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Aquatic Adventures in La Paz, Baja California Sur

by Mary Melnick

Oct 18, 2022

© Bennymarty | Dreamstime.com

North America

La Paz, the capital city of Baja California, offers year-round beauty and a fun getaway for family travelers. In October, the sea brings out breathtaking wildlife, having La Paz live up to the nickname “world’s aquarium,” dubbed by Jacques Cousteau. The Sea of Cortez is home to sea lions, whale sharks, manta and mobula rays, giant squid, dolphins, schools of fish and more.


One of the most memorable experiences is snorkeling with whale sharks, a sight to behold as the largest, living, non-mammalian vertebrate on earth. Despite their size, they are gentle, slow-moving giants. Schools of whale sharks can be found just 10 minutes off the coast of La Paz, where you can explore the area and swim with sharks for an intimate snorkeling excursion.


As a community, La Paz takes extraordinary measures to remain a leading protector and conservator of of whale shark. All tour operators must be fully certified, with most guides  educated marine biologists. During the season, a maximum of 14 tour boats depart for 2.5 hours to find whale sharks. No more than two boats may follow any one whale shark and only a total of five guests and one guide may be in the water at the same time. Swimmers can never approach the animal from the front, only from behind. Swimmers are reminded not to touch them.


Another adventure you can’t miss is the annual gray whale migration, which begins in December and lasts through April. This migration sees gray whales travel upwards of 10,000 miles from the Artic Sea to the Baja Peninsula. The warm and calm waters attract thousands of friendly gray whales as a safe spot to give birth and raise their babies.


Lastly, head to Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for one of the best diving experiences in the world. This island serves as the home to one of the largest sea lion colonies in Mexico. Snorkeling around Espiritu Santo offers a wealth of charms, including playful sea lion pups, colorful fish and stunning beaches, perfect for picnics. The island lies about a one-hour boat ride from La Paz. You can catch a wide range of tour operators offering full- and half-day excursions with certified guides.


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