Isla Espíritu Santo

Isla Espíritu Santo is an island in the Gulf of California, off the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. It is separated from Isla Partida by a narrow canal.[1]

It has a land area of 80.763 square kilometres (31.183 sq mi), the 12th-largest island in Mexico. Isla Partida's land area is 15.495 square kilometres (5.983 sq mi). They are part of La Paz Municipality and are both a short boat trip from La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula.

There was human presence of the island already about 9,000 years ago.

Isla Espíritu Santo
Isla Espíritu Santo and Isla Partida (5378264191)
Aerial view of Isla Espíritu Santo (right) and Isla Partida (left)
Isla Espíritu Santo is located in Baja California Sur
Isla Espíritu Santo
Isla Espíritu Santo
LocationGulf of California
Coordinates24°28′17″N 110°19′57″W / 24.47139°N 110.33250°WCoordinates: 24°28′17″N 110°19′57″W / 24.47139°N 110.33250°W
Adjacent bodies of waterPacific Ocean
Area80.763 km2 (31.183 sq mi)
StateBaja California Sur
MunicipalityLa Paz


La playa de Isla Espíritu Santo - panoramio
The beach on Espíritu Santo

The area is protected as part of the Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna - Islas del Golfo de California (APFF-IGC),[2] and is an important eco-tourism destination. It was declared part of a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995.[3] Espíritu Santo is the only known habitat of the black jackrabbit.[4] The islands are both uninhabited. Ensenada Grande beach, on Isla Partida, was voted the most beautiful beach in Mexico by The Travel Magazine [5] and one of the top 12 beaches in the world. Sea kayaking is a popular activity around the island.

The surrounding reefs are home to parrotfish, angelfish,[6] trumpetfish, Moorish idols, and rainbow wrasse, while many other species pass nearby including sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, and even whales. Birds include brown pelicans, great blue herons, snowy egrets, turkey vultures, and hummingbirds. A large sea lion colony resides on Los Islotes, off the north tip of the islands; snorkeling with the females and young is a highlight of many tours.[7]

Disastrous Destiny

Conservation-minded eco-adventurers were not the only ones attracted to the island, and by the 1990s the pressure on Isla Espiritu Santo was intense: a real estate developer wanted to create a resort casino on the island. Luckily Tim Means[8], founder of Baja Expeditions, who since 1974 had been a leading conservationist based in La Paz, formed a coalition of activists who were able to purchase part of the island from the ejido that was selling it to the casino resort developer. One-third of the funds came from Mexican funders, another third from American funders via the Nature Conservancy, and the rest through an anonymous gift to the World Wildlife Fund. Their subsequent donation of Isla Espiritu Santo to the nation is commemorated by a famous sculpture of a dove on the boardwalk in La Paz.


Hook (AM 1939.232-7)
Native American shell fish hook from California. Auckland Museum

Early Holocene pearl oyster circular fishhooks, dating to 8750–8500 cal BP, have been discovered on Espíritu Santo Island. They've been found in Covacha Babisuri rock shelter on the island. This is one of the earliest known examples of shell fishhooks in the world.[9]

"The pearl oyster fishhooks and some of the associated tools from Espíritu Santo Island, in the southern Gulf of California in Mexico, are similar to those found in Australia, along the Arabian Sea (Roth 1904, Allen 1996, Beech 2003, Méry et al. 2008), and in Valdivia (Meggers et al. 1965:147)."[9]

Similar fishhooks have also been reported from Cedros Island, also in Baja California.

