Cornforth Images

Baja California

Cabo San Lucas (popularly known as just ‘Cabo’) is a small city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in the municipality of Los Cabos in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. It is thought that the first humans came to the southern end of the peninsula 14,000 years ago. When the first Europeans arrived, nomadic groups of Pericu survived on a subsistence diet based on the gathering of fruit, seeds, roots, and shellfish, as well as hunting and fishing. At the beginning of the 20th century a fishing village began to develop in the area. In 1917, an American company built a floating platform to catch tuna which gave rise to the village. Cabo San Lucas has become an important vacation destination due to the warmth of the waters, the beauty of its beaches, the abundance of sport fish.

Laguna San Ignacio is located 36 miles (59 km) from San Ignacio in Baja California Sur. The lagoon stretches sixteen miles into the desert and has a maximum width of five miles. The lagoon is the last and only undeveloped nursery and breeding ground in the world of the gray whale. It is divided into three sections. The upper lagoon is the shallowest part and is known as the birthing area. At the middle lagoon, you find mothers traveling with their newborns. At the lower lagoon, you find the majority of the whales and this is where most of the social behavior occurs. The lagoon residents depend primarily upon fishing and now whale watching as their primary means of support. In 1993 the United Nations declared Laguna San Ignacio a World Heritage site.

Guadalupe Island, or Isla Guadalupe, is a volcanic island located 150 miles (240 km) off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and some 250 miles (400 km) southwest of the city of Ensenada in Baja California state, in the Pacific Ocean. Marine mammals live in Guadalupe’s waters in abundance. Guadalupe is a both a Mexican nature preserve and a pinniped sanctuary (1975), and was the last refuge for the Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) and the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi). Had small colonies of these animals not managed to hide from sealers at Isla Guadalupe in the 1900s, they almost certainly would have become extinct. Guadalupe is considered one of the best spots in the world for sightings of the great white shark, because of this large population of pinnipeds.

Nature photographers will find it difficult to capture landscape images without including buildings or roads in Cabo San Lucas, but just up the Pacific Coast there are many remote beaches that are great to photograph at sunset. Since most visitors to Laguna San Ignacio will be focused on photographing the gray whales during the day, it is easy to photograph the sunset from your beach camp later in the afternoon before dinner. Guadalupe Island photography is usually focused on the sharks and underwater wildlife.