Expert Tips


Best Scuba Diving & Snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas

Undersea Adventures: The 10 Best Snorkel and Dive Excursions in Los Cabos

Los Cabos is a great dive destination, with a number of excellent sites to explore. Headlining that list is Cabo Pulmo, a national park on the municipality’s East Cape that boasts a living coral reef, and thanks to its protected status, the highest density of marine life in the Sea of Cortés. Local dive operators like Manta, Cabo Adventures, and Adventures in Baja all offer round-trip excursions to Cabo Pulmo from Cabo San Lucas. The latter, of course, has its own diving attractions, most notably near the tip of the half-mile Land’s End headland.

The ultimate regional dive experience doesn’t take place in Cabo Pulmo, or even in Cabo San Lucas … although it does depart from there. Eight months a year – November to June – the 112’ live-aboard dive vessel Solmar V hosts nine-day dive trips from Cabo San Lucas to Socorro, an island in the Revillagigedos chain some 285 miles off the coast, where divers will experience an undersea fantasia of dolphins, sharks, giant manta rays, and other large pelagic species.

For the less ambitious or adventurous, morning and afternoon snorkel trips are offered by scores of local boats and tour operators. The best options are aboard sailboats, notably the large catamarans used by companies like Pez Gato and EcoCat, which offer smooth sailing and an opportunity to explore aquatic life in nearby Santa Maria Bay.

Cabo Sails and Cabo Sailing, meanwhile, are the top choices for private snorkeling tours.


The Pez Gato fleet of catamarans boast some of the area's finest cruising tours, from cool sunset "wine and jazz" excursions aboard the smooth-sailing Tropicat to "fiesta dinner" outings with a Mexican buffet and open bar on the double-decker power cat Cabo Mar. Fleet flagship Pez Gato and newcomer Pez Gato III, meanwhile, offer snorkeling trips to gorgeous Santa Maria Bay, seasonal whale watching expeditions (mid-December to mid-March), and lively party cruises featuring drinking and dancing. All tours showcase guided looks at the evocative granite monuments found at the half-mile Land's End headland, such as Pelican Rock, Neptune's Finger, Cerro Blanco, Scooby Doo Rock, and El Arco (The Arch).

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Pez Gato offers excellent snorkeling excursions to Bahia Santa María.

Chris's expert tip: Snorkel trips to Bahia Santa María are four hours in duration, with snorkel gear included in the tour price ($98 for adults, $49 for kids ages 5 to 11).

Read more about Pez Gato →

No local tour operator offers more stylish excursions than Cabo Sailing, which over the course of 15 plus years in Cabo San Lucas has assembled an extraordinary collection of boats, including 38' and 42' Hunter sailboats perfect for custom snorkeling trips and Champagne aided sunset celebrations, as well as memorable explorations of Land's End and its distinctive environs. Private tours and shared small group outings are specialties, and Cabo Sailing is renowned locally for its upscale service and amenities, from air-conditioned cabins to first-class food and beverage service. Round-trip transportation service from your resort is an optional upgrade. During whale watching season (mid-December to mid-April), private and shared small-group whale watching tours are available.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Cabo Sailing offers the best collection of sailboats in Los Cabos, with excellent options for private snorkel tours.

Chris's expert tip: For those who like sailing in comfort, the company also offers fishing in comfort aboard a pair of 46' fishing boats.

Read more about Cabo Sailing →

Surf lessons at beginner-friendly breaks at Playas Costa Azul and Los Cerritos may be the most sought-after water-based activities option from High Tide – at least with kids – but the company's most iconic offering is a tandem kayak paddle out to Land's End and the Arch, with a stop at Lover's Beach for sand, sun and snorkeling. Stand up paddle boards are also available on this tour, which is a great option for visiting couples. "Two Bay" snorkel tours are also offered by High Tide, as are hiking excursions in picturesque Fox Canyon. Less active pursuits include private off-road jeep explorations of Todos Santos and East Cape sites like Cabo Pulmo.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: High Tide's kayak and snorkel tour is the best of its kind in Cabo San Lucas.

Chris's expert tip: The glass-bottom kayaking to Land's End excursion can be booked as a private tour, allowing more time for snorkeling.

Read more about High Tide Los Cabos →


Cabo San Lucas has excellent sailing conditions outside its protected bay, and Cabo Sails is one of the top local options for charters, tours or sailing lessons. Available sailboats range from 30' to 44' feet in length, and can accommodate up to 20 guests for snorkel, whale watching and sunset tours, as well as private and overnight charters. The sunset tours are one of the best romantic activities in Los Cabos, with chilled Champagne, fresh sea breezes, and the unforgettable sight of the sun sinking beyond the evocatively shaped granite rock formations at Land's End. Catamarans and trimarans provide smooth rides, and Cabo Sails excels at service-oriented touches, from wrapping towels around deck cushions to providing things like roses or birthday cakes for special occasions. They even offer dog-size life preserves for those traveling with pets.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Cabo Sails offers some of the best private snorkel tours in Cabo San Lucas.

Chris's expert tip: All vessels are rigged with lifeline safety netting, a family-friendly feature that makes sailing stress-free for parents with small children.

