5 wet and wild ways to beat the summer heat
by Beto Haro
You snapped a selfie in front of the arch. You danced the night away at Cabo Wabo. You even toured the bay on a sunset cruise. But you haven’t done Cabo till you’ve explored the wet and wild water activities that set our little slice of paradise apart from the world’s other top travel destinations. Here we highlight five fun-filled ways you can beat the summer heat (we’re talking temps in the 90s, people) and explore the underwater world that surrounds the Baja Peninsula.
Take a Dive
The only living coral reef on the West Coast of North America is located at Cabo Pulmo in the East Cape. This is one of the healthiest coral reefs in all of the world. More than 300 fish species live in the national marine park, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The sea here is teeming with life, and you can explore it all during a diving adventure with Cabo Expeditions (www.caboexpeditions.com.mx), the region’s leading ecotourism outfit. The tour begins right in your hotel lobby and includes a pleasant drive to the East Cape village of Cabo Pulmo (its population hovers around 100). Along the way you’re sure to catch a glimpse of colorful wildlife and a wilder Baja, one untouched by development. The tour also includes a light lunch and two dives, as well as an expert guide to answer questions and lead you through the day. Note: All guests must be certified divers with their current dive card on hand.
Search for Pirate’s Booty
Pirates have sailed the waters surrounding Southern Baja for more than 500 years, and now you can join them on a fun treasure-hunting sail and snorkel tour. Cabo Legend (www.wildcabotours.com) is a 100-foot-long wooden tall ship that each day departs daily for three-hour tours around the arch and Sea of Cortés. Join its delightfully surly crew, but be prepared: Your fate has been decided, and you’re sure to walk the plank of this fully functional sailboat. Following your snorkeling adventure, climb back aboard to enjoy a lunch of gourmet barbecued pork or chicken sandwiches and coleslaw, chips and salsa, and Cabo Legend’s open bar. Don’t pass up the free-flowing grog (the crew’s famous rum punch). There’s nothing ARRR-rated here, so don’t hesitate to bring the kids (their tickets are half-priced).
Make Like McFly
We’re going back to the future with this fun recommendation. Cabo San Lucas is home to not one but two outfits that specialize in a new breed of watersport that harnesses water propulsion so that you can fly over the Cabo San Lucas Bay. Cabo Flyboard (www.caboflyboard.com) is Los Cabos’ exclusive home of Zapata Flyboards: Imagine a water-powered hoverboard. After a short instructional period, you’ll be in the air—flying like a superhero and diving back into the water like a dolphin (appreciative of those cooler temps!). Direct its path by tilting left or right, front or back. At Sea Cabo Activities (www.seacaboactivities.com), owner Carlos Noriega has assembled a fantastic trio of offerings for adventure-seeking folks ages 12 and up. Surf through the air on a JetBlade (again, think hoverboard), strap on an X-JetPack (paging the Rocketeer here), or climb atop a bike-like FlyBike to cycle through the sky. Plus, as of press time, Sea Cabo Activities is offering a two-for-one deal on any activities booked directly through its website or Facebook page.
The EcoCat (www.caboecotours .com) company may be best known for its luxury catamaran of the same name. The beautiful watercraft was built in France in 2000, and it earned its distinction as one of the largest catamarans in the world—and the smoothest sailing. But EcoCat is also home to the EcoToo, a high-speed Zodiac that’s the centerpiece of a brand-new tour: The eXtreme Zodiac Dos Bahias Snorkel departs at 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the summer. The smaller size of the Zodiac allows for up-close views of the arch at Land’s End as well as the sea lion colony. After a detour to check out the Pacific-side beaches (accessible only by boat), the EcoToo zips over to Pelican Rock so that guests can snorkel. Afterward, it’s time to meet up with EcoCat and grab a kayak for even more adventuring.
If you think Cabo is hot, wait till you visit La Paz. The capital of Baja California Sur is often ranked as one of the three hottest cities—we’re talking temperature—in all of México. But the detour from Los Cabos is well worth it. The Baja Peninsula is home to hundreds of islands, but the Espíritu Santo Archipelago are among the most beautiful. Journey there with SunRider Tours (www.sunridertours.com), and you’ll get to see what earned the site UNESCO World Heritage status. Explore the turquoise bays, swim with hundreds of playful sea lions (be prepared; they like to nibble), and snap photos of exotic birds and sea life. On this outing, you’ll get to ride in one of SunRider’s catamarans as well as smaller, more intimate pangas, or skiffs. The crew will also treat you to a tasty box lunch and a side trip to La Paz’s famous Balandra beach, home of what locals call El Hongo, or “mushroom.”