San diego scuba diving

San diego scuba diving DEFAULT

Our La Jolla snorkeling tours are available everyday. The best snorkel experience in San Diego includes the La Jolla Cove, caves and sea lions.

Guided Snorkeling Tour
– Price:
– Ages:
12+ & 100 lbs+
Includes: guided group & use of wet suit, mask, snorkel, fins.

Reservations Call: 619-758-4040

Snorkeling with seals La Jolla Cove We offer a number of daily tour times for our snorkeling in La Jolla. Situated below scenic sea cliffs is the charming La Jolla Cove. Known for beautiful topside views and an abundance of sea life below the surface, this area has become one of the most famous snorkel and dive sites in California.

Our daily small group tours are a great experience for families and adventure seekers alike!

  • Swim near the cutest sea lions on most everyday.
  • View beautifully colored fish including the bright orange Garibaldi.
  • Check out the seven awesome Sea Caves area.

Reservations Call: 619-758-4040



What will I see?
There many exceptional dive sites in San Diego and the surrounding area. We have several shore dives in La Jolla, which is filled with exceptional life due to the Marine Protected Zone, including octopus, horn sharks, leopard sharks, stingrays, and much more! We also have many wrecks in San Diego, including a massive destroyer, a weather tower, and even a bridge!

Why should I choose Beyond Land Adventures to show me San Diego diving?
We have many exceptional dive guides who are well-trained and knowledgeable about the local dive environment. We provide the highest quality rental gear and pride ourselves on customer service. Learn more about your future dive guides!

What is included in the fees for guided dives?
The fees include your private guide as well as tanks and weights for the dive(s).

Do you rent gear?
Absolutely! We have a rental fleet full of high quality gear! Learn more about our Rental Gear

Do I need to be certified to SCUBA dive in San Diego?
Yes. In deference to water conditions, we require divers to be certified or in a class to SCUBA dive in the ocean. Learn to dive today!

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Is there something you told yourself you would never do, and years down the line you found yourself doing that exact thing you said you would never do? 😅😅😅 That happens to me a lot (both good and bad). With diving, I was set on never EVER being trapped underwater at the mercy of all the scary sea life. Forget about the sharks and whales that can swallow you whole… fish freak me out!

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It was only recently that I started realizing that we had visited all these great diving destinations. We couldn’t help but think that we were missing out on a lot of amazing experiences. After all, most of the world is made up of ocean. Before leaving San Diego (and the ocean 😢), we decided it was about time to get dive certified and finally check it off our ridiculously long bucket list! If I can do it, I feel like anyone can.


PADI vs SSI. This was the big question for us. SSI seemed to be cheaper everywhere we looked and they had more deals. We have friends who are certified in both and they are both recognized around the world. We were told it’s more about the instructor than the course, which we lucked out on. We also heard people say PADI is still more widely recognized and easier to access. We decided, just to be safe, to go with PADI.


You can get dive certified at any local dive shop. If you’re in the SoCal area, we highly recommend House of Scuba. Otherwise, you can google your area to see what they have available or even use the PADI dive shop locator. If any of you are deal hunters out there, be wary of groupon or living social deals that look really cheap. Sometimes they have hidden fees or charge you for stuff they may have normally included. We stopped by House of Scuba where they walked us through the whole process and got us scheduled for our classes.

Also if you can help it, don’t get certified while you’re on vacation. We think it’s a waste of vacation time. It’s better to get certified at home and spend your valuable time exploring the amazing destination you traveled to.

If you’re unsure about the whole thing, a lot of shops offer an intro class that gives you a chance to get your feet wet (and the rest of your body 😜). You basically get to play in a pool and see if you even like the scuba diving sensation. Keep in mind that time doesn’t count towards your certification!


Most of the gear is provided, but they required some personal gear (we linked what we currently use)

  1. Snorkel
  2. Mask (His + Hers, we switch off depending on who’s taking more photos)
  3. Fins (for cold water dives, they suggested bigger fins, but ours worked)
  4. Snorkel Bag that fits your gear (optional)

You can buy all the other gear, but we recommend you stick with the basics until after the classes. It’s a good way to gauge whether you’ll be interested in diving after. The basics can also be used to snorkel, so it won’t be a total waste if you decide not to dive again.


The typical class takes place over two weekends. One weekend, you work in the classroom and pool, and the following weekend you’re in open water.

For us, it felt like we were back in school. You have to read the entire dive manual, watch the video, and it helps to take the practice quizzes. You learn how depth affects pressure and air volume. You have quizzes after you review each chapter in the class and a final quiz, where you need a 75% or above to pass. The book isn’t exactly a quick read, so don’t procrastinate and pull an all-nighter like us (did bring back old memories of our college days though). This stuff is important so you don’t get the bends or have your lungs rupture! Reading about all that made me even more paranoid (What? I need to remember all these rules even while these fish are giving me tons of anxiety?)

