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Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to go?
  Because we dive three very distinct and different areas, you have the opportunity to dive all three destinations at their best. The Sea of Cortez is best July through November, the Socorro Islands (correctly called The Revillagigedos Islands) are best November through May and Guadalupe Island is best August through October. For specific water conditions and marine life encounters, please go to the Solmar V home page and search by area.
What airlines fly there and to what airport?
  The international airport for our home port in Cabo San Lucas for our Sea of Cortez and Socorro trips is San Jose del Cabo, Mexico (airline code SJD). This is the same airport used by all visitors to the Los Cabos area. It is about a 45 minute drive from the airport to Cabo San Lucas. Most major U.S. airlines fly directly into this airport. In general, the airlines to check out are Alaska, American, Frontier, US Airways, Mexicana, Delta, Continental and United. There are many direct flights from gateway cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago and New York (out of Newark on Continental) so you can start from anywhere and get to us quite easily through these gateway cities. There are also convenient connections through San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, to name just a few. For our Guadalupe Island trips, you will fly in and out of San Diego and we will provide transportation to and from Ensenada, Mexico, where Solmar V is stationed for these trips.
What travel documents do I need for immigration?
  As of January 2007, all U.S. citizens require a passport for travel in and out of Mexico. Detailed information can be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html You will be asked to fill out a tourist card on the plane and present this to the immigration officials in Mexico. A temporary visa for entry into Mexico will be issued at the Los Cabos airport. Hold onto this visa because you will be asked to turn it back in as you depart Mexico. For other nationalities, you should ask your airline or call the Mexican Consulate in your area. With so many recent changes to travel policies and requirements, these requirements are subject to change so check before you begin your travel plans.
Where do I go when I arrive?
  Upon reservation confirmation, we will send you a pre-trip information sheet. If you do not receive it, please ask us for it. This will describe arrival procedures. Basically, once you clear Mexican immigration and collect your bags from the luggage carousel, you will proceed through customs. After clearing customs, if we have arranged for your prepaid transportation then just outside the terminal please look for a sign from Cape Travel, our local transport company. If you are handling your own transportation into Cabo San Lucas, then look for the Authorized Taxi booth where you can purchase shuttle tickets to the Hotel Solmar Suites (pick up point for Solmar V). It is about a 45 minute ride into town. At the Hotel Solmar Suites, check in at the front desk and they will direct you to the waiting area for our Solmar V guests. A Solmar V representative will arrive about 1 PM to start check-in procedures, then at about 2:30PM your group will be taken in an air conditioned van to the boat, about a 5 minute drive. The Solmar V departure time is usually between 3 – 4 PM, depending on the incoming flight schedules of our passengers. If your flight arrives late and you need to go directly to the boat, we are docked at “I” dock in the marina in Cabo San Lucas, behind Caliente Sports Bar.
What is the difference between the standard and superior rooms?
  The main difference is location and size. Both categories have the same amenities including private head/shower, air conditioning, TV/DVD player. The standard rooms are located in the bow of the boat and the superior rooms are in the middle. The mid-section of all boats has less motion than the bow section. If you are prone to motion sickness, a superior room is recommended. The superior rooms are also a little bigger but not greatly so.
Should I arrive one day prior?
  The boat usually leaves port in Cabo San Lucas between 3-4PM, so as long as your flight lands by 1PM the day of departure you should have plenty of time to get to the boat. Many clients enjoy the fact that they can board a plane for Los Cabos today and be diving with mantas tomorrow! Clients traveling farther distances and using multiple flights with one or more connections might consider arriving a day earlier to make sure their luggage makes the connections. We do not accept responsibility for your missing the boat due to airline delays. Travel insurance is recommended.
What clothes should I bring?
  On all live-aboard dive trips, packed clothing should be kept to a minimum as cabin space is usually limited. You will be in your swimsuit most of the trip and shorts and t-shirts are the common dress. We ask that you appear at all meals in dry clothes, as all meals are sit-down in the main salon. In the Sea of Cortez, daytime air temp should be in the 80’s or even 90’s, and the evenings are bit cooler so a light sweatshirt will work well. At Socorro and Guadalupe, daytime temps will be in the 70’s or 80’s and we can have cooler evenings here so one pair of sweat pants, and a Polartec, sweatshirt or sweater is a good idea. Be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.
What about scuba equipment? What dive gear will I need?
 

For the Sea of Cortez and Socorro trips, the price includes tanks (aluminum 80’s), weights and a weight belt. We now require but do not provide dive computers on our Sea of Cortez and Socorro trips. Additional equipment can be rented for the week BEFORE you leave the dock. PLEASE advise us when making your Solmar V reservation that you will need to rent equipment. Equipment is rented from Amigos Del Mar dive store in the town of Cabo San Lucas and runs about $60/trip/item. These rates may change depending on the trip so please reconfirm when making reservations. We are not permitted by law to dive with gloves, dive knives or lights that are not attached to your camera at Socorro, but this equipment is permitted in the Sea of Cortez. We also have extra equipment on board in case your equipment should fail. This equipment is rented on a daily basis when needed. Underwater photography or video equipment is not available at this time and you should be completely self-contained when it comes to this equipment. Rule of thumb when packing is to pack light but keep in mind that “it is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” For the Guadalupe trips, you will be breathing from a hookah and need only bring wetsuit, booties, gloves, hood and mask. You will not need fins or a BCD or a regulator.

What kind of wetsuit will I need?
  The ocean temps at Socorro usually range from 78F-82F in November, 70F-74F in Feb/March and then 76F–80F in April and May. Depending on what time of year you join us for the Socorro trips, we’d recommend a 3mm or 5mm in the warmer months, and a 5/7mm or a 7mm in the cooler months. A lot of our guests also pack a vest and hood or a vest with an attached hood in case we run into thermoclines during the cooler months. We are not permitted by law to dive with gloves at Socorro. The Sea of Cortez water temps are generally warmer with an average of around 72F-75F in June, 75F-80F in July and early August, warming to 80F-85F in late August/Sept and October. We frequently dive the warmer months in the Sea of Cortez with 3mm shorties. It is always better to layer your wetsuits so that you can use part or all to adjust for water temps. For the Guadalupe trips, the water temp averages 65F-70F so be sure to pack your gloves, hood and booties plus either a drysuit or a very good 7mm. Guests rotate in and out of the shark cages every hour.
Do you have nitrox?
  We do have Nitrox aboard Solmar V. The charge for Nitrox is $125 per diver per trip. The charge for the PADI EAD Nitrox certification course is $195 plus $75 to dive Nitrox for the remainder of your trip. Please note that we accept no credit cards aboard Solmar V at this time, only cash or travelers checks.
If I come in early or stay later what about hotels?
  Since we are not a travel agency, we cannot book general hotel rooms. We are able to book the following hotels through our U.S. office: Solmar Suites, Playa Grande Resort and Best Western Quinta del Sol. Please note that during high season in Los Cabos, the Solmar Suites and Playa Grande Resort require a 3-night minimum stay. For more information on these fine hotels, please visit their individual websites. Also, be sure to book your hotel in Cabo San Lucas not San Jose del Cabo. The entire area is now called Los Cabos. Because Solmar V is docked in the marina in Cabo San Lucas, a hotel in town is preferred.
What kind of meals and beverages do you serve onboard?
  We must be doing something right because we get consistent rave reviews for the gourmet cuisine aboard Solmar V. Our menus vary and feature a combination of American and Mexican cuisine, using fresh, locally grown ingredients as much as possible. We offer a variety of cooked-to-order choices for breakfast and you can always count on fresh tropical fruit platters, icy cold fruit juice, yogurt, pastries, an assortment of cereals, teas and fresh-brewed and very strong, Mexican-style coffee. Solmar V is one of the few luxury live-aboards that serves a three-course meal for lunch. Our's always begins with a fresh, homemade soup (our chef, Tony, is famous for his soups!), followed by a main course and then a delicious dessert. After an afternoon snack and cocktails (watch out for the margaritas!), you'll be ready for your relaxing dinner aboard Solmar V. We begin with a fresh salad, then either chicken or fresh fish or beef, always a fresh vegetable or two followed by another decadent dessert. All beverages, including beer and wine with your meals, are included. Since alcohol and diving don't mix, be prepared to snorkel for the remainder of the day if you choose to drink alcohol before dive ops have closed for the day. Our chef prepares delicious snacks in the mornings and afternoons and especially takes pride in his fresh, Mexican-style hot chocolate. We always have available fresh fruit, cold fruit juices, sodas, fresh-brewed coffee, and both hot tea and iced tea. We can easily accommodate any special requests such as food allergies, a vegetarian menu, heavy on the fresh salads, etc if you inform us of your needs before your trip. We understand that a live aboard experience is eat-sleep-and-dive and we do our very best to ensure that each of these experiences aboard Solmar V is memorable for you.
