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Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California The site comprises 244 islands, islets and coastal areas that are located in the Gulf of California in north-eastern Mexico. The Sea of Cortez and its islands have been called a natural laboratory for the investigation of speciation. Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for study.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #153: Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California

Sublime sunsets around the world

baja mexico sunset california (Credit: Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic Creative)

Sea Kayaking Baja Mexico Two thousand miles of wild, rugged coastline only a short drive from the US makes the Gulf of California a top kayaking destination. Steer through coves, around boulders, into caves, to empty beaches, or watch whales on some of the many kayaking routes offered here.

Stunning film bares Mexico’s seas

The majestic Gulf of California as you've never seen it, a place where wild desert meets ocean wildlife

Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a serene yet active getaway that is great for whale watching, kayaking, snorkeling with dolphins, hiking and warm weather! Also it's nice to just enjoy simple, local cuisine. --Candice Woodward, Newport Beach, Calif. Pictured: The Sea of Cortez near San Felipe, Baja California

Travel to Mexico

Dolphins jumping in the Gulf of California in Baja, Mexico

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Banderas Bay on the Pacific coast of Mexico is one of the deepest bays in the world, reaching depths of nearly 3,000 ft (914 m). The collection of sand and rocks in the foreground is thought by some geologists to be near the final point of attachment of the Baja California to what is now the main part of Mexico. The Baja separated from the North American tectonic plate approximately 5.6 million years ago, thus forming the Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez).