The Sea of Cortes, dubbed “The World’s Aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau, is the place to witness the astounding variety of marine life. The Sea of Cortes is home to five species of sea turtles, 900 types of fish, 170 species of seabirds, a third of the world’s whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Several of the Sea of Cortes’ top spots are only reachable by small ship.
With my niece Cheryl, I had the pleasure of exploring the Sea of Cortes, and I highly recommend these wonderful ports along Mexico’s Baja California Sur, as well as the greatest things to do in each.
The Sea of Cortez or the Sea of Cortes, which is it? is a helpful hint. The two spellings are equivalent. The Spanish spelling is Cortez, while the English spelling is Cortes.
1.Baja Agua Verde
In contrast to the powerful El Norte winds we experienced when leaving La Paz, the calm sea at Baja Agua Verde is a pleasant reprieve.
The waters of quiet Agua Verde Bay, which is situated on a peninsula just south of Loreto, are a stunning green and remarkably transparent and clean. There aren’t many tourists in this area because a small ship is the best way to travel the area’s 40 miles of rough and unsuitable driving. We enjoyed the following activities when we were anchored nearby:
Skiff Tour of Agua Verde in Baja
Skiffs are a terrific way to view the best of this region, and we used one to explore the peninsula’s rocky shore. We were able to get close to and see the numerous marine birds perched on the rocks because of the calm waves.
Observation of wildlife: Blue-Footed Boobies
The blue-footed boobies were the strangest birds we observed. These water birds are indigenous to the Pacific’s tropical and subtropical regions. Why are their feet blue, do you know? According to scientists, the carotenoid pigments in their food are what give the blue colour. The men perform a dance routine to attract ladies during mating season.
Ride a Burro
Have you ever taken a burro ride along imposing cliffs with a view of the stunning Sea of Cortes? My niece and other passengers, who travelled an 8-mile distance with the Romero Family on their burros to conduct this special excursion, enthused about the experience. The Romeros are a genuine Mexican Ranchero Clan that is quickly dying out as the younger generation leaves the area in search of work and educational possibilities. The burro rides are a crucial source of income for the clan and a local tradition.
In “Goat Walk”
The most challenging activity in Baja Agua Verde was the so-called “goat walk” up the cliff, which was ideal for those like my niece. I questioned her about if the phrase “Goat Stroll” had any special significance. She answered, “I don’t think so, no. “It was just a mountain goat-style climb up some rocks.” She cherished it! Their route meandered through a few relatively small footpaths that ran along the mountain face.
Our time at Baja Agua Verde was completed with a stroll down the beach and delectable refreshments at UnCruise Beach Stations before we boarded the ship.
A Pro Tip: Please remember to take nothing with you when you visit a beach, no matter when or where you go.
2. Magna Bay’s Puerto Lopez Mateos
We disembarked from the ship off Isla Carmen and drove across the peninsula on Highway #1 to Puerto Lopez Mateos on the Pacific side of Baja California Sur. Amazingly, the landscape is arid and covered with miles and miles of cacti. “This is exactly like the old Western movies,” said a buddy.
Observation of wildlife: grey whales
We got on a little boat and headed out to the lagoon of Magdalena Bay to watch the grey whales. One of the three main grey whale breeding and calving lagoons in Baja, this location is regarded as one of the greatest in the world for viewing grey whales. The lagoon’s warm, tranquil, and nutrient-rich waters make it the perfect location.
While we all wait for the first blowholes, excitement is palpable. A sighting is coming soon, and it is near our boats.
Just what a delight! The bay’s warm waters were being savoured by a number of mothers and calves. I’ve never been this close to a grey whale, and I’ve never seen mothers and calves before. We stayed for about 45 minutes, all the while admiring these amazing creatures.
Pro Tip: From mid-January to early March, when they start their return migration to Alaska, is the greatest time to see grey whales and their calves in this area. Make appropriate travel plans.
