Summer Splash!

Dive into Los Cabos’ hottest water-based activities

Los Cabos has been blessed with many natural wonders, from the magnificent rock formations at Land’s End to the abundant marine life in the Sea of Cortés. You likely won’t see any whales here during the summer (whale watching season stretches from December through March), but snorkelers and divers can expect to see large schools of manta rays and whale sharks, anglers can fight fish that double and sometimes triple them in weight, and parasailing aficionados can watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean from 600 feet above the southernmost point of the Baja Peninsula. In fact, very few places on the planet can match Los Cabos for the sheer diversity of its high-quality water sports and tour options. So as summer temperatures start to heat up, visitors to the area will want to keep cool by diving into the region’s best water-based activities.

For starters, no activity has been more important to the growth of the area as a resort destination than the spectacular big-game fishing (learn about upcoming tournaments on page 94). From the 1950s, when the region was a popular draw for vacationing Hollywood stars, fishing has been a huge lure. Your likelihood of hooking a particular type of fish can vary according to the time of year, but summertime anglers will have an opportunity to get their hooks into amberjack, black marlin, blue marlin, bonito, dorado, roosterfish, sailfish, striped marlin, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna, to name but a few.

There are a number of high-quality charter companies in the area, with ABY Charters ( being notable for both its fish-finding prowess and ownership structure. Each captain owns his own boat, ensuring maximum investment in the success of every charter. ABY has been around for more than 20 years, and boasts an impressive lineup of more than a dozen quality boats, from superpangas to larger vessels from some premier names like Bertram and Chris Craft. In addition to ABY, another excellent company boasting a large variety of vessels with which to harry the area’s teeming population of game fish is Silverados Sportfishing (, known for its knowledgeable and tournament-tested captains.

Other top Los Cabos charter companies include Mona Lisa ( and Fly Hooker Sportfishing ( Mona Lisa, like ABY and Silverados, has a fleet of quality fishing boats, with its newest entry being the Mona Lisa del Mar I, a 35-footer outfitted with everything from depth sounders to underwater video cameras. All the boats are manned by seasoned crews that include full-time, professional charter captains, and whether you’re taking the family out for a little fishing fun, or gearing up for the next major tournament, Mona Lisa is an excellent choice.

Best of all for seafood lovers, the charter company is affiliated with the restaurant Sunset da Mona Lisa, famed for its delicious dishes and breathtaking Land’s End views, and willing to cook up your catch any way you like it at no extra charge. Solomon’s Landing (, a long-time marina-front fixture known for their outstanding seafood menu, is another great option for anglers who wish to celebrate the day’s catch by having it for dinner, with preparation courtesy of their superb kitchen staff.

Fly Hooker, unlike many of the other top charter companies in the area, maintains a fleet of one. Owned and operated by Los Cabos Magazine’s very own fishing expert, Captain George Landrum, and his wife, Mary, the company is committed to maximum service with minimum complexity. The Landrums have more than 14 years of experience fishing the local waters aboard their 31-foot Bertram, and offer excellent, detail-oriented service and expert fish-finding for exclusive groups of up to six anglers.

In addition to the big-game fishing, Cabo San Lucas is also blessed with exceptionally good sailing winds outside the protected bay. For salty sailor types, those who want to learn to sail during their vacation, or visitors looking for an intimate and romantic introduction to the coastal wonders of the region, Cabo Sails ( is a great choice. The company operates several sailboats of varying sizes and are able to accommodate up to 20 guests for snorkel and sunset tours, as well as charters customized to the specific needs of guests.

Snorkeling enthusiasts will love the Three Bays Snorkeling & Kayaking Tour aboard Charter de Los Cabos’ ( luxury catamaran Fanta Sea. This five-hour day trip not only includes breakfast, lunch, and drinks but also great opportunities to enjoy the crystal-blue waters and teeming marine life of Chileno and Santa María bays, as well as snorkeling, kayaking, and sightseeing in Cabo San Lucas Bay. The Martini Lounge Sunset Tour aboard the Fanta Sea is a little more relaxed, with delicious appetizers, tropical cocktails, and romantic sunset views of local landmarks like Lover’s Beach and the arch at Land’s End. For sailing buffs, Charter de Los Cabos also maintains a gorgeous 57-foot Kelistal catamaran called Manta, which features a luxury cabin with a dining room and couches for those who want to kick back and enjoy the festive atmosphere during their scenic tours.

