There’s a softer, gentler side of Los Cabos guaranteed to entertain the whole family
By Ashley Alvarado
Los Cabos may very well be one of the sexiest travel destinations in all of North America. It’s a spring break favorite, thanks to an unbeatable roster of nightclubs, sports bars, and oceanfront hotspots. And, really, this is a great place to be a grown-up any time of year, with world-class spas, golf courses, and restaurants that seem to just get better and better. But even with so much attention directed toward the 18-and-older set, Los Cabos has managed to develop some major kid appeal.
Set up camp at a spot like Tesoro Los Cabos (www.tesororesorts.com) on the Cabo San Lucas Marina. The decidedly family-friendly spot includes amenities like extra beds and complimentary cribs. There’s even babysitting available for an extra charge. The marina location makes Tesoro an ideal jumping-off point for kid-tested, kid-approved adventures like a day of snorkeling.
Several Los Cabos activities companies offer daily snorkeling outings. Children of all ages are invited to head out with Pez Gato (www.pezgato.com) on its snorkel sail to Santa María Bay. The tour includes all snorkel gear, drinks, and lunch; kids 5–11 are half off, and those younger than that are free. The EcoCat (www.caboecotours.com) catamaran offers à la carte adventures for guests on its Snorkel-Kayak-Swim-Whale Watch midday sail. Of course, whale watching is limited to December through April, but the location’s gorgeous weather allows for year-round sunshine and fun in the water.
The 96-foot Buccaneer Queen (www.buccaneerloscabos.com) is an exact replica of an ancient galleon like those believed to have patrolled the waters around Cabo San Lucas. There’s no bad time to board the pirate-themed ship—it has a snorkel tour, too—but we’re particularly fond of the sunset cruise. In addition to dinner and an open bar, guests are treated to a Disneyland-worthy pirate show, lots of laughs, and some rather incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Cabo San Lucas Bay.
There’s something magical about getting kids out on the open sea, and Cabo Sailing (www.cabosailing.com) offers not only open-to-the-public tours but also private charters. Impress the wee ones with your newly acquired sailing chops when you sign up for the Discover Sailing Program, which was designed to give guests a fun experience while teaching them to handle a sailing boat.
Celebrating a big occasion with the family in tow? Charter one of Cabo Sails’ (www.cabosails.com) several sailboats, which range in size from 28 feet to 44 feet. The excellent Cabo Sails team takes extra steps to ensure children’s safety. There is lifeline netting all around the sailboats’ decks, as well as personal flotation devices (formerly known as life jackets) for adults and little ones.
Taking a bigger group? Consider booking a family dinner party aboard the impressive Sun Rider (www.sunridertours.com). The Mexican-style buffet and endless drinks will keep the entire party happy, but if you’re feeling fancy, pay an additional $10 U.S. to upgrade to the lobster entrée. Work off any extra energy by hitting the dance floor before the catamaran returns to the Cabo San Lucas Marina.
Cabo Expeditions (www.caboexpeditions.com.mx) is known for its commitment not only to customer service but also to protecting the Sea of Cortés it showcases through a variety of tours. Kids 8 and older will impress their classmates back home when recounting tales of how they got to swim with whale sharks off the coast of La Paz (this tour is available October through February) or sea lions at the Los Islotes rookery. Plus Cabo Expeditions recently took over the management of Cabo Submarine and has relaunched it with special surprises for young adventurers.
Whether you’re 5, 10, or 30, there’s something extra exciting about the idea of swimming with dolphins. At Dolphin Discovery (www.dolphindiscovery.com) in San José del Cabo, children as young as 1-year old can interact with the smart and playful creatures. The Dolphin Swim and Ride is a tremendous treat, complete with a boogie push and belly ride for participants 8 and older.
While Los Cabos is known for its water-based activities, there’s also plenty you can treat your little ones to while on dry land. Wild Canyon (www.wildcanyon.com.mx) is quite possibly the biggest and most impressive of the region’s adventure parks. Here, families can soar across wide, deep canyons suspended on the park’s zip lines. The high-adrenaline tours take place three times a day; they’re packed with fun but best reserved for healthy kids 8 and up.
The park’s offerings also include camel rides—yes, there are camels in México—that will be all your kids can talk about for days or weeks to come. The tour was designed with children in mind. Four of the park’s eight camels were specially trained to be ridden by kids, so you can rest assured the whole family will love this. And, in fact, wee ones as little as 4 years old are invited to participate.
Animal lovers will want to stick around and check out Wild Canyon’s Kingdom, where guests have the chance to feed, pet, and play with a diverse group of creatures that have been rescued and cared for by the Wild Canyon team. The “Stars,” as they’re called, include several parrots, macaws, iguanas, and even a couple crocodiles and an alligator. The activity is fit for all ages, but we wouldn’t recommend anybody try snuggling up to the alligator and crocodiles.
Perhaps some of the most common concerns we hear from parents considering a trip to Los Cabos have to do with restaurants. Some fear that there’s no place they and the kids will both enjoy; still others worry about whether it’s appropriate or acceptable to have little ones at some of Los Cabos’ most popular spots.
Mango Deck (www.mangodeck.com) is often considered the epicenter of Cabo San Lucas’s spring break scene, but it’s also a wonderful place to enjoy a meal with the family…just maybe not at certain times of the day. We recommend coming bright and early for breakfast on the beach. The kids will love running around on Médano Beach, and you’ll enjoy that cuppa joe with a view of Land’s End and the Cabo San Lucas Bay’s beautiful, calm waters.
Mi Casa (www.micasarestaurant.com.mx) in downtown Cabo San Lucas prides itself on its family-friendly atmosphere. Pop in midday for a casual lunch. There are high chairs and a changing table in the ladies room, the latter a luxury that’s missing from many restaurants—in México, the United States, and seemingly everywhere. The entertainment kicks into high gear come dinnertime. There’s live music, balloon art, and even fortune-telling canaries. And, as if that weren’t enough, Mom and Dad will love the margaritas.
Revisit the pirate theme while at Jack’s Bar & Grill (www.marinagoldenzone.com), a wonderfully outrageous restaurant on the Cabo San Lucas Marina. Here, you’re treated like a prince—or, perhaps, a captain—with fare so fine and authentic-looking nautical decor so awesome you’ll be singing “It’s a pirate’s life for me.”
And, after all this fun, your kids will be asking how long till the next trip down to kid-friendly Cabo.
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