The Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), lies between the Baja California Peninsula and mainland Mexico. This stretch of the Pacific, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most diverse seas in the world and home to more than 3,000 marine species, including hammerhead sharks, sea lions, and sea turtles.
While the Sea of Cortez stretches along roughly 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) of Mexico’s coastline, the Los Cabos region in Baja California Sur is a popular jumping off point for tours. Many Sea of Cortez excursions leave from Cabos San Lucas, Todos Santos, San José del Cabo, and other nearby towns.
There’s no shortage of things to do, whether you want to fish, snorkel, scuba dive, or horseback ride on the beach. You can also swim with massive whale sharks or relax on a sunset cruise. Whale-watching tours are another popular activity; humpback whales, blue whales, and grey whales migrate through the region during fall and winter.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Sea of Cortez is an ideal destination for nature lovers, sun worshippers, and families with kids.
- If you plan to snorkel or scuba dive, be sure to wear a wetsuit or long-sleeved rash guard to protect against the sun, jellyfish, and rough coral.
- If you’re prone to motion sickness, bring medicine aboard any ocean trips.
- Proof of scuba diving certification is required for certified dives.
How to Get There
The Los Cabos region, where many tours depart from, is located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Los Cabos International Airport lies roughly 45 minutes by road from Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos, and 15 minutes by road from San José del Cabo. Rental cars and taxis are good ways to get around in this region.
When to Get There
Although it doesn’t get hit with very many big storms, the Sea of Cortez is subject to the same hurricane season as the Atlantic—the months of June through November may see an increase in rain and storm activity. Winter (December through April) is the busiest season and the best time for whale watching.
Biodiversity in the Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez is an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving, with a rich array of marine life and an underwater world of hard coral reefs. A variety of tropical fish species, including pufferfish, yellow snapper, manta rays, and sharks, can be found here, plus large marine mammals such as whales, whale sharks, and dolphins.