Don’t worry, though. Once you put all that theory into practice, it will become second nature.

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The hardest part is putting on a wetsuit. Even harder.. putting on a wet wetsuit!

The 200 m swim wasn’t exactly easy either. Even though I practically lived in a pool as a kid, I never learned how to properly swim. I do a lot of thrashing around and waste a lot of energy. 😜 They let me take my time and float on my back, which saved me, but maybe it’s time to take swimming lessons!

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Even though I was beyond nervous, we had the best teachers! Our instructor, Dan, was really great with helping us get comfortable in the water (he also reminded us of Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad… a less serious version of him but still very BA, that if something were to go wrong, he got it under control). During the pool weekend, you spend a lot of time working on skills that help you in every worst case scenario. If you need extra assistance, you can decide to take a personal class instead. We had someone in our group do that after day 1 in the pool.

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After getting comfortable in the pool, you practice those same skills in open water (PS we killed our camera batteries, so no photos 😭). For us, it was the ocean off the coast of San Diego. Our instructor joked that if we can get certified here, anywhere else will be a cakewalk, and he was not over exaggerating! The waves are rough, the water is cold, and the visibility isn’t great. I was getting owned by the waves and had the hardest time getting out to the ocean. Every time a wave hit me, I’d be thrown back 10 feet. We almost called off the first day, but we were able to muscle through it and complete one dive. The second day, we did the remaining three and were ecstatic to finally be dive certified!

Cheers! We’re whiskey divers!!

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WANT TO STAY NEARBY? Click Here For Best Prices and Hotel Reviews

Now it’s time to schedule some more fun dives! Still gotta master that buoyancy. If you dive, where are your favorite spots? Any of these places interest you? If you don’t dive, have you ever considered getting dive certified?



Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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Diving Shallow with Turtles at the Marine Room, La Jolla Shores, San Diego, California

Scuba Diving in San Diego: Cost, Best Time and 6 Best Dive Sites

San Diego is a tourist hotspot thanks to its pleasant weather and scenic coastline. However, many tourists are unaware of the marine treasure that lies under the coast of this city. Years of erosion and other natural processes have resulted in the creation of a unique underwater ecosystem that is home to a diverse variety of marine life. As a result, adventure enthusiasts throng to the city to explore its hidden beauty, making it amongst the most popular scuba diving sites on the West Coast. 

Cost of Scuba Diving in San Diego

Scuba diving in San Diego starts at USD 170 for amateurs. These packages do not require previous diving experience. Participants must be 13 years or older, and must know how to swim. These dives take 4 hours to complete, and includes a 2 hour basic class on scuba diving. This is followed by a one hour shallow dive where participants can familiarize themselves with the equipment and communication and underwater signals used in the dive. The participants can then complete an open sea dive with the instructor, with dives reaching a depth of 25 ft. You can witness the vibrant marine life and unique underwater terrain of the San Diego coast as part of the experience.

Certification requires participants to undergo tuition and multiple dives under certified instructors. The basic certification starts at USD 495 for group sessions, and includes 4 open sea dives with an instructor. 

Certified divers have the opportunity to explore the famous dive spots off the San Diego coast, with a single tank dive starting from USD 100. However, packages to Wreck Alley and Islas Coronados are much more expensive as divers will have to take a dive boat to reach these locations.

Best Diving Schools in San Diego

Scuba divers are mandated by California law to have a scuba diving certification for unguided dives. The accepted certifications include Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Scuba Schools International (SSI), Rebreather Association of International Divers (RAID) and National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). The certifications help schools and tours understand the level of expertise a diver has, which can vary from the basic Open Water Certification to the much more skilled Divemaster rank. Most dive schools and tour operators will require your Scuba Certification Card as proof that you meet the requirements.

Listed below are a few diving schools in San Diego that will help you get started on your journey of scuba diving.

1. San Diego Scuba Center
Address- 4101 Sweetwater Road, Bonita, CA 91902
Timings- 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Ph. No:(619)850-5752
Email:[email protected]

2. Dive California
Timings- 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Ph. No:(619)878-3483
Email:[email protected]

3. Scuba Diving San Diego
Address- 324 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
Ph No:(619)758-4040
Email:[email protected]

4. Scuba San Diego
Address- 8008 Girard Ave #190, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States
Ph No:(619)260-1880
Email:[email protected]

5. San Diego Scuba Guide
Ph No:(858)397-8213
Email:[email protected]

Best Time to Go Scuba Diving in San Diego

The best time to go scuba diving in San Diego would be between August and October. During these months, divers experience calm sea conditions and great visibility underwater, making it ideal to explore the marine treasures of San Diego. The temperature of the water is around 59℉ to 72℉ on the surface, with the temperatures decreasing as the depth increases. Great weather conditions on the surface also make the overall dive experience in San Diego a memorable one.