Lovers of luxury catamarans and multibay snorkel and kayak tours will also want to check out EcoCat (, a stunningly designed French-built yacht offering all the double-hulled stability and smooth sailing characteristic of large cats. The EcoCat features a large salon-style air-conditioned cabin where you can beat the summer heat as you enjoy one of its many tours, which include sunset and VIP dinner cruises, as well as combination snorkel-kayak-zodiac trips. Splash and paddle around beautiful locations like Pelican and Seal Rocks in Cabo San Lucas Bay or sign up for a two- or three-bay option; these include stops at Chileno and Santa María bays. One of the more interesting and energizing portions of the snorkel tours is when EcoCat’s zodiac boat, Eco Too, takes you away from the mother ship for high-speed up-close-and-personal looks at nearby beaches and points of interest.

Party boat and booze cruise aficionados will want to sign up for either Sunrider ( or Cabo Escape ( Both of these large and well-appointed motorized catamarans are famed for the seagoing merriment and revelry associated with their excursions. The 100-foot Sunrider specializes in snorkel lunch and sunset dinner cruises, both featuring up-tempo dance music and all-you-can-eat Mexican buffets. The snorkel trip includes stops at both Santa María and Chileno bays. Sunrider also recently added a smaller catamaran to the fleet that is perfect for more intimate friends-and-family charters.

Cabo Escape offers afternoon tours geared around activities such as snorkeling, wakeboarding, and inner tubing, but it is the sunset cruises for which the company is best known. Enjoy chips and salsa as well as salsa music on either the sunset booze cruise or fajita dinner cruise, both of which include spectacular views of Land’s End and unlimited cocktails from the open bar.

Catamaran enthusiasts will also be impressed with Pez Gato (, Tropicat (, and Cabo Mar ( Pez Gato hosts snorkel tours and hugely popular party cruises with drinking, dancing, and games. Tropicat, on the other hand, is known for its more relaxed jazz and wine sunset cruises. Cabo Mar features a fiesta-themed dinner cruise that includes dancing and an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet.

For those who appreciate nautical history and enjoy the sight of offshore winds filling the sails of an old wooden boat, Cabo Escape also offers tours aboard the Cabo Legend ( This 108-foot brig-style sailboat (also known as Vera Cruz) is a throwback to an earlier age and provides snorkel and sunset cruises steeped in local lore, with reggae and rum punch a few of the better concessions to the modern era. The boat is also a participant in the popular Battle of Cabo, a simulated engagement between Cabo Legend and the 1885 topsail schooner Sunderland (, and a reenactment of the piratical battles waged off Cape San Lucas during the height of the Manila Galleon Trade in the 1600s. Sunderland, at 127 years old, is one of the last of the legendary tall ships. It offers snorkeling tours from the only permanent mooring site in the bay as well as memorable sunset dinner cruises with Mexican food, cocktails from the oaken barrel bar, and superb sailing from her salty crew.

Scurvy dogs and grog aficionados will also want to check out the Buccaneer Queen ( and experience the allure of lost treasure combined with all the high-end amenities of boating pleasure. Each tour comes with spectacular views, a complimentary meal (continental breakfast, lunch, or dinner), an open bar, and all the swashbuckling and lubberly language one would expect from a pirate-themed adventure. The pirate show is great entertainment, the snorkeling in Chileno Bay is superb, and there are enough fun contests, sword fights, and treasure hunts to delight guests of all age groups. If you’re lucky, you won’t even have to walk the plank.

