15 things every Los Cabos visitor should try
By Chris Sands
Surrounded by desert and mountains and located at the juncture of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés, Los Cabos is uniquely positioned to offer endless adventures and several once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Here are 15 that should be on every visitor’s bucket list:
Soar Over Los Cabos
Think Land’s End looks majestic from a party boat? Try seeing the area’s signature landmarks from 1,000 feet in the air. Motorized ultralight tours with Cabo Sky Tours (624-144-1294) pilot Ernesto Magaña range from eye-opening 10-minute flights over Land’s End, to hour-long introductions to the aerial wonders of Los Cabos.
Catch a Marlin
Cabo San Lucas’s reputation as a resort destination was built on biggame sportfishing, and the city still plays host to the world’s richest annual fishing tournament, Bisbee’s Black & Blue. For the ultimate Cabo fishing experience, try to land your own black, blue, or striped marlin with top local charter fleets like Silverados Sport Fishing (www.silveradosportfishing.com) and Picante Bluewater (www.picantesportfishing.com).
Kayak Isla Espíritu Santo
Some of the most incredible kayaking in the world is found just off the coast of Baja California Sur’s capital city, La Paz, around the uninhabited Isla Espíritu Santo archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Experience the incredible natural beauty of the Sea of Cortés, in a peaceful setting surrounded by abundant marine life. Tours are available through Cabo Expeditions (www.caboexpeditions.com.mx).
Experience Spring Break—at Any Age
You don’t have to come in March—or even be of college age—to enjoy this experience. All you have to do is party all day on the beach, and all night on the town. Mango Deck (www.mangodeck.com) on Médano Beach is a mandatory stop, offering spring break-style pleasures that range from bawdy contests to abundant tequila shooters from a Pancho Villa look-alike named Big Johnson.
Swim with Dolphins
Not only is swimming with dolphins one of the most commonly listed items on traditional bucket lists, it’s also a favorite of visiting families in Los Cabos. Adults and children alike are consistently enthralled by encounters with these playful and intelligent creatures. There are two local dolphinariums: one in each of the cape cities.
Go Off-Road Racing, Baja Style
Competitors in the legendarily ruggedBaja 1000 race once included movie stars like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Nowadays, anyone can experience the region’s shock-busting desert conditions through tours and arrive-and-drive programs with Wide Open (www.wideopenbaja.com), the Baja Peninsula’s foremost off-road activities specialist.
Play a World-Class Golf Course
Los Cabos has more than a dozen world-class golf courses, with more on the way. That means there are plenty of options for visiting players, including stunning layouts from major champions like Jack Nicklaus—who spearheaded the local golf boom, and has designed six area courses—Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Davis Love III, and Tom Weiskopf. Learn more at www.loscabosguide.com.
Help Save Endangered Sea Turtles
Los Cabos is a breeding ground for several species of endangered sea turtles, most notably the olive ridley, which nest each year from July to October. Hatchlings are most vulnerable to predators during their perilous first journey from the beach to the sea, and several local resorts and organizations feature programs that allow visitors to assist in conservation efforts.
Sail the Sea of Cortés
Once the province of pirates and Spanish galleons, Cabo San Lucas Bay is now a playground for cruise ships and sightseeing boats that offer guided introductions to the evocative granite rock formations at Land’s End. Sunset cruises from Cabo Sails (www.cabosails.com) are one of the most romantic tour options for visitors, with sailing lessons and private charters also available.
Go Whale Watching
México’s biggest (part-time) residents are humpback whales, which migrate thousands of miles each year to their traditional breeding grounds in the Sea of Cortés. Spectacular up-close looks at breaching humpbacks—and other leviathans of the deep—are offered by numerous local activities companies during whale watching season, which runs from mid-December to mid-March. Learn more in “The Best Is Yet To Come,” our whale watching season preview on page 48.
Party Like a Rock Star
Checking off this bucket list to-do item is easier than you think. Former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar provided the blueprint for this one when he opened Cabo Wabo Cantina (www.cabowabocantina.com) in downtown Cabo San Lucas. Start with a round of Waboritas (the house margarita) and some live rock ‘n’ roll, then take it from there. If you get in trouble, just ask yourself: “What would Sammy do?”
Have a Romantic Picnic at Lover’s Beach
There are two options. Pack a picnic basket and engage a water taxi for a romantic outing on one of Cabo San Lucas’s most beautiful beaches. Or let a caterer take care of all the details for you. Manuel Arredondo, of Manuel’s by Baja Cantina (624-143-1111), has overseen banquets for some of the world’s most high-profile events, including the Olympics. So comida, Champagne, and balladeers on la playa are not a problem.
Dive the Coral Reef at Cabo Pulmo
Writer John Steinbeck once described the Sea of Cortés as “ferocious with life,” and the marine sanctuary off the coast of Cabo Pulmo boasts the highest concentration of marine life in this already abundant body of water. Snorkel or dive trips to the vibrant coral reef, one of the oldest and largest in the Western Hemisphere, reveal an undersea fantasia of colorful sea creatures.
Fly through the Sky at Night
If you have teenagers, a visit to Wild Canyon (www.wildcanyon.com.mx) will be at the top of their bucket lists. Baja California Sur’s biggest theme park is home to some of the peninsula’s most hair-raising activities options, including bungee jumping and high-speed moonlit zip line.
Become a Tequila Master
It’s known as the spirit of México, and there’s no better spot in Cabo San Lucas to explore tequila, its history, and its varieties than Pancho’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar (www.panchos.com). The veteran downtown Cabo San Lucas restaurant houses a massive collection of 575 tequilas and 30-plus mezcals, and guests are invited to take a 45-minute introductory course to the mythology, history, customs, and making of mezcal and tequila. Enjoy four generous shots of tequila as well as mezcal sample.