Amazing experience with Eli and the crew at Banco Chinchorro. As a shark diver and animal fan, diving with crocs was something that I always wanted to do. I had a lot of expectations and they were surpassed y far! This is the third trip I join SDM, see you soon guys!
Crocodiles in Mexico
I have been to numerous dive expeditions before but this was the first with SDM adventures. To make a long story short, they have been the best. From the pick up, to the last beer and drop off, everything was perfectly planned. The team was very diligent and helpful about bringing us as close to the crocodiles as possible and getting the best photos, not forgetting the safety aspect. I am already saving money for my next expedition with Eli Martinez, he is very friendly and has a big heart for the wildernesses. Thank you, Eli and Maritza!!!
Crocodiles in Banco Chinchorro
I recently returned from a really unique and incredible trip, encountering wild crocodiles off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico at Banco Chinchorro. Although the trip is open to anyone, it seemed to cater primarily to photographers (hobbyists) interested in capturing these large reptiles up close and personal. That was certainly what we did, for three days straight. Eli Martinez, the tour leader and an experienced photographer in his own right, managed the logistics of getting the six guests situated with all necessary equipment (diving and otherwise) and amenities. Everything seemed to run smoothly and on time, which is not always to be taken for granted in Mexico. We were clearly told of what to expect (e.g. a bouncy, very wet crossing to Banco Chinchorro that could last upwards of 3 hours in each direction). Anyone signing up for this should know that these are not 'luxury' accommodations, but that is part of the fun and uniqueness of this experience. You sleep in hammocks inside a wooden fisherman's hot with no electricity, running water (or AC of course), and you are mostly confined to the small area of the fisherman's hut for the duration of the three days/two nights excursion. There is plenty of freshly prepared food, sodas and water to drink so there is no need to bring snacks. Just lots of sunscreen and any and all camera equipment that you might need.
For anyone who has ever done a safari, this is comparable yet different in that you're up close with these animals with barely a few feet (if not inches) between you. In this case, you are in shallow water on the crocodiles' turf, so be prepared for the adrenaline rush as the reptiles swim towards you and express curiosity (they are primarily focused on the bait that some of the attending guides and helpers used to keep them distracted).
This would be a trip for wildlife and nature lovers, who have an affinity for photography and unique close encounters with potentially dangerous animals. That really about sums it up, so if any of the words in the last sentence didn't seem 'your speed,' I would move on. But of the hundreds of exotic experiences and 70+ countries I have visited, this experience ranks among the highest in terms of unique thrills and close proximity to highly feared and sometimes dangerous animals...important to note that safety is a #1 priority here and everything is very carefully monitored to ensure everyone's safety with the animals. You will not get bitten, or attacked, but you do need to be respectful of the rules and follow instructions in the water when the crocs approach. It's truly a magnificent experience.
Tauranga, New Zealand
South Africa Safari, June 2019
Almost two months have passed since our first trip to Africa and with SDM Adventures and a day hasn’t passed where we don’t talk about the awesome time we had. The whole trip was organized to give us the best opportunities of seeing as many of the animals that we had all come to see and it did not disappoint. Would not hesitate to book another trip with these guys, it was as if we were holidaying with old friends. Thanks Eli, Maritza and Sophia.
Boevange sur Attert, Luxembourg
Baja Orcas, May 2019
If I thought my first week's scuba-diving (in Cabo Pulmo) was great, then the week two 'Baja Safari' was just epic! Racing out with the SDM boys over the ocean 'hunting' orca. And orca we found! Nearly 2 magical hours in the water with a 'super-pod' of maybe 20 animals - unforgettable! And then - buzzed by blue-striped Marlin (a first for me). And a giant whale shark cruising by. Eli 'attacked' by a frantic loggerhead turtle. Swimming into a giant, swirling funnel of hundreds and hundreds of mating mobula rays. On other days, mobulas or dolphins leaping out of the ocean into the air. Sperm whales, humpback and grey whales migrating south. My thanks to all my good friends, and also to all the new friends I met. I am STILL trying to 'process' it all. Can't wait till I come back in November!
The day to day logistics of the trip were handled on the fly by Eli and Fernanda seamlessly. The hotel was clean and comfortable in a good location within walking distance of restaurants and bars.
Everything went as well as it could on land. Meanwhile in the water - We got to swim with a super pod of Orca in warm water with good visibility on a cloudless sunny day. Enough said.
Apart from thank you Eli.
This was my 10th trip with SDM!! Had a great time and each adventure has never disappointed! Always a blast!
