FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Our Socorro season runs from November to June each year.

The conditions will be steady and are good throughout the entire season – unless, in very rare circumstances, there is a storm/hurricane that passes by. The crossing can be bumpy, but once we are there we anchor in calm bays. On this trip the only totally exposed site is Roca Partida.

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 fairly 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.

Socorro’s resident marine life are giant mantas, bottlenose dolphins, clarion angelfish, 10+ shark species like hammerhead sharks, whitetip sharks, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks and many more. November-December and May-June are the prime months for whale shark encounters and from December to April our guests can encounter humpback whales. Additionally, we see some occasional guests like false killer whales, yellowfin tuna or tiger sharks.

Diving in Socorro is known to be one of the top three big animal destinations of the world besides Galapagos and Cocos Islands. Our guests will have magical encounters with pelagic wildlife and additional hard and soft coral can be found. Roca Partida in the southwest area, has one of the few vertical coral reefs in the Eastern Pacific.

Mexican law forbids people to jump in the water with certain types of cetaceans, which includes most whales. The Solmar V abides by the Mexican Government requirements and does everything in our power not to disturb the wildlife. Sometimes during whale season, as we have guests in the water with dolphins, a whale nearby can get curious and come to say hello. We are dealing with wildlife and cannot guarantee an encounter like this, but it does happen every so often. If you are interested in whales, we highly recommend adding a Cabo day tour extension to your trip. Our team will happily assist in setting this up for you.

Absolutely you can join. However not all dive spots are ideal to snorkel. Whenever the weather and on-site conditions allow it, we will take you snorkeling. Additionally, our crew can take you on panga rides to enjoy nature.

The 11-day trip itinerary is similar to the 9-day itinerary. Our boat will spend more time at the dive spots, but we usually do not have a set itinerary, since the captain chooses the additional dive sites to give the divers the best experience. Weather Conditions and other Liveaboards are the main factor in his consideration. We want every diver to have the best experience on the trip.

On a regular basis, our navigation goes from Cabo San Lucas in line to the 193 degrees, and we normally head to San Benedicto Island first which is the closest island to shore. After that, and taking into consideration the weather and the presence of other vessels, we navigate to Socorro Island and Roca Partida. On every single trip you will be greeted by our Captain, who will brief you on the Voyage plan. At dinner, he will also present updates for the next day.

DIVING QUESTIONS

The water temperatures vary between 74°F (23°C) and 80°F (27°C) throughout the season.

Socorro Islands Dive Trips are recommended and required for divers with a minimum of 50 logged dives (National Park Regulations). We require our guests to be Advanced Open Water certified or Open Water certified with the Deep Specialty. We offer PADI Deep Adventure Dives for divers not meeting the certification requirements yet. And as always, it is at the Captain and Crew’s discretion to reserve the right to refuse any guest to participate in certain dives that may be beyond the experience level required.

Our divers need to make the following.
– Our guests must be able to do a back roll off the panga and into the water.
– Our guests must be able to do their safety stop without the assistance of an anchor line.
– Our guests must feel comfortable with some currents and blue diving without seeing the bottom of the ocean
– Our Guests must be comfortable with experiencing big animal encounters because the wildlife can be very friendly. Divers have also experienced bottlenose dolphins swimming close and hovering vertically (they enjoy close interaction with humans). When close encounters with wildlife happen, the diver must maintain the presence of mind to continue monitoring their diving profile. With respect to the wildlife and National Park regulations, touching animals is prohibited.

Touching the wildlife in Socorro is strictly forbidden. Our dive guides will brief you accordingly on the boat and if you fail to comply we might deny you from further diving.

We are a child friendly operator, though we cannot allow any minors to dive in Socorro without their parents. Additionally there are depth limitations, if you consider bringing your child you might need to hire a private guide.

The SOLMAR V has a state-of-the-art titanium Nitrox membrane system installed. Unlimited Nitrox is included in our trip costs and mandatory from November 2023 onwards. The charge for the PADI Nitrox certification course on board is $250. If you choose to do the PADI e-learning prior to our trip, please contact our trip preparation specialist to assist with this and you can then finish the practical portion on board the Solmar V.

Our dive group size depends on the occupancy of the trip. We comply with the National Marine Park laws at all times and have at least one divemaster per 8 divers.

Most of the Dives are from inflatable pangas instead of directly off the Solmar V. Anchor positions are set by the National Park Management and are normally at least 5 minutes from the Dive Sites.

We offer private guides. Please inquire with our reservations & sales team prior to your trip.

