Tourism Spikes in Baja California Sur;Isla Espiritu Santo

Tourist season in Baja Sur began in October, bringing millions of dollars to the communities on either side of the peninsula, and seeing the majority share go to Los Cabos and the state Capital of La Paz.

Eco-tourism is one of the most important sources of tourism income in La Paz as visitors come to enjoy what is known as the the 2nd most biologically diverse ocean on the planet. The Sea of Cortez – known also as the Gulf of California, contains nearly 900 islands and inlets with 244 under UNESCO protection as World Heritage Bio-Reserves.

Isla Espiritu Santo borders the northeast portion of the Bay of La Paz and is considered the crown jewel of the islands of the Gulf, and the primary tourist destination of the area, with world class diving, snorkeling and kayaking. Espiritu Santo is federally protected by the Mexican Government as part of the Flora and Fauna Protection Area – Gulf of California Islands (APFF-IGC), and in 1995 became listed as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

Espiritu Santo, while uninhabited by humans, has several indigenous species, including the black jackrabbit and a subspecies of the white-tailed antelope squirrel. The surrounding reefs are home to innumerable fish, including parrotfish, angelfish, trumpetfish, Moorish idols and rainbow wrasse, and nearby sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins and whales can be found. Bird watchers can easily spot brown pelicans, great blue herons, snowy egrets, turkey vultures and hummingbirds. And a large sea lion colony resides on Los Islotes, off the north tip of Partida, the neighboring island separated by a small canal.

Espiritu Santo tours are also popular among tourist for another reason: privacy. The island is accessible only by boat, and it is illegal to live or build on the federally protected land. The clear water and white sand beaches found in deep inlets and private bays are each surrounded by 40’ cliffs, their faces carpeted in desert flora, giving visitors a sense of seclusion. And the buoyancy brought about by the high salt content in the Sea of Cortez offers visitors further relaxation.

Fang Ming, a 185’ Chinese ship was intentionally sunk in 70 feet of water off the west side of Isla Espiritu Santo in 1999 for use as an artificial reef. The wreck now hosts thriving colonies of fish, mollusks and sea turtles and offers world class scuba diving for tourists.

In addition to being a fun and relaxing time, Espiritu Santo tours are an ecologically responsible option for tourists looking for an activity while vacationing. For a Private Charter to swim with whale sharks in La Paz, see: www.bajawhaleshark.com. For more information. In the U.S. or Canada call: 541-325-7369, in Mexico call 612-152-9940.

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