'La Bufadora' (The Snorter): A Sea Geyser in Mexico

This natural attraction forms when a water jet is expelled several meters high coming from a mountain's base located near the ocean. It is a magnificent display that also produces a strange sound which some say is similar to a marine animal's calling. The phenomenon occurs almost continuously (up to several times a minute, since it is caused by the waves). 'La Bufadora' is located in the state of Baja California Norte, near Ensenada on the Punta Banda peninsula. It is near the town of Maneadero, and a panoramic road can get you there.


Although usually considered a geyser, it isn't really one, because there's no increase in water or rock temperature or any steam involved. The phenomenon happens because there is a crack in the contour of the mountain, which has internal semi-submerged caves, and when a wave hits hard enough, it blocks the exit of air stored there. The pressure of the water that is trying to go up, compresses the air inside. When the pressure cedes, the air regains its original volume and, depending on how much force is exerted to take the water out, will be the ejection and elevation of the water. The water release can range from strong breezes to elevations of nearly 20 meters high.

The Legend

The myth that is believed to explain the activity of 'La Bufadora' is that long ago, during the annual winter whale's migration, a baby whale left the group to explore the rocks nearby. It became trapped between the current and the mountains, so it began to wail calling the rest for help. Desperate when she saw none of them were coming, it began shooting water jets through its spiracle (breathing hole) to draw attention; because of its location, the group could not help. As time passed, the whale merged with the rocks of the mountain...


If you wish to visit 'The Bufadora', it’s highly recommended to carry an umbrella, since you can get wet if you get very close without one. It is also important to know that in the site's surroundings, there are small stores offering many products such as handicrafts (some made of sea materials), t-shirts, tables, figures and more, so it is important to be prepared, as there are many beautiful and varied things to buy as souvenirs. The food is also diverse, ranging from the typical beach coconuts, shellfish and fish, to delicious churros (fritters). Occasionally there are street-artists from mimes and actors, to singers and painters in the area. Another thing: since it is a rocky area and with a heavy swell, swimming is not allowed on the vicinity of the place, however, there is a cove where you can go diving.

Near 'The Bufadora' lies the archaeological site of "El Vallecito"(The little valley), which has rock paintings... You don’t want to miss any of these unique tourist attractions!

Article produced by the Editorial Team of "Explorando Mexico".
Copyright Explorando México, All rights reserved.
Photo: Lyn Gateley