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Sea lions (Baja California animals images). Photo: Peter West Carey

Mexico’s Sea of Cortes Wildlife

Over 700 miles long, the Sea of Cortes is a glittering turquoise jewel, dotted with islands along its western shoreline and outlined by the long arm of the Baja Peninsula. A dramatic desert of soft, muted greens, golds, and reds, the land rises quickly from the sea along the Sierra de la Giganta—the peninsulaʼs mountainous spine.

On land, and on—or in!—the water, itʼs easy to get lulled into the quiet, gentle rhythm of this sun-kissed state. But below the surface of the sea and in all the nooks and crannies of rocky red cliffs and high-reaching cardon cactus, the land is teeming with life. More than 40 reptile and amphibian species, over 50 mammal species, and nearly 200 bird species call Baja California Sur home. Here are some animals and plants you’re likely to see on an UnCruise Adventure in Mexico.


Baja California Animals

  • Spiny-tailed iguana
  • Horned, zebra-tailed, and worm lizards
  • Coyote
  • Brush rabbit and jackrabbit
  • Blue-footed booby
  • Pelican
  • Cormorant
  • Magnificent Frigatebird (pictured)
  • Sandpiper
Photo of a Magnificent Frigatebird seen by UnCruise Adventures guests (Baja California Sur animals images)


Sea of Cortes Marine Life

  • Gray, humpback, blue, and fin whales
  • Whale shark and dolphin (pictured)
  • Sea lion
  • Elephant seal
  • Mobula ray
  • Butterflyfish, parrot fish, oarfish, and starfish
  • Nudibranch
  • Squid
  • Eel
  • Sally Lightfoot and hermit crabs
Dolphins swimming in the Sea of Cortes. Photo: Cameron Zegers


Baja California Plants

  • Cardon cactus
  • Cholla cactus
  • Pitaya cactus
  • Mesquite
  • Palo Verde tree
  • Mangrove
  • Elephant tree
  • Desert Globemallow
  • Prickly poppy
Baja California plants, with an UnCruise Adventures small ship in the background

Chart: When to see whales in Baja California Sur, as well as other wildlife

Looking forward to whale watching along Baja California Sur? Migratory humpback whales live in the Sea of Cortes between December and March. You can often see blue and sperm whales in November, and sperm whales also can be spotted in February and March. From mid-January to early March, Baja’s Bounty takes UnCruise guests across the Baja Peninsula to visit gray whales and their babies in Bahía Magdalena.

For more details, see our day-by-day itinerary for Baja’s Bounty.