3. Isla Carmen (Del Carmen Island)
The largest island in the Loreto National Marine Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Isla Carmen. We loved these activities while we were anchored close to the island:
Be prepared for colourful fish to meet you! It’s not like snorkelling in Hawaii or the Caribbean because of how chilly the seas are here. The good news is that when we got back, hot chocolate was waiting for us!
It should be noted that snorkelling on UnCruise requires participants to be strong swimmers and able to climb a ladder to return to the boat. There is also always the option to take in the sights from the ship’s lounge.
Pro tip: Uncruise offered Snorkel 101 for anyone who were new to snorkelling, had not snorkelled in a while, or needed more confidence in the water. This is a fantastic alternative for you to practise snorkelling.
Observation of Blue Whales And Dolphins In The Wild
Dolphins spotted off the bow, came the word later in the afternoon.
To watch the dolphins, we hurried from the lounge to the ship’s bow. We could also make out the spouts of blue whales in the distance. They were identified by a crew member. How did she know those were blue whales rather than grey whales, I enquired. “Gray whales don’t come up here,” she retorted.
Interesting facts: Blue whales may grow up to 100 feet long and weigh up to 180 tonnes, making them the largest mammals on Earth. In the “Blue Triangle” off Del Carmen Island, blue whales are frequently spotted. Compared to grey whales, they can be located farther from the coast.
4. Coronado Island
We anchored in a secluded bay off Isla Coronado, one of the five islands that make up the Loreto Bay Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to having 16 different species of reptiles living there, including snakes, lizards, and geckos, Isla Coronado is also home to mice and jackrabbits.
Tour of Isla Coronado by skiff
You may get closer to the intricate and mesmerising volcanic rock and shore formations on Isla Coronado by taking a skiff tour.
Observation of Wildlife: Sea Birds and Nests
On our skiff trip, we saw additional blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, and cormorants in addition to the beautiful shoreline. Two enormous cormorant nests on the rocks astound us, one of which has a cormorant defending it.
Local plants, a shrine to fishermen, and a pearl farm
The lone cactus struggling to survive in the rocks was also amazing. Here, where there is less than an inch of rain every year, plants have adapted to the harsh surroundings to survive.
We came to a cross and shrine intended to protect the local fisherman as we rounded a bend. We were able to see an abandoned pearl farm in another location.
With Sea Lions to Swim
These seas are vibrantly alive and clear as turquoise. The sea lions on Isla Coronado, playing in the surf and sunbathing on the rocks, are one of the island’s principal draws. You can swim in one area with the sea lions if the weather is calm.
We were unable to do this on our trip since the winds had gotten worse. (I always remind myself that I should save some experiences for the future.) During small-boat travelling on the Sea of Cortes, flexibility is required. The skipper always prioritises safety first, and some experiences call for favourable weather. Hence, be ready for a change in your plans.
Interesting fact: Loreto Bay Marine Park is a Ramsar Site, which means that it has received recognition from other countries for its careful management of wetlands and waters.
Between the Baja California Peninsula and Northern Mexico’s western shore is the Sea of Cortes. At the southernmost point of the peninsula is Baja California Sur. Our UnCruise Expedition met us in San Jose del Cabo after we had flown there.
- For wet landings, bring some flip flops or water shoes.
- You should also consider bringing a rucksack so you can exit and enter the skiffs with both hands free.
- I suggest reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the delicate marine ecosystem.
- Information On Our Little Ship, The Safari Voyager
The Baja’s Bounty: Baja California’s Whales & Sealife Experience was the cruise we took. UnCruise Adventures sails the Safari Voyager, a 33-cabin small ship that can accommodate 66 passengers. 2:2.1 guests to crew is the ratio.
Three decks make up the ship. The large lounge on Deck 3 has 270-degree views. The second deck is where the majority of the cabins are situated. All of the cabins feature magnificent picture windows and are located outside, above the deck. On the first deck is where the dining room is located. In the public spaces and cabins of the ship, exquisite handcrafted artwork is displayed.