Socorro Island, located approximately 250 miles off the coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, has a long and intriguing history. The island was first discovered by Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus in 1503, but it wasn't until 1539 that Hernando de Alarcón arrived on Socorro to claim it for Spain. This marked the beginning of nearly 300 years of Spanish rule on the island.
In 1858, American whaleship commander Charles Scammon stumbled upon Socorro while searching for breeding grounds for gray whales. He named the island "Pinnacle Rock," after its striking geological feature. However, this name didn't stick and the original name given by de Alarcón was eventually restored.
During World War II, Socorro was used as a training ground for the US Navy. The island also played a crucial role in the development of satellite communication technology, hosting several tracking stations for NASA and other space agencies.
In recent years, Socorro has become known as a premier destination for scuba diving and wildlife watching. It is home to a diverse array of marine species including dolphins, sharks, sea lions, giant manta rays, and humpback whales. In addition, the island's rugged terrain offers opportunities for hiking and exploration. Despite its small size (just 11 square miles), Socorro Island has certainly left its mark on history. Its unique combination of Spanish colonial heritage, military significance, and ecological diversity make it a truly special place.
Want to see more diving content about Socorro? Check out our aquatic and warm fragrance inspired by our trip to the island.