Diving around the Guerrero coast in Mexico
Mexico's beautiful Guerrero coast is well known for its white sand beaches, stunning rock formations, endless jungles, and clear blue waters. Though much of the coastline remains wild, divers in the know have been exploring these areas for years...
Diving here is strictly seasonal, and you have to know where to go... but the area has no shortage of marine life. Plenty of the big stuff passes through with regular visits from whale sharks, eagle rays, dolphins, and occasionally a sunfish! However, the area is also well known for its smaller species and macro. This part of the Pacific coast also boasts some stunning underwater topography with swim throughs, sea caves, and canyons!
Our dives around Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo were exciting, rewarding, and challenging. No doubt, when you dive here you are in the Pacific! Not only can the water be cold, but visibility is generally low, and strong currents are present. So, why dive here? Visitors can expect all kinds of aquatic encounters large and small, dive sites are uncrowded, and farther flung locations make for exciting all day adventures!
Some of our favorite dive sites in the area were:
Caleta de chon is a small and protected cove, famous for its macro.
While it is not uncommon to spot a Pacific seahorse anywhere in the area, this dive site is your best opportunity! These masters of disguise are typically hiding along the rubble bottom fringing the coral reef. They use their curled tails to hold on tight, and can be found in shades of brown, yellow, grey, and gold. The cove is also an excellent location for decorator or "orangutan" crabs. These tiny crustaceans cover their bodies with red algae and small plants as a disguise. Then, they hunker down in the sand and pretend to be a rock or shell covered with debris. This sandy bottom is also a wonderful place to search for jawfish. These mouthbrooders build elaborate burrows decorated with shells and stones. Many species can be found here, but the most photogenic are the blue spotted and fine spotted varieties. The cove has generally calm conditions and a maximum depth of 14 meters, making it perfect for beginners as well as photographers.
The nearby underwater boulder field called Sacramento is also an excellent dive site for beginners or advanced divers. There are countless ways to explore the area, some featuring narrow squeezes and swim throughs! This rock garden is an outstanding place to find a variety of eels. The zebra moray is encountered on nearly every dive. The sandy areas here are also a great place to spot a variety of rays. One of our favorites to photograph, the ocellated electric ray can be found in the sand and rocks along the reef. Mobulas and eagle rays are frequently spotted out in the blue. Some areas of this site are quite deep, and make for interesting topographical adventures for the more advanced diver. Strong surge and currents are frequently present here, but shelter is easily found in the boulders.
Just outside the bay of Las Gatas, the solitary rock is one of Zihuatanejo's most popular dive sites. The nearly vertical walls here are home to large shoals of reef fish such as moorish idols and damselfish, as well as lovely soft coral gardens. The challenging conditions here generally keep inexperienced divers away, but there are occasionally calm days more suitable for novices. Large pelagics can be seen passing in the blue, though visibility can be low at times. This site's real treasures are found in cracks and crevices, so make sure to bring a flashlight! We found at least one octopus on every dive here.
The real treasure of the area is Los Morros de Potosí. These islands are an hour long boat ride from the coast, making them a day trip for two tanks. But, the trip is more than worthwhile! The islands themselves are quite interesting to look at above water, and are the most topographically enjoyable for diving along the Guerrero coast. Here, we made our way through large and small rocky areas, swim throughs, mazes, and walls. The options were limitless! Turtles are often found in the shallows, as is an exciting variety of macro life. Many dive sites here extend well beyond 30 meters, and are suitable for exploration by more technical divers. We encountered strong currents, swells, and surge on all of our dives in the area.
Divers in the area should plan a few days to explore the closer sites, and a minimum of one trip out to Potosi. We found the diving to be a great value, and felt like we really had the sites to ourselves. It won't be long before the tourist crowds find this little slice of paradise on the Pacific!
This article above is written by @Jessica Merrill (PADI Instructor #351781), please give respect to her copyright!
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