Scuba diving is not recommended during the winter season due to the extremely rough underwater currents, which can be a challenge to even the most seasoned divers.

The 6 Best Dive Sites in San Diego

While most divers associate scuba diving with the coast of La Jolla, here are a few other places as well that make San Diego a real pleasure for scuba diving enthusiasts. 

1. La Jolla Shores Canyon

La Jolla Shores is a slanted entry into the Pacific Ocean, where divers can find rays and angel fish along the sand shores. The slope eventually gives way to a huge 600 ft. drop into the Canyon. Here, one can be amazed by the spectacular marine ecosystem that has developed, with seagrass and hard corals playing home to octopii, crabs and an eye-catching assortment nudibranch.

2. La Jolla Cove and Giant Kelp Forest

La Jolla Cove is amongst the most spectacular shore dives in the area. On entry, one can find themselves being greeted by sea lions, which may even play around with you. Divers will then reach the beautiful emerald kelp forest at around 35 ft., that will leave you enchanted. Divers can also spot the Garibaldi, the state fish of California, as well as nesting horn sharks. The rocky seabed is home to numerous lobsters and octopus that will leave you awestruck.

3. Wreck Alley

Wreck Alley is a world famous scuba diving site located a few miles off the San Diego coast. The alley is the resting place of 8 sunken ships, with the most famous ones being the HMCS Yukon and Ruby E. coast guard cutter. These wreck dives are not easy due to the sudden current changes, but one can watch the wreck of these ships. The aft guns and turrets of the Yukon still intact and covered by anemones and California scorpionfish, while the red gorgonians and pink corynactis covering the Ruby E. would remind one of the Rose Bowl.

4. Point Loma

Located much further inland than La Jolla, the colder waters and ocean waters of Point Loma result in more nutrients to the marine ecosystem, which results in a diverse blend. The dive reaches a maximum depth of 120 ft. Divers can experience a wonderful array of colors thanks to the variety of nudibranchs, Garibaldi and kelpfish, surrounded by the imposing kelp forests.

5. Marine Room Reef Dives

This dive is a great experience for amateur divers with a love for marine life. One can spot baby seals playing in the area, apart from the shoals of anchovies and mackerels. During autumn, one can also spot gray whales that are migrating as well. The seafloor is home to spiny kelp and sheep crabs, which camouflage with the rocks on the seabed.

6. Islas Coronados

Twenty miles of the San Diego coast, Islas Coronados is a boat trip away from the mainland. Divers here get to swim amongst the pinnipeds, with sea lions and harbor seals living here. The sea lion colony on the island is amongst the liveliest, and despite the rather shallow dive of 40 ft., divers get their money’s worth watching the comical antics of these mammals.

Aren't you eager to try scuba diving in San Diego? Tell us in the comments.

This post was published by Peter Nikhil David


Scuba diving diego san

Find a place to stay

Just as San Diego is a playground above water, so too is the Pacific offshore. With an average August temperature of 69 degrees, and a minimum February temp of 57, San Diego means divers don't have to endure extreme underwater cold. What's more, the waters off San Diego offer the recreational diver a phenomenal array of places to go and things to see. Where else but San Diego can divers enjoy the stunning Scripps and La Jolla Canyons? Or the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, a 10-mile long, 3-mile wide stretch of ocean where the depth plunges from beach entry to 900 feet? Or the giant kelp forests off Point Loma? San Diego even claims its own aquatic Ecological Reserve, a 533-acre domain just out from the La Jolla Cove, where all fishing and boating activity is banned. In 1975, and again in 1979, artificial reefs were created in the park by dumping quarry rock into 70 feet of water, creating a spectacular habitat for fish and divers.

Because many retired Navy SEALS and divers live in the San Diego area, the local dive ranks are filled with knowledgeable professionals who have spent more than their share of time in local waters. They'll tell you that the best beach dives are available all along the La Jolla coastline, which serves as the hub of San Diego shore diving. For dive sites not reachable from shore, boat trips run almost daily to many local hot spots, leaving from Mission Bay and San Diego Bay. Trips vary in price from $50 for a half day's local boat dive to the $300 range for a shark-diving journey down into Mexican waters. No matter where one dives in San Diego, however, it's an adventure filled with sights and aquatic wonders.

