With its mountainous desert landscapes, rocky reefs, and pinnacles, Baja is a favorite destination for REEF surveyors. This special charter is only offered only three times each year and provides a rare opportunity to explore both the northern and southern Sea of Cortez over a 12-night span. The marine life varies greatly from north to south, and the diversity of nudibranchs, rays, eels, octopuses, blennies, jawfish, and more make it easy to understand why Jacques Costeau nicknamed this region "the world's aquarium." In addition to numerous fish and invertebrates, attendees may also see pilot and sperm whales while in transit and have the opportunity to snorkel with whale sharks and dive with curious sea lions. The plankton-rich currents of the Pacific along the coast of California and Mexico, along with the sheltered waters of the Sea of Cortez, also create a chance to encounter manta and mobula rays. The Rocio del Mar is a family-owned liveaboard and a longtime partner of REEF. The boat is a spacious 110-foot vessel with an excellent crew. You can view detailed information about this special Explore Baja itinerary here.

Project Focus: This purpose of this trip is to conduct fish surveys to support REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Click here to learn more about participating in fish surveys on a REEF Field Survey Trip!

Best Suited For: Divers.

Accommodations: The Rocio del Mar sleeps 20 passengers. There are 10 air-conditioned cabins onboard, which sleep two people each. Six cabins have two twin bunks, two cabins have a full bed and twin bunk, and two cabins have a double bed. Each cabin has drawers for storage, as well as space under the bottom bunks and clothing/towel hooks. Each cabin also has a private bathroom with shower.

Diving: Diving will begin on Sept. 25 and end on Oct. 5, with 3-4 dives scheduled each day, depending on the conditions and specific location throughout the charter. The Sea of Cortez is a dynamic body of water and this charter covers such a broad area that the water temperature will vary throughout the trip. An average surface water temperature is 85 degrees F, but please keep in mind that thermoclines are prevalent in the Sea of Cortez. A 3-5mm wetsuit is recommended. All divers are required to have a dive computer, safety sausage (SMB) and a whistle. All diving is done from two inflatable zodiacs. 80 cubic foot tanks, weights and weight belts are included in the cost of the charter. Nitrox is available by request for $120 per person. Proof of dive certification and dive insurance is required for diving.

Pricing, Inclusions, and Other Fees

$4,495 per diver based on double occupancy.

Your Package Includes: The trip package includes 12 nights onboard the Rocio del Mar, 11 days of diving including tanks, weights, and weight belts, all meals and snacks onboard, non-alcoholic beverages, local beer and wine, marine park fees, and port fees.

REEF Program Fee: A REEF Program Fee of $300 will be added to each package to cover the cost of the group leader, seminar, and REEF survey materials. The REEF Program Fee applies to all divers and any attendee age 18 or older.

Additional Fees - Not Included: $28 National Park fee (paid onboard), all flights and associated travel to and from Mexico, hotels in transit, transfers, optional Nitrox for $120, optional rental gear. Gratuities are not included in the trip package and are at each individual's discretion.


To reserve your space, email trips@REEF.org or call 305-588-5869. A $500 per person deposit will be due to confirm your reservation. Visit our Trip Policies page for more information on deposit and payment schedules. 

Mexico Travel Info

Insurance: Travel insurance is not included. REEF strongly recommends that each participant purchase adequate dive travel insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. REEF partners with both DiveAssure and DAN to offer travel insurance packages specifically for divers. REEF will receive a portion of the proceeds from travel insurance purchases when you click on the following affiliate links for DiveAssure or DAN.

How to Get There: This trip is a one-way crossing. The trip embarks on Sept. 24 in Puerto Penasco and disembarks on Oct. 6 in San Jose del Cabo. At the start of the trip, the Rocio del Mar will be located at the Marina Fonatur in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. Marina Fonatur is approximately a 4-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) is the most convenient and closest airport to fly into to reach the port. Participants should ensure that their flights arrive in Phoenix no later than 11am on Sept. 24 in order to catch the shuttle, which departs at 1pm (details below.) Participants will disembark in San Jose del Cabo at 8:30am on Oct. 6. Return flights should be booked out of San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos Airport (SJD). Participants are responsible for booking their own airfare. REEF is not able to book air travel for participants.

Transfers: Transfers are not included in the cost of the trip. Rocio del Mar coordinates transportation services to and from Phoenix and Marina Fonatur through Head Out to Rocky Point. This shuttle service has 15 passenger vans that haul trailers for dive gear. The cost for the shuttle is $125 per person, payable directly to Head Out to Rocky Point. Payment will be made prior to the trip. If you require this service, please indicate this on your Rocio del Mar passenger forms, which you will be prompted to complete a few months before the trip. At the end of the trip, the crew will assist with arranging taxis to the airport or a hotel in San Jose del Cabo.

Passports, Documentation and Visas:  Visitors to Mexico are required to have a current passport with at least one blank page. U.S. citizens visiting Mexico for less than 180 days do not require a visa. Please refer to the appropriate consulate for requirements to enter Mexico.

COVID-19 Considerations: It is the participant's responsibility to ensure that they understand and comply with all local requirements (for entry and visit as a tourist) of the host destination, and for exit and entry requirements for their home country. Be prepared for your plans to change. Be sure your travel insurance covers COVID-related issues. No travel is risk-free during the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example, due to a new COVID-19 variant. Please be aware that REEF is not a travel agent. We are doing our best to interpret the information provided by our trip vendor and the host country’s government COVID-19 webpages. We encourage everyone to do their own research, interpretation, and due diligence. Please see REEF’s COVID-19 Considerations and Vaccine Policies section in our REEF Field Survey Trips Policies page for more information.