Cruising the Sea of Cortez

Thinking of cruising or sailing a sea? There are hundreds of scenic routes out there but one exotic spot you should definitely consider is the majestic Sea of Cortez. Even the name sounds very adventurous and romantic doesn’t it?

Situated between the coast of Mexico and Baja Peninsula, the Sea is also called the Gulf of California. It has long been a favorite cruise and sailing destination because it houses an incredible number of marine creatures. The Sea is also surrounded by more than 200 exquisite islands, islets and coastal lands, which are inscribed together as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.


A number of these islands are made into recreational and vacation sites for visitors from all over to enjoy. One of the notable islands is the Los Islotes, also called Isla San Francisco as it is home to a sea lion colony, and the tallest cactus in the world – the Cardon. Another beautiful island in the region is Bahia Agua Verde, which is known for its picturesque vistas, canyons and crystal clear waters. Isla Coyote, on the other hand, is the only island that is permanently inhabited by a small tight-knit community.

One of the ways to truly experience the magnificence of the Sea of Cortez is to book a cruise adventure trip. There are a couple of established cruise companies that offer various itineraries that focused on the exploration of the Sea and its surrounding islands and coastal towns. The Carnival Spirit operated by the Carnival Corporation typically stops at two of the Sea’s more popular ports; Cabo San Lucas and La Paz; while Holland America offers a longer itinerary which features places like the Puerto Vallarta, Guaymas, Loreto, Topolobampo and Mazatlán. These cruise companies offers passengers activities and excursions like fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and ATV riding at each port of call. Whale watching is also one of the highlight activities offered on a cruise around the Sea of Cortez.


However, if you want a more intimate and in depth expedition of the Sea of Cortez, consider booking with the American Safari Cruises, now the “UnCruise.” The company’s cruise ships are more like luxury yachts, which only carry 22 passengers. Their itinerary is focused on eco-friendly activities such as wild life viewing, snorkeling and hiking on some of the islands. Aside from seeing the usual marine animals like sea turtles, seals, and dolphins, you can also watch up close various species of birds, as the region is a remarkable migration spot for millions of sea birds. This cruise also provides the opportunity for you to meet people from some of the local tribes that inhabit the area.


A superb alternative to mainstream cruising is sailing on a private boat. If you don’t own a boat, don’t despair – there are tour operators in the area that are very willing to arrange a sailing excursion for you. The great thing about sailing this way is that it gives you more freedom when it comes to the choice of places to visit, as well as, the time and duration of such visits. Besides the usual all-day sailing expeditions, you may want to try out full moon sailing, which will let you discover the beauty of the Sea of Cortez in a different way.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!