Bahía Kino

Last updated
View of Isla del Alcatraz and Kino Nuevo. Isla Alcatraz Kino.jpg
View of Isla del Alcatraz and Kino Nuevo.
Bahía de Kino
Native name:
Spanish: Bahía de Kino, Bahía Kino
Mexico - Tiburon Island.PNG
Location of Bahía de Kino
Mexico States blank map.svg
Red pog.svg
Bahía de Kino
Location in Mexico
Location Gulf of California
Coordinates 28°49′00″N111°56′00″W / 28.81667°N 111.93333°W / 28.81667; -111.93333
State Sonora
Population7,000 (2008)
Kino beach stroll Kino beach stroll.jpg
Kino beach stroll
Pelican at Kino Bay Pelican at Kino Bay, SON.jpg
Pelican at Kino Bay
Hasteecola peaks which overlook west end of New Kino Hasteecola.JPG
Hasteecöla peaks which overlook west end of New Kino

Bahía de Kino is a town in the Mexican state of Sonora, Hermosillo (municipality), on the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California); it was named after Eusebio Kino. The name also applies to the adjacent bay between Tiburón Island and Punta San Nicolás, Sonora. The names Bahía de Kino, Bahía Kino and Kino Bay are used interchangeably.



The historic residents of the Bahía de Kino region were probably first documented in notes taken by Padre Eusebio Kino during his travels to the region in 1685 when he believed he visited the bay and named it Bahia San Juan Bautista (Doode 1999). The local indigenous population was widely dispersed in small hunter-gatherer groups ranging from the Guaymas area as far north as present day Puerto Libertad. They called themselves Comcaac (Seri). The harsh environment of the coastal region dictated that the Comcaac live with a high degree of flexibility and resourcefulness, a characteristic that allowed them to remain free of contact with, and exploitation by, the Spaniards.

Although later Spanish expeditions to the region undertook to develop contacts with the various Comcaac groups, it is apparent from the record that the Comcaac remained autonomous and were never formally conquered (Griffen 1959). It was not until they formed economic bonds out of necessity – probably the need to purchase gasoline for outboard motors used on their small wooden boats during the late 1950s – that they started down the path of social and economic integration into wider Mexican culture (Felger & Moser 1991, Weaver et al. 2003). Wandering groups of Comcaac routinely passed through the Kino area, using cave shelters in the vicinity though there is scant evidence of any permanent presence in the immediate area.

The first Mestizo settlers in the Bahia de Kino area arrived in the early 1920s to establish a small fishing camp near the site of the present day town. Fishing activity centered on the Totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) a species much sought after and reported as abundant around nearby Isla Alcatraz (Chute, 1928, Bahre 2000, Doode 1999).

In 1922, Yates Holmes, an American, secured a federal concession for almost 6,000 acres (24 km2) of land in Bahia de Kino and developed a hunting and fishing camp that became known as the Kino Bay Club. It operated through 1931(Bowen 2000). The Kino Bay Club marked the beginning of a long history of association between the Mexican residents of Bahia de Kino and visitors from the United States.

In 1935 the first fisher cooperative – La Sociedad Cooperativa de Produccíon Pesquera Lázaro Cárdenas – was formed with 25 members (probably comprising most of the adult male population on Bahia de Kino at the time).

The late 1930s saw the rapid development of the shark fishery that supplied shark liver oil to the U.S. for use in the production of vitamin A supplements (Doode 1999, Bahre & Bourillon 2002). By 1945 the population had grown considerably to about 500 inhabitants all of whom were involved primarily with fisheries (Weaver et al. 2003). The region in general was growing as well. The establishment of the local Distrito de Colonización Presidente Miguel Alemán between Hermosillo and Bahia de Kino coupled with the recent availability of subterranean water pumping technology allowed for large scale, regional agrarian development.

