San Carlos, right on the coast of the Sea of Cortez and only 5 ½ hours south of Tucson, is considered one of the best places to dive in Mexico. Scuba diving here is an unforgettable experience and one that no diver should miss. Jacques Cousteau famously called the Sea of Cortez “the world’s aquarium” and with crystal clear waters and abundant marine life, San Carlos is sure to impress you whether you’re a beginner or a veteran diver.
Here are just a few of the reasons why we love diving in San Carlos:
1. Clear Water
Visibility can reach up to 80 – 100 feet, making it a perfect spot for underwater photography. With its clear waters and abundant sea life, divers can explore the depths of the ocean more easily. This also makes for incredible night diving.
2. Warm Waters
During the peak season (between June and October), the water temperature in San Carlos is typically greater than 80-85ºF/27-29ºC. This makes it a great option for beginning divers who are not used to colder waters or divers who don’t have the proper equipment for these types of dives, or simply for divers looking for more comfortable temperatures. Temperatures do vary throughout the year, so it’s important to check before your trip to make sure you’re prepared.
3. Diverse Marine Life
One of the major reasons why San Carlos is such a great spot for diving is its diverse marine life. From sea turtles to whales, you can find an impressive variety of species in these waters. Isla San Pedro Nolasco (where we typically dive at least one of the days every trip) is home to playful sea lions, while nudibranchs, colorful tropical fish, and even rays, octopuses, and whales are often spotted not only at the island, but also other dive sites closer to the marina. The types of sea creatures you are most likely to spot vary depending on the time of the year and the exact areas you are exploring.
4. Options For Beginning And Experienced Divers
San Carlos offers many options for divers looking for a more leisurely experience. There are plenty of shallow reefs and lagoons, making it easy to navigate the waters within your dive experience and certification level. With its serene waters and calm weather, this can be an ideal location for beginning divers. At the same time, there are many excellent spots in San Carlos for divers with more experience to explore deeper dives or less-frequented hidden gems. Annually, we plan and promote trips for advanced divers who are trained to dive deeper in more challenging conditions where we often spot schooling scalloped hammerheads in late summer and early fall.
Our “Local” San Carlos Trips
For Tucson divers in our dive club, San Carlos is an accessible destination. This location is about five and a half hours from Tucson and makes for the perfect weekend dive trip.
Plan Your Next Dive
Members of Scuba Club Tucson can enjoy an exclusive annual members-only trip to San Carlos, where you’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous waters and diverse marine life. We also offer monthly trips to this destination in partnership with Paragon Dive Adventures.