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Áreas de Protección de Flora y Fauna - Islas del Golfo de California, Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  3. ^ UNESCO, Islas del Golfo de California Biosphere Reserve, UNESCO Biosphere Programme.
  4. ^ Romero Malpica, F.J. & Rangel Cordero, H. (2008). "Lepus insularis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T11794A3308250. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T11794A3308250.en. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Isla Espiritu Santo". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  6. ^ Goodson, Gar; Weisgerber, Phillip J. (1988). "Angelfishes". Fishes of the Pacific Coast. Stanford University Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780804713856. Retrieved 19 August 2016 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Baja Insider".
  8. ^ "Saving Espiritu Santo".
  9. ^ a b Fujita, Harumi (2014). "Early Holocene Pearl Oyster Circular Fishhooks and Ornaments on Espíritu Santo Island, Baja California Sur". Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist. 7 (1): 129–134. doi:10.3398/042.007.0113. ISSN 1545-0228.

External links

Antelope squirrel

Antelope squirrels or antelope ground squirrels of the genus Ammospermophilus are sciurids found in the desert and dry scrub areas of south-western United States and northern Mexico. They are a type of ground squirrel and are able to resist hyperthermia and can survive body temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F).

There are currently four recognised species in the world, with one subspecies:

Harris's antelope squirrel, A. harrisii, found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Sonora in Mexico.

The San Joaquin antelope squirrel or Nelson's antelope squirrel, A. nelsoni, found in the San Joaquin Valley, California.

Texas antelope squirrel, A. interpres, found in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.

The white-tailed antelope squirrel, A. leucurus, found in the southwestern United States and the Baja California Peninsula.The subspecies of the Espíritu Santo antelope squirrel, A. insularis, found on Isla Espíritu Santo.All are somewhat similar in appearance and behavior. They are around 14–17 centimetres (5.5–6.7 in) long with a 6–10 centimetres (2.4–3.9 in) tail, and weigh 110–150 grams (3.9–5.3 oz). The tail is somewhat flattened. They have a single white stripe on both flanks and none on the face. They live in burrows, which they dig for themselves. They are diurnal, and do not hibernate (though they become less active during the winter), so they are fairly easily seen.

Baja California Sur

Baja California Sur (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbaxa kaliˈfoɾnja suɾ] (listen), English: "South Lower California"), officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur (English: Free and Sovereign State of South Lower California), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.

Before becoming a state on 8 October 1974, the area was known as the El Territorio Sur de Baja California ("South Territory of Lower California"). It has an area of 73,909 km2 (28,536 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico, and occupies the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula, south of the 28th parallel, plus the uninhabited Rocas Alijos in the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the north by the state of Baja California, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the east by the Gulf of California, or the "Sea of Cortés". The state has maritime borders with Sonora and Sinaloa to the east, across the Gulf of California.

The state is home to the tourist resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Its largest city and capital is La Paz.

Brickellia brandegei

Brickellia brandegei is a Mexican species of flowering plants in the daisy family. It is native to western Mexico from the states of Sonora and Baja California Sur (including Isla Espíritu Santo).

Cedros Island

Cedros Island (Isla de Cedros, "island of cedars" in Spanish) is an island in the Pacific Ocean belonging to the state of Baja California, Mexico. The dry and rocky island had a population of 1,350 in 2005 and has an area of 348 square kilometres (134 sq mi) which includes the area of several small nearby islands. Cedros Island is mountainous, reaching a maximum elevation of 1,205 metres (3,953 ft). The economy is based on commercial fishing and salt mining. Cedros has a distinctive flora and the traces of some of the earliest human beings in the New World. The ocean around the island is popular with sports fishermen.

There was human presence of the island already about 11,000 years ago. The American Indian inhabitants when the island was first visited by Spanish explorers in the 16th century called it Huamalgua, the "Island of Fogs." The Indian inhabitants have been given the name Huamalgueños by modern day scholars. They were relocated to the mainland of Baja California by Jesuit missionaries in 1732 and ceased to exist as an identifiable people.

Harumi Fujita (archaeologist)

Harumi Fujita (Japanese: 藤田はるみ, also known as Harumi Fujita Kawabe) is a Japanese researcher of Mexican archaeology, who has specialized in pre-classical period of the northern states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Her research has shown that fishing cultures had arisen in the area at the end of the Pleistocene period, indicating an occupation from at least 11,000 years ago. In a cave shelf known as the Babisuri Shelter, radiocarbon dating indicated the area may have been occupied 40,000 years ago.

