Americans know the body of water that is located between the Mexican west coast and the Baja Peninsula as the Gulf of California. Mexicans call this same body of water the Sea of Cortez. Since all land borders on the water are Mexican, it makes sense to me to name it what the Mexicans prefer to call it.

The Sea of Cortez is incredibly diverse in marine life. From a stone and stucco beach house on the Baja Peninsula, you may see whales breach 200 yards offshore! One of the finest things that I have ever seen was a sunset viewed from a Spanish stone arch doorway that led to a beach-level patio at Altata, on the Sea of Cortez. It wasn't just the colors of the sunset, but the warm feeling in the air, the allure of old Spanish Mexico, and the aroma of delicious food that cooked over a fire pit, that brings my memory of that place alive.

Every town along that sea originated as a sleepy fishing village. Most still are that, but American tourism has caused changes, especially when the village becomes popular because it is mentioned in a film. Zihuatanejo is not on the sea (it is farther south on the Mexican West Coast), but it used to be mostly a fishing village. Now, cruise ships go there to bring thousands of people to see where Andy Dufresne hid after he escaped a New England prison in the film "Shawshank Redemption". Andy told Red, "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing dies."

If you are a diver, you must experience the Sea of Cortez. It easily makes the top ten list of best world diving locations, especially to see whales. Several species use the sea as a nursery, where the females deliver calves. Perhaps you will see a rare Vaquita Porpoise on your trip.


Tony is a writer, an author of several published novels, and an independent publisher. He wrote and published "A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists", "Goodnight Paige", and "The Star of India." He released a guidebook titled "How Tony Wrote and Published Two Novels."