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What’s so Special about Cabo Pulmo?

July 02, 2019

For starters, it’s a world apart, its treasures hidden underwater and unseen except to aquatic explorers.

Situated on the East Cape 60 miles from San Jose del Cabo, Cabo Pulmo National Park is a protected marine sanctuary in the Sea of Cortez. It offers extraordinary snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The sleepy settlements in the vicinity of the park also attract sport fishermen, surfers, campers, and those who simply want to get away from it all and savor “the old Cabo.”

Cabo Pulmo is home to the oldest of only three living coral reefs on the west coast of North America. (It’s estimated to be 20,000 years old). The park’s clear waters, easy-entry bay, and abundance of marine life add up to a world-class underwater viewing experience.

Overfished in the past, Cabo Pulmo’s massive eight-fingered reef and the 7,111 hectares of water surrounding it were declared a national park in 1995 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Denizens of the deep (and the people who like to observe them) have the dogged efforts of the Cabo Pulmo community to thank for the revitalization of the reef and its fascinating inhabitants.

Divers and snorkelers can observe more than 800 species of marine animals at Cabo Pulmo, which shelters both resident and migratory species. Often likened to an aquarium (minus the glass walls}, the marine park boasts an incredible array of colorful fish and sea creatures, including octopus, manta rays and sea turtles.

In his book The Log from the Sea of Cortez, author John Steinbeck conjured a timeless description of the Cabo Pulmo reef:

"The complexity of the life pattern on Pulmo Reef was even greater than at Cabo San Lucas. Clinging to the coral, growing on it, burrowing into it, was a teeming fauna. Every piece of the soft material broken off, skittered and pulsed with life, little crabs and worms and snails. One small piece of coral might conceal 30 or 40 species, and the colors on the reef were electric.”

That’s what’s so special about Cabo Pulmo.

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