The major difference is the days of diving you will have in the National Park. On a 9 day trip we offer 6 days of diving, on an 11 day trip it is 8 days of diving. On an 11 day trip we will try (if weather permits) to visit additional dive sites like Rocan O’Neil that are not included in our regular itinerary.

The Marine Park regulations do not allow any night diving or water activities after sunset.

The price includes 12L tanks (aluminum 80’s) with Nitrox-fills, weights and a weight belt. We require but do not provide dive computers on our Socorro Islands trips. Additional equipment can be rented for the trip before you leave the dock. Please advise us when making your Solmar V reservation that you will need to rent equipment, we have spare gear onboard but not the full selection for rental.

Knives, gloves and flashlights are not allowed.

Depending on what time of year you join us for the Socorro trips, we’d recommend 5mm in the warmer months, and a 5/7mm or a 7mm in the cooler months. Some of our guests also pack a light vest and hood or a vest with an attached hood in case we run into thermoclines during the cooler months. We offer 5mm wetsuits and 2.5mm hooded vests to rent.

We can provide tanks with DIN or INT valves. If you wish to dive with your DIN regulator please let us know and the tank will be ready and prepared for you.

We offer 15l (100 cu ft) and 9l (63 cu ft) tanks for rental with a surcharge. Please advise us prior to the trip that you wish to rent a larger / smaller tank.

DSMBs are provided and are mandatory safety equipment per person during the trip.

Every guest will be provided with a GPS tracker (Lifeline). It is a mandatory safety equipment per person during the dives.

Reef Hooks are not forbidden, but not needed on this trip.

Unfortunately, we do not offer tanks with opposite valves, but if you wish to dive Sidemount with regular tank valves you are more than welcome to. There are no additional charges for using two tanks, but also no additional dive time.

On a regular trip we do not offer technical diving (decompression diving). If you are a full group and charter the boat we are more than happy to accommodate you. We cannot meet Rebreather needs on regular trips but can absolutely manage a whole Rebreather Charter.

Yes! We strongly encourage our guests to bring a camera. We have amazing outdoor and indoor camera set up areas. Our friends at the Underwater Photography Guide have some great recommendations for the best underwater cameras. If you need to purchase a new underwater camera, check out our friends at Bluewater Photo.

We offer GO PRO 10s as rental cameras to capture your most memorable dives. Specialized 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.”

Yes, we have several rinse opportunities on the dive deck, including buckets which are labeled and filled with fresh water.

You are more than welcome to bring your drone and use it on the Solmar V. However, the drone is only allowed to fly 300 m away from the vessels. Drones cannot be flown over other vessels. In case you want to use your material for commercial purposes a special permit application is required.

You will not be able to bring your DPV as they are not allowed in the Marine Park.

BOAT QUESTIONS

The main difference is location and size of the cabin. Both categories have the same amenities including private head/shower, air conditioning and carpeting. 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 sensation of movement. If you are prone to motion sickness, a superior room is recommended.

All our rooms come with ensuite bathrooms and AC. Our beds are equipped with top-of the line mattresses, pillows, sheets and comforters. We do not have thick duvets or blankets. We try to make everyone happy by  fulfilling special requests if they have been turned in at least 30 days prior to the trip.

The Solmar V has two outdoor showers as well as the ensuite showers.

We provide towels in the room and additional towels on the dive deck after the dive to warm up.

We provide biodegradable body wash and shampoo in each cabin. For guests bringing their own toiletries we ask to bring ocean friendly products to keep our beloved ocean as clean as possible.

You do not have to bring a hair dryer. We have a few on board to share amongst our guests. Please ask our crew if you would like to use them.

We do not offer a Laundry Service on board.

Our menus vary and feature a combination of American and Mexican cuisine, using fresh, locally grown ingredients. 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. All beverages, including beer and wine with your meals, are included except special wines you can additionally purchase. Since alcohol and diving are prohibited, there will be no water activities after a drink.

We can easily accommodate any special requests such as food allergies, a vegetarian or vegan menu. Please inform us of your needs at least 30 days before your trip. We understand that a liveaboard experience is eat-sleep-and-dive and we do our very best to ensure that each of these experiences aboard the Solmar V is memorable for you.

Surfing is not allowed in the Marine Park.  If you are bringing your surfboard for your pre- and after trip time we will be happy to store it in our office during your time on the Solmar V.

Onboard voltage is 110 AC, just like in the United States. We also have a number of 220 charging stations for our overseas guests.

We commonly have two pin American outlets with a few three pin exceptions. We would recommend all divers to bring two pin plug-ins and adapters for our overseas guests.

