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Awash in hues of orange and deep green, New Mexico’s desert landscape is an unlikely place to find scuba diving, but surprises await in the Land of Enchantment.

Diving in New Mexico

Quick facts

Landlocked New Mexico seems an unlikely place for stellar scuba diving, but you’d be surprised.

The Santa Rosa Blue Hole is by far New Mexico’s claim to scuba diving fame. Acclaimed as the “Scuba Capital of the Southwest,” the 80 foot (24 meter) deep Blue Hole is a former fish hatchery, transformed into a diving destination. Primarily, it is used in training activities, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out yourself, even if you are a highly experienced diver. The manmade well is a cylinder, algae coated, housing thousands upon thousands of gallons of crystal clear water. Though there are no natural fish, they stock the well with goldfish, carp, and koi, making for a surreal view. Visibility can be in excess of 80 feet (24 meters).

Aside from the Blue Hole, you can dive in the Navajo Reservoir, which is found on the border of New Mexico and Colorado. Located within the Navajo Lake State Park, you are sure to see trout and other unique lake species during your journey here.

Recommended training

If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Get your scuba diving certification with the PADI® Open Water Diver course

When to go

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What to see

The only marine life you can find in New Mexico are the freshwater variety. In the Santa Rosa Blue Hole, there is no endemic marine life, as it is man-made, so you will only run across koi, goldfish, and carp.

In the Navajo Reservoir you will see bass, brown and rainbow trout, huge channel catfish, carp, sunfish, and kokanee salmon.


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Tucked up against Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma, New Mexico is the heart of the southwest. Admitted to the union in 1912, New Mexico is the 47th state.

The deserts of New Mexico have been inhabited for hundreds of years by the native population, pushed to reservations during the beginning of the American conquest. That being said, this region has changed hands extensively, from Spain to Mexico to the United States.

Today, this desert environment has the highest percentage of Hispanics per capita, as well as the second highest population of Native Americans. This melting pot of cultures leads to some of the most fantastic heritage and cuisines in the United States.

Interestingly enough, the name “New Mexico” was bestowed upon the region by Spanish explorers, and isn’t derived from the nation of Mexico.

Other attractions

New Mexico has a fantastically diverse landscape, from elk laden mountainsides to bustling cities. The capital of Santa Fe is a favorite tourist destination, with adobe structures and shopping galore. Be sure to try the green chili while you’re in the state, it’s unlike any other chili you’ve tried.

Getting there

Fly into any one of the many International Airports in New Mexico to get you where you need to go. Public transportation is nearly impossible unless you are in a major city, so renting a car is highly recommended.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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