The Mexicans are not the only source of electronic charts for the Sea of Cortez... Many companies will sell you raster or vector electronic charts.
With that said, in some places, depending on how far you go up the Sea, the charts will be inaccurate, sometimes up to a 1/4 mile off. This is because some of the Sea of Cortez has not been surveyed in over 100 years.
Find your electronic charts in the US. Once you are in La Paz
, ask the local cruisers were to purchase
the Sea of Cortez Paper Charts published by the Mexican Navy
. They recently did some surveys or parts
of the Sea and they seem to be more accurate than any other paper charts.
I didn't use raster charts, I used a Navionics
Gold Chip in my Raymarine
CHart Plotter, which was fairly accurate thought the Sea. When it wasn't, I would overlay my radar
on the chart and determine the correction. I also didn't carry paper charts up there and found I didn't need them. I made it all the way to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) on my electronic charts. They were also very accurate on the west coast
of the Baja.
I would also highly recommend Shaun Breeding and Heather Bransmer's Guide to the Sea of Cortez
and Guide to Pacific Mexico
. These are the BEST
for Pacific Mexico and will give you all the information you need, including chartlets, GPS
waypoints and local knowledge.
On a side note... I spent 19 months in Mexico before heading south, through the Panama Canal
, back to Mexico and eventually Florida
. I covered about 9500 NM from San Francisco
and if I had to do it over again, knowing what I know now... I would never have left Pacific Mexico. It is some of the most beautiful cruising grounds we saw and much cheaper than anywhere else!!!
Good luck and have a great time