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Ixtapa Zihuatanejo scuba diving

Whether scuba diving through 100-foot canyons or snorkeling at 10 feet, vacationers, professional divers and even marine biologists are astonished by the underwater scenery and wealth of sea life. Because of the confluence of two currents here, the Humboldt and the Equatorial Counter Current, marine biodiversity is thriving and extraordinarily rich. Visibility reaches 70 and even 100 feet, the water is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and, amazingly, colorful coral reefs are still being discovered!

Sea life ranges from tiny seahorses to humpback whales. There are brightly “decorated” nudibranches, queen angelfish, Cortés angelfish, yellow barberfish, striped Mexican goatfish, and a continuous flurry of brilliantly colored little tropical fish darting around the corals. The sandy bottom can reveal camouflaged crabs, starfish, guitarfish, even a patchwork of graceful electric stingrays. You can interact with an octopus that changes colors when it sees you, and marvel at giant manta rays and whale sharks as well as smaller eagle rays and guitarfish. During summer or early fall (June-October) you may even see a big golfina sea turtle swimming by, returning to her beach of birth lay her eggs.

Compared to the Caribbean, currents here are minimal. There are dozens of underwater sites -- shallow corals for snorkeling, jagged underwater canyons 100 feet deep, even sunken ships.

Manzanillo Beach, just south of Zihuatanejo Bay and accessible by boat, is great for snorkeling with vivid corals and abundant sea life at 10 to 20 feet. Caleta de Chon is a coral reef outside Zihuatanejo Bay, for relatively shallow scuba.

Morros de Potosi, a 45-minutes boat ride down the coast off Barra de Potosi, are huge offshore granite rock islets. They rise from depths of over 100 feet up to 90 feet above the sea, and there are underwater caverns, valleys and huge patches of coral. These rocks are “painted white” with guano, and one is nicknamed “the iceberg”. (The Morros de Potosi are an impressive sight from your airplane upon approach or after takeoff.)

Excellent NAUI and PADI dive shops in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo offer tailor-made diving according to the skill level of the participants. Safety takes top priority and equipment is carefully maintained.

Source: Conventions and Visitors Bureau of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (OCVIZ)

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