The mid-1940s marked the beginning the industrial shrimp fishery in the Gulf of California. Shrimp boats, usually displacing less than 100 tons, and operating primarily out of Guaymas, began trawling for shrimp in the waters of Bahia de Kino. These boats were generally crewed by fishers from Guaymas and, initially at least, had little interaction with fishers from the Kino area (Weaver et al. 2003).

Felger and Moser report that by 1952 Kino Bay “…was a fishing village with less than a hundred inhabitants, several bars, no school and no electricity.” (1985, p. 17).

In 1953, the road to Hermosillo was paved (Bowen 2000) allowing for increased sales of fisheries products and easier access to lucrative state and national markets. 245 hectares of federal land were set aside that year for the growth of the village while an additional 868 hectares was designated to be developed into lots for tourist infrastructure. It was hoped that this would generate employment opportunities outside the fishery for Kino residents in the construction and service sectors of the local economy (Wong 1999).

The 1960s witnessed the early development of the scallop (callo) fishery in the bay. The sand banks in the south of the bay were a primary source of callo with fishers free diving from their boats to harvest the abundant callo beds in the immediate area. Around 1974, the first air compressor diving rigs were developed (Cudney-Bueno 2000). The use of air compressors allowed fishers to operate at greater depths and for longer periods of time, increasing productivity per outing (Doode 1999).

The 1970s saw a dramatic increase in the population of Bahia de Kino during which the town grew from just a few hundred residents to several thousand. Most of the new residents were immigrants to the region, some from as far south as Michoacán, other from the deserts of Chihuahua and Coahuila. Most had little fishing or boating experience, the developing fishery offered steady employment at a time when many of Mexico's rural ejidos or cooperative farming and ranching communities were suffering economic setbacks and low productivity (Simon 1997). In 1975, the Mexican government placed a ban on totoaba fishing – the fishery had been decimated, primarily due to over-fishing at spawning grounds at the mouth of the Colorado River (Bahre & Bourillon 2002).

In the late 1970s a plan was proposed to build a marina and marine service center in the nearby Laguna Santa Cruz. A dock and ramp were constructed, a trailerpark developed and a channel dredged through the barrier bars across the mouth of the laguna. The project is said to have bankrupted itself. Remains of the dredge are still visible in the laguna. The dredged channel is still usable by vessels drawing less than 1.5 meters but local knowledge is essential for entry as there are no aids to navigation associated with the canal.

From the early 1980s through until the late 1990s the Bahia de Kino fishery increased both in intensity and extent. More fishers in more boats operating over an ever-increasing area kept regional production levels in positive growth. The national economic crisis during this period resulted in a new influx of immigrants to the area (Doode 1999).

Trapping for crab (Callinectes bellicosus) became an important addition to Kino fishing effort starting about 1990 (Weaver et al. 2003). It is unclear if Kineño fishers had utilized benthic trapping technology prior to the development of the crab fishery .

Several shrimp mariculture operations began operations around the Bahía de Kino area in the late 1990s and into the present. The local socioeconomic impact of these operations has not been studied. It is unknown if local fishers have interacted with these operations in any economically meaningful way.

In 2006, a plan for development of a marina in Kino Bay was approved by the state governor's office. The location was centered on the existing ramp facilities north of Kino Nuevo. Little development of this plan has occurred however. The ramps have been rebuilt several times after sustaining damage from hurricanes over the years.


Bahía de Kino has a desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh).

Climate data for Bahía de Kino, Sonora (1981–2010, extremes (1974-present)
Record high °C (°F)29.0
Average high °C (°F)19.5
Daily mean °C (°F)13.2
Average low °C (°F)6.9
Record low °C (°F)−1.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)12.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Source: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional [1] [2]


Summer sunset at Kino beach KinoSunset.JPG
Summer sunset at Kino beach

Bahia de Kino is home to between 6,000 and 8,000 permanent residents. The area is visited by both local and international tourists. There is a small, but active population of foreign residents, many of whom have built homes in town.

The town is administered as part of the municipality of Hermosillo. It is located on land that was part of the traditional territory of the Comcaac (Seri) people who now live to the north on their communal property.

