Cartoons and movies often give us an image of oases that look like small gardens with palm trees, a few rocks, a bunch of tropical plants, a small lagoon and maybe even with a beautiful spring. The Estuary of San Jose del Cabo, located in Southern Baja, however, gives a new meaning to the concept of oases. It is a whole biological paradise that is home to hundreds of species from every realm in nature, a beautiful bubble of life that is worth admiring and preserving.
All along the Tourist Corridor in Cabo, you'll find much more than a mystic desert with a stunning beach and wonderful hotels. Here you'll find an incredibly beautiful natural oasis, one of the most notable in Mexico: the Estuary of San Jose del Cabo. This wonderful attraction hasn't received much media attention even though it is relatively close to the city of San Jose, probably because its existence is so a part of everyday life that if falls, erroneously, into the mundane. Historically speaking, this oasis is the original reason why the city was created more than 300 years ago being as that it was a source of fresh water.
The San Jose River runs a good 30 miles, from the mountains to the Sea of Cortez, where it opens up and creates the estuary of the same name. The unusual habitat created here mixes both fresh and salt water. It covers an area of 345 acres and is the largest estuary in this part of the continent.
The Pericu tribe was the first to settle in the area, where they subsisted on hunting and gathering. The culture of this tribe died out, however, in the 18th century, when the Spaniards came and imposed their beliefs and customs. This happened right around the time, in 1730, when Jesuit missionaries founded the Mission of San Jose del Cabo Anuiti, the site of what is now San Jose del Cabo.
In its early years, the city grew and flourished into a picturesque community that respected the natural surroundings including the river and the estuary. Now it has become the focus of conservation. The estuary's biodiversity is extensive and because it only rains about five times a year, this oasis/desert provides habitats for a variety of animal life, found in fresh water, salt water and even in brackish waters.
Thousands of animals can be found here, including birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects. But for many people, bird watching is perfect for the area, since lots of migratory birds pass through this site. Fish also come to spawn in this area before heading back out to sea.
Due to preservation measures of the species and habitats of the estuary, this area has restricted access to all motorized vehicles as well as horses. There are special tours that take visitors to certain permitted sites. Walk and kayak with professional guides as they take you on this incredible journey.
When you come to Cabos, give yourself the chance to see the natural beauty of this oasis, which is an interesting option among the list of entertainment and recreation activities that this destination offers. Set aside some time to see this estuary, an extraordinary sight, in proximity of San Jose del Cabo.
By Luis Ernesto de la Garza