La Jolla Shores: The gateway to the Underwater Park, La Jolla Shores can be found by turning west off Interstate 5 toward La Jolla. From La Jolla Shores Drive turn onto Avenida de la Playa, which leads directly to the beach. The area is a diver's Mecca, so don't be surprised to see dozens of fellow undersea fanatics checking their gear. Straight offshore, it's flat and sandy, perfect for beginners. Further offshore are the dark blue depths of the La Jolla Submarine Canyon.

Isla Los Coronados: These three islands are actually off the coast of Mexico, so the only way to get there is by boat. It's an hour and a half ride to the clear waters of Los Coronados, with undersea visibilities in the 50-70 foot range. Seals, sea lions, sun stars, sea slugs, abalone, and eels populate the big boulders underwater. Dive boat skippers know the best spots. A few local favorites are Pukey Point, Lobster Shack and the Keyhole. A note of caution: currents off Los Coronados run very strong. Start your dive against the current, or arrange a drift dive with your dive operator.

The Yukon: On July 13, 2000, the Canadian destroyer Yukon was intentionally sunk two miles off Mission Beach, in an 600-acre underwater area known as Wreck Alley, where four other sunken vessels (a Coast Guard cutter, kelp cutter, barge, and sportfishing boat) also rest on the bottom. At 366 feet long the Yukon makes an imposing artificial reef, and quickly attracted the fish and undersea life that has made the vessel a local favorite among divers and sport fishermen.

South Casa Cove: Enter the water in La Jolla, just north of Hospital Point. A reef extending from the ocean side of the jetty down to Hospital Point means an abundance of marine life and some incredibly scenic diving. After a surf entry, depths quickly reach 15-30 feet. A favorite place for setting lobster traps and for spearfishing, this local favorite also features a large population of seals and sea lions.

Point Loma Kelp Beds: There are two kelp forests off the San Diego coast, but local divers tend to prefer the one off Point Loma. A series of unique pinnacles and shelves along the bottom, interspersed among the kelp, give the feeling of truly being in a primeval forest. Only New Zealand comes close to matching these forests. The depth of the beds vary from 35-80 feet, so that divers can choose to go deep or stay relatively shallow. Either way, the phenomenal visibility within the beds and their offbeat character make this a must. Local dive boats make the trip every day, and experienced skippers know the best spots to enter the water for the ideal dive.

This shore dive gets its name from a landmark restaurant right across from the beach. Located between the popular La Jolla Cove and legendary La Jolla Submarine Canyon, the Marine Room is a shallow reef that lies a healthy swim away from the beach. The highlight: enormous calico bass that swim right up to you.

With so many dive locations to choose from, make sure to get the right dive boat. Learn tips on choosing the best scuba dive boat.

For those interested in swimming with a variety of marine life, explore swimming with sharks, sea lions and other big animals.

Freediving In San Diego

Basic Scuba Certification: $495.00 inclusive of scuba equipment; books, wet suit, dive tables, dive log, Certification with National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).

: Students should register and pay tuition two weeks prior to the class start date, read the text and complete the workbook exercise by the first night of lecture. A group can be three to six students. Tuition includes materials, SCUBA diving equipment, and two weeks of group training in the classroom, pool, and ocean as follows:

Materials: Textbook, workbook, dive log book, dive tables, a training CD and a student registration and certification card from the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).

Diving Equipment included: Wet suit, tanks, weights, air, regulator, and buoyancy compensator.

Two Week Group Training includes:

A new group section starts twice a month on the first and third Monday.

1. Six evening lectures, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for lectures.

2. Four hours the first weekend in shallow water for scuba skill development.

3. Four Scuba dives the second weekend:Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Two dives on Saturday at La Jolla Shores and two dives on Sunday at La Jolla Cove.  All dives are conducted off the shore.  Missed dives can be made up for an additional $140.00 per dive.

Student must provide:

Mask, snorkel, fins, boots, gloves, and cold water hood ($295.00 plus tax), notebook, 10 key calculator, swimsuit, and towel.

Physician’s Fitness Evaluation

A diving physical examination by a physician is recommended with written approval prior to participating in diving activities.

Student Swimming Ability

All diving training agencies in the United States state in their standards and procedures that a candidate for Basic Scuba Certification must demonstrate the ability to swim.

The student swimming evaluation consists of:Guitar-Fish-And-Diver (1 of 1)

1. 50-ft lateral swim underwater, one breath only
2. 220-yard swim in less than twelve minutes

3. 50-yard wrist tow of another swimmer without swim aides.

4. 10-minute thread water

Certification is not guaranteed. Students must successfully complete the written test with an overall score of 75% or higher on demonstrate all skills in the water satisfactorily.


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