This time, however, I met a fellow passenger who was going with Doctor Dive, an independent operator. It turned out to be well worth the effort to cancel my ship excursion in favour of Doctor Dive. My new friend and I took a 10-minute taxi ride south of the cruise port to the DD shop, which looks out on cozy Yaya Beach...
Pocna deserves no less than 5 stars. This was my first scuba diving experience so I chose the discovery dive course.The staff here is very skilled, didactic, passionate and fun. I was started off with a 20 minute video describing the experience, instructions, safety features and physiological effects of pressure on the body. This was followed by breathing and mouthpiece practice in shallow water prior to a 30min boat ride to open water. Diving isn't trivial and they were patient and sensitive to...
Diving in the Pacific waters off Mexico's western shore can be cold... but the old school resorts and history of the area, not to mention the amazing food, will keep you coming back for more. There ar...
Getting to and from Mexico's extensive Pacific Coast usually involves flying in and out of Mexico City's huge Internacional Benito Juarez (MEX) or a United States city such as California's Los Angeles...
Each year, between January and March, sardines congregate off Isla Mujeres, Mexico, attracting the fastest fish ever recorded. Sailfish feed on these bait balls, and divers seek out snorkeling experiences to watch these sleek and elegant fish dart through the water, feasting on sardines.
Scuba diving (as a New Year’s Resolution) coalesces the most common resolutions made each year. But even divers have their own NY resolutions; they can get bored, especially if they’ve been diving the same spots over and over again. A new year calls for adding some new and unique destinations onto your scuba bucket list.
Every year, between June and September, hundreds of whale sharks can be found in the deep waters northeast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico.