Visitors can enjoy two distinct town choices: Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Both are safe, clean, and offer modern services like good medical facilities, cellular phone providers, and internet cafés. English is spoken in all hotels, villas and resorts, restaurants and most stores.
Cabo San Lucas, known for it's lively atmosphere, warm hospitality and upscale services, sits on the turquoise bay known as Los Cabos and famous "El Arco" (the Arch). The town overlooks the Arco, at the tip of this bay that stretches along a 900 mile long Baja California Peninsula. Here, the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés meet at Land's End; the composite of these waters conform one of the most biologically diverse marine environments in the world. Marina Boulevard and the Malecon offer great waterfront shopping and a wide promenade along the marina ideal for strolling, relaxing or shopping. In the streets of Los Cabos you can discover restaurants which are more then glad to provide the newlywed with that first bottle of champagne or the night club that plays a few special tunes just for the recent bride and groom.
San José del Cabo features a quite downtown option with 18th century architecture, a charming place with warm hospitality. Savor the town life as you walk through this town's square, surrounded by courtyard cafés, art galleries, and specialty boutiques. You will find crafts, pottery, glassware, silver jewelry, pewter, traditional Mexican clothing, baskets, hand-woven rugs and contemporary works of art in the quaint shops of both Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.
A few galleries and shops are especially worth the trip.
San Jose del Cabo:
Pez Gordo (Alvaro Obregon 19, San José del Cabo, 624-142-5788) is a contemporary art gallery that showcases talented emerging local artists. Sculptures are exhibited in the gallery's back garden amid citrus trees, bougainvillea and hibiscus.
Situated in a lovely Spanish Colonial building, Galeria de Ida Victoria (Vicente Guerrero 1128, San José del Cabo, 624-142-5772) features lively contemporary art and hosts weekly lectures in English on the history of Mexican art.
Veryka (Mijares 6, San José del Cabo) carries the finest Mexican handicrafts from around the country, including an array of traditional embroidered and hand-loomed clothing, jewelry and artful black and green pottery from the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán.
Necri (Mijares 16, San José del Cabo, 624-130-7500) stocks high-quality Talavera ceramics from Puebla alongside pewter frames and trays.
Copal Artesanías (Plaza Mijares 10, San José del Cabo, 624-142-3070) sells authentic Guerrero masks, Oaxacan hand-carved animal figures, and hammocks from the Yucatán and silver jewelry.
Opalos de México (Mijares 5, San José del Cabo, 624-142-6394) specializes in Mexican fire opals.
Cabo San Lucas:
La Galeria at Esperanza (Carretera Transpeninsular km 7, Cabo San Lucas) is the first open-air gallery to grace Los Cabos. Here you will find paintings and sculptures by blue-chip contemporary artists from Mexico and Latin America.
Tequilas y Tequilas (Plaza del Mar 9, Cabo San Lucas, 624-143-1034) carries a staggering selection of tequila, shot glasses, pitchers and assorted mixers and flavorings.
J & J Habanos (Madero near Marina, Cabo San Lucas, 624-143-6160) sells premium cigars from around the world, including genuine Cuban cigars (which you need to smoke in Mexico, as it's illegal to import them to the United States).
San José Art Walk
Renowned for its pristine beaches, fabulous spas and acclaimed golf, the cultural ambiance, the private art galleries located on the enchanting streets of San Jose del Cabo as the place to shop for art.
Historic San Jose del Cabo has become a center for art galleries and prominent artists to showcase their work throughout the galleries and studios. Unique to San Jose del Cabo is the Thursday evening Art Walk, inclusive of local cuisine and special wines, perfect for art enthusiasts looking to experience original paintings and handcrafted sculptures. All visitors are welcome to join in the Thursday night Art Walk festivities from 5 pm – 9 pm during the months of November – May. For more information on weekly art events in San Jose del Cabo, visit www.oldtowngallery.net.
