Baja, The aquarium of the world


Baja, The aquarium of the world

It’s said that some of the worlds better known celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney return to Baja year after year to enjoy the wonders the Baja peninsula has to offer. In reality, the pull of this amazing part of the world is more about those who’ve travelled before them. Jaques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez, “the Aquarium of the World”. And John Steinbeck, wrote.

Trying to remember the Gulf is like trying to re-create a dream…There is always in the back of our minds the positive drive to go back again. If it were lush and rich, one could understand the pull, but it is fierce and hostile and sullen. The stone mountains pile up to the sky and there is little fresh water. But we must go back if we live, and we don’t know why.”

Perhaps this is why I have been twice and feel its captivating magnetic pull calling me back again. I’ve been vexed by the question of what a third visit would look like.  Perhaps a road trip from the Tijuana in the North to Cabo San Lucas in the south, all 1675kms of it! Perhaps I’d spend a few days hiking and mountain biking at Rancho Cacachilas, where you can learn about sustainable travel, regenerative farming practices and indulge in delicious meals grown organically on the ranch. There’s also the option to sea kayak through the sea of Cortez, with night spent camping on deserted islands and snorkelling in aquamarine waters…. Just too much choice!

If all this sounds like too much excitement, then fear not as Baja also offers some of the best marine watching experiences in the world. Wildlife experiences which flow at a slower pace, where you’ll spend a few hours, each day looking for grey, blue, fin and humpback whales.  The greys come along side your boats and almost crave human contact, whereas humpbacks rise from the ocean, crashing down like a violent storm. Whilst on the horizon you might see a first glimpse of the majestic blue and fin whales as the feed in the nutrient rich waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Overhead, Frigatebirds, Royal terns and Yellow-footed gulls are constant companions when out at sea as they search for their next morsel.  Squadrons of Pelicans skim the sea with apparent effortless easy and Ospreys swoop down, talons extended, expertly plucking fish from just below the surface to feed their young.

Being on the Baja peninsula is no less rewarding considering you’re in such an arid environment and it’s easy to forget how life finds a way to flourish!  Even in the most arid of environments like Baja, you’ll be surprised at the colour and diversity of the flora. From the roadside you’ll come across areas of dense cactus, acacia chinchweed, sweet bush, yucca and mimosa…just to name a few.  It’s said there are 18 types of rattlesnakes (even one without a rattle!). There are mammals with familiar names like the Bobcat and other with names that spark our curiosity like the Pronghorn (a type of deer), the Botta’s Pocket Gopher and one of my favourites, the Dalquest Pocket Mouse.

500 words is just not enough to cover the breadth of travel and wildlife opportunities Baja offers, but maybe just enough to whet your appetite to either learn more or plan a trip.  Sadly, Baja is not an island but it’s so very different from the rest of Mexico you could be forgiven in thinking it was an island archipelago.

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