The Sea of Cortez is a paradise for scuba diving, ideal for both beginners who want to try a new experience, as well as for expert divers. This area features almost 40% of the total species of marine mammals in the world, as well as about 30% of the total species of cetaceans. No wonder Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez "the world's largest aquarium."
Situated in front ofLoreto's coastline, the Loreto Bay National Marine Park is a 780-square-mile protected area. Thanks to the great diversity of species living in this marine park, Loreto is an excellent choice to go diving and get acquainted with the stunning plant and animal life of the Sea of Cortez.
Some of the best dive sites in national protected areas are located near the islands of Monserrat, Del Carmen, Santa Catalina, Coronados and Danzante. These islands are relatively close to Loreto's shoreline, which means that you can be diving in less than 30 minutes from the moment you leave the coast.
If you are visiting Coronados Island, you may have the opportunity to see a colony of sea lions and dive with them, observing a variety of multicolored fish and even coral reefs, which are located in the northern part of the island. If you head south of Loreto, visit Danzante Island, which features great visibility, pleasant water temperature and irregular, rocky bottoms. Although marine life can be a little less predictable in this area, the dive experience in its unique geography is always spectacular.
Del Carmen Island, located in front of Loreto, offers great dive sites with coral reefs and colorful, abundant tropical fish as well as some caves.
Other excellent dive sites near Loreto, especially for the experienced divers include Los Candeleros, which features crevices with depths of almost 200 feet, a paradise for all kinds of fish. Punta Coyote offers rocky caves and reefs. Las Galeras, to the north of Monserrat Island, is another of the great dive sites in the Sea of Cortez. It features large sea rocks and boulders, steep walls, slabs of rocks and deep drop-offs.
If you long for more exciting, adventurous diving, you can try a night immersion, a challenging and long lasting experience even for the most advanced divers.
No matter what season of the year it is, you can always enjoy an awe-inspiring dive in the Sea of Cortez when you visit the Baja peninsula. During the first months of the year, often until early April, find stunning blue whales and pilot whales (the latter can be seen in the Sea of Cortez during the last three months of the year). From May to October, take advantage of the opportunity to dive with enormous manta rays. Between May and August, you are likely to meet hammerhead sharks, and from June to September, dive with whale sharks. Sea lions, dolphins and turtles can be seen in the Sea of Cortez all year round.
There is so much wonderfulmarine life in these waters that an entire year of diving would not be enough to enjoy everything the Sea of Cortez has to offer. Since the water temperature changes all year around, many species migrate to and from these waters, creating an ever-changing setting. In your immersions, you are very likely to find some creatures that aren't very widely known and do not exist in any other place apart from the Sea of Cortez.
Besides a large number of Loreto attractions, a peaceful colonial atmosphere, comfortable hotels and warm, friendly people, the city offers the opportunity to enjoy a rewarding and memorable vacation. Loreto provides a unique richness of multicolored sea life, offering countless sites for diving in the Sea of Cortez.
Diving in the Sea of Cortez
- Juan Pablo Pinzón