CaboRey ( is the king of Cabo’s dinner cruises, with six delicious entrée choices on tap aboard the spectacular 144-foot triple-decker catamaran, and dessert accompanied by an incredible Las Vegas-style floorshow highlighting the traditional music and folk dances of Latin America. CaboRey also offers afternoon snorkel tours to Chileno Bay, and if you’re not in the mood for dinner, try one of the Margarita Cocktail Cruises, which include live music and lovely sunset views of Lover’s Beach and the arch at Land’s End. More adventurous sorts will want to take advantage of their Sky King parasailing tours, with incredible views of Médano Beach and Land’s End from hundreds of feet in the air. Tandem rides are available and, by all means, bring a camera. The aerial views are a photographer’s dream.

Premier outdoor adventure purveyors like Cabo Expeditions ( and Cabo Adven- tures ( each feature a large selection of active undertakings. Cabo Expeditions’ offerings include day trips to the uninhabited Isla de Espíritu Santo off the coast of Baja’s capital city of La Paz, as well as seasonal swimming with whale sharks, Snuba (a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving), and Sea Trek (underwater helmet diving). Cabo Adventures, in addition to its land-based excursions like zip-lining and an outback camel safari, takes to the Sea of Cortés for scuba diving, and a Snorkel and Sea Adventure that combines snorkeling, kayaking, and an Apex boat ride. Cabo Dolphins (, which falls under the Cabo Adventures umbrella, provides unforgettable dolphin swims and encounters, as well as trainer for a day programs. The encounters are a great idea for smaller children, as they give kids an opportunity to get close with dolphins in specially designed shallow water areas.

The Beatles weren’t the only ones who wanted to sail on a yellow submarine. Countless tourists have sailed with Cabo Submarine ( aboard its 60-foot yellow semi-submersible submarine, and have been treated to an incredible introduction to the rich array of marine life in Cabo San Lucas Bay, all from the comfort of a climate-controlled underwater viewing cabin. This is one of the best family-friendly activities in the area, and the close-up views of colorful and often exotic fish are a delight for all ages. View Pelican Rock, the Sea Lion Colony, the Window to the Pacific, and other local sights from the top deck, and identify up to 70 species of fish with the viewing guides available in the underwater cabin.

Last, but certainly not least, there is a good reason stand-up paddle surfing is the world’s fastest-growing water sport. Not only does it provide an amazing workout but you can also explore the natural wonders of the area at your own pace. Check out the superyachts in the marina, all the bronzed gods and goddesses on Médano Beach, or paddle out to Lover’s Beach for an impromptu picnic lunch. Cabo SUP ( gives guided tours several times daily, but you are welcome to go it alone if you wish. Free lessons are included with all rentals (available for one hour, half-day, or full day-time periods), and you can leave your beach togs in one of their complimentary lockers while you explore the beautiful blue waters of Cabo San Lucas Bay, and the unique rock formations at Land’s End. What better way to surf into an endless summer, Cabo style?


Your guide to Los Cabos activities

Whatever your definition of fun—from laid-back sightseeing and city tours to adrenaline-filled outdoor adventures—Los Cabos has an activities company to meet your needs. Here are some of our favorites, listed by category.

Adventure Park

Canopy Costa Azul: Rappelling and zip-lining high above the ecological wonders of San José del Cabo. (624) 105-9311, Major credit cards and PayPal accepted. V $$–$$$

Wild Canyon: High-altitude glass-bottom gondola rides, zip-lining, bungee jumping, and off-road racing. Km 16.2 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-4433, All major credit cards accepted. V $$–$$$

Charters (also see “Cruises” and “Fishing”)

Cabo Sails: Private sailing charters customized to your specific needs. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Dock A, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 355-6386,  All major credit cards and PayPal accepted. V $$–$$$$


Buccaneer Queen: Find your sea legs with snorkel and sunset dinner cruises aboard the popular pirate ship. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Dock No. 5, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-4218, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $–$$

Cabo Escape: High-energy booze cruises, snorkel and sunset sails, and floating nightclub on select evenings. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Dock No. O-3, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0177, All major credit cards accepted. V $–$$$

 Cabo Legend: Savor the seagoing history of Cabo San Lucas with cruises on this classic wooden brig. Calle Vista Hermosa, Mza. 199, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0444, All major credit cards accepted. V $–$$$

