SOTAVENTO DIVE SHOP HISTORY
* DIVING CENTER SOTAVENTO SA DE CV , HUATULCO BEGAN IN DECEMBER 1988. IT WAS
STARTED AT THE SHERATON HOTEL ( NOW THE HOTEL BARCELO ) . SOTAVENTO
OPENED THE SAME
YEAR AS THE HOTEL. SOTAVENTO WAS THE FIRST
DIVING BUSINESS ESTABLISHED FOR THE BAYS OF HUATULCO AND IS STILL AN ACTIVE
THE DIVE SHOP IS OPERATED BY THE FOUNDER , HECTOR LARA OCAMPO , WHO STARTED HIS TRAINING COMMERCIAL DIVING IN 1977 IN PUERTO DE VERACRUZ WHERE HE WAS BORN .
IN JULY 1996 SOTAVENTO DIVING SERVICES MOVED FROM THE SHERITON TO ITS PRESENT LOCATION THE PLASA IN LA CRUCECITA. IT IS LOCATED IN THE FIRST MALL THAT WAS MADE IN HUATULCO AT GARDENIA FLAMBOYANT NO. 310 ON THE SECOND FLOOR. IT IS ON THE CORNER ADJACENT TO THE CHURCH. IT IS A CENTRAL LOCATION AND VERY CLOSE TO CHAHUE (15 MIN WALK), SANTA CRUZ (25 MIN WALK) AND THE TAGALUNDA HOTELS A 10 MIN TAXI RIDE. THE OFFICE TELEPHONE IS 01 (958) 5872166 AND THE CELL PHONE IS 044/045 (958) 1095950. THE EMAIL ADDRESS IS SCUBASOTA@HOTMAIL.COM
Since July 1996 BUCEO SOTAVENTO (translated: Leeward Divers) operates as an independent Dive Service in The Bays of Huatulco. We are located downtown in La Crucecita at the Zocalo, in a little shopping Mall called Plaza Oaxaca, 1st floor shop no 18, in walking distance of all other hotels of la Crucecita and Chahue, and the Hotels in the Bay of St. Cruz are a just a 2 minute ride away. TEL.: (958) 5872166. 9AM to 2PM and 5PM to 9:30PM.
With Buceo Sotavento you can count on over 13 years of experience and knowledge of the underwater world in the Marine Park of the Bays of Huatulco and you are offered the best dive spots and dive options and receive individual service. Your safety and comfort is Hector's prime concern, he and his staff will make your stay most enjoyable.
The bays of Huatulco are located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the State of Oaxaca, Southwest of the Sierra Madre and south of Puerto Escondido (aprox. 2 hrs by car) and Puerto Angel and Zipolite (50 min. by car or bus), as well as 50 minutes flight time from Mexico City. The bays include approximately 35km (22miles) of coastline, with 36 beaches and 9 bays (San Augustín, Chacacual, Cacaluta, Maguey, Organo, Santa Cruz, Chahue, Tangolunda and Conejos) and three Islands just 10 minutes by boat from the coast. Huatulco is the most recent tourist spot in Mexico, planned and developed by Fonatur (Fomento Nacional de Turismo), and therefore the most unspoiled, with its warm climate and 340 sunny days annually with an average temperature of 29°C (91°F) it is the tourist center with the best climate year round in the Mexican Republic. This tourist resort is ideal to relax, get suntanned at the beautiful beaches and swim and snorkel in its quality waters, which shine usually in an agave green color, and forget about the stress enjoying the security and tranquility of a little provincial town (8000 inhabitants approx.) with non contaminated air and water, well Fonaturs (Fomento Nacional de turismo) development is based on an ecological concept (70 % of the coast is a nature preserve). This has made Huatulco a preferred spot for national and international tourism.
Huatulco offer various dive sites to enjoy their submarine beauty. There are about 13 different dive sites (see our map) to be visited under good conditions, and everyone of the spots has 2 to 5 different dive routes depending on the divers level (see our dive routes map), some dive sites are for beginners as well as for certified, advanced and some for the well advanced divers. Our different dive routes along the 9 Bays are based on more than 13 years diving the bays of Huatulco.
Generally more than 90% of our descents are at the anchor line (where we do not damage the coral reef) or lines of set bouys to an initial depth between 20 and 30 feet to have better control during descent and help compensating slowly, so our divers don't get disorientated by one of the occasional strong currents (similar to the Caribbean) which occur especially at the open tips of the islands and bays, and may separate them from the group before touching ground. Our dive routes pass the most interesting sights of the spot before we return to the anchor line again, therefore and for safety we practice multi level diving with approx. 50 minutes bottom time. The dominant currents close to the coast are mostly created by the significant tide changes and its movement is a coming and going which is called the “hammock” or the “rocking chair” by the locals.
