Cabo Pulmo, Aquarium of the World !!
Located in the region of Eastern Cape, at the southern end of the peninsula of Baja California in Mexico, this village of about 200 people in the mid nineties consolidated a decision that changed the fate of the surrounding coral reefs and fish; stopped fishing commercially.
The Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California is one of the most productive seas in the world, home of true marine animals, in this sea everything is bigger, shoals, fish, sharks swarming everywhere, is the permanent or temporary home several species of marine mammals and the coral reef that is farther north in the American Pacific, Cabo Pulmo reef. All these features led to Cousteau to name it, "the world's aquarium"; but as in all the planet, advances in fishing technology, refrigeration, transportation and other requirements for mass fishing this region have literally emptied taking it to alarming levels of fish predation, always followed by the statement that marine resources are of an infinite nature. Into this maelstrom, local fishermen decided not to fish more. Extremely difficult and complex resolution as Cabo Pulmo is located in a desert enclave without major resources, little water, isolated from the rest of the state and was fishing the only important economic production area; From that moment all the bets went on tourism, a fairly unknown activity at the time.
It was not an easy for the people of Cabo Pulmo, but today their efforts have been rewarded by nature, by far the fish population in the national park area has increased by 450% according to scientific studies, it has placed Cabo Pulmo in a very important place among the Mexican and global maritime scientific community and in the world of diving, which today has an area that gives an idea of how were our seas before the era of massive fishing. In short, this small village gave the world a lesson in coexistence with the environment without destroying it. Here they demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the process of systematic plundering of our natural resources.
Parallel to the aquatic world are exciting sights on land: miles of walking trails through desert landscapes, ideal for practicing horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. Note that all these activities coupled with the tranquility of the area attract many tourists also require, among others, additional services such as lodging and restaurants, which has generated an economic framework whose influence extends beyond the dive centers and hotels the area.
Undoubtedly Cabo Pulmo figures prominently in the list of underwater jewels of the world and consequently those of Mexico. Diving is exceptional throughout all seasons, becoming a unique experience, always full of surprises. The waters of this park are of extremely changeable nature, ranging from green and cold (winter and spring) to the warm and clear waters that put it on par with a Caribbean dive. Although when the water is cold, visibility decreases, the accumulation of fish and other marine species is such that are detected with ease. As an added bonus, for which there are in the mood dive at the level of the surface of the water, you can see unique phenomena such as schools of "mobulas" jumping around and at specific times of the year whales are observed, dolphins, orcas and if you want more, in shallow areas, on the shore of the bay of Cabo Pulmo aggregations of sharks that can be observed from the high points of the bay or from any vessel.
In one day you can see what other places would take a lifetime !!
During the season the warm waters dramatically improves visibility, natural phenomena are distinct and water clarity can better appreciate the reef structures, marine life moves to something deeper water, but the presence of much larger fish persists which can be found elsewhere. Note that in Cabo Pulmo the chances of seeing sharks during a dive are very high in certain places throughout the year the probability of sighting is almost certain if proper measures are taken. Also, one of the most outstanding attractions of Pulmo`s waters are shoals of jacks that become so many that can clog the passage of sunlight and be a cloud of fish that goes from the water surface to the seabed, this phenomenon is present throughout most of the year, except for very brief periods when fish are removed or moved to deeper sites. For all these reasons Cabo Pulmo is certainly a unique experience of diving at any level of experience and in any season.
Underwater photography in Cabo Pulmo.
In photographic terms Cabo Pulmo is simply a dream come true, before entering underwater matter, made it clear that the desert landscapes surrounding it and its wildlife can be enjoyed to the fullest while on earth, having miles of areas walking and wait sunsets or sunrises unusual and shocking countless plant and animal species to observe and photograph, drawing attention and breathtaking even the least curious.
Now to the water !!.
Observing a particular order and knowing that you can speak a little of everything, from the smallest start to reach the greatest. Cabo Pulmo in terms of macro-photography combines two things that make it an explosion of color for lovers of this art: coral reefs and a good season cold water. During this season at all reefs of Cabo Pulmo can appreciate a high amount of nudibranchs pacing on the rocks, also due to water turbidity coral polyps are deployed during the day giving the opportunity to make colorful compositions some species like coral cup (Tubastrea coccinea) with their unique combinations of orange. Personally, I consider that the cold waters is the best time of year to take macro photos, but communities of small fish and other miniatures are present all year on the reef, only look without forgetting the good practices diving !!!.