And also at Marquis Los Cabos they offer The Aspiring Artist Package for their hotel guests. Guests can enjoy a three-day learning workshop with a local Mexican painter. And take home a quality artist kit complete with water colors and brushes from Winsor and Newton.
Snorkeling and Scuba:
You don't have to strap a metal tank to your back to experience Cabo's underwater magnificence. Snorkeling is the number one sport for beachgoers and can be done in many of the shallow, protected bays surrounding the Baja. The calm, protected waters of Santa María Bay will have you observing thousands of butterfly fish. Chileno Beach offers a fully loaded snorkel slice of heaven as tropical fish can even be seen along the shoreline. Land's End, where the Pacific Ocean greets the Gulf of California, is also a snorkeler's heaven, with damselfish, puffers and queen angelfish curiously inspecting your presence.
The waves are still relatively undiscovered and not crowded. The Los Cabos northeast winds dominate in the winter, allowing for a larger building swell, and southwest summertime winds continually fuel the sunny surf with wave friend's waves. The East Cape area of Costa Azul offers a selection of beach breaks, with three main breaks that peel off the shelf and roll with flavor down the line. La Roca is a solid, continually peeling right that can last for hours, and Acapulquito, known to the locals as Gringos or Old Man's break, offers up a sweet, satisfying long board wave for beginners. Eight minutes from San José, the Cabo Surf Hotel for ideal accommodations, offering up short board and long board rentals, as well as private surf lessons.
The Great Outdoors
Ship Cruising Ideas
Ride the high seas and take it to the ocean and sail on the Buccaneer Queen, a fully working pirate brigantine and Hollywood-fame vessel right out of the days of Blackbeard that entertains all with snorkel tours, sunset cruises and an elaborate pirate show.
Cabo Aventuras takes it a bit more leisurely and offers the 47-foot Maria Sailboat to glide over the tranquil waters as you take in the vast panoramic splendor and exquisite rock formations of the Cape.
SunRider Tours hosts open-deck whale-watching and sunset cruises. The new lass on the scene is the Marquis Los Cabos' 80-foot schooner Novia Mía, which offers sunset sojourns and snorkel tours, along with wedding packages that cruise the Baja coastline on a 24-hour tour culminating on the sands of the beaches of the Sea of Cortés.
Caborey offers a lively option for seafarers as a 144-foot, three-level catamaran runs dinner cruises, snorkeling tours, margarita cruises, whale-watching and international dance shows.
Ship Cruising Ideas
Los Cabos' wild, dusty, cactus-lined trails demand off-roading its rugged landscape, racers are available to rent and charge over the humps, bumps and jumps like a pro. Buggy Adventures can hook you up for a wild daytime ride, and Wide Open Baja offers four- to seven-day full-on tours to really immerse yourself in the scene.
Select outfitters such as Baja Outback stage daily trips into the sandpit grounds and put you inside your own H2 Hummer to do some rugged yet refined exploring of Southern Baja's hottest sites — either with single day tours or multiday three - to seven-day jaunts. Most tour operators will dial you in as well via ATV or Jeep Wranglers to caravan through the same routes the indigenous Pericú Indians traversed centuries ago.
Challenge yourself with Mountain biking opportunities that flourish in the Baja outback, where outfitters include bike, helmets, beverages, light meals and a guide, and usually run an affordable prices for half-day to full-day tours. The spectacular scenery of the East Cape is everywhere, highlighted by the area's hidden gem: Desert Park, the gateway to the 50,000-acre Cabo Real Ecological Preserve. Thousands of washed-out arroyos challenge even the most experienced riders. Those looking to get even more down-to-earth can put the boots to the trail and hike the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range. Days can get as hot as Hades, so most outfitters will schedule hikes in the early hours between 6 and 10 a.m. to beat the unforgiving afternoon heat. The mountains are filled with hidden treasures, including waterfalls, desert flowers, and indigenous wildlife consisting of subtropical birds, mule deer and even mountain lions. Be sure to hike the trail, which includes a stop at the Hot Springs, a literal oasis of refreshing freshwater pools to soothe your weary muscles. Some say they have medicinal qualities.
