Isla Espíritu Santo
Isla del Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Photo by Alfredo Martínez
Isla Espíritu SantoThis archipelago off the coast of La Paz (which takes the name of the main island) is a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While the islands are uninhabited by humans save for a small fishing camp made of temporary structures, they’re home to a great variety of flora and fauna. In addition to dolphins, frigate birds, and ring-tailed cats, you’ll find the only known black jackrabbit population in the world. Celebrated eco-friendly activities company Cabo Expeditions leads daylong archipelago tours that include exploring the mesmerizing volcanic landscape, a ceviche lunch, and an opportunity to swim on Ensenada Grande Beach—often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful—plus guided snorkeling with the incredibly playful pups at the Los Islotes sea lion colony.
AFAR Local Expert
almost 3 years ago
Espiritu Santo’s Diverse Ecosystem
The archipelago off the coast of La Paz is the Galapagos of Baja, if not of all North America. Anchored by the island of Espiritu Santo, this UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve is teaming with flora and fauna. Manta rays propel themselves into the air, flapping as if to fly, and belly flop or backflip back into the water. Frigate birds—with red throats that can inflate like balloons to attract a mate— circle overhead. Dolphins, seasonal whales, blue-footed boobies, ring-tailed cats, and organ pipe cactus all call this volcanic landscape home. At its tip, the main event awaits: snorkeling with a colony of sea lions at Los Islotes. You’ll be overcome by sheer childish joy as these playful creatures swirl around you and each other.
about 4 years ago
Isla Espíritu Santo
The Isla Espiritú Santo and the adjacent Isla Partida (separated by a narrow isthmus which only appears at low tide) are desert islands, with no human residents. Even if there is no permanent human population here, the islands are rich in rare flora and fauna, so much so that the area was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995. Considered a kayaker's paradise—it’s the best way to explore the island—travelers can spot ringtail cats, wild goats, endangered black-tailed jack rabbits (unique to the island), bats, ground squirrels, a wealth of seabirds, turkey vultures, and a wide variety of reptiles who come out towards evening when the desert sun goes down. White sand beaches on both islands are pristine havens for seabirds. Jacques Cousteau once said that the waters around these islands were the world's aquarium—they still teem with life including sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles, and rays. There's also a healthy sea lion colony on nearby Los Islotes, a great choice for snorkelers who like up close and personal encounters with local wildlife of the friendly, non-shark variety.