The Sea of Cortez, otherwise known as the Gulf of California, separates the Baja Peninsula with mainland Mexico on the Pacific coast. The sea itself is extremely diverse and supports a wide variety of marine species. It is common to see everything from Blue and Humpback whales, to Giant Pacific Mantas and Hammerhead sharks within the sea. Because of it’s great capacity to support so much life, conservation efforts have begun, along with a large part of the area being granted the privilege of being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Only several liveaboards visit the sea every year, so there are never many boats or other divers to see. The season to dive the Sea of Cortez usually falls between the Socorro Islands trips, and the Guadalupe season, during the summer months of July to September. During this time, the Pacific Ocean can be quite rough, so the protection of the Sea creates calmer conditions to dive in. However, there can be some swells coming in from the south, so everyone should be prepared for some motion. But the diving is fantastic, with the chance to see some small whale species, whale sharks, manta and mobula rays, along with sea lion colonies.
Trips depart and return from Puerto Peñasco in the very north of the sea on the Mexican mainland side. From here the dive sites are all quite nearby, so no very long sails are required and there is plenty of time to relax in the warm sun between dives. Puerto Peñasco can be reached by domestic flights from Mexico city, but the best way to get there is via overland from the US, as it is very close to the California and Arizona borders. The climate in the Sea of Cortez during the summer months is warm and typically dry. Only later in September and October do more rain storms develop.
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