Definitely the wide angle is the photo category champion in Cabo Pulmo, if I were organizing a trip here and had space limitations, I only would bear my wide angle gear. The sea views are spectacular and full of life, soft corals and other creatures give color to the stones, often in one place composition opportunities are multiple given the number of elements present. Fish are the soul of the party, there are in all type, size, color, quantity and presentation and since in Cabo Pulmo has no fishing pressure, the fish are not afraid of human then do not relate to the danger, the death; so with skill and great delicacy you can approach a fish, to unimaginably short distances, than diving into other areas where they are fished. You can see very large fish including sharks, rays and whales; groupers and snappers are common and great for those who like to capture the whimsical shapes that takes a school of fish in Cabo Pulmo can give everyone the immense shoals of jacks, graybar grunt, Yellow Snappers and Mantas mobulas. Although not as large as above, it should also mention the colorful schools of porkfish apart from its striking color, usually occur in highly organized swim allowing creativity to compose patterns, there are also schools of surgeonfish , pufferfish which curiously is found swimming in midwater, goatfish who like to dig into the sand in search of food, sardines in season and many others that can capture the attention and initiate creativity and artistic vein underwater photographer.
Diving in Cabo Pulmo, some things you should know:
Depths: The diving in Cabo Pulmo are not exactly the deepest, the average depth in the most interesting sites varies between 55-70 feet, there really shallow dives but of great interest and the Bahia de los Frailes can do dives of more than 100 feet, there is even shallow areas near the park with lots of coral that are very interesting.
Temperatures: very variable, from December to July tends to be very cold, can fall to 14 degrees in the most extreme peaks (May, June) a wetsuit of 5mm to 7mm is advisable, the warm waters come from July to late November greatly improving visibility at this time a suit 3mm already good.
Visibility: varies along the year, the best season is October and November visibility which can reach 100 feet or a little more. The months of cold water usually murkier but crowded with life (in those months no need to dive to see marine life in quantity).
Number of species in the area: approximately 226 of fish and 11 of corals
Number of dive sites: about 14 sites.
Reef topography: patches of broken rock between sand is the generality of the area.
Currents: changes from north to south and vice versa which causes that most dives are drift.
Photographic qualities: all varieties of fotosub, greatly excels photography fish, cold water in times of opportunities for macro enthusiasts are endless.
If you wish to visit this paradise:
Cabo Pulmo has several accommodation options, contact us and we I advise about it, as you may have noticed is an area extremely remote and everything you need for your stay you must take if you are coming from La Paz or Cabo San Lucas you must bring your groceries and any other things you need.
The cuisine of Cabo Pulmo is excellent, there are several restaurants, all very good, most specializing in seafood.
What to bring:
Cabo Pulmo is an isolated community so if you have special requirements you must bring with you, as if you are going to cook your food, you need to bring the groceries with you. Credit cards are not accepted in most places, you should bring cash, the dollar is accepted everywhere normally, the euro is further complicated thing.
About pulmo :
Location and access:
Cabo Pulmo is located in the Eastern Cape region in the southeast of the state of Baja California Sur, on the Sea of Cortez to 130 kms NE of Cabo San Lucas and approx 161 south of La Paz in Mexico.
Whether coming from La Paz or San Jose del Cabo take Highway 1, towards south from la Paz and north from san Jose. In the village of las cuevas, take the detour to Santa Cruz / La Rivera / Cabo Pulmo (in this order you will find the villages). From this detour, take the paved road where you will pass the first two villages, WATCH!!!. In la rivera you have the last convenience store, is called el Rey, this is your last chance to buy what you forgot !!. Continuing on this route until the asphalt road ends, 10 kms on a dirt road via the beautiful landscapes of desert and coast especially when you approach out pulmo.
The Pulmo, as they say its inhabitants, is the first population center you meet on the dirt road, stop here but will leave back to san jose del cabo pretty bad dirt road by the Slipway out of this !!! (Worth the trip if you bring a 4x4).
The pulmo is a Remembrance of what was the Mexican Pacific coast some 40 years ago, a peaceful village and very safe with miles and miles of trails in the hills and pristine beaches for walking, cycling or just do nothing ... a place like few left in the world outside the bustle of Cabo San Lucas and the entire mass tourism.