Cabo Mar: Famed fiesta dinner cruises. Camino del Cerro 215, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3797, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $–$$

CaboRey: Live music, limitless margaritas, five-star dinners, and a Las Vegas-style floorshow. (624) 105-1976, MasterCard and Visa Accepted. V $$

Charter de Los Cabos: Luxury catamaran cruises that include snorkel and kayak trips and sunset martini lounge tours. Plaza Bonita Mall, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-4050, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $$–$$$$

EcoCat: Snorkel and sunset cruises aboard a sleek sailing catamaran. EcoBar & Grill, next to Baja Cantina, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 157-4685, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $–$$$$

La Princesa: Snorkeling, sunset, and private tours on fleet of catamarans. Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-7676, Credit cards and PayPal accepted. $–$$$$

Pez Gato: Snorkel and party cruises. Camino del Cerro 215, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3797, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $–$$

Sunderland: The 1885 topsail schooner offers pirate-themed snorkel and sunset tours on one of the last of the legendary tall ships. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0955, Mastercard and Visa accepted. V $$

Sunrider Tours: Delicious Mexican buffet, as well as snorkel lunch and sunset dinner tours. Boulevard Marina, Gali Plaza 58, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-2252, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $$–$$$$

Tropicat: Relaxing jazz and wine cruises. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Dock 4, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3797, AmEx, Master Card, and Visa accepted. V $–$$


ABY Charters: Full-service fishing charters for marlin, wahoo, dorado, and more. (624) 143-0831, MasterCard and Visa. V $$$$

Fly Hooker Sportfishing: Find the fish with Los Cabos Magazine fishing expert, Captain George Landrum, and his wife, Mary. (624) 147-5614, Paypal. V $$$$

Mona Lisa Charters: World-class sportfishing from tournament-tested captains. Km 6 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8077, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$–$$$$

Silverados Sportfishing: Experienced captains, huge inventory of quality charter boats. (624) 144-4903, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$$$


Cabo Karting Center: Burn up the road course at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Km 4 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-7073, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $


Cabo Real: Magnificent ocean and desert views on a course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Km 19.5 on the Tourist Corridor, San José del Cabo, (800) 543-2044, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$$$

Cabo San Lucas Country Club: Challenging Dye-designed course with a breathtaking Land’s End backdrop. Km 3.7 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-4654, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$–$$$

Club Campestre: Dramatic vistas, undulating greens, and frequent elevation changes are signature elements of this stunning Nicklaus-designed course. Km 119 Libramiento Aeropuerto, San José del Cabo, (800) 543-2044, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$$$

Puerto Los Cabos: Front nine by the Shark, back nine by the Golden Bear. Paseo de los Pescadores, San José del Cabo, (800) 543-2044, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$$

Hang Gliding

Cabo Sky Tours: Incredible aerial views of Land’s End, Médano Beach, and Pedregal. Camino Viejo a San José, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-1294, Bring cash. V $$–$$$$

 Horseback Riding

Camino Aventura: Sightsee San José del Cabo from the saddle of beautiful horses. Km 19 on Carretera Federal, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-8413, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $–$$

 La Sanluqueña: Horseback riding and carriage tours along Medano. Km 1.1 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-8144, Bring cash. V $

 Off-road Adventures

Baja Buggys: Explore both beach and desert terrain in buggies built for two. Miguel Hidalgo 2706, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-9331, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa. V $$–$$$

Baja Ride: Motorcycle rentals and custom off-road tours. Downtown San José del Cabo, (624) 146-9840, Bring Cash. V $$–$$$$

Camino Aventura: Tackle Migriño Beach and surroundings on monster Can-Am ATVs. Km 19 on Carretera Federal Cabo Sa Lucas, (624) 105-8413, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $–$$

Wide Open Excursions: High-octane, off-road races and guided tours in custom Baja 1000 racecars. Paseo de la Gaviota, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0500, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $$$$

Water Adventures

Cabo Adventures: Zip-lines, camel safaris, scuba diving, and more. Boulevard Paseo de la Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 173-9500, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$–$$$

