Jacques Cousteau called the 900-mile long Gulf of California ‘the aquarium of the world’ citing the prolific sealife that ranges from whales to trophy-sized marlin. But yachtsmen who have cruised these warm waters know them better as the Sea of Cortez, a tribute to the explorer who first ventured here five centuries ago.
Today many of the islands and coves remain just as explorer Hernan Cortez would have seen them; unblemished by civilisation, rugged, remote. While the Baja peninsula boasts world-class resorts and five-star cuisine you can also find beaches unmarked by footprints, uninhabited islands and spectacular sunsets.
There’s so much to see and do here that you can choose from dozens of possible itineraries. Cabo San Lucas is the home port of many charter yachts and a lot of cruises will begin at this nightlife hotspot on the tip of the isthmus which also offers access to Pacific offshore fishing. But to really get away from the crowds, head deep into the Sea of Cortez, to La Paz and the islands that lie off Baja’s coast.
Here you’ll find bath-tub warm seas surrounding sandstone and volcanic islands with a rugged beauty. Often you won’t find much sign of human habitation ashore; perhaps a ghostly abandoned village, or a vibrant fishing port were you can pick up fresh lobster. Otherwise, you can simply laze on the sands or explore striking cactus forests.
As well as abundant fish, you’ll be sharing the coves with sealions and dolphins. Under the waves you can find some excellent dive spots; as well as wreck dives you may have the chance to dive with the world’s largest fish – the whale shark. If you’re lucky you may also glimpse the largest living mammal the blue whale, twice the size of the grey whales that migrate here each winter and spring.
Sea of Cortez: With baked terracotta islands, this is the ‘Red Sea’ of the Americas offering great visibility for diving.
Baja California: Whale watching – see the grey whales that migrate here to breed…
Follow in the wake of Hemingway for some serious sports fishing…