Tiger and Great Hammerheads January 2019
My wife and I traveled with Eli on a liveaboard trip to Tiger Beach. As a very experienced diver, this trip definitely ranked near the top of the list of memorable diving activities. I've never been closer to, or had more consistent large animal encounters. Every time we got in the water we were surrounded by at least 2, and up to 8 large Tiger and Hammerhead sharks, never mind the dozens of smaller Reef, Lemon, and even some small Bull sharks. Shark feeds were well organized, and conducted in a safe manner. Eli and the safety divers from the boat crew did an amazing job watching everyone's back, and keeping us all alert so that there were no injuries. That being said, these sharks were curious! Even after we were briefed on how to position ourselves and how to deal with the animals coming towards us, it's hard to prepare yourself to go face to face with a 12+ foot long shark. By the end of the week though, everyone in the group was confident around them, which was Eli's goal from the start. He showed us how to safely manage close up encounters with these animals without fearing them, yet still giving them the healthy respect that they deserve. Watching Eli interact with these sharks was always entertaining, and it was obvious that he loved doing it. After diving he was happy to share his excitement about identifying features on each shark, and new behaviors and interactions he had observed. While we did have some bad weather on our trip and some poor visibility in the water some days, Eli and the crew knew the area well, and knew when and where to put us in the water to give us the best conditions possible. When we couldn't dive, Eli was still working on making sure that all of the passengers were having a great time. The trip was incredible, we came back with some amazing pictures, and we are already talking about doing it again! Don't hesitate to book a trip with SDM, and definitely visit Tiger Beach. We'll be doing both again!
San Diego, California
Tigers and Great Hammerheads January 2019
Our adventure last month at Tiger Beach started out with some weather delays but once we got on site there was plenty of shark action. Multiple Tiger Sharks on each dive, in addition there were Great Hammerhead, Bull, Lemon, Caribbean Reef and Nurse Sharks in attendance. Other than tough weather conditions I have no complaints. I expect when Eli attains Sainthood we can count on better control of the weather! The boat accommodations and crew were outstanding, great food and a really good group of people made for a wonderful adventure. I have been diving with SDM Adventures for over fifteen years and one of the reasons I continue to do so is no matter what obstacles may present themselves I can be sure Eli and Maritza will go the extra mile to make the trip a success. Having experienced trips with other operators I appreciate the fact that diving with Eli isn't overly regimented, so I feel comfortable getting close enough to get good footage or photos of the animals.
Tigers and Great Hammerheads December 2018
This trip was so much more than any words could ever explain! To be able to share space with apex predators is something that will change you forever. I don't believe there is anyone out there more experienced and knowledgeable than Eli Martinez and SDM Adventures. If you want to push yourself outside your comfort zone and learn so much about sharks and their importance to this planet...take this trip and enrich your life!! Thank you for showing me and the world that sharks are not what media make them out to be; but instead showing us just how intelligent and powerful and majestic they are; and promoting shark conservation in the very best way possible. Thank you!! I'll see you in October to do it again!!
Penn Valley, CA.
Oct 2018 Tiger Shark Expedition
My third trip to Tiger Beach with Eli, SDM Adventures and the Dolphin Dream crew and by far the most exciting visit with the big girls of Tiger Beach. These massive Tiger Sharks are so beautiful, elegant and curious that it makes for the most exciting shark encounters in the world. Highlights include watching Eli and Houston hand feeding and handling the animals, gently pushing the girls away when they get a little too curious and hanging out with a great group of shark divers and the Dolphin Dream crew. An experience not to be missed!
Belugas and polar bears
I go on vacation with my family once every year or two and I can easily say that the trips I have taken with SDM Adventures has been the ones that stand out most. If you’re contemplating whether or not the trip will be worth it or if the experience is going to be genuine, then rest assured it is! The wonderful family that hosts these excursions love what they do and act as though they’re on vacation as well while staying professional. They’re incredibly personable and care about the safety of everyone who takes part in these journeys. I’ve taken two trips with them now. One where we go swimming with whale sharks in Mexico and another where we swim with belugas and drive around to see wild polar bears in Canada! There’s never a moment where you would feel unsafe with a crew like SDM. But if you’re really debating about going, JUST GO! These are experiences that you’ll hold onto and cherish for the rest of your life. Don’t forget to bring a camera, because there’s always a beautiful shot waiting to be captured!
