try scuba diving los cabos

Hi! My Name is Megan! I came to Mexico to learn to dive in Cabo San Lucas. Follow my journey of becoming a scuba diver in this multi-part blog feature. I’ll share all the details of my travel and scuba diving journey so that you too can make your Mexican travel dreams come true.

Dreaming of the ocean

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been drawn to the ocean. I used to sit in front of nature shows narrated by David Attenborough, awestricken by the alien world hidden beneath the water’s surface. No one in my family was even remotely interested in exploring this fascination, so my imagination took me to faraway places with warm water and wild creatures.

I grew up in the mountains in the United States and only got a few chances to explore the ocean from the adult imposed ‘safety’ of sandy beaches on family vacations or school trips. I told myself that after school, I would hit the road. The mountains are spectacular in their own right, but the ocean had a hold on my soul.

That’s why I decided to leave my comfortable life and explore something different.

Destination: Cabo San Lucas

Goal: Become a scuba diver

There were a few things to work out.

How would I get to Los Cabos? How long could I stay? How much money will I need? Will I actually like scuba diving?

The idea of driving down Baja crossed my mind, but it felt a little too tricky for me as a novice traveler – better to fly.

Upon arrival, I got a 90-day visa. Three months felt like plenty of time to try scuba diving and see if I want to explore more. This felt like the perfect option without jumping head first into the unknown, and I saved enough money to cover rent, food, scuba courses, expeditions, and a ‘just in case’ reserve.

Once the plan solidified, I had to look for flights. The biggest draw for traveling to Mexico is that flying between the US and Mexico is extremely affordable. I locked in a flexible roundtrip flight with the comfort that I could change the return flight if something changed in my plans.

The accommodation was next. I opted for booking a week in a hostel to get my bearings on the new city and spend some of that first week looking for an affordable AirBnB for the rest of my stay.

cheap flights to los cabos mexico
apartments for expats in mexico

Finding the best dive shop in Cabo San Lucas

Figuring out where to do my dive training was next. Trip planning had become something of an obsession, so even before stepping off the plane in Mexico, I had narrowed down my options to 3 dive shops. This level of planning is probably not the norm for people doing their Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) experience, but I wanted to ensure that I was in good hands.

When I arrived in Cabo San Lucas, I visited each shop to feel out the vibe of the team. Luckily, the dive shop visits made the decision very simple. I had followed Dive Ninja Expeditions for a while on Instagram and loved their philosophy on environmentalism and marine conservation. When I spoke with Sara on the reservations team and met some of their instructors, like Fabien & Donna, I knew I was in the right place. I booked my DSD that day and told them I would like to continue to the Open Water Course if I felt comfortable in the water.

scuba equipment beginner diver

We went out the very next day

The Discover Scuba Diving experience is an introduction to scuba diving. It allows people to try scuba diving without the commitment of a 4-day certification course. However, if a diver enjoys the experience and wants to continue on, the dive day can serve as the introductory portion of the full scuba diving certification course. When we got on the boat, my instructor showed me the equipment. I learned how it worked and tried out equalizing (pinching my nose and blowing gently to clear my ears) before even jumping in the water. The process of getting into my wetsuit was a little bit involved, but I finally got there and knew I would be glad to have it on even in the warm, beautiful water.

My instructor was patient, kind, and helpful throughout the process of kitting up and helped me feel confident about sitting on the side of the boat before doing what’s called a ‘back roll,’ which is basically just falling back into the ocean with scuba equipment on.

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Everyone remembers their first time

The moment my body hit the water, I could tell I would be hooked on this sport. That feeling was confirmed when I tried breathing through my regulator for the first time and felt the bubbles tickle my face. We started to descend, instructor by my side, as I equalized and took my first full breath underwater. There aren’t words in any language which can properly describe all the feelings that flashed through my body. Later on, my instructor told me I was grinning from ear to ear the entire dive.

Right at the beginning of the dive, my instructor showed me some essential skills, and I got to practice them before descending to the dive site. When we finally got down, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Huge schools of silvery fish swam all about, and I even saw a turtle! The feeling of being neutrally buoyant and swimming alongside the creatures I had only seen on TV is mind-blowing.

The scuba addiction was created and fed at that moment

The hour went by in an instant, and we had to return to the boat. As part of Dive Ninja‘s Discover Scuba Diving experience, I got to do two dives, and the next one was even better than the first! I didn’t have to do any skills, and immediately after descending, a curious sea lion came close to investigate the group. Its movements were graceful and fast: darting left and right, up and down. I got dizzy watching it!

On the way back to the marina, the boat was full of excited chatter about all the spectacular things we had just seen. There were smiles all around the boat, and I couldn’t imagine this Discover Scuba Diving experience being a one-time thing. I was hooked and needed more.

My instructor set me up with the PADI Open Water Diver eLearning course materials so I could start my scuba certification, and I went on my way with a spring in my step. A new world was revealed to me, and there was nothing that would get in my way of exploring as much as I could.

Follow this series for more updates on my development as a scuba diver in Cabo San Lucas!


discover scuba diving with sea lions Cabo San Lucas