Things You Need to Know: Sea of Cortez/Midriff Islands

The following information is specific to our trips to the Sea of Cortez / Midriff Islands.  Details about the boat, services, amenities, deposits, cancellations, trip insurance, and more can be found under General Information.


The crew of Quino el Guardian will be glad to help you in any way possible to make your visit to the Sea of Cortez an unforgettable experience.

Our Sea of Cortez season runs from the beginning of July to the 3rd week of September. We sail to the Midriff Islands.

The trips run from Sunday to Sunday; and the boat departs from Puerto Peñasco, Mexico at approximately 7 pm. We travel for 12 hours and at 7 am, the next morning we are ready for our first dive.

The Sea of Cortez is very diverse and has a vast amount of nudibranchs, blennys, jawfish, a variety of rays and guitarfish, schools of fish, eels, octopus, sea horses, frogfish, Mexican horn sharks, and some of the friendliest sea lions on the planet!  We also have a lot of whale activity on this trip. We consistently see pilot, fin, and sperm whales as well as dolphins.

On Saturday, the last day of diving, we do one dive in the morning then go to Bahia de Los Angeles where we snorkel with Whale Sharks!   After everyone gets their fill of these massive animals, we have lunch and start motoring back to Puerto Penasco at about 3 pm.

Divers enjoy 3 - 4 dives per day and 2-night dives. All of our trips have 2-3 dive masters on board to lead dives and assist divers.

We divide into 2-3 groups, one divemaster per group.

We also have two inflatable pangas with drivers vigilantly watching for bubbles and retrieving divers upon surfacing.

We provide 80 cubic ft., aluminum tanks that are both Din and Yoke compatible.

Water Temperatures

One of the most popular questions we receive is about water temperature!

The Sea of Cortez is a very seasonal sea which means it changes rapidly based on the seasons.  Our trips begin in early July where the temperatures are approximately 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit.  It increases by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit every week and tops off at about 85 degrees mid-August and remains there until about mid-September.

After mid-September, the temperatures drop an average of 2 degrees Fahrenheit every week.

Boat Location

Quino El Guardian is located at the Marina Fonatur in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.  Marina Fonatur is approximately a four-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona.

Getting to the Boat

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is the most convenient and closest airport in which to fly to reach our port.

Head Out To Rocky Point offers a shuttle service to and from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and takes you directly to the boat. It takes approximately 3.5-4 hours. The cost is $125 per person, round trip.  Beginning January 1, 2022, the price is $150 per person, round trip.

Head Out To Rocky Point shuttles carry 14 passengers, has air conditioning, and hauls enclosed trailers for your gear. They cross the border daily and are very comfortable with this process.

If you require this service please indicate this on your passenger forms and CLICK HERE to reserve and pay for your space.

All passengers will be picked up at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport at 1 pm, Terminal 4, Door 5 outside on the far side of the street. The shuttles are clearly marked Head Out To Rocky Point.

The shuttle will make at least one restroom stop along the way which is next to a grocery store should you wish to pick up snacks or beverages (including alcohol) to bring it with you on the boat.

Head Out To Rocky Point cannot pick up passengers from other locations unless everyone is at the same place (i.e. staying at the same hotel) as there just is not enough time. If you choose to stay at a hotel the evening prior, be sure to be back at the airport by 12:30 so you can comfortably get to the shuttle departure area by 1pm.

If you are arriving on the day of departure, please plan to arrive no later than 11 am. Subsequently, if you are planning to fly out the day of departure, you can plan your departure to be anytime after 2 pm.

Driving to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point)

If you plan to drive please see the southwestern US road map for US and Mexican connected highways to Puerto Peñasco. It is a 4-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona, well-maintained road all the way and an interesting view of the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Drive to the twin border towns of Lukeville, Arizona, and Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico. Follow the signs through central Sonora. Follow the highway south to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point).

Secured parking is available next to the marina at $5 per day.

More information on this and traveling to Mexico can be found on the following websites:

Mexican Tourist Cards

For guests DRIVING into Mexico, (including riding the Head Out To Rocky Point shuttle), you must stop at immigration and purchase a Mexican Tourist Card (FMM).  Some refer to it as a visa but it is not officially a visa.

The cost is $36 US in CASH.

Credit cards are not accepted and immigration officials will not give change.

This is not a new law; it has been in effect for years yet it was not often enforced. However, it is now and we must provide these to the Harbormaster.  If we do not have an FMM for every passenger, the boat cannot leave the port.

Should you lose your FMM, there is a fine of $50 US.

All passengers FLYING into any foreign country, the fee is included in the airfare. Guests will complete the necessary immigration papers on the plane.

You will need to return your FMM Card when you exit Mexico.


Guests can board the boat anytime after 5 pm. You will not be able to board the boat prior to 5 pm as we need time to refit the boat from the previous trip. Should you arrive earlier, you can spend your time site seeing or shopping.

Once on board the boat, you will be shown to your room. Please wait for instructions from the dive masters before doing anything else.

Dinner will be served at 7 pm.

Departure from Puerto Penasco occurs at approximately 7 pm.

Proof of diving certification and insurance is required. Without proof, you will not be able to dive. NO EXCEPTIONS.


The boat will return to the marina in the early morning.

A continental breakfast will be ready by 6 am.

Passengers need to be ready to depart by 7 am.

The shuttle will pick up passengers promptly upon disembarking.

The shuttle will arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport at approximately 11:30 am. You can book your return flight anytime after 2 pm.

Suggested Gear & Clothing


Besides your normal dive gear, each diver is required to have one dive computer as well as a safety sausage (SMB) and whistle.

We absolutely recommend exposure protection (wetsuits/light drysuits) on all of our trips. What you will need greatly depends on your personal comfort level.

For most divers, we suggest a 3mm to 5mm wetsuit. Having additional items to layer works best such as a hood and/or hooded vest.  Gloves are allowed in the Sea of Cortez.


Dress is very casual, shorts, t-shirts, swimsuit cover-ups. Bring a light jacket/sweatshirt for the evenings just in case. Do not forget your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Remember - You Will Be On the Ocean

Occasionally there can be times that the sea can be rough. There are several over-the-counter remedies that can help you. Should you have a propensity to motion sickness or are concerned that you might develop symptoms, please prepare yourself with preventive measures before departure.