Home » Best Liveaboards In Socorro Island: Guide To Discover Socorro By Liveaboard

Best Liveaboards In Socorro Island: Guide To Discover Socorro By Liveaboard

by Max
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Best Liveaboards In Socorro Island - Discover Socorro At Its Best

Discovering the best liveaboards in Socorro Island is a breeze compared to other renowned dive destinations. This is because about ten liveaboards venture to the island. Therefore, finding a suitable liveaboard for your needs and preferences is simplified.

Socorro Island is an aquatic animal lover’s haven. It’s situated 390 km off the Baja California peninsula in Mexico, attracting friendly marine species like wild bottlenose dolphins and giant manta rays. You can also encounter seven shark species and humpback whales. Compared to other dive destinations, it’s only accessible via liveaboard. The Nautilus Belle Amie Liveaboard offers the best value for money.

So what are the best liveaboards in Socorro Island? This post will point you toward the top options. We’ll also explore the different dive sites at Socorro.

The Quick List – Best Socorro Liveaboards

  1. Best value for money: Nautilus Belle Amie
  2. Best for socializing: Rocio del Mar
  3. Best for all large marine life encounters: Valentina
  4. Best for an educational and adventurous diving experience: Quino el Guardian
  5. Best luxury Socorro diving liveaboard: Nautilus Explorer

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Essential Information for Diving at Socorro Island

When considering liveaboards in Socorro Island, these are some essential pieces of information you should know:

  1. Socorro Island is known for encounters with big pelagics. It’s best to visit during specific times of the year, and there are numerous seasonal highlights.
  2. The island is part of a protected biosphere reserve. Several conservation organizations work to protect the unique marine life in the region.
  3. Socorro has no dive operators or ‘shore diving’ excursions. Therefore, the best way to dive at Socorro is by liveaboard.
  4. Socorro’s dive sites are known for their unique topography, such as pinnacles and lava fingers. There’s no night diving permitted on the island.
  5. Socorro’s aquatic life is diverse, including various species of mantas, whales, dolphins, and sharks. Encounters with these animals are often up-close-and-personal.
  6. It’s best to carry seasickness tables, as the journey to Revillagigedo Islands, where Socorro is located, entails 24 hours of crossing the open ocean.
  7. Socorro diving liveaboard trips require an Advanced Open Water certification and that you have at least 50 dives.

The Best Liveaboards in Socorro Island

1. Nautilus Belle Amie

Our Expert Opinion: Best Value for Money

The Nautilus Belle Amie offers an experience comparable to a 5-star boutique hotel. With its 17 well-equipped staterooms and suites, your journey aboard this liveaboard will be comfortable and memorable. The large dive deck, onboard nitrox, and three spacious dive skiffs contribute to a seamless diving experience. As a result, you won’t have to break the bank for a world-class diving adventure.

What You Need to Know

The Nautilus Belle Amie is the flagship of the Nautilus Liveaboards’ fleet. From November to June, the ship takes divers to the Socorro Islands. Expect breathtaking encounters with friendly mantas, dolphins, humpback whales, pilot whales, and various shark species.

The ship boasts various rooms on different decks, accommodating 32 guests in 17 well-appointed en-suite staterooms and suites. This includes twin staterooms, triple occupancy options, premium suites, and superior suites with flexible bedding configurations. Each room is equipped with individually controlled air-conditioning.

You’ll find a spacious saloon and dining area on the main deck. There’s also a large sun deck to bask in the sun and a hot tub for relaxing between or after dives.

Meals served on board cater to diverse dietary preferences with advance notice, fusing Mexican and West Coast North American cuisine. Buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and snacks are complemented by plated buffet or family-style dinners.

Features

  • Budget: From $281/day
  • Maximum Trip Length:  11 Days / 10 Nights
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Cabins: 17
  • Maximum capacity: 32 guests
  • Rental Gear: Yes

What We Like

  • Five-star hotel experience that won’t break the bank
  • Multiple dive visits for maximum exploration
  • Friendly and professional crew
  • Great for manta ray and shark encounters

What We Don’t Like

  • Internet access requires an additional payment
  • May be crowded for those seeking an intimate experience

2. Rocio del Mar

Our Expert Opinion: Best for Socializing

Making new diver friends is easier on the Rocio del Mar Liveaboard if you’re a solo traveler. The vessel accommodates up to 20 guests, making it a conducive environment for socializing. It also ensures a seamless and enjoyable liveaboard adventure. This is achieved through a combination of breathtaking diving opportunities, comfortable accommodations, and delightful culinary experiences.

