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A Walk in the Estuary






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Estuary
The San Jose Estuary is a marshy lagoon covering roughly two thousand acres at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. The surrounding land is desert, and a narrow finger of white sand separates the estuary from the Sea of Cortez on the south. The estuary is fed by an underground river, the Rio San Jose, which flows from the nearby Laguna Mountains.

The estuary is the largest body of fresh water in southern Baja. For more than 250 years it has furnished drinking and irrigation water for the town of San Jose del Cabo, founded on its banks by Spanish Jesuits in 1730. The San Jose mission was established relatively late in Baja's early colonial history, because the local Pericú Indians were even more fierce than the mosquitoes that soon forced the settlement into the nearby hills.

Before the mission was established, the estuary provided a rare source of drinking water for Spanish sailors and explorers parched by the hot tropical sun, and for British and Dutch pirates who preyed on Spanish galleons hauling gold and silver from Acapulco to the Phillipines. Before that, the estuary supported the Pericús and their ancestors for thousands of years.

Today the Estuary is protected by Mexican law as a natural preserve and sanctuary for hundreds of species of tropical and migratory birds, and for many species of marine life, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and, of course, insects.

Click to begin a short "walking tour" of the San Jose Estuary and the adjacent Sea of Cortez beach. Each picture on the tour is captioned with a brief text, and includes "buttons" for navigation. Use your browser's "BACK" to return to the tour from "hi-res" views.

Use the Thumbnail Index to browse and preview the pictures if you prefer not to "take the tour" in sequence.

For best results, set your monitor display to maximum colors and resolution, size your browser window as large as possible and hide browser buttons and toolbars to maximize viewing area.


Begin Walk in the Estuary
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