The Top 10 Reasons Sailing Nomads Love the Sea of Cortez

sailing nomad in the sea of cortex at anchor
Remote and beautiful anchorages in the Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a stunning body of water located between the Baja California Peninsula and mainland Mexico.

With clear blue waters, abundant marine life, and picturesque landscapes, the Sea of Cortez has become a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. But for digital nomads, the Sea of Cortez offers more than just a beautiful backdrop–it’s a place where work and play can seamlessly coexist.

In this article, I’ll explore the top 10 reasons why the Sea of Cortez offers the sailing digital nomad a perfect place to work remotely.

When a sailor sets sights on the the Sea of Cortez for the first time, she views a canvas of rugged coastlines, secluded coves, and a labyrinth of islands waiting to be discovered. For sailing nomads, this aquatic paradise presents an opportunity to merge the freedom of the open sea with the flexibility of a digital lifestyle.

Cardon cactus, Sea of Cortez
Stunning beaches and Cardon cactus will dominate your view in the islands closest to La Paz.

Why Choose the Sea of Cortez?

Natural Beauty

The Sea of Cortez is renowned for its natural beauty of over 65 islands and 1900 miles of coastline. CaboAdventures describes the sea as “home to a diverse range of marine life, host[ing] many migratory species, such as the humpback whale, California gray whale, killer whale, manta ray, leatherback sea turtle, and Humboldt squid — as well as the world’s largest animal, the blue whale.” Beautiful beaches and coves dominate the rugged coastline, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

My husband and I have cruised up and down the Sea of Cortez for the past four years, and we have barely scratched the surface. We have dropped our anchor in at least 25 or 30 different coves or anchorages. And we could probably spend another couple of years discovering new places to explore.

sailing nomads get to see striated cliffs. Espiritu Santo
A sailor heading north in the Sea will first view cliffs like this.

Diversity of Flora and Fauna

Yes, some of the topography—a combination of desert gray moonscape dotted with giant Cardon cactus—repeats itself throughout the region. But then you will sail past or anchor in a cove surrounded by vermilion-, salmon-, and tawny-colored striated cliffs, like the Navajo Sandstone of the American Southwest. Travel twenty nautical miles later, and the towering Sierra de la Gigante mountain range comes into view, eclipsing any hint of the vast Pacific ocean residing to the West of the Sea.

Baja Sur, California is the very definition of remote. The majority of it is uninhabited, which makes for pristine clean beaches where sometimes only the contrails of coyote paw prints or the indentations of turtle flippers mar the fine-silt sand. 

turtle tracks in the sand. Sea of Cortez remote beach
Turtle tracks and coyote paw prints: the only evidence of life on a remote beach near Conception Bay.

Great Place for Digital Nomads

Digital nomads have the perfect balance of work and play in the Sea. Plenty of anchorages have good internet connectivity, including mooring fields or anchorages adjacent to the major cities like La Paz with strong cell phone coverage. And now with Starlink offering high-speed Internet, cruisers can experience even more islands, more coves, and more sea caves. If you want civilization, you can access more populated regions, like Loreto, La Paz, and Santa Rosalia.

The biggest draw? Easy access from these bigger cities to airports like Los Angeles, San Fransico, Phoenix, and Seattle. Accessibility makes it even more enticing if you wish to escape relatively easily and cheaply from the Pacific West or Northwest. And conversely, it makes it easy to fly home or back to the States.

Beautiful Beaches

The Sea of Cortez is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Whether you’re looking for a secluded cove or a bustling beach town, you’re sure to find something that suits your style. Some of the most popular beaches include Playa Balandra, Playa Tecolote, and Playa El Medano. 

lonely dinghy, Sea of Cortez
Just us, enjoying the beach all to ourselves.

Whale Sharks

One of the main attractions of the Sea of Cortez is the whale sharks. These gentle giants can grow up to 40 feet long and are known for their docile nature. Swimming with whale sharks is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t forget. Cruisers looking for an upclose experience either head to the Bay of LA, where the whale sharks hang out in the warm water from July through November.

Or for a guided tour, head to La Paz. The entire protected bay must follow strict rules regarding the number of tour boats and swimmers that can inhabit the area at any one time. When we had all 7 of our kids visiting us one Christmas in La Paz, the whale shark tour was the highlight of the trip.

whaleshark tour sailing nomad adventure
Whale sharks, the gentle giants of the Sea of Cortez.

Best Cities for Digital Nomads in the Sea of Cortez

La Paz

A bustling city located on the eastern coast of the Baja California peninsula, La Paz offers tranquil beaches, excellent seafood, and vibrant nightlife. Digital nomads will appreciate the city’s fast internet speeds at local coffee shops like CinnaRolls, located right on the Malecon near the water.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention one of the best, high-end restaurants whose specialty is Chateaubriand. What sounds like a nice Rhone red wine is actually a carne lover’s platter of filet mignon roast, perfectly grilled potatoes and assorted vegetables, and a salad. For about $20 U.S. per person, El Mesquite Grill offers the best grilled dinner we have ever had. 

Also, with a robust ex-pat community, you can find plenty of resources around the city. And the busy marinas filled with knowledgeable cruisers and sailors make it feel like a home away from home. La Paz is also home to several cultural attractions, including the Museum of Anthropology and History and the Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz. 

chateaubriand at El Mesquite Grill in La Paz
Chateaubriand at El Mesquite Grill in La Paz


Slightly smaller than La Paz, Loreto offers the sailing nomad a place to anchor right outside the town. Even though a small marina exists for local fishing pangas, cruisers can anchor just outside the jetty wall.

