Plants and Animals in Baja
Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is absolutely chock-full of amazing plant and animal life. In fact, it is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the entire planet. Though most people visit Mexico to indulge in the sandy beaches, extremely surfable waves, excellent restaurants, or world-class fishing, there are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities available for those who love nature. And for those who are in Mexico for other reasons, just knowing a bit more about the region’s plant and animal life can make your vacation that much more enjoyable. Plants and animals in Baja – yes.
Baja Mexico is home to more than one hundred species of birds. Of particular interest are the area’s many seabirds. Because Baja is so warm all year, many types of birds migrate there in the winter for the better weather. Brown pelicans, blue footed boobies, cormorants, turkey vultures, royal terns, frigate birds, and osprey are only a handful of the most well-known bird species that populate the area. For a truly once in a lifetime experience, head on one of the many tours offered to the Midriff Islands, just off the peninsula’s eastern shore in the Sea of Cortez. Here, thousands of birds go about their daily lives in total isolation far away from human encroachment.
Both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean sides of Baja are home to more types of fish than can be counted. Because of its calmer waters, most nature tourists head to the Sea of Cortez when fish are on their minds. Cabrilla, leopard grouper, spotted bay bass, white sea bass, halibut, barracuda, lingcod, sailfish, yellow tail, rooster fish, and marlin are only a few of the types of fish that are known to swim in the area. Snorkeling opportunities are abound and many of the colorful fish that you can see are similar to those that you would see in tropical waters. Furthermore, fishing in Baja Mexico is a hit because
even the most inexperienced fishermen are nearly guaranteed a catch. (You don’t even have to worry about disrupting the ecological balance. Many tour groups offer catch and release fishing programs so that you can get a feel for the fishing lifestyle without taking away from nature.)
Other Ocean Life
Fish aren’t the only creatures that live in the oceans around Baja – not by a long shot. Whales including gray whales, blue whales, sperm whales, humpback whales, and fin whales are frequent visitors. In fact, Baja is one of the only areas in the world where gray whales birth their young. Bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, giant squid, white sharks, manta rays, and more jellyfish, crabs, starfish, and mollusks than you can count can also be found in the Sea of Cortez. Seriously though, the amount of life writhing deep below the surface of the ocean is almost limitless!
Other Land Life
Though much of Baja is home to harsh desert-like conditions, a wide variety of animals other than birds call the area home. Jack rabbits, mice, squirrels, coyotes, mountain lions, foxes, desert bighorn sheep, and deer are all mammals that a keen traveler can spot. A number of turtles, snakes, and lizards can also be found in Baja. They include the desert iguana, coast-horned lizard, leatherback turtle, loggerhead turtle, green turtle, western blind snake, western diamondback, and the yellow-bellied sea snake
Many visitors to Baja don’t really consider how absolutely amazing it is that plant life is able to survive – and even thrive – in such unforgiving desert conditions! Even if a nature walk isn’t high on your list of vacation activities, it is interesting to be able to identify the most common species of desert plants that you will see, even around town. Over 100 species of Cacti, 19 types of agave, a number of palm trees, ironwood trees, conifers, mimosas, and wild figs are all found in the region.
Vacationing in Baja Mexico shouldn’t only be about relaxing and sitting on the beach. Simply being able to identify a few of the most common plant and animal species can make your travels that much more enjoyable. Plus, you’ll have more interesting stories to tell your friends back home. Whether you’re a nature lover or just want to see a few animals when you can, Baja Mexico is one of the best places for it on Earth.