“The Sea of Cortez is a marine aquarium with
the largest diversity of life we can find on earth”
– Jacques Cousteau
In Baja California Sur you can encounter one-third of the world’s whale and dolphin species, 500 species of fish, habitat for 210 bird species as well as breeding grounds for sea lions and several types of turtles.
The water temperature fluctuates between 65 and 80, depending on the season, with visibility reaching up to 100 ft.
With miles of different color sand, islands, cliffs, blooming deserts and mountains that reach 6000 ft, imagine the different scenery available. Although most are drawn to the coastline, not very many people know of the red rock canyons, extensive waterfalls, old mining towns, Jesuit missions from the 1700’s as well as the pine trees and fertile valleys you can hike through in the National Park.
The earliest known record for habitation in Baja California Sur dates back 11000 B.C. mainly due to artifacts found such as arrowheads, grinding stones as well the beautiful cave paintings left behind. The images of animals as well as humans and their methods of living off the land lead us to believe that not only were these people great hunters, but efficient gatherers.
The area of BCS is rich is artifacts and more is being discovered on a daily basis. Four distinct Indian groups inhabited the area: The Pericu to the south, the Guaycura from La Paz to near Loreto, the Monquil in Loreto, and the Cochimi who wandered the entire area. There was another group, originally Pericu, who moved and occupied the Island of Espiritu Santu where they became proficient fisherman.
When the first explorers arrived on the “Island of California” in 1533, they encountered the harsh environment, rough terrain and unfriendly natives and decided against colonization. It was around 1682 when the first attempts to “civilize” the land and people were made by Jesuit missionaries. These attempts were plagued with problems and were eventually abandoned. The area for years was of interest to Pirates and those looking for pearls because of the area’s protected coastlines and fish-rich waters.
The first settlement which began to develop and grow came in the fall of 1697 and has continued since. The mission in Loreto was the first in Baja and became the ‘stepping stone’
for more missions in both the South as well as North. The Jesuit control lasted roughly 70 years, at which time control was given over to Franciscans, and soon thereafter, the Dominicans.
After being a territory of Mexico since 1888,The modern state Of Baja California Sur was finally declared a state of Mexico in 1974.
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