From the anchorage, you can take the dinghy into the “marina” for a small daily fee (which, at the time of writing this, changes so often that I’m reluctant to say more than this). Cruisers can offload trash and then walk the short distance to the middle of town. Restaurants, tiendas, and great ferreteria called Ferremar de Loreto, where you can purchase fishing lures and various nautical items, populate the town. Loreto also offers beautiful artisan dishes and other locally-produced crafts. 

local artisan bowl from Loreto
One of my favorite bowls from Loreto.

Living Costs and Lifestyle

For digital nomads looking to cruise the Sea of Cortez, the living costs and lifestyle are relatively cheap compared to other destinations.

In terms of daily expenses, food and drinks are relatively affordable. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant can cost around $5-$10, while a beer can cost around $1-$2. A mid-expensive meal might be between $12 U.S. dollars—upwards to $17. But the quality and quantity at this price range means you never leave hungry.

Groceries are also relatively cheap, even in bigger cities like Loreto. We easily fill an entire grocery cart full of food and drink and never spend more than $150; in fact, last year in Mexico, we spent $200 on groceries, which lasted us three weeks.

While the cost of living can vary depending on the lifestyle and preferences of the individual, we continue to hear from other sailors who have since left and traveled elsewhere that Mexico offers a fantastic value, overall.

the sailing nomad can enjoy meals like this one, a lobster delivered to our boat.
Sailing nomads enjoy meals like this one, lobsters delivered to our boat for $12.

Weather Conditions

The Sea of Cortez hurricane season runs from June to November. During this time, a higher risk of tropical storms and hurricanes means most cruisers will leave the Sea for awhile. After hauling out their boats in places like Puerto Escondido (the more expensive option) or Puerto Penasco (the least expensive option), many cruisers head home or leave the area for a couple of months.

This past summer, we knew of many cruisers who opted to stay on their boats through the summer. Just about every single person said they would never do it again due to the unbearable heat.

Aside from hurricane season, there are other weather conditions to be aware of. The Sea of Cortez can experience strong winds, called the Northers, which typically blow from the plains in the U.S. southward, creating strong wind, with wind-driven swell. Because the Sea is sandwiched between mainland Mexico and Baja, the wind chop creates uncomfortable sailing conditions in a very short period of time. 

However, the real reason cruisers try to avoid sailing during the Northers is that the water temperature drops considerably. The temperatures will go from 80 degrees to 60 in the span of a couple of weeks; once the cold water temperatures take over, the visibility in the Sea drops, as well.

This means good snorkeling and diving don’t happen until late Spring (late May). The very best water conditions and visibility happen in September and October (this also happens to be when the Dorado appear!) and maybe November, if you’re lucky.

stacy diving in the Sea of Cortez
Beautiful clear water for diving.

Visa Information for Digital Nomads

Digital nomads planning to cruise the Sea of Cortez must ensure they have the appropriate visa to enter Mexico. There are different types of visas available, depending on the length of stay and purpose of the visit.

Tourist Visa

For stays up to 180 days, digital nomads can enter Mexico on a tourist visa. This visa can be obtained upon arrival at the airport or at the border crossing. The tourist visa lasts for up to a 180-day period. You may leave the country and when you re-enter Mexico, a new tourist visa will be issued. 

Temporary Resident Visa

For digital nomads planning to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days, a temporary resident visa is required. This visa allows for a stay of up to four years and can be renewed. To apply for a temporary resident visa, digital nomads must visit a Mexican embassy or consulate in their home country.

Application Process

The application process for a visa to enter Mexico varies depending on the type of visa. Tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival, while temporary resident visas and digital nomad visas require an application process. Digital nomads should contact their nearest Mexican embassy or consulate for more information on the application process.

Sailing Nomads and Visas

The good news, if you already own a boat, is that you can work from your vessel without worrying about any type of work visa—as long as you work for a non-Mexican employer. If you are employed by a U.S. company, like me, then you have the luxury of doing your job on your own time.

As I discussed in my article “Ultimate Digital Nomad Lifestyle: Work from a Boat,” I work either from the boat using Starlink or from a marina cruisers’ lounge connected to high-speed Internet.

Staying connected while cruising the Sea of Cortez is important for digital nomads. Besides Starlink, one option is to purchase a local SIM card upon arrival to Mexico. Telcel is the largest mobile network provider in Mexico and offers prepaid SIM cards with data plans that can be used throughout the country. I also used my mobile hotspot when we anchored at Isla Carmen, a short distance across from the town of Loreto (with good cell tower coverage).

Sailing nomads in the Sea of Cortez. Malecon in La Paz
Christmas time along the malecon in La Paz.

Best of All Worlds!

Finally, the absolute best reason the Sea of Cortez offers sailing nomads the best of work and play? With a length of 775 miles and approximately 1900 miles of coastline to explore, the Sea reminds you of why you wanted to go cruising; the sunshine, warm and friendly people, and pristine water offer a soothing balm that make you feel alive 100% of the time.

With Starlink and multiple cities offering superb high-speed Internet, digital nomads who have chosen their lifestyle to be closer to nature will never want to leave what Jacques Cousteau dubbed the “Aquarium of the World.” 

statue of Jacques Cousteau in La Paz
Statue of Jacques Cousteau in La Paz

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