In November of 2018, we travelled to Puerto San Carlos (Magdalena Bay) for the Pelagic Safari with Eli of SDM Adventures. This was our third trip with SDM, and, like the two previous ones, we had an incredible experience despite Mother Nature’s best efforts otherwise. We spent four days seeking out striped marlin and were able to capture some amazing underwater shots of the feeding frenzy! Two of these days had encounters that lasted multiple hours. On our one storm day, Eli had a Plan B in place that gave us an opportunity to photograph the array of birds and a couple of coyotes, the local fishermen, and the varied landscape from sand dunes to mangroves. From picking us up at the airport, to the small group family-like atmosphere (especially the oyster feast), to catering to all our requests – Eli made our week a truly memorable experience.
Terry and Lisa Gile
West Muskogee, Oklahoma
Memories, not Dreams!!
That’s what you’ll have when you go on an SDM Adventure! We went on our first trip with Eli and Maritza in February 2013. It was Tiger Beach in the Bahamas and we were really pumped. To keep a long story short, we weren’t disappointed!! Tiger sharks, lemon sharks, reef sharks, nurse sharks, and the big bonus: Great Hammerheads off of Bimini! The photos and videos we got were fantastic. And we felt totally safe the entire time. Eli’s mastery of the feeding box is unmatched! With SDM you get great value and service and have a fabulous time with friends. They feel like family now and our memories of that time are heartwarming. We can’t wait for our next SDM Adventure!
Pelagic Safari, Baja November 2018
Aloha, I had the privilege of joining Eli Martinez on the Pelagic Expedition in Baja last November. I cannot say, better than what follows here, what a wonderful time I had! The way Eli runs his trips is low-key; Guests-First & totally inclusive. Here is my Trip report that accompanied images I posted: 'I came to San Carlos seeking images of Striped Marlin hunting Baitballs. But then, this happened… STORY: Heading out on our Panga to open ocean, I noticed several Bottlenose Dolphin really close to shore where many birds were sitting. The boat captain headed over and we all soon realized that the Dolphin were herding a large school of Sardines towards the surface. Shortly, thousands of seabirds launched off the beach and began a crazy feeding frenzy all around us. One of those wildlife epics! Countless Pelicans and other birdies, dive bombing for food! We ended witnessing something rarely seen, as this feeding frenzy occurred with Dolphin and Sealions below and a lot of species of Seabirds. Blessed!! And Later That Day, We found The Marlin!! '
Tonga Whales 2018
Tonga was not my first expedition with SDM nor will it be the last! Eli and his family search the world over to find the most amazing wildlife experiences for you to join. They treat you like family, from the hugs when you meet, to the hugs when you leave. It is literally impossible to have a bad adventure with SDM and their crew! I mean it, literally impossible! The respect and reverence they have, for the beautiful creatures that allow us to share a piece of their lives, is genuine and inspiring. From Humpback whales to Whale Sharks, Flying Foxes, giant Iguanas and great friendships, built while adventuring, you cannot go wrong with this group. Tonga is, to me, the most amazing place on earth - and I've been blessed enough, to go a lot of places in my life so far. SDM, to me, is the best of the best for tour groups and adventures - and I've been on several different adventures, with several other tour companies. Eli and Maritza are
personable, kind and so passionate about nature.
Every trip has been a great one!
Great White Shark Expedition
The Great White Shark trip was the first expedition I have booked with SDM. I was impressed with every aspect of the trip from the ease of booking to the quality of the boat accommodations/food. The diving was incredible. The trip was so enjoyable I have already booked another expedition to Tiger Beach. Next summer, we plan to book the African Safari as well. Appreciate the options and the service!
Beluga Whales in Churchill Canada
Every trip with Eli is an epic adventure. The beluga whales were plentiful and the outfitter SDM used was professional and knowledgeable. Eli went out of his way to make sure our time on shore was just as amazing, renting a van for polar bear searching and man was it a success! We found polar bears, arctic foxes, caribou, and northern lights. Thank You for an awesome adventure!
Great Whites(2012 & 18), Whale Sharks(2013 & 15), Bull Sharks(2013), Blues/Makos(2014),
Tiger Beach(2014), Crocs(2018)
As you can see from the expeditions listed above, I've been hooked on SDM adventures trips since 2012. Eli and Mari do a wonderful job putting kick ass trips together. From arranging your pick up and drop off from the airport, accommodations either on the liveaboard or on land, finding alternative fun stuff to do when mother nature decides to throw a wrench in your original plans, they take care of you from start to finish. But more importantly, they make you feel like family. It's hard to pick a favorite trip thus far, they all are so fun and exciting in their own individual way. Seeing Eli do his magic with the Tigers is something to behold. Sometimes, it literally takes your breath away. You will be in awe and find a whole new appreciation for those crazy sharks when Eli gracefully and gently twirls them like a beautiful dance partner. But if I were to pick a fav right now, I would have to go with the last one I did, the Croc Trip at Banco Chinchorro, MX. Sharks are my thing, they are my love, they are my heart, so Crocs were not on my radar. But I finally got convinced to go by others who had gone before, and I have to say, WOW! I was very VERY nervous the first time I got in the water with the resident croc Gambit. But Eli made me feel safe and after the first day, I fell in love with them and see how beautiful they are in their own way. That trip took me out of my comfort zone in more ways than one, but I loved every single minute of it. My next trip with SDM adventures is the Pelagics in Nov 2019 and it can't come soon enough! I will end with this, with every trip, I have met so many incredible people from all around the world who you bond with, become friends with, and it is the best feeling in the world to feel like you have an extended family all around this remarkable earth. So what are you waiting for?!?! Book a trip, become part of the family!