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Few local adventure companies can match Cabo Expeditions' variety of eco-themed activities, which include whale watching and swimming with whale sharks (seasonal), parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and day trips to Isla Espíritu Santo off the coast of La Paz. Perhaps the best thing about the company's collection of land and water-based activities is that they cover a good portion of Baja California Sur, and thus provide visitors with wide-ranging introductions to the area's incredible biodiversity. The Land's End snorkel tour is a great introduction to local flora and fauna, both above and below the surface. Adults and kids ages 5 and up will enjoy the snorkeling at Pelican Rock, where an upwelling effect contributes to the profusion of colorful marine life. Sightseeing stops at the sea lion colony and iconic Arch, meanwhile, offer abundant photo opportunities.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Cabo Expeditions offers family-friendly snorkel and scuba trips throughout the region.

Chris's expert tip: Week-long snorkel and kayak tours explore UNESCO protected islands near Loreto and La Paz.

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Cabo Adventures is one of the area's top tour companies, with friendly professional staff, and an impressive roster of exciting outdoor activities that includes sailing, zip lining, outback camel safaris, ATV desert adventures, and swimming with whale sharks. Dive excursions are also a specialty, as Cabo Adventures offers dive trips to Land's End, as well as Cabo Pulmo National Park, the region's premier dive site, and the most densely populated marine environment in the Sea of Cortés. Cabo Adventures is an excellent option for scuba diving beginners, with shallow water introductions courtesy of their PADI Discover tours. PADI open water and advanced open water diver certifications may be earned through Cabo Adventures' PADI Five Star Dive Center.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Cabo Adventures is the top option for beginning divers in Los Cabos.

Chris's expert tip: Cabo Adventures ferries divers to sites aboard a Newton 46', and each outing is accompanied by a PADI certified dive instructor and a professional photographer.

Read more about Cabo Adventures' Scuba Diving Trips →

Manta is one of the oldest and best dive shops in Cabo San Lucas, offering an array of memorable dive excursions, as well as the most complete line of PADI certifications in the area, from entry level open water diver to divemaster internships. Manta excels at multi-day dive packages perfect for destination divers, with highlights that include visits to amazing dive sites like Gordo Banks and Cabo Pulmo, as well as bucket list adventures like snorkeling with whale sharks in La Paz. Other specialties include three tank combo dives at two sites during a single half-day tour, and single tank night dives at Pelican Rock in Cabo San Lucas Bay. A training pool is on hand for beginners, and for use in certification courses. Freediving training and snorkel options are also available.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Manta offers some of the best night diving tours in Los Cabos.

Chris's expert tip: Manta's 3-tank combo dives allow exploration of two sites in one half-day tour.

Read more about Manta Scuba Diving →

One of the area's preeminent diving and snorkeling specialists, Adventures in Baja showcases well-earned, first-hand knowledge of the myriad dive sites at Cabo Pulmo National Park, from El Vencedor ("The Winner"), El Cantil ("The Cliff), and El Cien ("The Hundred") to reef bars and tornado-like congregations of big-eye jacks. Founded by transplanted Englishwoman Keren Bradfield, the company is known for its small group eco-tours at three world-class locations: Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo and La Paz (for diving, snorkeling, and swimming with whale sharks). Adventures in Baja is a leader in the local sustainable tourism movement, and uses no plastics. Round-trip transportation from your resort to the dive or snorkel site is included.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Adventures in Baja is a specialist in the dive sites of Cabo Pulmo, the region's premier dive and snorkel destination.

Chris's expert tip: Adventures in Baja also offers hiking tours, and whale watching tours in-season.

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Cabo Pulmo is the heart and soul of the East Cape, accessible via a graded dirt road that connects coastal communities – from eco-bungalows and remote campsites to off-the-grid villages – between La Ribera and Zacatitos. The Cabo Pulmo National Park and its marine sanctuary is the area's biggest draw, an undersea fantasia of living coral reef with a remarkable concentration of marine life that includes sharks, dolphins, sea lions, eels, leaping mobula rays and endangered sea turtles. For visitors who don't have time for a East Cape weekend getaway, but don't want to miss Cabo Pulmo, jeep tours may be arranged through Los Cabos based company High Tide, and day trip diving adventures through Adventures in Baja, Cabo Adventures, and other area dive shops. The park has been protected since 1995, and includes over 27 square miles spanning land and sea. The beach is gorgeous here as well, with beachfront hangouts like Tacos & Beer offering chill vibes and and even chiller refreshments.

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: Cabo Pulmo National Park is the premier snorkel and scuba destination in Los Cabos.

Chris's expert tip: Cabo Pulmo National Park is home to over 800 varieties of fish, and over 2,000 species of marine invertebrates.

Read more about Cabo Pulmo National Park →

The best diving available from Cabo San Lucas, bar none, is 285 miles away near Socorro, the largest of four islands in the Revillagigedos chain. The 112' live-aboard dive ship Solmar V offers extended, and expensive, nine-day trips from November through June, with diving, stateroom accommodations, and all meals included. The abundance of marine life found around this island chain is staggering, and includes enormous schools of giant manta rays, as well as dolphins, sharks and other large pelagic species. (Shark lovers may also want to book passage during August, September and October, when the Solmar V operates out of Ensenada, and offers cage diving with great white sharks near Isla Guadalupe, 150 miles offshore.)

Recommended for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling because: These extended trips boast the best diving on the planet.

Chris's expert tip: Nine day trips are available from Cabo San Lucas, November through June.

Read more about Solmar V →


Meet Chris Sands

Chris Sands is the Cabo San Lucas local expert for the USA Today travel website 10 Best, writer of Fodor's Los Cabos travel guidebook, and a contributor to numerous websites and publications,...  More About Chris