The dominant winds almost all year round come from the west and sometimes max. force is 40km per hour. Occasionally there are strong winds from the south which are unfavorable for diving. Since 4 years Huatulco has had significant changes with currents and visibility as influenced by the phenomenon El Niño y La Niña and the average conditions we mention at the moment are mostly due to those currents.
The average visibility in the Bays of Huatulco nowadays lays between 20 and 50 feet depending on the dive spot, the depth and the month of the year. In earlier years we happened to have up to 120 feet visibility in the months of January till May and even in the rain free days (up to 15 days and more) during raining season we still get lucky with blue and warm waters (28°C) with up to 100 feet visibility.
The average water temperature ranges from 25 to 30°C April to October and 12 to 24°C from November to March. With the arrival of the cold water full of plankton from the deep open sea which rise and touch the coastwater, and mixing with warm waters provokes a deep green color, and for this reason in the hottest weeks it may form the phenomenon red tide in some areas and the visibilities sinks to 10-20 feet. Also sometimes during the lapse of a year we and depending on the month 2 to 3 days before and after full moon the sea provokes wave movements which are called rebalsas; and these affect beaches and tips of bays and some islands exposed to the open sea and oblige us to dive the interior or lateral spots, also the visibility is far lower aprox. between 15 to 30 feet, depending on the dive spot.
Something very interesting to observe during the first week of rain in the rainy season is the SCENERY CHANGE from a brown to a beautiful full green of this semi rainforest nature preserve sculpted around the bays, therefore the rain forest is called Cadusifolia. The nearby rivers Copalita and Zimatan rise to rapid waters from grade I to grade IV, good news for the friends of river rafting. After all we can count on comfortable conditions for all levels of PADI certifications with aprox 15 feet of visibility and cozy water temperatures between 25°C and 30°C up to 100 feet depth. A short neoprene of 3mm is more than enough, you even do fine with a Lycra skin suit or just the bathing suit. BUT for up-to-date weather and visibility information we recommend to email us at SCUBASOTA@HOTMAIL.COM (for example this year we had bad conditions in March when a current brought water full of deep green plankton and much cooler for the time of the year.... but on the other hand we were hardly affected by the rainy season, we had pretty good to excellent conditions in June, July and August, much better for the time of the year).
The underwater topography is sandy, rocky and mountainous just like the coastline with some underwater valleys, walls and small caves with small soft corals (gorgonians), trees, fans and hard corals, type ripio in different formations, the most common here, ACROPORAS and mushroom corals etc, almost totally different compared to the Mexican Caribbean bottom..
Marine Life: Around 60% of the fish you see in the Mexican Caribbean you will see as well in the Bays of Huatulco and 25% of the same species are just differently coloured and 15% are typical to the central Pacific Coast of Mexico. During our dives you will see Angel Fish, Butterfly Fish, Surgeon Fish, Blow Fish, Globe Fish, Flute Fish, Sting Rays, Moray Eels, Stone Fish, Octopus, White Spotted Eagle Rays, and with some luck Turtles, Nurse sharks, Sea Horses, Manta Rays, pacific lobsters, (see Fish of Oaxaca Coast ). And for the shell lovers, Huatulco is home to the Cipreas, Pinctadas, Neritas, Buccinidos, Pirulas, Quifonidos Astreas, Terebras, Ficus, Risoides etc.
For the ones who look for more emotions and variety in scuba diving than included in your packages, we offer 2 tank dive trips to further away islands and bays, personalized deep dives and the experience of your (maybe first) night dive in extreme calm waters, and surely you will enjoy the phenomenon of the BIOLUMINISCENCE, produced by plankton organisms which provoke light emissions by thousands of dots of aprox. 1mm shining green light (similar to the glow worm) and the water movement makes the divers feel like being among the stars, it is a must to experience this sensation at least once. Night dives here are worthwhile!!!
Our two SCUBA Boats are pangas made from fiberglass, the typical and most practical for this dive area. They are 27 feet long, hold up to 8 divers, with sunshades, removable ladders, benches for the roll over entry and outboards. All our dives include transportation to and from port, complete scuba equipment, boat and fruit or refreshments after dives.
An important issue is the recently installed decompression chamber in the new Marine Hospital of Huatulco which is just 5 minutes away from our dive services.
We also give orientations on other activities like sport fishing, horseback riding, river rafting and kayaking, 4-wheeler tours, Professional 18-hole par 72 golf course with ocean view, tennis, coffee plantation tours, water fall tours, and tours to Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido to plan your packages in the Bays of Huatulco.