The Sea of Cortez: The Aquarium of the World

Janine Davila Madrid

Touching a Whale

The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, has warm crystal clear waters on its southern end, where the coastline is filled with jungles, river mouths, estuaries and mangrove that house thousands of local and migratory bird species. Home to about 900 islands as well as hundreds of inlets, this body of water has areas ranging from a few feet deep to underwater canyons going several miles below the surface. Here, you'll find endless marine life with seals, whales, dolphins, sharks and manta rays.

Blue WhaleThe Sea of Cortez is one of the most important seas in the world for studying and observing whales and dolphins, given that this area has 35% of the total world population of these marine mammals.

Most of the whales spotted in the Sea of Cortez are humpback whales, which often put on an amazing show with jumps and tail splashing. Occasionally, they even approach boats for whale watching tours and allow themselves to be touched. Humpback whales are curious and friendly, migrating from Alaska to the waters of Baja California to mate, feed and give birth to their young in the wintertime, staying in the oceans of Mexico until springtime.

There are also many blue whale sightings in the Sea of Cortez, mainly between Loreto and Los Cabos during theSea Lions winter and spring months. These whales are the largest on Earth, reaching an average length of 80 feet and feeding on tiny creatures known as krill. Another wintertime species in the Sea of Cortez is the gray whale, approximately 50 feet long and feeding on small crustaceans taken from the ocean floor.

The Sea of Cortez isn't just known for its marine mammals; it also has fish and sharks of all sizes, ranging from small cat sharks to huge whale sharks and everything in between, like tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks and white sharks. The large shark population feeds on the abundant seals and sea lions living on the numerous islands of the Sea of Cortez. Close to Los Cabos at Cabo Pulmo National Park, travelers can experience a snorkeling tour of the only reef in the Gulf of California, featuring endless animals like turtles, seals and manta rays.


Without a doubt, the Los Cabos area offers a unique experience for animal lovers and ocean lovers alike, with numerous whalewatching tours, diving tours and sailing tours for exploring the coasts of the Sea of Cortez, a destination filled with amazing treasures for Mexico and the world.