I recommend the Cortez Club. Diving is efficient, fun, and likely as good as is it gets in Baja. This review is divided into two sections: the dive ops and the response to a medical situation.
1) The dive operation was run punctually and hassle-free with friendly and a generally professional staff. I dove with Cortez Club for five days, and found ops to be consistently well-executed. Diving is mainly from pangas, which is not ideal in rough seas- quite bumpy. However, the dive groups are limited to six divers plus guide. Some other operations use larger boats, but the groups are similarly large and those boats are MUCH slower. The speed really matters as distances to dive sites, esp. the popular Los Islotes and El Bajo, are quite long.
Gear is stored onsite and washed daily by the crew. Staff was perfect in loading and off-loading gear daily without any error. There were some issues with EANx availability.
The dive guides and captains were overall very good and friendly. I appreciated their attentiveness and flexibility. Marcos was especially mellow and relaxed. Some exceptions were one guide who could not read the current and adjust the dive plan, and two captains who grossly ogled a young female diver.
2) I experienced a strange vertigo/nausea event about 30 minutes after the second dive at the end of the week (ultimately determined to be ear barotrauma). I was very concerned because I had a 25-year history of diving in general, very deep deco dives, a prior DCS event, and a few issues with middle and outer ear trauma. The crew recognized that I was not just seasick and brought us back as soon as possible, leaving a whale shark feeding at the surface to attend to my health. (There was no O2 available on the boat, but that is typical for pangas in Baja). At the dock, Ricardo offered me O2 and was sincerely concerned. Medical assistance was immediately offered; I declined based on lack of my response to O2 and insufficient evidence for DCS. After some discussion about symptoms and history, Ricardo aided my stumble back to my room (at nearby La Concha Hotel). He also provided me with electrolyte replacement drinks and took my room number. Ricardo provided contact info for a local doctor and encouraged me to get checked. He followed up to ensure my safety over the following days. Excellent job! He has earned my gratitude for his professionalism and empathy.
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