Cabo Dolphins: Dolphin swims, and trainer for a day programs. Boulevard Paseo de la Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 173-9500, AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. V $$–$$$$

Cabo Expeditions: Eco-conscious adventure company with land and water tours. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas Marina, (624) 143-2700, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $–$$$

Cabo Submarine: Family-friendly submarine tours with climate-controlled underwater views. Boulevard Marina, Plaza de la Danza, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-8718, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $

Cabo SUP: Standup paddle surfing rentals, lessons, and tours. Bahia Hotel Beach Club, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 183-3623, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $–$$


Los Cabos Winery: Wine tastings, tours, tapas, and live music. Calle Francisco Villa 2518, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-8088, MasterCard and Visa accepted. V $–$$$$

A Shore Thing

We take a guided tour of Los Cabos’ best beaches

The Baja Peninsula is lined with some of the world’s most stunning beaches, and its waters are dotted with spectacular, playa-rich islands. The options are so abundant, in fact, that it often proves difficult to select which one you want to visit. With that in mind, Los Cabos Magazine turned to some of our favorite local guides for, well, guidance. Here they help us break down what makes each of the listed beaches special. For more information on Los Cabos beaches, go to

Bahía Santa María

Located just off the Tourist Corridor that connects Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo, the horseshoe-shaped bay earns high marks for its versatility. Veteran guide and naturalist Beto H. Romero, who works for the popular activities company Cabo Expeditions (, explains why he considers Santa María Los Cabos’ best shoreline: “You can enjoy long stretches of time there, either on the beach, snorkeling, or swimming.” Snorkel gear is a must; on a good day, you may be able to spot colorful fish, rays, even turtles. The ­beach can be a little tough to find. Access it by car via a dirt road off the Tourist Corridor (look for the sign around km 12) or with a tour company like Cabo Expeditions, Cabo Adventures (, or Pez Gato (, which offer fun snorkeling cruises.

Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach)/Playa del Divorcio (Divorce Beach)

 We don’t need a guide’s explanation to understand why these sister beaches are must-visits for the tourists who daily arrive to Los Cabos. You can view the iconic arch-shaped rock formations at Land’s End from Médano Beach, but we suggest a closer look. Grab a water taxi from Médano or the Cabo San Lucas Marina for around $15 U.S., rent a kayak and paddle over, jump on a rented wave runner, or buy tickets for one of the city’s many cruises. Cabo Mar (, Tropicat (, Cabo Escape (, and EcoCat ( are just some of the companies offering tours past the arch. Make sure to bring your camera.; crew members are always happy to snap pics of you and your family in front of the arch and other sights. For more, including children-friendly options, turn to “Summer Splash!” on page 72. Lover’s Beach faces the Sea of Cortés, with waters that are rich with sea life and ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Walk from the Sea of Cortés side to Divorce Beach, which faces the misnomered Pacific Ocean.  This beach offers many breathtaking vistas but resist the urge to swim here; it’s simply too dangerous.

Playa El Tule

Local surfers and running enthusiasts flock to Playa El Tule, a rather secluded beach that faces the Sea of Cortés and boasts fun if challenging surfing conditions thanks to a strong break that goes both ways with speed. Jonatan Chávez Aparicio, who crews for Pez Gato, eschews the Cabo San Lucas Marina running scene in favor of the serenity found at Tule. Turn off the Tourist Corridor at Puente Los Tules, a bridge located at km 16.2.

Playa Chileno

It’s hard to improve on perfection, but that’s just what the government has done with Playa Chileno. The beach, which is located along the Tourist Corridor and a favorite of activities companies, is known as a must-visit for snorkelers, kayakers, and spearfishing enthusiasts. An impressive reef protects visitors from waves while also providing a home and giving life to the colorful creatures that inhabit its waters. Recent improvements include new signage, the installation of palapas for shade, bathrooms with showers, and a wooden walkway. Jesús Ramón Hernández Morales, who leads kayaking tours here for Cabo Expeditions, has yet another reason to love Chileno: “It’s the cleanest beach in México.” To visit Chileno, look for signs around the km 14 marker on the Tourist Corridor. Follow the access road to a guarded parking lot.

