This rich sea offers hundreds of species of marine life and spectacular underwater landscapes of cliffs and canyons.
True to the 16th-century explorer for whom it was named, northwestern Mexico’s Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) inspires discovery and adventure. The narrow gulf is flanked on both sides by the painted Sonoran Desert and dotted with dozens of small, uninhabited islands where sea lions and blue-footed boobies make their colonies. And while the cactus-strewn landscape above water might be rocky and arid, the Sea of Cortez is anything but desert-like. The warm waters separating Baja, California, from the Mexican mainland provide a nutrient-rich haven for more than 800 species of fish and many large migratory marine animals, such as whale sharks, flying mobulas, turtles, dolphins and several species of whale.
Follow in the wake of the Sea of Cortez’s namesake on a liveaboard diving boat. Diving liveaboards will not only enable you to get more and better scuba diving but also reach dive sites that are simply not accessible by shore-based dive services. Most of the liveaboard dive boats sail from the safe harbor of La Paz and offer diving in the central Sea of Cortez. Diving liveaboards departing from Cabo San Lucas head further south to the remote island of Socorro, where divers can enjoy some of the world's best diving and big animal encounters.
When to Go
June to December offers the best visibility, warmest water and longest stretches of calm weather.
Water temps climb to 85°F by the end of summer and dip into the low-70s during the winter.