Multiple Tiger Beach Trips & 1 Guadalupe Trip
I had never been on a live aboard diving trip before my first trip to Tiger Beach with Eli. Unfortunately Tiger Beach ruined me for life, as no other diving has come even close since then. While I have tried to enjoy diving at many other locations, I keep coming back to Tiger Beach with Eli for more. Whether it is your first trip with Eli or your 5th, he becomes your close friend immediately. I have enjoyed every minute of every trip I have been on with SDM Adventures and can't wait for my next trip.
I’ve Done a Few.
Eli is the worst guide ever, he has made me swim with so many sharks and drink so many beers and have too much fun. His trips should come with a warning! On a serious note, Eli and his family are all cool as f@#k and his trips are amazing. Its even got to the point where I think of his family and the wonderful people I’ve met on these trips as part of my own family. I even went as far to get his bloody logo tattooed on my back 🤦♂️
I can’t wait to be in the water with these guys again!
I have been diving with Eli and the SDM crew for several years, and each trip has been a memorable adventure! The SDM Adventures team is always very organized, professional, and super knowledgable about the species we're encountering, the region of the world we're visiting, and the local culture of the people we're working closely with on these wildlife encounters. I've met some of the coolest people on these trips, and many of them have become lifelong friends. Highly recommend to anyone interested in photography, adrenaline, or just meeting amazing people and experiencing the adventure.
Feb 2018 Whale watching Baja
My 1st trip for whale watching was the best experience I could ever have because of Maritza, Eli and Sophia. The trip was planned perfectly from picking us up at the airport, (and dropping us off) escorting us to the most awesome family run hotel and perfect excursions for whale watching. Everyday spent on the water produced whales and their babies (which came close enough to us to splash us with water) to a authentic lunch on a island run by locals. When whales were tired of us, we went to small islands where we saw wildlife such as Coyotes, beautiful wild native birds, seal lions, golden eagles and so much more. Our host's were THE BEST anyone could ask for. So much fun! Always happy, energetic, and passionate about teaching animal conservation. They know where to go, to give you the best experience dreams are made of. Love you guys!
Guadalupe White Sharks
The trip was extremely organized, and professionally ran. We met so many fun people and had a great time. Eli is an energy to be around, and is so informative about the aquatic life. I would highly recommend his trips and I’m looking forward to our next trip out with him.
Awesome trip, awesome people great atmosphere and The Gentle giants were everywhere along with mantas .trip exceeded expectations.Would love to do this trip or another expedition with you guys some day soon. thank you for such an awesome time.
Tigers / Hammerheads, Mexico Sailfish and Whalesharks
Since the first time I traveled with SDM, I knew it would not be my last ! Their passion for wildlife is simply contagious and it feels like you have known them for years. Communication before, during and after the trip is great and the trips are very accommodating and flexible to everyone's experience and needs. It's all smiles and sharks :) Eli and Maritza rock !
Already booked my next trip :)
My first trip with SDM was to Tiger Beach.
We set off from West Palm Beach, doing the crossing during the overnight. The atmosphere aboard was buzzing with anticipation. Eli and his crew discussed safety protocols and shark behaviors, so each diver felt safe and secure in the water. I had previously dove with sharks, but nothing would compare to the immersive experience we were about to be treated to.
From the time the boat arrives, the sharks swim around the dive platform, but it is in the water where the magic happens.
The lemon sharks are the opening act, and they do perform. Swimming in and around the divers and laying in the sand near Eli, the lemons are always posing for the camera. Reef sharks, Nurse sharks, and the occasional Bull often make their appearance, but it's the Tiger sharks that take center stage, and they are rock stars. Eli’s ability to interact with these animals while still showing the respect they demand highlights the professionalism that SDM delivers. Everyone was able to capture the incredible photos they came to take.