What You Need to Know

The 27m Rocio del Mar Liveaboard is amongst the best liveaboards in Socorro Island. You can encounter various marine life on the dives, including Hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins, and mantas.

With a capacity for 20 guests, the vessel features ten comfortable staterooms across two decks. And it provides private air-conditioned rooms with windows, storage space, and en-suite bathrooms.

Passenger comfort is a priority on the Rocio del Mar. So you’ll find a saloon, covered sitting area, covered sun deck, and a spacious dining area designed to minimize movement while eating. Meals and snacks served in the spacious dining area feature al fresco and vegan options.

Experienced dive masters lead all dives. Therefore, you’ll have plenty of chances to learn about the underwater world.

Features

  • Budget: $361/day
  • Maximum Trip Length: 10 days / 9 nights
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Cabins: 10
  • Maximum capacity: 20 guests
  • Rental Gear: Yes

What We Like

  • Large capacity makes it great for socializing
  • Nitrox is available for an improved diving experience
  • Nicely equipped with comfortable staterooms, an outdoor lounge area, and an interior workshop room
  • Scrumptious food
  • Fantastic crew that’s friendly, helpful, and professional

What We Don’t Like

  • No internet
  • Limited space on the sun deck
  • May have a lot of motion, even in small swells

3. Valentina

Our Expert Opinion: Best for All Large Marine Life Encounters

Whether you dream of seeing humpback whales or manta rays in their natural environment, the Valentina Liveaboard is the ideal choice. This vessel has the best itineraries for Socorro liveaboard diving. And it ensures comfort between dives with its ten air-conditioned cabins and partially covered sun deck.

What You Need to Know

The Valentina Liveaboard focuses on diving adventures to the Socorro Islands from November to May. It offers extraordinary opportunities to witness humpback whales, manta rays, and whale sharks.

Maintaining the highest standards for a remarkable journey, the Valentina is widely regarded as one of the best liveaboards in Socorro Island. The vessel has ten air-conditioned cabins accommodating 20 guests. And each cabin is equipped with an en-suite bathroom.

Moreover, the Valentina has an air-conditioned dining room. You can enjoy culinary delights from a diverse menu with Mexican, European, and Asian dishes. Additionally, an open bar provides a selection of soft drinks, cocktails, liquors, and draft beer, with some beverages incurring additional charges.

Between dives, you can relax on the partially covered sun deck. It’s also the best place to stargaze in the evening. Plus, with the dedicated crew of the Valentina, you can entrust your needs to professionals who ensure an unforgettable liveaboard holiday.

Features

  • Budget: From $368/day
  • Maximum Trip Length: 10 days / 9 nights
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Cabins: 10
  • Maximum capacity: 20 guests
  • Rental Gear: Yes

What We Like

  • Amazing airy cabins and sun deck​
  • Well-planned itineraries to maximize diving, which include several visits to dive sites
  • Excellent crew
  • The large marine life encounters

What We Don’t Like

  • Older than other liveaboards, so the transit to Socorro is slower, and engine noise is louder
  • Additional charge for internet

4. Quino el Guardian

Our Expert Opinion: Best for an Educational and Adventurous Diving Experience

The Quino el Guardian is ideal for educational and adventurous diving excursions at Socorro Island. Doubling as a scientific research ship on top of a dedicated scuba diving vessel, divers are in the hands of experts. Because of their Citizen Science Program, trips include marine biologists specializing in Marine Ecology and Humpback Whales. So, there are ample opportunities to get in-depth insights into the marine environment.

What You Need to Know

The Quino el Guardian Liveaboard is a fishing vessel transformed into a dedicated scuba diving and scientific research ship. It’s considered among the best liveaboards in Socorro Island because of its extraordinary dive excursions in the captivating Socorro Island. Experienced dive masters lead these trips.

Five cabins are on board, including four quad and one double cabin. Each cabin has privacy curtains and ample storage space. And air conditioning is provided throughout the vessel.

Communal spaces include an indoor saloon with sofas and a large partially shaded sundeck to relax between dives. In the galley, you can enjoy delectable breakfasts ranging from continental to American-style, hearty lunches, and three-course dinners.

