La Reina in La Paz, Mexico may just be one of the best scuba dive sites in the area, but until recently it’s main attraction had disappeared – the giant manta ray. Girls that Scuba travelled to La Paz in Mexico recently in collaboration with Cortez expeditions, in hope we may see these magical giants that went into disappearance and to find out where else to scuba dive in La Paz.
Where is La Paz?
La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Cosmopolitan La Paz is a mix of laid-back, old-world beauty and chic upscale trends. It’s surprisingly international – you’re as likely to hear French, Portuguese, or Italian here as English or Spanish – and yet paradoxically it’s the most ‘Mexican’ city in all of Baja. The city makes a good base for day trips to Cabo Pulmo, Los Cabos and Todos Santos, and there’s a lively, long-term expat community. With several large education institutions, La Paz has the feel of an American college town, with the bulk of studies focused on marine biology and tourism.
Giant Manta Rays in La Paz
The giant oceanic manta ray is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae, and the largest type of ray in the world. They are circumglobal and are typically found in tropical and subtropical waters, but can also be found in temperate waters. The giant oceanic manta ray can grow to a disc size of up to 7 m (23 ft) across with a weight of about 3,000 kg (6,600 lb). The oceanic manta ray is considered to be vulnerable by the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species because its population has decreased drastically over the last twenty years due to overfishing. Whatever the type of fishing (artisanal, targeted or bycatch), the impact on a population which has a low fecundity rate, a long gestation period with mainly a single pup at a time, and a late sexual maturity can only be seriously detrimental to a species that cannot compensate for the losses over several decades. In recent years, fishing for manta rays has been significantly boosted by the price of their gill rakers on the traditional Chinese Medicine market. In 2003 a group giant beauties disappeared from La Reina in La Paz, for what can only be predicted as one of the reasons above. Thankful, after 15 years, the giant manta rays have returned, and scuba divers and marine organisations have had a huge roll to play in this. Pelagios Kakunja a non-profit organization created in 2010 by Mexican researchers and scientists focuses on the research of shark species and other open water organisms, in order to generate information for regional management and the implementation of conservation strategies. They have recently tagged the giant mantas of La Reina in order to study their behaviour and location.
Scuba Diving in La Reina
La Reina is a 2 hour boat ride from La Paz and is not a cheap trip Cortez expeditions offer a private boat charter for up to 4 divers, lunch, refreshment, two tank dive, weights, dive guide – $699 USD. However, this dive site is most certainly worth it! Of course the mantas are the main attraction, but you’ll also find a colony of sea lions resting on the rocks, many turtles, schools of fish, morays, and amazing coral formation. La Reina truly is one of the most spectacular dive sites in Mexico!
Who to dive with
Cortez Expeditions run by Luke Inman are designed to give you the best encounters and interactions with the Natural World. Through these encounters they believe that individuals learn to appreciate, love, care, cherish, nourish, and most importantly, conserve the World’s environment and ecology. Here’s why we love them:
“We understand that many dive centres and training facilities provide the minimum number of days required by the certification agency to complete a course. We don’t believe in doing the bare minimum. While most people can complete and Open Water course in 4 days, we want to accommodate all learning styles and recognise that some may need or want more than the minimum requirement to complete their course. We quote for each individual course based on student input and our expertise to ensure that you leave well trained at your new level of certification as well as satisfied that your training was worth the price you paid.”