We offer our guests WIFI as an extra service with a surcharge. Please note that we are using satellite service and therefore it may be enough to check your emails, use messenger services and scroll through social media; heavy downloads and uploads or streaming is not possible. We recommend having your music and movies already downloaded prior to the trip.

Space is limited on the Solmar V. If you have additional luggage you won’t need during the trip we are able to store it in the dry area at the bow of the boat or at our office for the time of your cruise.

Although we discourage smoking for health reasons, we understand that some guests smoke, so we allow smoking in designated areas. We ask that our smoking guests be considerate of our non-smoking guests.

The Solmar V communicates 24/7 with the shore team, this can be via email, messenger apps and 2 sat phone systems. Although we discourage conducting business while out on your Solmar V expedition, we realize that sometimes it is necessary to communicate with your office or home. Guests are welcome to use our phone system and will be assisted by our captain. Your call will be charged at Satellite minute rates ranging from $4 – $5 U.S. dollars per minute. Remember our phone is primarily for boat operations and emergency use.

Our crew is our strength, and we consider them all family. The Solmar V crew has  the most experience in Mexico. We have 11 crew members onboard that consists of one captain, one first mate, two engineers, one chef, one cabin steward,  three divemasters and two 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.

Our panga drivers are certified as “Patrón Marinero” with the Mexican Port Authority. It is the official small boat skipper license, also validated by the Mexican Navy.

Safety of our guests and crew is our main concern. On every trip we have our captain and his first mate being in charge of the navigation 24/7. Our safety  systems are set up with an alarm system that must be manually turned off in a set rhythm to ensure the boat is always under close supervision.

The whole boat is equipped with fire extinguishers and fire alarms. The Solmar V has two firefighting stations which can be operated by 2 crew members each. Our engine room is equipped with a CO2 extinguisher in case of a fire.

The Solmar V has two Lifeboats for 25 PAX each to ensure a safe rescue in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation.

On every trip our crew members will conduct a safety drill in which different scenarios are being created. Our crew will always take care of you, of them and the vessel with very high professional standards.

The health of our guests and crew is very important to us. Therefore, we keep our first aid and medical kits in perfect condition. Between our trips this is checked and restocked if necessary. Additionally, we have an AED Unit on board. In case of a serious health concern air evacuation can be arranged from the Navy base at Socorro.

TRAVEL QUESTIONS

Once our guests arrive on the boat, they will be assigned their room and dive station. They will then remove their dive gear from their dive bags and put them in their assigned dive station. They will also unpack their dry clothes and toiletries in their rooms. Both their dive bag and luggage will be stored in our dry storage area throughout the remainder of the trip.

The boat will arrive at the first dive site around 4:00 PM on the next day, and our guests will have the opportunity to do the check-in dive on  the first day at the Socorro Islands. Every day after that we schedule 4 dives per day. But as weather or other unforeseen events can happen the total dive count cannot precisely be given prior to the trip.

After the last full day of diving at the Socorro Islands and after the last dive of the day we start our return to harbor. The boat returns to harbor the night before disembarkation and our guests will spend their last night on the boat in harbor. After breakfast on the last date of the trip, our guests will disembark the boat by no later than 08:15 AM

The international airport for our home port in Cabo San Lucas. Our Socorro Islands trip departs from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico (airport code SJD). It is about a 45 to 60 minute drive from the Marina in Cabo San Lucas.

Most major U.S. airlines fly directly into this airport. In general, the airlines to check out are Alaska, American, Aero Mexico, Delta, Continental, United and Southwest Airlines. There are other airlines and many direct flights from gateway cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago and New York 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.

We highly recommend arriving one day before departure and staying the night in Cabo San Lucas.

If you are flying out on the same day as disembarkation we highly recommend to fly no earlier than noon/12:00 PM.

As of January 2016, all U.S. citizens require a valid passport for travel in and out of Mexico. You will be asked to fill out a tourist card upon entering the country and present this to the immigration officials in Mexico. In 2023 some major airports switched to an online immigration registration, where you will only receive a stamp in your passport. Passport holders from most countries in the European Union will receive a visa upon arrival free of charge. For other nationalities, you should ask your airline or call the Mexican Consulate in your country. All passports need to be valid for at least another 6 months before entering Mexico. With so many recent changes to travel policies and requirements, these requirements are subject to change so check before you begin your travel plans.

We offer transportation services on any day prior to your trip departure (if booked and paid 10 days prior to the trip). Our guests can choose between a shared shuttle or private car. For groups we can arrange group vans to arrive smoothly at your hotel.

If you are handling your own transportation into Cabo San Lucas, then look for the “Authorized Taxi” sign inside the terminal where you can purchase shuttle tickets to the hotel where you are staying.

