Cabo Pulmo National Park is in the South-East of the Baja California Peninsula, between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific. It is accessible after a few hours by car on a chaotic track through the desert. Between cacti, arid expanses, and turquoise lagoons, the tiny village of Cabo Pulmo, with barely 300 inhabitants, welcomes divers looking for an extraordinary diving trip!
After over 20 years of increased protection, one of the rare coral reefs in North America is home to exceptional biodiversity! It has been listed 300 species of fish, 200 species of marine invertebrates, 5 species of marine turtles, many sharks including many bulldog sharks, whales, and marine mammals such as sea lions.
What impresses above all the diver is the density of the fauna and the immense clouds of fish, such as jacks or even mobula rays, which jump on the surface of the water. The best way to discover diving in Cabo Pulmo is on a diving cruise to make the most of the sites a little further from the coast.
After this diving trip to Cabo Pulmo, you will better understand why Commander Cousteau nicknamed CABO PULMO NATIONAL PARK.
Victim of intensive fishing, the waters of Cabo Pulmo have been emptied of their fish and especially their sharks. Faced with this predicted disaster, the tiny village of Cabo Pulmo mobilized to safeguard its exceptional heritage, and it was in 1995 that the Mexican government classified the Cabo Pulmo region as a national park. This small community which has gone from fishing to ecotourism for protecting its natural heritage is a good example!
Without commercial fishing activity for 20 years, wildlife has flourished considerably, and this 20,000-year-old reef, illuminated with soft and hard corals, is home to a wide variety of species.
Diving is therefore highly regulated, and it is one of the favorite activities of visitors. There are also many snorkeling sites, and they organize excursions from Cabo San Lucas, San José Del Cabo, or La Paz (allow between 1 hour 30 minutes and 3 hours 30 minutes by road)
Cabo Pulmo dive sites
There are about fifteen dive sites near the coast. Some dives are drifting, others are deeper. The area is accessible to all levels of divers, beginners will stay close to the coast while experienced divers can dive offshore.
El Vencedor: this wreck is a fishing boat that sank in the 80s. Even if the ship is not in excellent condition, the chief attraction of the site is the density of fauna that inhabits the area and especially the sharks – bulldogs marauding around.
El Bajo and los Morros: two side-by-side sites that offer the best of Cabo Pulmo. We find here all the species: leopard groupers, huge schools of jacks or snappers, a multitude of colorful reef fish that evolve in a beautiful coral garden with the bonus of a few resting turtles. Los Morros is a little deeper with more current, there are also trevally clouds there. The wildlife is so dense that you cannot see it all!
El Cantil: this site is extremely popular because of its underwater topography. In a canyon, some small caves and crevices serve as shelters for snappers, jacks, groupers, or turtles at rest. There is also a plethora of small fish hiding there. It is not uncommon to see manta rays here. Particularly noteworthy are corals and gorgonians. It is at the end of the dive that you can admire these tornadoes of jacks and yellow snappers, an impressive sight.
La Esperanza: There no coral on the horizon. The attraction of the site is the predator hunting scenes. Tiger sharks have sometimes been observed there, but also bulldog sharks and white tip sharks.
Las Casitas and Chopitos are significant sites for beginners. They are big rocks with caves, life is very dense and diverse. We observe surgeonfish, wrasse, parrotfish, or snapper.
La Lobera: this is the place where you can observe a large colony of sea lions. You will dive around rocks where they like to bask away from predators. They are present all year round except for August and September.
The best season to dive in Cabo Pulmo
Diving is possible all year round, but the water temperatures vary from season to season.
In May-June, the water is very cool, it can drop to 14 degrees, we recommend it to dive with a semi-dry suit.
From July to November the waters are much warmer, the visibility is better, a wetsuit of 3 mm is sufficient (in October November).
The best months are October and November, where the visibility is excellent. From December to May, the waters become cloudy, but the fauna is still very dense.
The underwater fauna of Cabo Pulmo
The underwater fauna of Cabo Pulmo is much the same as that of La Paz.
You will observe (sometimes in large quantities) many species of sharks: bulldog sharks, sometimes hammerhead sharks, nurse sharks, lemon sharks, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, black tip and white tip sharks, and whale sharks (October to April).
We also observe manta rays and no doubt you will be speechless in front of the spectacle of a huge school of mobula rays jumping on the surface of the water (from December to April).
You can also come across moray eels, sea turtles, groupers, giant trevally, triggerfish, parrotfish, angelfish, and humpback whales (from December to March). Sea lions are also visible most of the year.