Moreover, you can indulge in special evenings with the chef’s carne asada on the top deck. This is complemented by beverages available throughout the day, including complimentary beer and wine after the last dive.

Features

  • Budget: From $292/day
  • Maximum Trip Length: 10 days / 9 nights
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Cabins: 5
  • Maximum capacity: 16 guests
  • Rental Gear: Yes

What We Like

  • Lower capacity than other liveaboards, so it offers a more intimate experience
  • Spacious dive deck
  • Superb value for money
  • All cabins feature air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms

What We Don’t Like

  • No internet

5. Nautilus Explorer

Our Expert Opinion: Best Luxury Socorro Liveaboard

Comfort and immersive oceanic experiences characterize the Nautilus Explorer Liveaboard. The vessel focuses on safety, comfort, and unforgettable experiences. Expect amenities like en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning within the cabins, a laundry service, and a jacuzzi/hot tub. As a result, the Nautilus Explorer Liveaboard is ideal for diving enthusiasts seeking a blend of adventure and luxury.

What You Need to Know

The Nautilus Explorer Liveaboard is a 35-meter vessel that’s a pinnacle in dive boat innovation. It was purposefully crafted in 2000 for unparalleled diving experiences at Socorro Island. And it boasts safety credentials matching the largest cruise ships in the world.

The vessel is a diver’s haven accommodating 25 guests across 13 cabins. Each cabin is designed for comfort, with individually controlled AC and private en-suite bathrooms. Cabins range from cost-effective triple occupancy staterooms to luxurious premium suites.

When it’s time to get social, you can venture onto the sun decks, hot tub deck, or main saloon with panoramic windows. You can also enjoy divine culinary delights that appear in a diverse array of dishes blending European, Mexican, and North American flavors.

Encounters with giant mantas and humpback whales are a major reason the Nautilus Explorer is among the best liveaboards in Socorro Island. The vessel also has the best itineraries for Socorro liveaboard diving, providing additional activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. 

Features

  • Budget: From $294/day
  • Maximum Trip Length: 11 days / 10 nights
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Cabins: 13
  • Maximum capacity: 25 guests
  • Rental Gear: Yes

What We Like

  • Provides access to fantastic dive sites at Socorro Island
  • Vessel offers extra comfort with amenities such as a hot tub and near-silent generators
  • The crew is highly praised for their professionalism and the quality of service they provide

What We Don’t Like

  • Internet and alcoholic beverages are available at an additional cost
  • Has a capacity of 25 guests, which some may find crowded

Socorro Island 101

Socorro is one of four islands within the Revillagigedos archipelago in the Tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean. Its neighbors include Roca Partida, Clarion, and San Benedicto.

Located approximately 250 miles (400 km) from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Socorro is the largest island in the archipelago. It’s also a haven for enthusiasts of large marine life. In fact, it’s famous for its giant oceanic manta rays.

Therefore, Socorro is the ideal diving destination if you’re a huge fan of diverse marine species such as dolphins, silkies, whale sharks, and humpback whales. However, the underwater landscape lacks colorful coral reefs, characterized instead by volcanic features and visible geothermal activity.

The island’s remote nature requires a combination of air, road, and sea travel for international divers. Plus, there are no hotels on the island, so liveaboard diving is the sole option for exploration, which typically spans 7 to 10 nights.

First, you’ll fly to Cabo San Lucas, then take a 45-minute drive to board a 24-hour liveaboard to Socorro Island. Although surface conditions vary, the unparalleled biodiversity makes the journey worthwhile.

Socorro Island diving adventures are best for experienced divers. This is due to the challenging underwater conditions that include occasional surges and currents. Moreover, dives can go as deep as 60 meters.

The best time of year for Socorro is from November to May. This is when you can experience notable events like humpback whale migrations from late January to early April. And it’s the best time to see hammerhead sharks.

Water temperatures range from 70 to 79°F (21 to 26°C). Therefore, a 3 mm or 5 mm wetsuit is best in the warmer months, while cooler months dictate 5/7 mm or 7 mm.

Why Choose a Socorro Island Liveaboard?

With destinations like Cairns, the Galapagos Islands, and the Red Sea, divers are spoiled for choice when it comes to liveaboard diving. Socorro Island is another spot that has stolen the hearts of many divers for the following reasons.

Remote Setting

Popular dive sites often have the disadvantage of attracting divers from near and far. This leads to crowds and less intimate dive experiences.