Despite the town's location and economic importance, there are no harbor or port facilities (other than the Port Captain's office). All fishing activities are based off the beach to the southwest of town. Two public boat ramps are available; one South-east of town at Laguna La Cruz and a second 6 miles (9.7 km) north-west of town, called 'Playa Estela'. The historic ramp at the Islandia Marina camp in Kino Viejo has fallen into disrepair and is non-functional. There is open anchorage located to the south of Isla Alcatraz. The large Laguna La Cruz to the south east of town offers excellent anchoring and protection with access to town via a well maintained dirt road. An unmarked channel allows vessels drawing less than 2 meters easy access to this anchorage from the bay.

Local people differentiate between Kino Viejo ('Old Kino', the site of the original village and main commercial center today) and Kino Nuevo ('New Kino'). The latter refers to the homes, motels, RV parks, and restaurants that line the coast for several miles north-west of Kino Viejo.

Related Research Articles

Sonora State of Mexico

Sonora, officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of United Mexican States. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U.S.–Mexico border primarily with the state of Arizona with a small length with New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.

Gulf of California A gulf of the Pacific Ocean between the Baja peninsula and the Mexican mainland

The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.

Hermosillo City in Sonora, Mexico

Hermosillo, formerly called Pitic, is a city located centrally in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. It is the capital and largest city as well as the main economic center for the state and region. As of 2015, the city has a population of 812,229 inhabitants, making it the 16th largest city in Mexico. The recent city population spur is due to its recent strong industrialization, especially in the automotive industry.

Puerto Peñasco Town in Sonora, Mexico

Puerto Peñasco is a resort town located in Puerto Peñasco Municipality in the northwest of the Mexican state of Sonora, 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the border with the U.S. state of Arizona. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 62,177 inhabitants. It is located on the northern shores of the Sea of Cortez on the small strip of land that joins the Baja California Peninsula with the rest of Mexico. The area is part of the Altar Desert, one of the driest and hottest areas of the larger Sonoran Desert.

Eusebio Kino Italian Jesuit missionary

Eusebio Francisco Kino was a Jesuit, missionary, geographer, explorer, cartographer and astronomer born in the Territory of the Bishopric of Trent, then part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. For the last 24 years of his life he worked in the region then known as the Pimería Alta, modern-day Sonora in Mexico and southern Arizona in the United States. He explored the region and worked with the indigenous Native American population, including primarily the Tohono O'Odham, Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that the Baja California Peninsula is not an island by leading an overland expedition there. By the time of his death he had established 24 missions and visitas.

Guaymas city in Sonora, Mexico

Guaymas is a city in Guaymas Municipality, in the southwest part of the state of Sonora, in northwestern Mexico. The city is 134 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 389 kilometres (242 mi) from the U.S. border. The municipality is located on the Gulf of California and the western edge of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot, dry climate and 117 km of beaches. The municipality's formal name is Guaymas de Zaragoza and the city's formal name is the Heróica Ciudad de Guaymas.

Seri people ethnic group

The Seri are an indigenous group of the Mexican state of Sonora. The majority reside on the Seri communal property, in the towns of Punta Chueca and El Desemboque on the mainland coast of the Gulf of California. Tiburón Island (Tahejöc) and San Esteban Island were also part of their traditional territory. They were historically seminomadic hunter-gatherers who maintained an intimate relationship with both the sea and the land. They are one of the ethnic groups of Mexico that has most strongly maintained their language and culture throughout the years after contact with Spanish and Mexican cultures.

Tiburón Island island

Tiburón Island is the largest island in the Gulf of California and the largest island in Mexico, with an area of 1,201 square kilometres (464 sq mi). It was made a nature reserve in 1963 by President Adolfo López Mateos.

San Esteban Island island in Mexico

San Esteban Island is a small island in the Gulf of California, Mexico, located to the southwest of Tiburón Island. It is part of the Municipality of Hermosillo in Sonora, and has a land area of 39.773 km², the 15th-largest island in Mexico. It is located in the Gulf of California. It was once inhabited by a group of the Seri people.

