9 Interesting Facts About the Gulf of California

When it comes to bodies of water, there is a lot of hype about the Gulf of California, most commonly called the Sea of Cortez. Situated on Mexico’s western coast in between the mainland and the Baja California Peninsula, it is known as both a home to the most vast array of aquatic creatures on the planet and a haven for those who like to adventure into the depths of the unknown. We’ve compiled a list of nine interesting facts you’ll want to know about the Sea of Cortez before your next vacation to Mexico

1. The name “Sea of Cortes” was given to the body of water to honor the Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortez, who claimed Mexico for Spain. While some call it the Gulf of California, locals prefer its original name and distinct spelling.

2. The Sea of Cortez is the youngest sea on the planet, dating back just 5 million years since its creation. 

3 The sea was made famous in the 1940s by Jaques Cousteau, an explorer who was extremely impressed at its immense diversity. He donned it the “Aquarium of the World,” a nickname that has stuck over the years. 

4. The Gulf of California is a little more than 3,000 meters at its deepest, 750 miles long, and has an average width of 95 miles across.

5. The Sea of Cortez is home to 244 islands, a result of the San Andreas Fault and tectonic plates that run down the center of the sea.

6. Each year, a variety of migratory species visit the Sea of Cortez, including the California Gray Whale, the Leatherback Sea Turtle, and the Blue Whale, the largest mammal on the planet. 

7. The Sea of Cortez is one of the best places on earth for snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and kayaking because of the rich biodiversity it offers.

8 The body of water was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005 because of the important oceanographic processes that occur in the area and because of the megadiverse ecosystem that inhabits the sea.

9. The Gulf of California is home to 900 species of fish, 695 vascular plant species, 39% of the marine mammals in the world, and 1/3 of the planet’s marine cetacean species, making it the biologically richest body of water on Earth.

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