Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez, or the Gulf of California, as it is also known, is a sizeable body of water that separates mainland Mexico from the Baja California Peninsula. Bordering it are the Mexican states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa. The Sea of Cortez has a surface area of approximately 62,000 square miles and boasts more than 2,000 miles of coastline. A very diverse sea, it is home to thousands of species of macro-invertebrates, which helps to explain why the legendary diver, Jacques Cousteau, once referred to it as the "Galapagos of North America." Significant portions of the Sea of Cortez are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including many islands, and among other things, the area serves as a popular breeding ground for whales.

Whale Watching

Many Sea of Cortez visitors hope to add some whale watching to their agendas, and it is easy to understand why. Several different species of whales migrate to the Sea of Cortez on an annual basis, with examples including orcas, humpback whales, California gray whales, and the largest of all the world’s animals, the blue whale. The Sea of Cortez also has resident populations of fin and sperm whales. Among the reasons why this body of water supports one of the largest and most diverse populations of whales in the world is its nutrient-rich qualities. Areas around the islands are especially rich in nutrients. While whale watching off the Pacific Coast of the Baja California Peninsula is something that can only be done from mid-December to mid-March, whale watching in the Sea of Cortez can be enjoyed throughout the year.


The Sea of Cortez has long served as a commercial fishery, and many of the communities that are found along its shores continue to be highly reliant on the industry. Thanks in part to the rise in tourism in the area, sport fishing has also become a major industry. Among the things that anglers can hope to snag when fishing the Gulf of California waters are yellowtail, sea bass, red snapper, pargo, cabrilla, and giant squid. The list doesn’t end there, and in terms of time frames, you can arrange Sea of Cortez fishing excursions that last just a few hours or a few days or more. As is true of the whale watching tours, many of the Sea of Cortez fishing tours include other activities, with examples of such activities including snorkeling and relaxing on world-class beaches.

Scuba Diving & Kayaking

Scuba Diving & Kayaking
Scuba Diving & Kayaking

Scuba diving and kayaking are just two more activities that can be enjoyed in the Sea of Cortez region. The rich abundance of wildlife and the relative clarity of the area waters certainly lends to the popularity of scuba diving, as well as snorkeling. Observing wildlife also helps to make kayaking such a rewarding activity, as does observing the beautiful Sea of Cortez scenery. There are also opportunities on many of the organized tours to dock your kayak on a pristine white sand beach. Among the many places where scuba diving and kayaking excursions can be arranged in the Sea of Cortez region is the Baja eco-tourism hub of La Paz.

Cabo San Lucas & La Paz

Cabo San Lucas & La Paz
Cabo San Lucas & La Paz

As is true of La Paz, Cabo San Lucas is a popular Sea of Cortez travel and activity hub. The same can be said about San Jose del Cabo. These are the three largest cities in Baja California Sur, and they can all be found on or near the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Together with San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas forms the vacation hot spot that is known as Los Cabos, or Cabo for short. The lodging choices in Cabo and La Paz are extensive, especially in Cabo, and there are certainly plenty of ways to stay entertained when visiting the general region.

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