Edward W. Moser (1924–1976) was an American linguist and expert in the Seri language and culture working with the Summer institute of Linguistics.

El Desemboque is a town located 376 km from Hermosillo on the shore of Gulf of California in the Mexican state of Sonora; coordinates N 29° 30' 13", W 112° 23' 43". It is part of the Municipality of Pitiquito, and is one of two major villages on the Seri Indian communal property, the other being Punta Chueca. The Spanish name refers to the fact that the Río San Ignacio meets the sea near that point. The Seri name is literally where the clams lie. It has been a good location to find the small clams Protothaca grata (haxöl). According to the Mexican census of 2010, the town had a population of 287 inhabitants. (The town of El Desemboque described in the prior text is not located in the Pitiquito municipality of Sonora. It is a Seri village about 120 km north of Punta Chueca north of Bahia Kino where the dry Rio Ignacio meets the Gulf of California. The El Desemboque in Pitiquito is west of Caborca at the mouth of Rio Concepcion and is a small village catering to weekenders from Caborca. The Seri may have lived at the El Desemboque west of present day Caborca in prehistoric times before Spanish arrived as well as the current Seri town north of Bahia Kino. Their oral history has them living as far north as present day Puerto Penasco which was also an O'Odham settlement as well as present-day Bahia Kino and Isla Tiburon .)

Pitiquito Place in Sonora, Mexico

Pitiquito is a small town in Pitiquito Municipality in the northwest of the Mexican state of Sonora.

Punta Chueca is a Seri town located on the Gulf of California in the Mexican state of Sonora. It is located 25 kilometers north of the fishing and tourist town of Bahía de Kino. Both of these towns are part of the Municipality of Hermosillo. One of the two villages on the Seri Indian communal property, it has small stores, a primary school and a small satellite-fed secondary school (telesecundaria). It is one of the closest points on the mainland to Tiburón Island, separated from it by the Canal del Infiernillo. According to the Mexican census of 2010, the town, had a population of 520 inhabitants.

<i>Fouquieria</i> genus of plants

Fouquieria is a genus of 11 species of desert plants, the sole genus in the family Fouquieriaceae. The genus includes the ocotillo and the boojum tree or cirio. They have semisucculent stems with thinner spikes projecting from them, with leaves on the bases spikes. They are unrelated to cacti and do not look much like them; their stems are proportionately thinner than cactus stems and their leaves are larger.

Sonora State Highway 100 is a highway in the center of the Mexican state of Sonora.

Hermosillo Municipality Municipality in Sonora, Mexico

Hermosillo is a municipality in Sonora in north-western Mexico. The municipal seat is the city of Hermosillo.

Yaqui Wars armed conflicts between indigenous peoples and white people in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, from 1821 Spain, between 1533 and 1929

The Yaqui Wars, were a series of armed conflicts between New Spain, and the later Mexican Republic, against the Yaqui Indians. The period began in 1533 and lasted until 1929. The Yaqui Wars, along with the Caste War against the Maya, were the last conflicts of the centuries long Mexican Indian Wars. Over the course of nearly 400 years, the Spanish and the Mexicans repeatedly launched military campaigns into Yaqui territory which resulted in several serious battles and massacres.

Mexican ironwood carvings

Mexican ironwood carving is a Mexican tradition of carving the wood of the Olneya tesota tree, a Sonora Desert tree commonly called ironwood.

