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Booking Now: 3 Long-Haul Dive Trips

Booking Now Mexico
(Mexico Expeditions)
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Among Mexico Liveaboards’ current propositions for divers is a 13-day “Explore Baja” trip, designed to help guests get to know the many aspects of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez.

The trip starts on 18 September aboard the 27m Quino El Guardian at Puerto Penasco and moves from island to island, with two to four dives around each one. As far as the presence of wildlife can be predicted, guests can expect plenty of macro life in the northern part of the itinerary as well as in-water encounters with sea-lions, whale sharks, night dives with mobula rays and the wrecks Salvaterra and Fan Ming at Isla Espiritu Santo, says the operator. 

Sightings of schooling hammerheads and giant manta rays, large pods of dolphins, pilot whales, fin and sperm whales are always a possibility, it says, adding that last year guests got the chance to snorkel with an orca.

The liveaboard accommodates up to 16 passengers and the trip costs US $3695pp (about £3500), with four sharing a cabin. Return flights from London cost from around £1,400. Find more at Mexico Liveaboards.

Name your manta

Sticking with big animals in the eastern Pacific, Manta Expeditions has a new trip to the Revillagigedo Islands scheduled for November, organised by sustainable diving specialist SeaCrush. The idea is to ensure that the trip has a positive effect on conservation of the fragile marine ecosystem and giant mantas of Socorro.

Oceanic manta rays, friendly dolphins and up to 10 species of sharks are on the agenda, and November is whale shark season too. A central site is likely to be the Boiler submerged seamount off San Benedicto island, where more than half a dozen mantas attend the cleaning station and can interact with divers for hours at a time, says Manta Expeditions. 

A manta expert from UK-based charity the Manta Trust will be onboard to offer everyone the opportunity to learn more about the rays, and to participate in conservation research by collecting photographic identification images. Any new sightings will be added to the database and guests invited to name them. 

The trip runs for nine nights on the liveaboard Valentina from 23 November and costs from US $3,190 (about £2,640) for a shared stateroom. This includes airport transfers, up to four dives a day, accommodation, full-board meals and beverages. Return flights from London to San Jose Cabo via Phoenix are available from around £780. Find out more about the trip.

Discount from Atlantis

In the Philippines, meanwhile, the popular resorts run by Atlantis are reported to be “pretty much back to normal” since their post-pandemic reopening, but on offer is a 25% reduction on all-inclusive stays at either Puerto Galera or Dumaguete this September. 

Atlantis promises small dive groups, 5* service, dedicated camera rooms and “excellent food” at both resorts, with combo packages also available for anyone who wants to sample the diving in both northern Mindoro and southern Negros Oriental.

The same offer applies to two special departures on its liveaboard Atlantis Azores from Dumaguete on a “Best of the Visayas” itinerary, including diving with thresher sharks, whale sharks, whitetips and the wide range of macro life associated with the region. The 10-night trips start on 1 October and 9 November.

Booking Now Scorpionfish
A welcome back to the Philippines (Steve Weinman)

For two divers on a 10-night resort stay, sharing a deluxe room at Atlantis Dumaguete in September, the usual rate is US $3,631pp but this is reduced to $2,723 (about £2,240). The package includes all meals, up to four day dives and one night boat-dive a day, a one-day trip to Apo Island or similar and taxes.

A comparable discounted September stay at Atlantis Puerto Galera would cost $2,510pp (about £2,070). The Atlantis Azores trips are discounted to $3,821 (about £3,150). Transfers from Manila, nitrox and marine park fees are not included in any of these prices. More details and bookings are available from Atlantis Philippines.

Flights to and from Manila are available from around £810. All estimated aircraft fares are based on Skyscanner data.

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