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Situated strategically on Baja's southeastern coast is La Paz, a mecca for watersports and adventure. No other destination in Baja offers such a variety of activities for fishing, diving, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing and boating in such close proximity. At the heart of these activities are the islands of Espiritu Santo and Isla Cerralvo. These two islands are the largest and southernmost islands in the Sea of Cortez.
Isla Espirtu Santo is directly north of the mouth of Bahia de La Paz running north-to-south for approximately 20 miles. It is made up of two islands, Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, separated at high tide but joined together by an isthmus when the water recedes. Jointly known as Espiritu Santo, they comprise arguably the most popular island playground in Baja.
Fishing around the island can be outstanding. From May to October after the winter winds have settled down, roosterfish show up in droves along the beaches. Dorado on both the western and eastern shores as well as the occasional parade of tuna can bring furious action
Espiritu Santo is also a veritable playground for sport divers and has never been fully explored. Many of the 800 aquatic species present in the Sea of Cortez are found here. Several massive wrecks, numerous wall dives and a vast undersea canyons support a rich ecosystem that includes seven species of whales, sharks, manta rays and others make this island a must-see for any diver.
The southern portion of the island is postcard famous for "Bonanza Beach", where a gentle scimitar of sugar white sand edges against a shallow, rocky cove. The eastern shore, punctuated by magnificent volcanic cliffs that disappear into deep, blue water, is very imposing. The western shore is dotted with numerous shallow sandy coves and small island outcroppings that make it a popular destination for kayaking, camping and boaters. If you've ever wanted to feel like you were stranded on a tropical desert island with your own turquoise swimming cove, the eastern shore is your place! Stay away, however, from the numerous mangroves if you don't feel like dealing with the islands biting insects. It is possible to go days without seeing another sole making it easy to understand why so many people enjoy "losing" themselves in this tropical paradise.
At the very northern end is the famous Los Islotes Rock, known for its sea lion colony. Here you’ll find numerous pinipeds swimming and sunning in relatively shallow water make this an extremely popular place for a day of scuba or snorkeling. Many tour boats from La Paz make daily excursions to Los Islotes for that reason.
Just north of the island, the Marisla Seamount, better known as "El Bajo", has earned a reputation for producing world-class pelagic species such as blue and black marlin, striped marlin and sailfish, tuna, wahoo, amberjack and grouper. The Seamount itself is only one of three places in the world where huge schools of hammerhead sharks congregate. Divers from all over the globe dive here in hopes of being encircled by hundreds of hammerhead sharks.
Cerralvo Island is located southeast of Espiritu Santo. Steep cliffs rising from deep water on all sides and a lack of any true anchorages keep people away. Except for herds of wild goats and schools of seabirds you won't find much of anyone camping on Cerralvo excepting local commercial fishermen who stay on the island during the fishing season.
Cerralvo sits between two massive deep-water channels that literally funnel huge schools of pelagic fish along its flanks. Considered by many to be among the top five fishing spots in the world, the island and its surrounding areas produce tuna nearly year round. Marauding schools of dorado travel through the area from June to October. The world-record 114-pound roosterfish was caught here. Marlin, sailfish and other "deep water" gamefish have been hooked within a stone's throw of Cerralvo’s massive cliffs often in water so shallow and so clear that the bottom is clearly visible. For this reason, the northern and southern tips of the island are especially popular with sport fishermen.