I have since been on other expeditions with SDM Adventures, including coming back to Tiger Beach. Each trip I have traveled on, Eli has made me feel like family and not just another customer. I came alone but left with friends and memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re looking for world-class adventure, look no farther than SDM Adventures!
Staten Island, New York
Whale Sharks, Croc Diving, Hammerheads, Humpback Whales, Arctic Orcas and South Africa.
There is a reason for my many expeditions over the years with Eli and his amazing family. From the very beginning of every adventure, their guests are treated like family. Every expedition is well thought out to maximize their guest’s enjoyment with special emphasis on safety always first. I’ve been privileged to dive with Eli and his family for many years now. Not only for the extraordinary dive locations that they provide, but also to learn from Eli’s love and passion of nature’s amazing world. Eli is known through out the dive industry as a master shark handler. The way he connects with these amazing creatures is something you’ll never forget. I would whole heartedly recommend divers and adventures, whether you’re a novice or a pro, to contact Eli to experience their special knowledge and warmth that they bring to every adventure.
The Woodlands, TX.
LOTS OF TRIPS!
SDM has been the best part of my life...The adventures that Eli and I shared will forever be ingrained in my memories forever!!! Hoping to get back into the game soon!
Guadalupe Island, Great Whites
In 2016, I went on the Guadalupe Island cage diving trip with SDM adventures and my dad. We had the best time! This was my first liveaboard trip and the boat was very spacious. The staff and accommodations were very nice. We all hung out on the deck on the boat on our way out, slept as much as we could, and woke up and were ready to dive! The boat docked close to the island where the waters were calm and flat, so by the time you get to the island you don't even pay attention that you are on a boat. Eli is such a great guide and vacation buddy! We would recommend SDM Adventures to anyone and know a ton several people that have been on trips with them! My family has gone on a couple trips with SDM adventures, so you will see another review from me :)
SDM is great. Tiger Beach is a must for Shark lovers and Isla Mujeres for whale sharks. Eli has a real passion for these animals, and is a real joy to watch his interactions with the Sharks. Hope to go on more adventures with SDM, when time permits!
San Diego, CA.
Got to share this adventure with my son at age 12 the awesome crocodile expedition, the diving and vitals were amazing not to say the lion fish ceviche. Thanks Eli for such a great trip!
Great Whites and Whale Sharks
My first experience with SDM was so great. Snorkeling w/ Whale Sharks in Holbox, MX could easily have been the best week of my life. I met the other adventurers in Cancun, and the vans set off for Chiqila, Quintana Roo, where we took a ferry to Holbox. Eli explained to me his love for “Old Mexico” as one of his favorite places in the world, so I knew the experience was going to be great. The accommodations were pristine, and it was possibly the most relaxed I’d ever been. When we hit the water, we had an amazing hands-off interaction with these beautiful sharks. Every whale shark was more beautiful than the next. We visited the Holbox flamingos, and the locals were all warm and friendly. Of course, there were nights at the Swing Bar, and then the return to Cancun was an easy ride, which you didn’t want to make because you just left the greatest place on the Eastern side of Mexico. Made a lot of friends, and would recommend this trip to anyone.
The pinnacle of the shark experience. Maritza and Eli, and the staff of SDM made this trip seemless and easy to enjoy. We met in San Diego, CA the night before and everyone got to meet each other. As soon as the sun came up, we loaded the cans and set off for Ensenada where we met the Sea Escape which was our home for the week. After the journey to Guadeloupe, the cages hit the water, and the divers geared up for a week of some of the greatest diving I’ve ever experienced. The sharks were beautiful, the living conditions were amazing, and the whole experience was amazing. Well organized, well worth it. Thank you, Maritza and Eli for including me on your adventure through this great life we live.
Whale Sharks Holbox Island, MX. 2008
Second review for SDM Adventures since we love them so much! My family (6 people) plus our family friends (3 people) went with SDM to swim with whale sharks near Holbox Island, Mexico. This was by far my family's favorite trip. The island was beautiful. We had fun relaxing in the afternoons and swimming with whale sharks in the mornings. We couldn't have asked for better weather on our trip- flat, calm waters, crystal clear visibility, and lots and lots of whale sharks. On one of the mornings, I was swimming in the middle of two huge whale sharks. What I love about going on trips with Eli and SDM Adventures is the mix between knowledgeable guide and fun. Everyone hangs out on the adventures and whether you want quiet time on your own, or to be social with a group, there is always something to fit your traveling style! Anyone who loves the ocean, loves sharks, or just loves ocean life in general, I would highly recommend SDM Adventures.
Guest Review Form
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