The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, was once famously dubbed the ‘aquarium of the world.’ The rugged islands, coastal desert and the surrounding turquoise waters are of striking natural beauty. The islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California is one of Dr Sylvia Earle’s designated Hope Spots and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. It is one of the most productive ocean regions in the world – home to over 900 species of fish, including sharks – 90 of them endemic – more than 2,000 invertebrate species and a variety of whales, dolphins, rays, sea turtles and sea lions. Hike among coastal cactus forests, enjoying splendid views of crescent-shaped bays and be spoiled by some of the best snorkelling and diving experiences offered anywhere on earth. Zodiac cruises will bring birders close to enormous bird colonies where you might spot blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and Heermann’s gulls. Sunsets over the Sea of Cortez are among the most spectacular you will find anywhere in the world.