Scuba Diving Central and South America
To describe scuba diving Mexico and Central America is to describe the entire range of diving experiences in the world. “Diving in Latin America has it all” .
On the Pacific coast, the Sea of Cortez hosts some of the most impressive marine animals in the world. There are up to 9 species of whales that migrate there. You will find Manta rays, mobula rays, multiple species of sharks and schools of reef fish and pelagics.
Further south on the Pacific side, the Socorro Islands, then Cocos Island, then Malpello Island and finally the Galapoagos are a long chain of widely separated islands that form a super highway for several species of sharks that migrate along it Whale sharks abound throughout this corridor, moving wherever plankton is the richest.
Further south along the Pacific coast finds water rapidly becoming colder. Peru and Chile both have diving that resembles the Pacific Northwest of North America. Hundreds of species of most underwater inhabitants abound. Cold water diving recreational diving is even beginning to develop in the far south of Chile.
Around Cape Horn and up the East side of South America begins much like the Pacific side. Cold water in much of Argentina brings whales, sharks, killer whales, seals and sea lions and large schools of pelagic fish.
The further north you move, the warmer is the water and diving becomes more frequent. Brazil has plenty of spots that are teaming with marine life and where divers are frequent. Venezuela boasts Los Roques as it’s most famous dive destination.
Columbia has excellent diving all along the Caribbean coast and leads into the more famous diving destinations of Central America.
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Mexico – As a big country with waters in the Caribbean and the Pacific, Mexico has many diving attractions. The Guadalupe Island in the Pacific for Great White Shark. The Sea of Cortez is a famous place for visits of some of the biggest creatures of the oceans (whale, whaleshark). The Riviera Maya is a tourist district in the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula and includes top diving places from Islas Mujeres, Cozumel and the several mysterious Cenotes, a sinkhole in the Earth’s surface with a chain of underground river networks. Don’t forget the Galapagos of Mexico, the Revillagigedo Archipelago, more commonly called Socorro.
Belize – Belize may be one of the smallest nations in Central America, but it’s home to the world’s second-longest barrier reef and three of only four true coral atolls in the western hemisphere. Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker – The largest and most popular of the 200 Belize offshore cayes, The Belize Atolls – Located outside the barrier reef. Placencia Reef & South Coast – The jumping off point for unbelievable whale shark encounters. Belize City & St. Georges Caye
Honduras – Diving in Honduras is a must for scuba diving enthusiasts and beginners alike. The Bay Islands is home to over 95% of the Caribbean’s coral and fish species, so is one of the most diverse areas of the Caribbean. The reef surrounding the Bay Islands forms part of the Meso American Reef (the second largest barrier reef system in the world) and is home to a rich diversity of both corals and fish life. Roatan is the largest of the Honduras’ Bay Islands; the others being Utila, Guanaja and Cayos Cochinos (a couple of small islands and islets).
Costa Rica – While the Caribbean coast has yet to develop a serious scuba diving infrastructure, diving off the Pacific Coast is nothing short of spectacular. The Cocos Islands – The underwater world of this national park has become famous due to the attraction it holds for divers, who rate it as one of the best places in the world to view large pelagic species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins.
Panama – “Think of the number of fish you have seen elsewhere and double it. Think about the size of the fish you have seen and double that as well. That sums up the promise of diving Coiba”.
Looking for sharks? Nowhere else in the world you can dive with so many sharks and big fish. You will see schools of hammerheads and silky sharks, plus a variety of other shark species, like the Galapagos shark, whale shark and white-tip shark, together with huge schools of other big fish species. Diving Malpelo Island is shark diving at its finest!
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