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Complete Guide to Cabo Pulmo, Baja California Sur

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This protected area of the Sea of Cortez has several attributes that make it very special. It's the only hard reef on the Baja California peninsula and the only living reef in the northern part of America. The nearest important town is Cabo San Lucas, located just over 37 miles away. Among the most abundant species in its waters are the mother-of-pearl, lobsters, and oysters; while on land, reptiles predominate. The place is one of the favorites of North American tourists, who go mainly to practice sport fishing.

How to get to Cabo Pulmo

From La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, you can take Highway 1 in the direction of San Jose del Cabo. When you arrive at Los Barriles and Buenavista you must deviate towards La Ribera and Bahía Frailes. Follow the signs, and you will find yourself on a dirt road. It is at this point when 11 miles separate you from your destination. Finally, you will go down a slope until you find the spectacular Sea of Cortez.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Cabo Pulmo

To dive into Cabo Pulmo, you have to respect specific rules: the use of harpoons, hand gloves, knives, and sunscreens is forbidden. In addition to this, you can't throw anchors, touch corals, or damage the reef.

The recommended places to dive in Cabo Pulmo are:

El Islote

Located south of Cabo Pulmo bay, it has a maximum depth of 60 feet. You'll be impressed with the enormous amount of sea fans of intense colors, red, violet, and orange hues, as well as white gorgonian corals, among which you'll spot angelfish, butterfly, Moorish idols, and an immense school of snappers.

Outer Reef

Located in the middle of the bay, they marvel at the abundance of fauna. The walls are covered with fans, different types of green to gold colors. Schools of tropical fish come and go around the reef, boasting their intense colors, such as butterfly fish and Moorish, yellow idols; the angels of Cortez, purple, orange, and gray with yellow, and angels of Clarion, of intense orange color. Among the rocks emerge the green parakeets, the comic hedgehog fish, and puffer fish, and rays are usually buried in the sand, in addition to the numerous colonies of gardening eels.

Los Cantiles

Located at the end of the third bar, at a depth of 60 feet, it presents stunning rock formations, where snap sharks and giant groupers live, as well as catsharks and octopuses. Due to its proximity to open waters, you can see dorados, giant tuna, wahoos, and sharks.

El Bajo

Located north of the Cabo Pulmo reef, it has a depth of 46 feet. The place is beautiful and impressive, consisting of a narrow strip of rocks cut by sandy channels, which houses schools of all species of tropical fish, colorful starfish, purple and red with black. Giant green moray eels also live among the rocks, in addition to turtles. During night dives, the lamps discover large, red lobsters, crabs, octopuses, and holothurians, a species of strange-looking worms.

diving in bonaire

Sunken Ship “El Colima”

Less than two miles from the reef, to the north, lie the remains of a tuna boat, sunk during a storm in 1939. The depth is 49 feet, and among the remains, we can admire numerous schools of snappers and hedgehog fish, as well as trumpet fish and giant rays.

Things to do in Cabo Pulmo

If diving is not your thing, you can also relax in its calm waters, perfect if traveling with kids. On the coast, the water does not usually exceed 3 feet in height. There's also the option of hiking or joining a bike tour on Coyote Mountain. On this tour, you'll be able to appreciate a landscape that contrasts between the desert and the sea. An unmissable spectacle from November to March is the sighting of humpback whales. You can also marvel when you spot the magnificent blue whale, the largest animal on the planet.

There are, of course, many more sites to discover and explore. The best time to dive is during the summer and autumn, when water is warm, and visibility is best. Cabo Pulmo is a unique place in the world, and we must preserve it with responsible diving.

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