What about smoking?
  Although we discourage smoking for reasons we're all aware of at this point, we understand that some guests are still wrestling with it, so we allow smoking on the sundeck only. We ask that our smoking guests be considerate of our non-smoking guests. You're outnumbered!
What charges will I be responsible for onboard?
  Solmar V includes all port fees, fuel surcharges and park fees in the price of your trip so you will not be asked to pay for these upon your arrival. We also include beer and wine. We ask all guests for a $15 local chamber fee, payable IN CASH once you board the boat. If you are Nitrox certified and wish to dive Nitrox during your trip, there will be a charge of $125 IN CASH onboard. We offer PADI EAD Nitrox courses for a charge of $195 and an extra $75 to dive Nitrox after you are certified. Beer and wine are included in the price of your trip, but if you wish to drink hard liquor there will be an extra charge. We also sell Solmar V T shirts onboard and of course, our crew works hard for and greatly appreciates your tips.
What about tips?
  While we feel that tipping is a very personal decision and should reflect the service you received, we are always asked to give tipping guidelines. In general, we suggest a tip of 10-15% of the cost of your trip. The tips are given to the captain and divided evenly among the crew at the end of your trip. We ask that your tips be in cash or travelers checks, we accept no credit cards or personal checks aboard Solmar V.
Does Solmar V accept credit cards onboard?
  NO WE DO NOT. Once onboard the boat, you are welcome to pay for your extras and the crew tip in cash or travelers checks. We accept no credit cards or personal checks aboard Solmar V at this time.
What is the current exchange rate?
  The general exchange rate for the U.S. dollar to the Mexican peso is 10 U.S. to one peso.
What is the onboard voltage?
  Onboard voltage is 110 AC, just like in the United States.
What about the crossings?
  The crossing to and from Socorro (The Revillagigedos Islands) from Cabo San Lucas takes about 22-24 hours, depending on weather conditions. Although most of the crossings are in calm seas, we are crossing in open ocean conditions so precaution against motion sickness is advised. We have sometimes experienced rough seas heading uphill from Socorro to Cabo. The crossing from Ensenada, Mexico to Guadalupe Island is around 16-18 hours and the same advisory applies. During our Sea of Cortez trips, the crossings are much shorter and usually in calm seas.
What about waivers and insurance?
  You will be asked to present your scuba certification card when you sign in with the Solmar V divemasters once onboard the boat. We have a "no C-card, no diving, no exceptions" policy. You will also be asked to read and sign the Solmar V Liability and Release form when you board the boat. Solmar V requires that you show proof of dive accident insurance, which you can purchase from DAN, PADI and other agencies. We strongly suggest that you purchase travel/trip cancellation insurance and that you read this policy carefully. We recommend going to www.insuremytrip.com if you wish to compare pricing for your travel insurance.
What kind of communication system do you have onboard?
 

The Solmar V is in daily contact with either our local or U.S. office. We also have an onboard satellite communications system so that you can make and receive emails (using an email address you set up with our communications company) and make phone calls by setting up an account using your credit card once onboard Solmar V.

What is included in the trip?
  Included in the price of your trip are all port fees, fuel surcharges and park fees. Also included are your accommodations, all meals and snacks, all beverages including beer and wine, a certified divemaster in the water at all times, tanks, weights, weight belts and air fills.
What crew do you have onboard?
  The Solmar V crew has worked together for many, many years and each crew member contributes something unique and necessary to your trip. We have a permanent crew of 10 that consists of captain, engineer, chef, cabin steward, 3 divemasters and 3 pangeros/ deckhands. We are exceptionally proud of the hardworking, talented and seamless crew aboard Solmar V and we can assure you that their team effort will provide you with the most excellent service anywhere.
Photo by Donald Tipton
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