Given its remote nature, Socorro has the advantage of being secluded, unlike other dive destinations. Therefore, you can escape the busyness and enjoy high-quality diving experiences.

Unique Dive Sites

Spectacular dive sites surround Socorro. From O’Neal Rock to Punta Tosca, your Socorro liveaboard experience won’t disappoint. Besides a diverse range of marine life, you can bask in the unique topography of the dive sites, which includes lava fingers and pinnacles. These views make for a beautiful and awe-inspiring diving experience.

On most liveaboards, you get to explore those sites multiple times. Therefore, if you’re looking to spot specific marine life, there’s a great chance you will.

Large, Diverse Marine Life Encounters

A wide range of marine life surrounds Socorro Island. This is because Socorro is far off the shore of Mexico in a remote location. Plus, it’s a protected biosphere reserve, and several conservation organizations are working to preserve the unique wildlife in the area.

Therefore, Socorro is your best bet if you want to experience a diverse range of aquatic life in an unspoiled environment. These are some typical marine animals you may encounter during your liveaboard adventure:

  • Giant oceanic manta rays
  • Humpback whales
  • Hammerhead sharks
  • Silky sharks
  • Bottlenose dolphins
  • Oceanic manta rays
  • Schooling hammerheads
  • Whale sharks
  • Dolphin-like porpoises
  • Various fish species like pufferfish, Moorish idols, and needlefish
  • Coral reefs and sponges

Memorable Moments

Diving in Socorro makes for a memorable time that will stay with you for years to come. You can have up-close-and-personal encounters with marine life, providing unforgettable experiences. In fact, manta rays can come as close as 1 meter, and they don’t mind massages by the bubbles on their bellies.


Main Dive Sites for Liveaboard Diving in Socorro

The best itineraries for Socorro liveaboard diving comprise three primary dive sites surrounding Socorro Island: O’Neal Rock, Cabo Pearce, and Punta Tosca. Each offers a unique diving experience, with Cabo Pearce being the most sought-after. Let’s explore each briefly below.

O’Neal Rock (Roca O’Neal)

Also known as Hammerhead Central, O’Neal Rock is a must-see dive site during Socorro Island diving. Besides the ever-present hammerheads, you can encounter grays, silkies, and Galapagos sharks.

Venturing farther away from the typical pelagic fish on the plateau at 33 – 39 feet, you can see smaller critters like lobsters. There’s also a cavern worth photographing. 

Cabo Pearce

Cabo Pearce is renowned for diving at Socorro Island. It was formed by lava flow when the island was an active volcano. The long finger of a rock extends off the island’s east coast and stretches into the current.

Expect massive schools of hammerheads and other pelagic fish like manta rays and silky sharks. Plus, mantas and dolphins in this area are used to interacting with divers. Therefore, they will come to you.

While it’s a must-see, Cabo Pearce is recommended for experienced divers. This is because strong currents run either from south to north or vice versa. As a result, it’s best to drop down and take shelter between the rocks. Sometimes, you might even see some animals cruising by with the current.

Punta Tosca

Punta Tosca is a series of lava fingers that create a beautiful underwater landscape. The popular dive site is known for its rich assortment of marine life, including friendly dolphins, mantas, singing whales, and hammerheads.

Visibility in Punta Tosca is typically very good. The seas are primarily calm, so the diving conditions are pleasant enough to acclimate to the area. But it extends pretty deep, so you must remain conscious of depth.

Also, compared to the other dive sites in the Revillagigedos, it has more coral. Therefore, it’s more colorful and ideal for divers who want to see more than marine life while liveaboard diving in Socorro.

Takeaway

Socorro Island is the largest island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago in the Mexican Pacific. It’s renowned for its big pelagic fish, offering encounters like diving with dolphins, humpback whales, and Pacific manta rays. Because of its remote nature and protected status, it’s home to marine life you may not encounter in other regions.

The best way to explore Socorro is by liveaboard. It takes about 24 hours to reach the island from the coast, depending on the liveaboard. The best liveaboards in Socorro Island include Nautilus Belle Amie, Rocio del Mar, Valentine, Quino el Guardian, and Nautilus Explorer.

Furthermore, November to May is the best time of year for Socorro. Not only will you encounter all the large pelagics, but you will also experience seasonal events like humpback whale migrations. Due to the strong currents of most dive sites, Socorro is recommended for advanced divers with at least 50 dives.

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