Socorro Island, located in the Revillagigedo Archipelago and known for its Giant Oceanic Manta Rays, is a destination for lovers of sizeable marine life. On a trip with one of the best liveaboards in Socorro, you might see whale sharks, dolphins, hammerheads, silkies, silvertip sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, tiger sharks or humpback whales.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t expect to see colourful coral reefs while diving in Socorro. You’ll discover a rare underwater aesthetic, as the oceanic landscapes are actually volcanic in nature with visible geothermal activity. There are chimney-like lava tubes and intricate rock formations scattered around the islands.

Because the Revillagigedo Archipelago is 250 miles (400km) from the Mexican mainland, diving in Socorro is only possible from a liveaboard. It takes about 24 hours to reach the archipelago, so this trip may not be for you if you suffer from seasickness. However, taking in the sights on the trip to and from Socorro is half the fun and is unlike many other experiences in the world. You can expect to sip your morning coffee or tea with whale, shark and manta ray sightings galore.

Liveaboard Diving in Socorro Island - Manta

Liveaboard Logistics for Socorro

Liveaboards headed for Socorro usually depart from Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. The typical length of the trips is 7 nights, but some liveaboards will offer 8 to 10-night itineraries.

The best time to dive in Socorro is from November to May. Within these months, several important events occur. From late January to early April, humpback whales migrate through the area. From November to early January and then again during April and May, manta rays and sharks are prevalent.

Keep in mind that the underwater conditions can be challenging, with occasional surges and currents; therefore it is recommended that only experienced divers travel to Socorro Island.

Best Luxury Liveaboard: Nautilus Gallant Lady

The Nautilus Gallant Lady is one of several liveaboards from the renowned Nautilus fleet of liveaboards. Renovated in 2018, the vessel has just 6 cabins, providing a more intimate, luxurious atmosphere. Itineraries are 7 days/8 nights and offer the best of diving in the Revillagigedo Archipelago! 

The Nautilus Gallant Lady is adorned with comfort-focused amenities, including a main saloon and dining room with wrap-around ocean views plus cushioned day beds, a sky lounge and a crow’s nest for unforgettable sunset moments. Guests can also enjoy the onboard hot tub to unwind.

In terms of sightings, mantas, dolphins, silkies and whale sharks are all common encounters at the dive sites visited by this liveaboard. Not only is the diving top notch, but additional activities, like kayaking, mountain biking and paddle boarding, are plentiful, too!

Best Mid-Range Liveaboard: Rocio del Mar

The mission of the Rocio del Mar is to give its guests a true adventure on a boat that’s been built specifically for divers. Unlike other boats in Socorro, the Rocio del Mar is not a modified fishing boat. Instead, it has been adapted with the needs of scuba divers in mind.

In addition, you’ll also get more dives per day aboard the Rocio del Mar than on any other boat in Socorro. Most boats feature 21 to 24 dives completed over 10 days, and the average liveaboard in Socorro begins diving on Day 3. On the Rocio del Mar, you’ll get 24 dives over 9 days with up to 4 dives per day beginning on Day 2. Furthermore, the Rocio del Mar has one of the best ratios of dive pros to guests in Mexico. There are 5 pros for a total of 20 guests on board.

And if you’re worried about sleeping on a boat, rest easy in the knowledge that the Rocio del Mar is designed to minimize side-to-side movement and engine noise – a very important feature on the 24-hour journey to Socorro. All 20 guests can be accommodated in 10 well-appointed cabins.

For a well-priced liveaboard trip with a touch of luxury, the Rocio del Mar is an excellent choice.

Most Eco-Friendly Liveaboard: Quino el Guardian

Boasting an extra full day of diving, the Quino el Guardian graces our list of the best liveaboards in Socorro because of its unique itineraries. This boat offers citizen science adventures. During these trips, you can freedive while tagging hammerhead sharks or complete research on manta rays. On most itineraries, you’ll enjoy three to four dives per day.

The Quino el Guardian is also slightly more affordable than most boats in Socorro. 16 guests are accommodated in 5 cabins. Most of which are 4-bunk rooms, but common areas are spacious enough to feel like you have your own space.

If you want to visit Socorro and have an extraordinarily memorable experience, the Quino el Guardian is a great choice.

Best for Photographers: Solmar V

Boasting the largest camera table and diving deck of all the liveaboards operating in Socorro, the Solmar V is a perfect fit for professional underwater photographers as well as those who just love filming and photographing their adventures. The liveaboard offers an itinerary that puts you in the center of pelagic hotpots. Photos of mantas, dolphins, schooling hammerheads, whale sharks, and tiger sharks will fill your camera roll on these trips!

The Solmar V boasts 12 cabins. After dives, you’ll enjoy three-course lunches and flowing ice-cold drinks onboard. With all of these awesome features, Solmar V does come with a higher price point.

best scuba diving in mexico

How Do I Get to Socorro?

All of the liveaboards above depart from either Cabo San Lucas or San Jose Del Cabo. The closest airport to these embarkation locations is Los Cabos International (SJD). If you are departing from the US, direct flights are offered from many major airports, such as Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle. From elsewhere, you’ll need to book a flight into the US or Mexico and can then board a direct flight to Cabo.

What is the Best Time of Year to Dive in Socorro?

The season for diving in Socorro runs from November to May. The only way to access the island is by one of the region’s liveaboards, which only sail when sea conditions are calmest. To find out more about when to dive, what you’ll see, and dive conditions, check out our Socorro Dive Guide here.

What Dive Certification Level Do I Need?

Liveaboards to Socorro are best enjoyed by Advanced Open Water level divers with 50+ dives in their logbook. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in everything Socorro Island offers! Divers should be confident with crucial skills, like buoyancy, air consumption and navigation. Each PADI Travel liveaboard will have the certification requirements listed at the top righthand side of the itinerary.

Book Your Trip to Socorro

The liveaboards you’ve just read about have been hand-picked by our scuba diving experts. However, there are more boats available. You can’t go wrong taking any liveaboard diving trip to this beautiful area. To see the complete list of liveaboards in Socorro and to book your trip, click the button below.

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