We like to recommend Hotel Cabo Vista and Grand Solmar. Both have a great location and are no further than 10 minutes from the Marina del Rey where Solmar V will be docked. In case you want to be close to the beach the Bahia Hotel & Beach House will be an excellent choice. This Hotel is one of our meeting points for the trips, so you can start your trip in the lobby of your hotel and receive a complimentary shuttle to the Marina on the day of embarkation.

On all liveaboard 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 attire . At Socorro, daytime temps will be in the 70’s or 80’s and we can have cooler evenings here so one pair of sweatpants, and a Polartec, sweatshirt or sweater is a good idea. Be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and plenty of reef safe sunscreen. We ask that you appear at all meals in dry clothes, as all meals are sit-down in the main salon.

We keep diving safe and stick to the limits of the diver certifications and decompression times. We do not participate in decompression dives. Despite preventing dive accidents from happening for the first time our crew is prepared to handle the situation through thorough training. We have 100% medical oxygen onboard, split in two large tanks and two portable units. In the unlikely event of a serious dive accident that needs immediate attention air evacuation will be arranged immediately by our shore team.

Dive Insurance is mandatory for all trips on the Solmar V and you will be asked to show proof of Insurance prior to the trip. Your dive insurance needs to cover unlimited scuba diving, treatment in the hyperbaric chamber, any other dive related medical treatment and most importantly air evacuation. Please note that most medical insurances that cover treatment in the hyperbaric chamber do not include air evacuation.

We highly recommend DiveAssure Dive&Travel Insurance for a trip on the Solmar V. You can purchase it through us by following this link.

Other dive insurances are accepted as long as the coverage is sufficient.

Travel insurance is mandatory and needs to cover all expenses not associated with Solmar V.

We highly recommend DiveAssure Dive&Travel Insurance for a trip on the Solmar V. You can purchase it through us by following this link.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is mandatory. Your insurance will need to cover your trip and events that fall into the category “Force Majeure”. It is our highest priority to ensure our guests have a smooth and enjoyable trip on our boats, however unforeseen changes or cancellations can occur. No refund or credit will be issued. This includes itinerary changes, weather changes, mechanical breakdown, governmental orders, port authority directions or any other factors beyond our reasonable control.

We highly recommend DiveAssure Dive&Travel Insurance for a trip on the Solmar V with the additional add-on “Liveaboard Rider”. The Liveaboard Rider is a specific Dive and Travel insurance made for trips like these. You can purchase it through us by following this link.

Included in the price of your Socorro Islands trip are all port fees, complimentary transfer from the Host Hotel to the SOLMAR V on day of departure, your accommodations during the trip, all meals and snacks, all beverages including beer and wine, a certified divemaster in the water at all times, 12L tanks, weights, weight belts and Nitrox fills.

Not included in the trip costs are fuel surcharges, Marine Park Fees, taxes, airfares, dive insurance, travel insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, accommodation before and after the trip, local transportation besides from our host hotel to the marina and crew gratuities.

The rules about the Marine Park Fee exemption are subject to change. But generally divers over 60 with a proof of retirement can ask to have the marine park fees waived. Enrolled students and Teachers who can show proof of their credentials over the time period of the trip can apply for a 50% discount. Please contact our sales and reservations team for questions, assistance or your application.

The following is a list of other expenses you may want to factor into your planning:

  • Gratuity – Cash only
  • Souvenirs – Cash or Credit Card
  • Special Wines or Extras – Cash or Credit Card
  • Any other extra services requested in the guest forms

Credit Cards are charged in Mexican currency MXN pesos and a 5% credit card processing fee will be added. We accept Visa and Mastercard onboard –no AMEX or Discover at this time. Cash accepted is USD and Mexican pesos.

While we feel that gratuity is a very personal decision and should reflect the level of service you receive, we are often asked to provide guidelines. Your Captain and Crew are extremely hardworking and committed to providing you the best service possible. Gratuity of 10-15% the published rate of your trip is customary and deeply appreciated. All tips enter a pool and will be equally shared by all crew members.

As of now we can only offer pre-booked shuttles from the airport to a hotel in Cabo San Lucas or the Marina. Our crew will assist in arranging taxis upon arrival.

Over the last year fuel costs worldwide have increased dramatically. We, as a company, have held out as long as possible not wanting to impose a fuel surcharge and have been absorbing the cost, even while, the majority of liveaboards worldwide, have already imposed fuel surcharges. We are now at the point where we can no longer afford to do that, and unfortunately, we need to implement a fuel surcharge.