 Playa Las Viudas (Widows Beach)

Volcanic rock formations, tidal pools, and photogenic shorelines make Playa Las Viudas, also known as Widows Beach, an attractive daytime destination (even if strong waves require you swim cautiously if at all). But come nightfall, the beach transforms into one of Los Cabos’ most romantic rendezvous, according to Cabo Expeditions’ Romero. “This is the beach for a special night.” He continues, “Go for a romantic view of a full moon, with the sounds of waves crashing on the beach. Or you can have a nice daytime picnic.”

 Playa El Médano

If Playa Las Viudas was made for romance—and we insist it was—then Médano, a two-mile stretch of sand in downtown Cabo San Lucas, was custom-built for fun. The bustling beach is home to some of the city’s best restaurants, safe swimming, fun water rentals, and sometimes silly, sometimes sexy, sometimes ridiculous contests. Bryan Nyiko Vasconcelos, who has worked as an emcee for Cabo Escape ( and Temptation, enthuses: “I know most people say they like a nice quiet beach, but I love Médano Beach. I love the fact that I can walk and find different places to eat, I love the music, and I love how every hotel is different from the next. Running into friends is my favorite part: just relaxing, watching yachts, and the sunset. It doesn’t get better than that.” Médano is accessible by foot from the Cabo San Lucas Marina, by water taxi, or by car (parking is available).

Espíritu Santo

While Espíritu Santo is most definitely not located in Los Cabos (you must visit the La Paz island with an activities company like Cabo Expeditions), it’s nevertheless worth noting for its spectacular sand, turquoise waters, excellent snorkeling, and flirty sea lion population.

Cerritos Beach

Journey 40 minutes north of downtown Cabo San Lucas toward Todos Santos on Highway 19 in order to reach Cerritos, a favorite destination for families and surf-savvy coeds. Pez Gato crew member Alejandro Lorenzo Clemente prefers Cerritos for its primo surfing conditions (lots of waves), but there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. Rent kayak or snorkeling equipment to better explore the Pacific Ocean-side beach. (The waters are calm enough for even small children to swim safely.) You can also rent ATV or explore by horseback. Exit Highway 19 at km 65.

 Playa La Curva

If you have never heard of Playa La Curva (also known as Playa Km 94), Cabo Expeditions’ Hernández Morales says you’re missing out. The out-of-the-way beach on the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula is secluded but pretty enough to warrant the search, especially during whale watching season. In-the-know surfers often make the drive over, too, as do locals who come for the stunning sunset views. Exit Highway 19 near the km 94 marker and follow the dirt road approximately 0.7 miles toward the water.

For more information on Los Cabos’ best water activities, turn to “Summer Splash!” on page 72.


Golf pros handicap Los Cabos’ best courses

Los Cabos has earned its standing as a premier golf destination; two of its courses are ranked among the world’s top 100, and the most-sought-after names in golf have designed championship-level layouts. Los Cabos Magazine recently sat down with three top golf professionals to learn what makes the best area courses so special and why the region is such an attractive draw, not only for so many top-flight designers but also for legions of golfers of all skill levels.

 “The courses in Los Cabos are unique because of the region,” says Eric Grindereng, director of golf at the Cabo San Lucas Country Club ( “I can’t think of another place in the world where the desert literally descends down into the ocean.”

 The incredible natural beauty of Los Cabos—and its unusual intersection of ocean and desert—certainly adds to the allure of its most prestigious loops. “Our course is literally carved from its surrounding terrain,” Grindereng says. “The Bermuda grass fairways and greens are beautifully juxtaposed against the rugged collections of palo blanco trees (a type of mimosa) and colorful bougainvillea, with breathtaking vistas of the Sea of Cortés and Land’s End.”

