Sea of Cortez
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, which Jacques Cousteau famously dubbed the ‘world’s aquarium,’ the Sea of Cortez is the biologically richest body of water on the planet and one of the world’s best destinations to see bird and marine life amid stunning natural beauty.
Located between Baja California and the Mexican mainland, the Sea of Cortez was created over five million years ago as a result of tectonic plate action. A combination of two ecosystems, the temperate zone north of La Paz and the warm water zone further south towards Los Cabos, means the sea is full of food and nutrition encouraging bird and marine life to flock here. In fact, the waters support 900 species of fish and 32 types of marine mammal. The whole landscape is a nature lover’s dream, where the blue skies and turquoise waters provide a stunning backdrop to the beauty of the offshore islands with their towering russet-coloured cliffs, burnt orange desert, sculptural green cacti, snow-white salt flats, golden sand bays, surreal rock formations and unique plant life. UNESCO-protected since 2005, we think a trip on the Sea of Cortez is one of life’s unforgettable experiences.
The sea has legendary status among marine naturalists and divers and visitors can expect to see air-diving manta ray, huge pods of dolphin, playful sea lions, leatherback sea turtles, Humboldt squid and dive-bombing pelicans. During the migration months of December to March, the seas attract a variety of whale who swim down to escape the cold Alaskan winters and to feed in the plankton-rich waters. It is common to see grey, fin, pilot, gnarled humpbacks and even blue and orca whales. Even more exciting is the chance to swim alongside some of these amazing creatures, play with the sea lion pups and bond with the whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. Exploring the offshore islands also gets you up close and personal to blue heron, osprey and blue-footed boobies.
We think the only way to experience this incredible wonder of nature is by boat. Expeditions, such as Lindblad’s Whales and Wilderness Cruise run by a professional team of naturalists, embark from La Paz and give passengers the chance to snorkel, dive and swim in the marine-rich waters, visit the offshore islands to learn more of their geography, bird and plant life and indulge in all manner of water sports including kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we think a Sea of Cortez expedition is hard to beat.