A Journey To The Revillagigedo Archipelago: Part I

We travelled to Mexico in search of wild encounters with marine life and experience a different culture.

By Josh Davies

Me and Patrizia have recently returned from one of the most exciting, action-packed adventures of our lives. We travelled to Mexico in search of wild encounters with marine life and experience a different culture.


San Jose Del Cabo Main Square

The Journey

The multi-day journey to reach the liveaboard started in London. It was a little over 11 hours to reach Mexico City (-7 hours GMT), which although can seem like an eternity, there is plenty to keep you occupied. We flew with British Airways, and immediately from the check-in to arriving the other side, the staff could not have been more helpful.

We experienced a short delay before boarding, and as we had left enough time between travel and adjoining flights, this did not affect our travel plans, fortunately. If you are on a tight schedule, and are concerned with this kind of thing, I would recommend comprehensive travel insurance, that covers you for any missed flights and liveaboard trips, in the event you are unable to make it for any reason. The worst thing about insurance, is that you never want to actually have to use it, however it can give you peace of mind, in these situations.

The route that we took, which was the most direct (as is the case from most European international airports) was London Heathrow (LHR) > Mexico City (MEX) > San Jose Del Cabo (SJD). We opted to stopover a night in each place, in order to allow for any major delays or flight changes. Due to the distance, we wanted the peace of mind, even if that meant arriving a day or two early. If you have time constraints, with the right flight schedule, you could make it to Cabo San Lucas for the boat departure, in 2 days.

From Mexico City to San Jose Del Cabo (-8 hours GMT), it’s a little over 2 hours by plane. From the moderately cold, mountain climate, the first wave of heat hit me when I stepped off the plane. Sandstone-coloured buildings and tall cacti dotted around reminded me that I had arrived in the desert.


One of many streets of wall art in San Jose Del Cabo

A few things to bear in mind when travelling in Mexico:

A little Spanish goes a long way. Brush-up on your local phrases using a Lonely Planet, phrase book or language app. It’s polite, the locals will appreciate it.

Travelling with a camera? There have been many reports of airports charging people a “camera tax”. Fortunately, our liveaboard, Nautilus informed us of this before coming, so we planned accordingly, however it’s not common knowledge. This is completely illegal, and should you come across this issue, you should contact your liveaboard representative immediately to assist. Try to ask them about this before you travel, so they can give you a contact to call in the case this happens.

It is customary to leave tips in Mexico, and whilst in many countries like Australia and in Europe, tipping is not the ‘norm’, it’s important to respect the local rules. Just account for a 10-15% tip when eating out, taking a taxi, or when a porter helps with your luggage, and you won’t go far wrong.


The local market every Thursday and some local city fauna and street art

San Jose Del Cabo

San Jose Del Cabo is a small city in Baja California, Mexico, which around 140,000 people call home.

Once making the journey from the airport to the city centre, we stayed at the budget-friendly Hotel Casa Ceci. The location was fantastic (very central) and although with simple amenities, it was comfortable, and the staff were friendly and accommodating.

Whilst being a 15-minute car journey from the ocean, there are few public beach spaces around, as they are mostly private to the hotels in the area. So if you’re thinking of heading to the beach for a sunset drink or post-lunch margherita, think twice, as the bars are normally private for hotel guests only.

We normally like to get around with our two feet, if you do need to reach out of town, or you need to head to one of the larger supermarkets, outside of the centre, Uber is the cheapest way to get around. The few times we used it during the trip, we found the drivers to be readily available, and reasonably priced. It’s one of the few times when it’s not customary to tip – as this is normally done through the app.

Plaza Mijares is the town centre, which hosts an artisanal market every Thursday. Here you will find local artists showcasing their work, along with other local products such as coffee, bags, and clothing, made exclusively by people from the neighbouring towns and cities. There was a band playing, and the bars and streets are bustling.

Alternatively, we used the local buses to travel, which for long-distances, were much more affordable, and a great way to see the scenes, especially when travelling From San Jose Del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas.

Once arriving in Cabo San Lucas, the small yet notorious city where the Nautilus Explorer was due to depart from that night, we headed straight to the See Creatures dive centre. After being introduced to the Nautilus staff, exploring the town, and enjoying the free photography course offered by Nautilus, it was time to go to the boat.


Getting our last minute photography revision in, courtesy of Alex Mustard and Pacifico brewery

TIP: arriving in Cabo San Lucas early on the day of departure will mean you will spend most of the day waiting in the city. There is a busy harbour, a shopping centre, and an array of restaurants to choose from, whilst you wait for the departure to Socorro.

The time had finally come. We were boarding the boat, en-route to Socorro. Part II is coming next week. Deep diving and shark encounters await!