 In addition to its tremendous natural advantages and panoramic views, the 7,220-yard Roy Dye–designed course provides plenty of challenges for golfers of all abilities. “From the back tees, low handicappers will be forced to hit many middle and long irons into some very small, undulated, and well guarded greens,” Grindereng says. “Those choosing to play from the middle or forward tees will also be challenged with more than 80 bunkers sprinkled throughout the course and water coming into play on 10 holes.”

 Scenic and spectacular, the course offers many memorable holes, including the demanding fifth, which was rated the most challenging hole on the course, and the par-five seventh, which at 600-plus yards will definitely test your fairway woods. But of all the great holes at the Cabo San Lucas Country Club, there is one that stands out for Grindereng: the par-five 13th hole, which measures 539 yards from the tips. “It plays downhill with a dogleg to the right and has a beautiful vista of the Sea of Cortés as its backdrop. There is a three-tiered lake with two gently cascading waterfalls that comes into play all down the right side of the hole up past the green. For the discerning player, this is a very high-risk-versus-reward hole. For the rest of us, it’s a perfect Kodak moment.”

 Sergio Castillo, PGA director of golf at Puerto Los Cabos (, knows a thing or two about what makes a golf course truly special; he previously served as first assistant at Pebble Beach. “In Los Cabos, we have beauty—ocean, desert, and mountains—but more importantly, we have the best weather in the entire world.”

 Puerto Los Cabos undoubtedly qualifies as unique. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the layout is that each of its nines were designed by major championship winners and legends Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus. Norman’s front-nine Mission Course follows the contours of the rugged and mountainous desert landscape, while Nicklaus’ back-nine Ocean Course offers magnificent Sea of Cortés views, as well as the longest par-four in Los Cabos: the 498-yard 16th hole. Puerto Los Cabos is the only collaboration between Norman and Nicklaus anywhere in the world.

 “The signature hole on the Mission Course is the sixth hole,” Castillo says. “The par-three has a view unlike anywhere in Los Cabos: You can see eight miles of beach. The shot from this hole requires the golfer to navigate a 105-foot elevation drop to a two-tiered green. The most fun shot in Los Cabos, the signature hole on the Ocean Course, is the beautiful 15th hole. It is an oceanfront par-three hole that runs along the powder-white, isolated beach. You can just about reach out and touch the whales that are seen just yards offshore.”

 The rare meeting of ocean, desert, and mountains provides Los Cabos’ courses with an unbeatable backdrop, including incredible sea and sand views, but it also guarantees plenty of special moments—like when you see a whale breach just as you’re about to putt—that almost transcend the game of golf. Fernando Ortiz, head golf professional at Club Campestre ( in San José del Cabo, has been playing golf for 49 of his 51 years (his father built one of México’s first courses), and agrees that capitalizing on a course’s unique location, terrain, and natural contours is essential to creating a first-rate layout.

 “We know,” he says, “that every golf course must have its own character, and that this is the most beautiful thing about the game.”

 At Club Campestre, Ortiz notes, accurate drives are not a necessity because of the wide-open fairways. But the challenging part of the layout is the undulating greens, which invariably punish those with short-game problems. “The difficult part of the course is definitely the greens, both for low and high handicappers. If the golfer doesn’t stick it in the right spot on his approach, it can be three putts for sure.”

In addition to Puerto Los Cabos and Club Campestre, Questro Golf Group also manages the excellent Cabo Real ( course. Twice chosen to host PGA Senior Grand Slam events, this gorgeous 7,037-yard Robert Trent Jones II–designed course opened in 1994 and boasts a beautiful collection of vivid greens and blues, from cardón cacti and swaying palms to the dazzling blue hues of the Sea of Cortés.

Tournaments of Champions

A preview of this summer’s hottest contests; plus, a look ahead to fall

 Summer is upon us, and it’s once again time to ready the battle gear, set the boat in order, and practice for the big fight. It’s fishing time. While there are large fish in Los Cabos all year—evidence: a 630-pound blue marlin was caught in January and a 575-pounder this February—most of our extra-large fish come and pay us a visit during the hotter summer.

