Baja Islands Main

baja-main

In 1940, author John Steinbeck and his marine biologist friend, Ed Ricketts, journeyed into the seldom-visited Gulf of California to begin a Baja collecting expedition that was later immortalized in the book The Log from the Sea of Cortez. And what makes Baja's many islands magical is that now, six decades after Steinbeck's visit, they remain virtually unchanged.

Which is why these remote, mostly uninhabited islands have become a prime destination for adventurous travelers looking for that rare combination of desert and blue sea.

Not all of isles bordering the 800-mile-long peninsula are in the Gulf of California. For example, Isla Todos Santos, off Baja's Pacific coastline some 60 miles below the California border, attracts expert surfers geared up to ride monster 50-foot-high waves during winter swells. Other surfers and fishermen have explored the long coastline from the border all the way to Los Cabos at Baja's southern tip for their own "secret spots," but Baja's real gems are the 200 or so cactus-studded islands scattered through the Gulf of California.

Home to vast colonies of seabirds and sea lions, these desert islands have been the domain only of intrepid sailors and fishermen for decades. In recent years, however, Baja-style ecotourism has taken off at the dozen of so islands in Bahia de Los Angeles, at Isla Danzante and Isla Carmen (near Loreto) and at Isla Espiritu Santo (near La Paz), where kayakers and whale-watchers have also discovered the sea of islands that make up one of Mexico's great natural treasures.