What is it about the Gulf of California that fascinates so many people? This wonderful, watery landmark is one of the most important natural wonders of North America – and in this fact file, we’ll take you through everything you need to know. Here are some fun facts about the Gulf of California to get you up to speed.
1. What is the Gulf of California?
It’s a small sea! A gulf is a body of water, also known as an inlet from the ocean into a landmass, making it therefore a sea. It is almost entirely surrounded by land, with only one narrow opening.
2. Where is the Gulf of California?
While the name may lead you to think the Gulf of California is in the US, it is actually in the Western part of Mexico! It separates the Baja California Peninsula from mainland Mexico. It is surrounded by Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Sonora.
3. How big is the Gulf of California?
The Gulf of California definitely isn’t small! It covers an area of about 160,000 km2, or 61,776 square miles! That being said, it is still counted as the second smallest sea in the world, following the Sea of Marmara, in Turkey.
4. A sea of names!
If you have never heard of the Gulf of California, it could be because you know it under one of its various different names! The sea is also known as the Sea of Cortés, the Sea of Cortez, and the Vermillion Sea. Do any of those ring a bell at all?
5. It’s something of a whale nursery.
Although the Gulf of California may be pretty small when it comes to sea ranking, it is commonly used by the biggest animal in the world, the blue whale! Blue whales and their young calves can be spotted regularly in the Gulf of California from December to March. It is believed that they use the area for calving and nursing their young!
6. Rivers flow to and fro.
There are multiple rivers that flow into the Gulf of California. These include the Fuerte, Colorado, the Mayo, the Sonora, the Sinaloa, and the Yaqui.
7. How warm is the Gulf of California?
The Gulf of California tends to stay pretty warm throughout the year. During the winter, it can reach about 61 degrees Fahrenheit, while during the summer, it usually reaches temperatures around 75 F.
8. Can you swim in the Gulf of California?
As enticing as it may seem, it’s definitely not wise to go swimming in the Gulf of California! In fact, on the Pacific Ocean side, it is forbidden! The currents are just too strong, making it far too dangerous to swim. There are certain snorkeling spots inside the gulf, but if you are interested, it’s best to go with a professional and never try it alone!
9. It’s teeming with marine life.
The Gulf of California is well known for its incredible marine life! During migratory periods, you’ll come across all kinds of gray whales, humpback whales, killer whales, and blue whales, as well as the leatherback sea turtle, the manta ray, and even the Humboldt squid!
10. Islands in the gulf…
Believe it or not, the Gulf of California is actually home to multiple islands, 37 to be exact! The two biggest islands in the Gulf include the Isla Ángel de la Guarda and the Isla Tiburón.
FAQs about the Gulf of California
Why is it called the Gulf of California?
The Gulf of California is known as such due to its placement near the California peninsulas. It is also known as the Sea of Cortez, after the explorer. Just don’t get too confused!
Why is the Gulf of California in Mexico?
Although the name 'California' tends to make us think of the US, the Gulf of California is indeed a part of Mexico! This is because the US ceded the Baja Peninsula and the Gulf of California to mainland Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe. Therefore, it was once part of the US - but that soon changed.
What is the Gulf of California most famous for?
The Gulf of California is known for its beauty, its rough waters, and its incredible marine life. It is also known for being Mexico’s most important fishing region for shrimp, giant squid, and sardines!
Do you know any fun facts about the Gulf of California? Share them in the comments below!