No visit to La Paz would be complete without a day's boat trip to the island archipelago which lies to the north of the city, consisting of Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida as well as the isolated rocks known as Los Islotes. This excursion is popular for good reason, as it shows off the best that La Paz can offer. Spectacular scenery ranges from dramatic rock formations to idyllic beaches. Wildlife encounters abound on and offshore in the place Jacques Cousteau dubbed "The World's Aquarium".

Monday, 10 March 2014 19:26

'Mexico's Galápagos' as seen from the air

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Despite an arid climate the desert islands in the Sea of Cortés play host to a remarkable biological diversity. Also known as the Gulf of California, this natural barrier between the Baja California peninsula and the Mexican mainland is the home of almost 900 species of fish, 10% of which are endemic. Nearly 700 plant species have been identified on the islands, including 150 types of cacti. 50 endemic reptile species can be found, as well as many birds and mammals unique to the area. For this reason 244 islands, islets and coastal areas in the Cortés were inscribed in 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fortunately most of the major islands lie near the commercial flightpath from Tijuana in the north to La Paz in the south, so on a recent flight I was able to capture some spectacular views of "Mexico's Galapagos".


The extension southwards of the Mex 5 highway is making the Cortés coast beyond San Felipe far easier to access in conventional vehicles, and hitherto isolated places are now within daily reach. We took a drive down there to see for ourselves how far we could get and return on the same day. We set off in a VW Golf (with a tent, just in case we needed it!) one morning from San Felipe......

Monday, 26 August 2013 17:31

Mystery in the Valley of the Giants

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Just fifteen kilometres south of San Felipe you can find one of the Baja California peninsula's most interesting yet under visited locations: El Valle de los Gigantes. Its name translates into English as "The Valley of The Giants", which to me sounds like the name of an Irwin Allen produced 1960s sci fi series. This place would indeed make a magnificent location for sci fi, though in this case the giants in question are the centuries old cacti which dominate the landscape. The largest of the cactus species here are the tallest in the world, and can grow to more than 17 metres in height, but the mystery for me is which species are they?

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