Isla Partida

Isla Partida is separated from Isla Espíritu Santo by a shallow, narrow channel. These two islands, in the Gulf of California, are protected by UNESCO as biospheres. They are located a short boat ride from La Paz, which lies on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. It has a land area of 15.495 km (9.628 mi) and is part of the Municipality of La Paz in Baja California Sur.

La Paz, Baja California Sur

La Paz (pronounced [la ˈpas] (listen), Peace) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2015 census population of 244,219 inhabitants, making it the most populous city in the state. Its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of the surrounding towns, such as El Centenario, Chametla and San Pedro. It is in La Paz Municipality, which is the fourth-largest municipality in Mexico in geographical size and reported a population of 290,286 inhabitants on a land area of 20,275 km2 (7,828 sq mi).The population of La Paz has grown greatly since the 2000s. The growth is largely because the city has one of the highest standards of living and security in Mexico.La Paz is served by the Manuel Márquez de León International Airport with flights to the most important cities of Mexico: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey. Airlines flying into La Paz include Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris and VivaAerobus. Two ferry services operate from the port of Pichilingue outside the city, connecting the Baja California peninsula to the mainland at Mazatlán and Topolobampo, near Los Mochis.

List of coastal islands of the Californias

This is a list of notable coastal islands of the Californias - coastal islands west of California and the Baja California Peninsula in the Pacific Ocean. California is in the United States; and the Baja California Peninsula includes the states of Baja California Sur and Baja California in Mexico. Although the waters and islands are in two countries, many of the ecoregion, habitat, conservation, and ecological issues are shared.

List of islands of Mexico

This is an incomplete list of islands of Mexico.

Okenia cochimi

Okenia cochimi is a species of sea slug, specifically a dorid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Goniodorididae.


The Pericú (also known as Pericues, Cora, Edues) were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Cape Region, the southernmost portion of Baja California Sur, Mexico. They have been linguistically and culturally extinct since the late 18th century.

Sauromalus klauberi

Sauromalus klauberi, commonly called the Santa Catalina chuckwalla or the spotted chuckwalla, is a species of chuckwalla, a lizard in the family Iguanidae. The species was first identified in 1941.

Sigismundo Taraval

Sigismundo Taraval (1700–1763) was a pioneering Jesuit missionary in Baja California who wrote important historical accounts of the peninsula.

Born in Lodi, Lombardy, he served initially as missionary at La Purísima (1730–1732) and San Ignacio (1732-1733), among the Cochimí. A notable episode while he was at San Ignacio was the bringing of the inhabitants of Cedros Island to the mission. In a relatively detailed account of the islanders' aboriginal lifeways, Taraval presented what were perhaps the earliest speculations concerning the region's prehistoric past.In 1733 he was sent south to found the Misión Santa Rosa de las Palmas at the modern site of Todos Santos. The following year, the local Pericú and Guaycura Indians staged a serious revolt against Jesuit rule, and Taraval was forced to flee, first to La Paz and then to Isla Espíritu Santo. He wrote a detailed if partisan account of the revolt and its subsequent suppression.Subsequently Taraval later served at the southern missions of San José del Cabo (1736–1746) and Santiago (1747–1750). He left the peninsula in 1750 to serve at the Jesuit college in Guadalajara.

Taraval Street in San Francisco is named after him.

Tecolote Beach

Tecolote Beach is an isolated beach community located in the municipality of La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur, it is 25 km from the city of La Paz, past Puerto Balandra, on State Highway 11.It is one of the most extensive of the beaches in this area with fine, white sand gentle waves and little undertow. Water skiing and jet skiing are available here as well as a boat that goes to Isla Espíritu Santo.

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