Caribbean / Mexico

Cabo San Lucas: One just cannot go wrong

Sea view from a hotel in Cabo San Lucas | Photo credit: Visit Mexico

Cabo San Lucas has been described as a slice of heaven. This tropical desert paradise at the tip of Baja California is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. It offers unsurpassed recreational opportunities such as world-class golf, fishing, diving, gourmet dining, shopping and a bustling nightlife, not to mention the opportunity to choose from more than 100+ resorts and luxury villas. One just cannot go wrong.

Cabo San Lucas, also known simply as Cabo (especially to those that have been here repeatedly) is situated at the tip of Mexico’s 1,000-mile long Baja California peninsula, and is known as a great weekend getaway or somewhere to “getaway from it all” for a week. The Los Cabos Corridor, at it is called, has become a heavily trafficked vacation destination with numerous resorts along the coast between San Lucas and San José del Cabo.

This is, perhaps, a sun and beach destination that has it all. Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo provide vacationers a combination of great weather – with 360 days of sunshine, there is really no bad time to be in Cabo San Lucas – striking scenery, upscale accommodations and excellent dining and nightlife choices.

Twenty miles northeast, San Jose del Cabo is Cabo San Lucas’ sister city, a charming and romantic colonial town with the flavour of Old Mexico. In this small historic town, courtyard restaurants, boutiques and art galleries surround the main square and twin spire church. A family-oriented traditional town, San Jose is the quiet side of Cabo. With the area’s best surf beaches, a palm filled estuary ideal for bird watching, a sea turtle nursery and the La Laguna Mountains to explore, San Jose is an ideal destination for nature and adventure lovers.

Cabo San Lucas, named for the slender cape extending eastward from Baja’s southernmost tip, has developed into a vacation hot spot gradually throughout the last forty years. By the 1930s, a small fishing village and cannery occupied the north end of the harbour, inhabited by approximately 400 hardy souls. The cape region experienced a sport fishing craze in the 1950s and 60s and due to prolific bill fishing, the waters off the peninsula’s southern tip earned the nickname “Marlin Alley”. Fly-in anglers and wealthy pleasure boaters brought back with them glorious stories of this wild place which fuelled population growth to around 1,500 by the time the Transpeninsular Highway was completed in 1973.

The construction of Los Cabos International Airport near San Jose del Cabo in the ’80s brought the area within reach of vacationers. Today, Los Cabos is booming and is currently the seventh most popular destination in Mexico and the second fastest growing resort community in the country.

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo enjoy equal access to the great beaches along the corridor between the two towns, but because the Cabo San Lucas harbour provides shelter for a large sport fishing and recreational fleet, the majority of Los Cabos visitors locate in Cabo San Lucas and the Corridor rather than in San Jose del Cabo.

As you can imagine, a stay in Los Cabos would involve being in the sun and taking advantage of the magnificent natural setting and activities. So while you are here, you can golf, scuba dive, snorkel, kayak, surf, windsurf, sail, fish or hike and explore the area on foot or horseback.

In the span of just a few short years, the area in and around Los Cabos has become one of North America’s hottest golf destinations. The Tom Weiskopf designed eighteen-hole Desert Course at Cabo del Sol marks the sixth championship golf course to open in the Cabo San Lucas area.

Cabo Real Golf Course in Cabo San Lucas | Photo credit: Visit Mexico

From humble beginnings at the nine hole Campo de Golf in San Jose del Cabo, in the last decade golf has grown to become the number two attraction in Los Cabos. In 1990, Don Koll, a successful California developer and ardent golfer, commissioned golf great Jack Nicklaus to design twenty-seven holes of golf at the Palmilla resort.

Koll envisioned the area as a world-class resort and golf destination, and today there are three Nicklaus designed golf courses in Los Cabos. To round things out, there are now several signature championship golf courses in the area, many of which have been designed by the legends of the game. The magnificent terrain is comparable to that found in Arizona and California desert golf courses. What sets Los Cabos apart is the presence of the Sea of Cortez, a sparkling sea of astonishing hues reaching as far south as the eye can see.

And speaking of the Sea of Cortez, Jacques Cousteau described this underwater area as “The world’s aquarium.” The Sea of Cortez is among the top places in the world to dive, as home to almost 900 species of fish, and is one of the most ecologically intact marine ecosystems in the world.

Desert cacti dot the sheer rock faces that descend into the blue of some of the most biodiverse waters in North America. Underwater topography is a mixture of sandy slopes dropping off to rocky walls, pinnacles with sheer sides that break the surface, oceanic seamounts and the most northernly coral reef ecosystem in the tropical western pacific.

Remarkable dive sites such as Pelican’s Rock, Santa Maria Cove, Chileno Bay and Cabo Pulmo offer divers some excellent underwater vistas and marine life.

But if you prefer being on the water, the waters off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, where the calm and warm waters of the Sea of Cortez mixes with the unfathomable cool currents of the Pacific Ocean, offer ideal conditions for plenty of sport-fish species, including (among others) Rooster Fish, Mahi Mahi (known locally as Dorado), varieties of Tuna, Sharks, Jacks, Groupers and Billfish such as Sailfish, Swordfish, Black Marlin, Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin.

Cabo San Lucas’s other attractions include an underwater nature preserve only a few minutes’ boat ride from the harbour and the striking Land’s End rock formations at one end of the bay, with a pristine beach right around the corner. Without the tenacity of a few of the town’s original residents who demanded that this land be preserved, hotels and condos would probably fill the town’s entire perimeter. Cabo San Lucas is the only coastal resort in Mexico with a nature preserve within its city limits.

While nightlife is not on par with that in Acapulco or Cancun, the towns attract an energetic crowd that creates a vibrant ambiance.

All-in-all, and in spite of the growing popularity of the area, Los Cabos manages to retain something of a small town feel, much appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

All content © 2011-2018 Great World Getaways unless otherwise noted