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Coveted Crustaceans: Baja’s Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

Coveted Crustaceans: Baja’s Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

If I were asked to pick any one type of cuisine that is characteristic of coastal Mexico and Baja California, it would probably have to be some kind of preparation of fresh, tasty local seafood.

Baja's Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

The abalone is a large, univalve mollusk that has become a favorite of seafood gourmets around the globe.

The waters surrounding Baja are particularly rich with such oceanic treasures, many of which command high prices in the international marketplace.  One of these, the abalone, can only be found in a few places on the globe, and commercial operations in and around Isla Cedros on Baja’s central Pacific coast are responsible for covering a good portion of the worldwide demand for this popular univalve mollusk. Sea urchins and various species of small sea snail also constitute a solid percentage of the region’s annual seafood production for export. A typical Puerto Nuevo lobster dinner generally includes the main course, and all the rice, beans, tortillas and salsa you can eat.

Baja's Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

A typical Puerto Nuevo lobster dinner generally includes the main course, and all the rice, beans, tortillas and salsa you can eat.

But for many, it is the vision of a big, charcoal grilled spiny lobster split in half and served with plenty of melted butter, or perhaps a pile of large, succulent gulf shrimp prepared al mojo de ajo that really whets their appetite. Happily, Baja California is a premier producer of both of these highly coveted crustaceans.

Baja's Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

The Baja spiny lobster is a highly coveted crustacean.

The rugged and often rocky Pacific coast between the International Border and Bahia Magdalena offer a near perfect venue for the California spiny lobster.  A substantial number of residents of small coastal towns south of Ensenada are involved in the commercial lobster industry, which is the only way that lobster can legally be taken in Mexico, as opposed to southern California and Florida, U.S. states which allow the spiny lobster to be a seasonally available to sport anglers.

Baja's Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

The small seaside poblado of Puerto Nuevo on Baja Norte’s Pacific coast has become famous for offering countless visitors their first taste of Baja lobster.

For many decades, one of Baja’s most popular destinations for lobster lovers has been the small, seaside poblado known as Puerto Nuevo. Located only a few miles south of Rosarito Beach, it is readily available to tourists and day trippers from north of the border who are in search of a quick, yet exotic getaway. In the early 1950’s it was basically just another community of local fishermen, until a few local families began opening up their casas to hungry travelers with a hankering for their deliciously sweet local lobster. Ortega’s, one of the originals, is still around today along with a couple others who have all grown into popular restaurants that now intersperse the rows of small shops that festoon the narrow byways. Lobster is always available, but if you want a truly local product you must visit during lobster season, which starts at the beginning of October and extends until the end of February.
On the other side of the peninsula, the northern portion of the Sea of Cortez is a prime fishery for incredibly large shrimp that are renowned for their rich flavor and delicate tenderness. Despite heavy fishing pressure, the region remains one of the world’s most reliable resources for both blue and white shrimp of exceptional quality.
Baja's Shrimp and Lobster Seasons

San Felipe’s annual Shrimp Festival is an extremely popular event that draws attendees from both sides of the border.

San Felipe has always been a central location for shrimping operations, and their annual Shrimp Festival has always celebrated this fact. Held in early November, visitors arrive from far and wide to take part in the delightful debauchery of consuming as many shrimp and related preparations as possible under the warm desert sun of fall. Many of those who attend are also generally equipped with a large ice chest that will allow them to purchase several kilos of fresh shrimp to take home with them and enjoy later. But no matter where or when you decide to feast on a mouthwatering meal of fresh seafood taken from the waters of Baja, it is bound to leave you with a satisfied smile on your face.

Planning a visit during Baja’s shrimp and lobster seasons? Talk to a travel agent at! is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at

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About Tom Gatch

For over a decade, Hooked on Baja author, Tom Gatch, has built a solid reputation as one of the foremost writers and columnists focusing on travel and recreational activities in Baja and southern California. His company, El Puerto Creative Consultants provides professional copy writing services and creative support for business entities on both sides of the border.


  1. What date does the shrimp season start this year?

    • Carla White says:

      Well, lobster season is October through March. Shrimp season…I will check with Tom Gatch, but a good benchmark might be the San Felipe Shrimp Festival (on the Sea of Cortez) that takes place Nov. 2-4. This is when the famous blue shrimp of those warm waters are at volume….

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