Tourism and Tours

San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park | The Unspoiled Gulf of California

San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park

Comprising the San Lorenzo archipelago and the waters that surround them, this national park has a number of unique ecosystems that are home to a vast array of marine mammals, seabirds and fish.

Although the dry climate means that the islands themselves are quite barren, below the water it is a completely different story as the waters are rich in nutrients. Lucky visitors to the national park may catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming past or even some of the types of whales that reside in its waters.

San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park is a national park of Mexico located on San Lorenzo Island part of an archipelago in the Gulf of California off the eastern coast of Baja California. The San Lorenzo Archipelago is considered one of the most important ecological areas of the Gulf of California. The Island and surrounding areas are part of a rich ecosystem comprised by a grand variety of flora and marine fauna. This area is protected by the Mexican federal government Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2001 because of its importance as a habitat for several endangered species. The Archipelago is part of the municipality of Mexicali, Baja California. The island is located southeast of the city separated by the Salsipuedes Channel.

Climate at San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park

Despite being an aquatic environment, the park’s climate is considered to be a desert because it’s hot and gets next to no rain. Summer high temperatures regularly exceed 40°C (105°F) while the coldest winter temperatures rarely go below 12°C. Steady breezes and intensely bright sunshine can be brutal on exposed skin, so protect yourself from the elements, but remember that typical sunscreen products contain chemicals that are toxic to fish, shellfish, and marine mammals. Less toxic brands are labeled as “reef safe”.

Wildlife San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park

The rich waters of the Gulf of California are home to over 800 fish species and 2,000 invertebrate species.
The fauna of the San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park consists of the following list of endangered species: blue whale, humpback whale, killer whale, sperm whale, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive turtle, totoaba. The ecosystem of the San Lorenzo Archipelago consists of many varieties of commercially important fish. In the waters surrounding the islands, swordfish, hake and dolphin risso are also common. Rasa Island is an important nesting site for Heermann’s gull, elegant tern, American oystercatcher, Craveri’s murrelet and brown pelican. Heermann’s gull and elegant tern are estimated to reach numbers of 260,000 and 200,000 respectively, representing about 95% of the total world population of these species. Salsipuedes Island, Las Animas Island, and San Lorenzo Island are important breeding habitats for the brown pelican in the Gulf of California. An average sum of breeding pairs of brown pelicans on the three islands is estimated at between 6,000 and 18,000.
The islands are also home to a large number of bird species consisting of native species as well as migratory species attracted by the rich marine ecosystem. Some of the most observed bird species are: Cooper’s falcon, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, Columbidae, magnificent frigatebird, brown pelican and Nazca booby.

Get in San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out how the heck to get to the park. It’s not easyǃ You are going to need to go where not even chicken buses go, and then you’ll have to hire a boat (or bring your own boat). You can usually hire a boat at Puerto San Francisquito (but definitely arrange it before hand — it’s too far to go on a whim and a chance). (San Francisquito is a tiny village that will be your sole source of anything you need while visiting the San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago Park).

There is a private airstrip at Puerto San Francisquito if you have your own plane. Most people drive.

First, drive to Bahia de los Angeles (about 8 hours south of Ensenada). From there, it’s 3 hours on a remote, unmarked, seldom maintained road to the village of Puerto San Francisquito.

Fees and permits of San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park

There are no fees to enter the park.
Get around
Use a boat, which you can arrange in San Francisquito.

Activities at San Lorenzo Marine Archipelago National Park

  • Fish
  • Observe nature


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