is the best time to go?
airlines fly there and to what airport?
||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.
travel documents do I need for immigration?
||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.
do I go when I arrive?
||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.
is the difference between the standard and superior rooms?
||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
I arrive one day prior?
||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.
clothes should I bring?
||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
about scuba equipment? What dive gear will I need?
|| 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.
kind of wetsuit 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.
you have nitrox?
||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
I come in early or stay later what about hotels?
||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
kind of meals and beverages do you serve onboard?
|| 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.
||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.
charges will I be responsible for onboard?
||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!
||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
Solmar V accept credit cards onboard?
||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
is the current exchange rate?
||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.
is the onboard voltage?
exchange rate for the U.S. dollar to the Mexican
peso is 10 U.S. to one peso.
about the crossings?
is 110 AC, just like in the United States.
about waivers and insurance?
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.
kind of communication system do you have onboard?
||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.
is included in the trip?
The Solmar V is in daily contact with either our local or U.S. office. We also have an onboard satellite communications system for emergency use.
crew do you have onboard?
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.
||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