There are two major dive boats currently operating out of La Paz
best of my knowledge): the Don José and the Rio Rita.
The Marisla, one of the first live-aboard sport diving operations
in the Sea of Cortez (if not anywhere), was damaged beyond
reasonable repair in the summer of 2001, and will no longer be
available for dive trips.
There are also some smaller operations running day trips
on pangas to the most popular dive sites just north of La Paz.
Caution. If safety is one of your concerns as a diver,
as it should be, then I would recommend that you make sure the
operator of your panga is knowledgeable about diving
techniques and problems. I've seen a few dangerous situations
develop with divers going out in a panga with a single operator
who, it would appear, knew nothing beyond being able to operate the
The prime diving season in this area is July-November. Generally, at
this time the water is clearest (there may be exceptions depending on
the amount of recent rainfall), and also the water is warmest. Nothing
like diving in 85 degree water!
I am most familiar with the Marisla since the owners are old
friends as well as landlords (I permanently keep a travel
trailer in their RV park). I am not much of a diver due to an
ear that does not clear well, but I enjoy snorkeling and, most
of all, boating. I have made several trips on the Marisla as an
informal guest. Although the Marisla is no longer running, my
experiences in diving the area near La Paz have all been
A new entry to the La Paz dive-boat business is
They currently operate two high-speed boats on day trips to the
major dive areas just north of La Paz. These are open,
shade-covered boats with fresh-water showers. Each boat can take
up to 18 divers. They apparently also offer overnight trips with
camping on Isla Espiritu Santo.
Another new entry to the scuba diving business in La Paz is the
Cortez Club. They operate
from a new dock at the Howard Johnson's (formerly the La Concha) Hotel north of the city of La
Paz. Besides day boats, they have a cabin cruiser available for
groups of up to six divers. There is much promotional
information available on the website linked above.
The Rio Rita makes day trips out of La
Paz to the closest islands - I believe a one-week trip will have the
group staying in a hotel (e.g., the Los Arcos) and then taking the boat
back and forth to the islands each day. The boat is operated by
with offices in La Paz.
The Don José offers live-aboard trips on a reservations
only basis (i.e., making sure they have a "full" boat). On a
one-week trip the first and last days and nights are spent in a
hotel. The boat is medium large (larger than the Rio Rita and
smaller than the Marisla) and is fairly modern. This boat is
also operated by