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Dive Review of Cortez Club/La Concha Condos in
Mexico (Western)/Sea of Cortez

Cortez Club/La Concha Condos, Nov, 2008,

by Sandy Falen, KS, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 4529.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All over the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Fiji, Tonga
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 78 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Stay with group
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments No special accommodation on boat or on shore.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments I spent three days diving with Cortez Club, which has a large facility adjacent to the La Concha Beach Hotel in La Paz. While the staff was friendly, it was not a well managed operation. I'd sent numerous emails in the weeks before my trip, but never received a response. I also tried their online reservation system. I finally phoned them four days prior to arrival, spoke with someone, and let them know what days I planned to dive. Despite all of this, they were not expecting me and appeared quite surprised when I arrived that first morning. To their credit, they scrambled around and ordered a box lunch, and I was accommodated, joining a boat of snorkelers heading to the sea lion sanctuary. The sanctuary is fun to visit once, but I was unhappy when they tried to take me there again the next day, with a group of divers who had just arrived. When I balked at that, they changed the plan, and I had two decent dives that day. A small wreck was home to veritable "walls" of schooling reef fish, with grunts gathering by the thousands, and puffers that could be counted by the dozens. On day three, I waited out a 90 minute departure delay (during which they tried to straighten out numerous scheduling and boat assignment errors), finally heading to El Bajo, the shark nursery and pupping area that has been famous for schooling hammerheads. Tragically, fisherman using huge gill nets are managing to decimate the shark population in the Bay of La Paz, taking out hundreds of juvenile sharks at a time. While we were told that sharks can still be sighted, we were not so fortunate, and Mexico appears on its way to losing this underwater wonder. We spent twenty minutes hanging in the blue, seeing nothing but each other. I would have preferred to have stayed on the pinnacle that marks this location, and which appeared rich with critters; but, given the limited viz and the currents, it was necessary to stick with the group. That day's second dive was a large but not particularly interesting wreck, with limited viz and limited fish life.

The La Concha Condos are adjacent to the La Concha Beach Hotel, and all hotel services are available to condo occupants. I recommend the condos over the hotel rooms, as they are newer, nicer, and much more private, with a separate pool area exclusive to condo residents -- and best of all, no children are allowed. La Concha's location is very good, as it is 3km outside of town, away from the noise of the Malecon, and unlike most La Paz hotels, is right on the beach. Service at the hotel was warm and accommodating, and the restaurant served a very nice, reasonably priced breakfast.

I flew into Cabo and made the drive to La Paz, via the mountain road, Highway 1. Despite dire things you might read about night driving in the Baja, I found the road to be in excellent condition, with outstanding reflective striping and signage. Keep your eyes peeled for wandering cows and donkeys, and you'll do fine.

While the Baja is hauntingly beautiful, I was disappointed in the diving, and won't rush to return. And, although our boat captain and divemasters were competent and pleasant, the Cortez Club's management was deficient. If I try La Paz diving again, I'll check out other operations.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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