Adventure Cruises in Sea of Cortez

A Sea of Cortez Cruise is a perfect way to enjoy Mexico's Baja California Peninsula's raw natural splendor and wildlife. Created by intense earthquakes and volcanic activity, the peninsula was gradually ripped apart from mainland Mexico, with the deep chasm, now known as the Sea of Cortez, filled with water from the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic peaks tumbled into the water, some forming islands that stud the sparkling waters.

The water body is today one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. Home to more than 900 types of fish and around 2,000 species of other marine life, some of which can only be found in this part of the world, cruises to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico are a dream come true for marine biology fans.

As well as being able to discover a rich underwater ecosystem, diverse land creatures provide even more fantastic wildlife encounters. Beautiful views and a wide assortment of activities and trips make a cruise around the Sea of Cortez an exciting option for a Mexican vacation.

Top things to do and see in the Sea Of Cortez

Known for its diverse marine life and volcanic landscapes, some top things to do and see on a Sea of Cortez small ship cruise include:

Loreto Bay Marine Park - With its many sparkling shades of blue, the UNESCO-listed Loreto Bay National Marine Park is like a dream come true for many. A highlight of a Mexico cruise, the protected area is home to abundant wildlife and many incredible views. Enjoy kayaking here.

Bahia Agua Verde - A top spot for fishing and other sporting activities, experience something different with a mule ride into the arroyos with local rancheros. Learn about the local way of life of a Mexican cowboy.

Bahia Magdalena - A picturesque bay, Bahia Magdalena is especially great for sightings of gray whales.

Ensenada Grande - With its white sandy shore lapped by the shimmering sea, Ensenada Grande is a photogenic spot, terrific for a short, relaxing sunbathing session. Cacti grow from the red rocks, and colorful fish swim through the waters. You can also enjoy hiking in the desert-like landscapes.

Isla San Francisco - Many Baja California cruises stop at Isla San Francisco, a small island in the Gulf of California. Admire the curved bay and see various reptiles roaming the land.

Isla Espiritu Santo - A UNESCO-listed island, Isla Espiritu Santo is one of La Paz’s barrier islands. Home to pretty bays and a desert climate, it is one of the richest land ecosystems you can enjoy from a Sea of Cortez cruise. Unique creatures that live on the island include ground squirrels, black jackrabbits, and ring-tailed cats. You’re also sure to see lizards, and birds, and the waters are home to sea lions, turtles, dolphins, whales, and more.

Los Islotes - If you’ve ever dreamt of swimming with sea lions, Los Islotes could make your dreams come true. Seeing these splendid marine creatures basking on the craggy rocks and swimming through the sea is also a fabulous experience.

Cabo Pulmo - A spectacular national marine park, Cabo Pulmo is one of the best places for diving on an adventure cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Boasting the oldest coral reef on North America’s western coast, the biodiversity and underwater scenery is sure to impress.

Active Adventures - Get active and join in with varied adventurous options, including exploring the waters by kayak and skiff (small rowing boat), hiking on the islands and peninsula, and trying your hand at paddle boarding. If certified, strap on a dive tank to explore the watery depths for a treasure trove of delights, or stay close to the surface and enjoy a spot of snorkeling.

Wildlife Encounters - The Sea of Cortez is known for its varied ecology, with myriad creatures calling the waters home, not to mention the land-dwelling animals and birds. Whale species that you may be lucky enough to spot include blue whales, gray whales, humpback whales, pilot whales, fin whales, sperm whales, and the mighty orcas. Bottlenose and common dolphins swimming alongside your cruise vessel are enchanting sights, whilst seeing enormous whale sharks is sure to excite. Don’t worry; these gentle giants may look ferocious, but they are completely harmless to humans.

Other creatures to look for in the waters include sea lions, manta rays, and mobula rays. The deadly Humboldt squid lurks in the sea, nicknamed the Red Demon by local fishermen, along with sea turtles, octopus, grouper, triggerfish, jawfish, tuna, balloonfish, tuna, and many more. It’s certainly no wonder that the sea has been called the “world’s aquarium”!

Avid bird watchers will be pleased by the amount of feathered creatures in the area. Pelicans, doves, hawks, woodpeckers, gulls, wrens, swifts, mockingbirds, petrels, herons, hummingbirds, terns, egrets, vultures, and sparrows are just a few birds that you may see or hear on your expedition. Iguanas and other lizards scuttle across the land, and mammals include deer, coyotes, rabbits, and prairie dogs.

Top Tips for visiting the Sea Of Cortez on a cruise

  • Slap on mosquito repellent and wear long clothing to avoid bites, particularly if visiting during the wettest months of August and September.
  • Don’t forget your underwater camera or GoPro for capturing the fantastic underwater sights or snapping the perfect selfie while surrounded by many marine life.
  • Although usually provided by your cruise boat, take your own snorkeling gear to ensure a comfortable fit.

Best time to cruise the Sea Of Cortez

The best time to take a Sea of Cortez cruise depends on your interests. A beautiful year-round destination, December to April is the best time to see whales. January to April is the high season for Sea of Cortez holidays in Mexico, and July to September are the hottest months. August and September are generally the rainiest months, too. If you can bear the hot temperatures Sea of Cortez cruises in the summer are a great time to spot elephant seals, iguanas, blue-footed boobies, turtles, and lizards. Autumn is also good for wildlife spotting, with the added benefit of lower temperatures. Plan ahead and visit in October or November to beat the crowds.

Where do Sea Of Cortez cruises depart from?

Mexico small ship cruises to the Sea of Cortez generally depart from La Paz, the state capital of Mexico’s Baja California Sur, or San Jose del Cabo, located on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. You can reach each destination by air, arriving at Manuel Marquez de Leon International Airport (LAP) or Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) respectively. Regular flights connect each airport to domestic destinations, like Mexico City and Cancun, and international airports, including a variety in the USA.

The Puerto Los Cabos at San Jose del Cabo is a major gateway to the Sea of Cortez. The port is just a short 20-minute drive from the airport. La Paz’s port is also an easy drive from the city’s airport.

You can fly directly to San Jose del Cabo from, for example, LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Denver, Atlanta, Detroit, and Washington, DC; many non-stop direct flights connect with the USA. However, a flight change will be needed if you plan to fly into La Paz.

Book your next cruise to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico today.