Tiburón Island Tragedy

The Tiburón Island Tragedy occurred in 1905 when three members of a small American gold prospecting expedition went missing in the Sonoran Desert near Tiburón Island. At the time, Tiburon was inhabited by the Seri natives, who were widely believed to have been responsible for the fate of the expedition. There were also Yaqui renegades active in the area, and there were rumors about their involvement as well. However, the sole American survivor, Jack Hoffman, said that lack of water was most likely the cause. Of the five-man expedition, the leader, Thomas F. Grindell, and two of his associates disappeared while the other two men survived, including a Papago guide, who left the journey early on. A prolonged search for the missing men then commenced. Led by Edward P. Grindell, search parties uncovered several artifacts that had belonged to members of the expedition, as well as evidence of their fate, but no trace of the men themselves was found. It was not until over a year later that the remains of Thomas Grindell were discovered by another group of explorers. Evidence at the scene seemed to confirm that dehydration was the cause of death.

The following television stations broadcast on digital or analog channel 21 in Mexico:


Bahre, Conrad J. and Luis Bourillón. 2002. Human Impact in the Midriff Islands. In: A New Island Biogeography of the Sea of Cortés. Case, Ted J., Martin L. Cody & Exequiel Ezcurra (eds.). 2002. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bourillón, Luis. 1996. Actividad Humana en la region de las grandes Islas del Golfo de California, Mexico. Tesis de Maestría. Centro de Conservación a Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales. ITESM – Campus Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

Bowen, Thomas. 2000. Unknown Island: Seri Indians, Europeans, and San Esteban Island in the Gulf of California. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press

Case, Ted J., Martin L. Cody & Exequiel Ezcurra (eds.). 2002. A New Island Biogeography of the Sea of Cortés. New York: Oxford University Press.

Chute, G.R. 1928. The Totoava fishery in the Gulf of California. California Fish and Game Bulletin 14:275-281

COBI (Cominidad y Biodiversidad, A. C.) 2004. Memoria de la Reunión De Pescador a Pescador: Buscando mejorar la pesca a través de las reserves marinas. Bahía de Kino, Sonora 21-24 de Marzo de 2003. Guaymas, Son.: Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C.

Doode, M.S. 1999. La Pesca de Pequena Escala: Principales obstáculos para su regulación. El case de Bahía de Kino, Sonora. Programa Golfo de California. Presentado a Conservación International A. C. Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo A. C. Mexico

Felger, R. S. and M. B. Moser. 1991. People of the desert and sea. Ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona. 2nd edition.

Griffen, William. B. 1959. Notes on Seri Indian Culture, Sonora, Mexico. Latin American Monographs 10. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

McGee, W. J. Trails to Tiburón: The 1894 and 1895 Field Diaries of W J McGee, transcribed by Hazel McFeely Fontana, annotated and with an introduction by Bernard L. Fontana. 2000

Moreno Rivera, César & Amy Hudson Weaver, Luis Bourillón Moreno, Jorge Torre, Cosío, Janitzio Égido Villareal, Mario Rojo Amaya. 2005. Diagnóstico Ambiental y Socioeconómico de la Región Marina Costera de Bahía de Kino, Isla Tiburón, Sonora México: Documento de trabajo y discusión para promover un desarrollo sustentable. Guaymas, Sonora: Comunidad y Biodiversidad

Simon, Joel. 1997. Endangered Mexico. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

Weaver, Amy H., Janitzio Égido, Luis Bourillón Moreno, César Moreno Rivera and Jorge Torre Cosio. 2003. Estudio Previo Justicativo para Proponer Establecimiento de un Área Natural Protegida en Bahía de Kino, Sonora (Primera Edición). Guaymas, Sonora: Comunidad y Biodiversidad.

Wong, P. 1999. H. Propuesta Téchnica del Programa de Desarrollo Sustenable de Kino-Isla Tiburón. Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo A.C.

Ziebell, Martin. 2007. Ninety Years of Fishing: The Small-scale Fishing Fleet of Bahia de Kino, Sonora, Mexico. Prescott, Arizona: Prescott College Masters Thesis.

  1. "NORMALES CLIMATOLÓGICAS 1981-2010" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  2. "Extreme Temperatures and Precipitation for Bahía de Kino 1951-2010" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Retrieved April 28, 2017.

Coordinates: 28°59′N111°56′W / 28.983°N 111.933°W / 28.983; -111.933