If you’re looking for a diving holiday that will help you tick off quite a few bucket-list species in one go, Socorro Island (also known as the Revillagigedo Archipelago) is the place for you. Remote enough to let you really disconnect, and with pelagic encounters that will blow your mind, this is a must-visit destination for divers seeking an unparalleled underwater experience.
From how to get there to the liveaboard experience and the incredible fauna you can expect to see during your diving adventure, here’s everything you need to know about diving in Socorro Island.
Getting to Socorro Island
Socorro is a volcanic island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago. Located 370 miles (600 kilometers) off the western coast of Mexico, the tiny islands only house one naval station. That’s why this remote paradise is only accessible by liveaboard vessels.
The journey from Cabo San Lucas to the UNESCO heritage site takes around 24 hours, depending on sea conditions.
Nutrient-rich waters surrounding the island are what attracts an abundance of marine creatures, offering divers a genuinely unforgettable experience.
Liveaboards in Socorro
A liveaboard trip to Socorro Island usually lasts between 8 and 12 days. This provides plenty of time to explore the archipelago’s incredible dive sites. Although after you experience the thrill of hearing humpback whales singing while you dive or mantas hovering above your head, playing with your bubbles, you’ll probably wish your trip was even longer!
Life on a liveaboard offers an intimate and immersive experience, with a small group of fellow divers and a dedicated crew catering to your needs. However, the remote location and strong currents that attract the pelagic life mean that diving in Socorro is suitable for experienced divers only. Be sure to check your liveaboard’s certification requirements before booking.
There’s plenty of life in Socorro all year round. Still, liveaboards only operate between November and May, when the seas are calmer.
The Revillagigedo National Park
The archipelago is made up of four islands: Socorro, Roca Partida, Clarión, and San Benedicto. They are the visible peaks of a submerged mountain range. Together with the surrounding waters, these islands provide essential habitats for many ocean species and seabirds.
In 2017, the Mexican government created the Revillagigedo National Park. It was, at the time, the largest fully protected MPA (Marine Protected Area) in North America. The park protects key endangered and migratory species that transit these waters as they move through their life cycles.
As part of the measures to protect the islands, visitors are only allowed onshore with a special permit. The number of dive boats is also limited to minimize the impact on the delicate ecosystem.
The Marine Life of Socorro Island
Socorro Island’s main attraction is its remarkable marine life, which includes an impressive array of large pelagic species.
Friendly schools of bottlenose dolphins will often approach divers, creating memorable interactions. You can also spot scores of mantas as they glide above the divers, playing with their bubbles.
The water temperatures range from 69ºF (21ºC) to 82ºF (28ºC), with the coldest months being between January to March. The payoff for the chillier waters is that these winter months coincide with the migration of the humpback whales, so you might spot these gentle giants topside during your trip.
Alternatively, if you visit around November or December, you might get lucky enough to be diving with whale sharks.
In addition, schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks are a common sight in the waters of Socorro Island, as they gather in large numbers around underwater pinnacles. And there’s no shortage of other shark species, such as silky sharks, whitetip reef sharks, silvertip sharks, and Galapagos sharks.
With its remote location, pristine waters, and unparalleled marine encounters, Socorro Island offers a truly unique and awe-inspiring diving experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this underwater paradise and create memories that will last a lifetime.