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La Paz and its surrounding islands are home to wrecks, caves and plentiful pelagic species, including whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and whales.


Humpbacks and Sperm Whales

Because of the deep water found off the coast, winter sees frequent visitors from the open ocean to El Bajo including humpback and sperm whales.

Whale Sharks in Fall

Each fall season brings a few whale sharks to the dive site El Bajo. Sightings are not guaranteed, but your chances are better during these months.

Hammerhead Shark Babies

Decades ago, hammerhead sharks used La Paz Bay as a nursery. Fishermen decimated the population but today, these sharks are making a comeback.

Sea Lions at Isla San Pedro

More than 400 sea lions call the Sea of Cortez home. You’ll find playful pups on most dives in the area, but Isla San Pedro is the best site for abundant encounters.

Diving in La Paz & Isla Partida

Quick facts

Diving in La Paz, Isla Partida and other nearby islands encompasses a range of environments. From wrecks and caves to underwater pinnacles and rocky reefs, La Paz features some of the most varied diving in the Sea of Cortez.

Most diving in the area takes place from small wooden pangas with an easy backroll, but larger dive boats can be found.

Many of the areas in the bay or on the west side of the islands are protected from heavy currents, perfect for beginners. However, the caves and current-heavy outer pinnacles represent more difficult dives which should be reserved for divers with a lot of experience.

Keep in mind that a 16% tax is levied on all diving operations in Mexico.

When to go

If you prefer warm water and whale sharks, book your holiday from June to November. If you would like to dive with pelagic species, pick December-May.

June to November

August to November is also the season for liveaboard diving in the Sea of Cortez. While the Pacific is cold, the Sea of Cortez is at its warmest. The water is approximately 80°F (27°C). Whale sharks can also occasionally be spotted around La Paz in October and again in the spring when plankton blooms occur in the area.

The weather at this time transitions from hot and humid to cooler with a bit of rain. However, the visibility is the best during the summer and fall months. On the other hand, June to October is not as busy as the winter months in terms of tourism. You should be able to snag some good deals if you book far enough in advance. Be aware, these months represent the highest risk of typhoons. It’s a good idea to take out trip insurance if you plan to visit Mexico in the fall.

Interested in the best conditions for diving the Sea of Cortez? Book your Mexican diving holiday between June and October.

December to May

From December to May, divers can expect cooler temperatures in the Sea of Cortez. However uncomfortable it might be for humans, it’s balmy for pelagic species. If you are a pelagic fan, this is the best time to dive near La Paz. This is the best month for hammerhead sharks in La Paz Bay.

This is the best time to spot Humpback Whales, Grey Whales and mobulas in the area. You’ll also find increased sea lion activity. Lucky divers might spot Bullseye Rays, Banded Guitarfish and Octopuses who climb from the depths due to the cold.

The topside weather is generally sunny with the occasional rain shower. Because Mexico is significantly less hot than during the summer months, December to May is also considered the best time to vacation here. Because of this, December to March is high season for general tourism, causing an increase in accommodation rates throughout the country.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

If you’re looking for pelagics, head out to the El Bajo seamounts. If you don’t have much experience, stay within the bay and to the west of the islands.
    USD 1,649Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
    USD 1,751Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
    USD 2,055Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
    USD 2,659Per trip
    USD 2,300Per trip
    USD 2,495Per trip

    Snorkeling in La Paz & Isla Partida

    La Paz is an excellent destination for topside spotters. During the spring and fall months, you’ll be able to snorkel with whale sharks in La Paz Bay. Snorkeling tours to Espiritu Santo Island to see playful sea lions are also possible. Finally, Playas Tecolote and El Coyote offer snorkelers soft coral reefs with excellent visibility.
    Of the many dive sites in La Paz, El Bajo is the most famous. This series of seamounts is ravaged by heavy current in the open Sea of Cortez. Here you’ll find mobulas, turtles, hammerhead sharks and even whales. The Salvatierra is the most popular wreck dive in the area. The 300-foot (100-meter) hull lies in tact under 62 feet (19 meters) of water. Octopus, sergeant major and yellow polyp black corals make this wreck their home. Los Islotes is a favorite among snorkelers and divers alike for its healthy population of sea lions. These friendly animals perform a natural, underwater dance for all who visit. As this is a rookery, cute baby sea lions are often present as well.

    What to see

    Known for its pelagic habitat, El Paz and Isla Partida are home to approximately 850 marine species. From massive humpback whales to tiny seahorses, everyone will find something of interest in this section of the Sea of Cortez.

    You might see hammerhead sharks, humpback whales, sperm whales, dolphins, mobulas, sea turtles and eagle rays at the El Bajo seamounts. In the spring and summer, whale sharks move through the Bay of El Paz in order to feast on the plankton blooms. You can also find wrasse, green moray eels, starfish, angelfish and colorful fish of various shapes and sizes throughout the region. Finally, the sea lions in Los Islotes and nearby are a delight to all who dive with them.


    For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


    La Paz is the largest city and capital of the Mexican state Baja California Sur. Three offshore islands, namely Los Islotes, Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo Island add to the appeal of this seaside city.

    Historically, La Paz served as the capital to the short-lived Republic of Sonora in 1854. It was also the setting for John Steinbeck’s novel The Pearl.

    Today, La Paz is both a commercial center and tourist destination, often overlooked for Los Cabos to the south. The city has a desert climate with temperatures exceeding 100°F (36°C) although humidity can occasionally reach 85% during the summer months.

    Other attractions

    Several scenic beaches ensure La Paz is a popular tourist destination, but the many excursions available from her beautiful shores mean that you’ll be spoiled for choice when choosing how to fill your holiday here. Whale watching and bird watching tours are a popular way to take advantage of the area’s biodiversity. Cycling from beach to beach or shopping through the handicraft markets downtown are also good ways to fill a day. If you’re interested in picking up a new skill, several Spanish language schools offer lessons to visitors. And if like a good party while on vacation, La Paz is home to plenty of nightclubs and bars.

    Getting there

    Manuel Márquez de León International Airport serves La Paz. Flights arrive from destinations in North America. If you are flying from a different continent, you’ll need to connect in Mexico City. Once you’ve arrived in La Paz, use a rental car, taxis or shared vans to travel between points of interest.

    It’s also possible to reach La Paz by ferry from mainland Mexico or by car from Baja California Norte.


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