The warmer waters bring skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, and dorado (aka mahimahi), which are all prey for the larger members of the billfish family. Throw in the occasional 200-pound-plus yellowfin, and you will find that warm summer water makes for ideal fishing tournament conditions.

These warm waters and supersized fish are the reasons the world’s best-known marlin tournament, the Bisbee Black and Blue, is held here each October. It also has one of the planet’s highest payouts; in 2006, a boat won almost $4 million U.S. You shouldn’t be surprised to learn, then, that it has one of the highest entry fees, too. For about $5,000 U.S.—and who doesn’t carry around that much spare change?—you can grab a chance for yourself and a few buddies to get into the action. If you want a crack at the really big money, you will have to pony up a whopping $63,100 U.S. That makes you eligible for all of the jackpots, and that is where the big money is. I don’t have that kind of money and neither do most of my friends. I’m happy to report, though, that there are tournaments the average Joe can join and enjoy.

The annual Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot tournament in November requires a $800 U.S. entry fee for a team of up to four anglers, and last year there were three caught fish that weighed in at more than 200 pounds. If you decide to go for the big money and enter all the jackpots, it will cost you $35,800 U.S.

Still interested but don’t want to max out the credit cards or spend the kids’ college money? There are a number of smaller tournaments that allow you to experience the thrill of competition without necessitating a second mortgage. The Mexican government, for example, sponsors many small tournaments primarily aimed at anglers on small boats. In the spring, there’s a sierra mackerel tournament, in the summer a dorado contest, and in the fall a tuna tournament. These tournaments normally cost less than $100 U.S. to enter, and there can be up to 25 boats competing. In the East Cape alone, Van Wormer Resorts has scheduled some 18 fishing tournaments for the year. Ask around the local tackle shops and at the docks to find out whether one of these is happening during your visit to Los Cabos.

The following is a list of summer contests and a sampling of this fall’s fishing tournaments.

• East Cape Dorado Shootout

Tournament: July 19–22

Fishing: July 21

The least expensive of the tournaments—just $400 U.S. for a team of four anglers—is also held the farthest away from Los Cabos. It is sponsored by the Van Wormer Resort Group and hosted at the Hotel Palmas De Cortez on the East Cape. This tournament is one day only. Lines are allowed in the water beginning at 7 a.m.; the scales close at 4 p.m. For more information, e-mail You can direct questions about the tournament

• Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament

Tournament: July 24–28

Fishing: July 25–27

Winning the 13th annual BECOT qualifies a team for the 2013 IGFA Offshore Championship. Basic entry for a team is $1,200 U.S. More than 70 teams are expected to enter the contest, which is held at the Buena Vista Beach Resort. For more information, go to

• Los Cabos Billfish Tournament

Tournament: Oct. 11–15

Fishing: Oct. 12–14

Teams of up to six can enter the 13th annual tournament, also a qualifier for the 2013 IGFA Offshore Championship, for a base entry fee of $5,000 U.S. Headquarters is the Playa Grande Resort. The Bonnier Corporation (Sportfishing and Marlin magazines) and the Mexican government sponsor the event. For more information, go to

• Los Cabos Offshore Tournament

Tournament: Oct. 16–20

Fishing: Oct. 17–19

Affectionately known as the “Little Bisbee,” this 13-year-old tourney is a warm-up for many boats fishing the big-money Bisbee Black and Blue Tournament. It’s $1,200 U.S. per team for this 2013 IGFA Offshore Champion qualifier. Size matters here; only big fish are weighed. You can view weigh-ins in front of the Puerto Paraiso. For more information, go to

• Bisbee Black and Blue Marlin Tournament

Tournament: Oct. 23–27

Fishing: Oct. 24–26

This qualifier for the IGFA Offshore Championship will set a team back $63,100 U.S. plus the cost of a boat. To win big bucks, you must spend big bucks. The base entry fee is $5,000 U.S. There are multiple daily jackpots of up to $10,000. Blue and black marlin must be 300 pounds to even be weighed, which takes place in front of Puerto Paraiso. For more information, go to

Note: Dates and other tournament details may change following the publication of this issue. Please contact tournaments directly to confirm information.