Ride the trails like the Indians used to — on horseback. Select equestrian centers offer desert trail rides as well as equestrian schools, where a one - or two-hour trip will take you through the Arroyo San Carlos or Venado Blanco to experience the desert and its many mysteries. Under the natural cover of the horse's gait, you'll be able to sneak up close enough to see many quail, coyotes, wild horses and rabbits.
Sport fishing is the soul of the Los Cabos mentality, as the social economy thrives on freshly caught fish. A vast variety of billfish call Los Cabos home, with the striped marlin as the coveted treasure that charter boats target, along with blue, white and black marlin that can exceed "Grander" or 1,000-pound status. Top-notch sport fishing charters are run through the Pisces Sport fishing and Picante Sport fishing outfits, providing 30 - to 60-foot yachts, and a day out plying the waters is accompanied by first-class accommodations in air-conditioned cabins, including all top-of-the-line gear, tackle and amenities needed for a day out on the water. Reel-screaming wahoo and mahi-mahi (Dorado), bejeweled sierra mackerel and the areas most famous fish, the atavistic roosterfish, with long, rooster-like dorsal fins, round out the fare. If you want to get a little bit more local, you can rent a Panga boat — smaller vessels 18 to 23 feet long which local guides take close along the coast to target the tasty bottom fish of grouper, snapper and roosters. Mates will coach you along the way and will clean your catch at the end of the day, whereupon you can pull up to one of the local restaurants and, for a small charge, have them cook your very own freshly caught fish.
Tour Operators to Contact
There are dozens of outfitters to host your complete fishing vacation, and just about as many fleets docked in the marinas to charter a boat for the day.
Parasailing, Zip Lines, Helicopters and Skydiving:
Parasailing as you tow behind a boat and float via parachute above the sparkling waters off the East Cape, Caborey Sky King's 40 years of parasailing experience. If that's a little too much to handle, step inside a 2005 Robinson R44 Raven II high-performance Helicopter, courtesy of Caborey Helicopter Tours. The comfort and safety of a whirlybird will go over Cabo's stunning white-sand beaches, offering a unique vantage of El Arco and the entire coastline over Médano Beach filled with tourists to see the eccentric rock formations and unusual landscape. For a real rush, Cabo Adventures will send you slinging thousands of feet in the air over sharp rocks on a canopy tour via zip line. Some tour operators run programs to fly across the Costa Azul Canyon along more than three miles of high-altitude zip lines, providing the ultimate adrenaline shock to the system. The high cable ride above the river canyon will have you breathless and coming back for more. If it's the rush of adrenaline you search for, try plummeting at terminal velocity out of a plane with a parachute strapped to your back. Skydive El Sol offers jumps that will have you taking in expansive aerial sky views of both the Sea of Cortés and the Pacific Ocean, ending with soft beach landings, usually conveniently in front of the Tabasco Bar, where a cold beer awaits for celebrating!
Windsurfing and Kite boarding:
Windsurfing fanatics flock to catch hold of a breeze and ride the ocean's surface, ramping off waves and performing gravity defying mid-air flips and rolls. Vela Windsurf specializes in the sport, and guides will have you catching the breeze from mid-November through early March, as Baja's famous "El Norte" winds sweep the Sea of Cortés. Kite surfing is a newly developed hybrid of the windsurfing and wakeboarding genre, where a shortened surfboard is strapped on underfoot and the rider holds onto a parachute airlifted into the sky, where more gusts of wind propel the kite surfer into some, high-voltage jumps and liquid-quick rides. Both wind sports push the speed barrier.
Swim With the Fish:
Off of Lover's Beach, you can find yourself at the popular yet pristine dive sites of Neptune's Fingers and Sand Falls to glide over neon-bright, sponge-covered boulder field. Also you can see portly sea lions barking at you from the rocks underneath El Arco(the arch).
Cruising the Waves:
Sea kayaking rentals allow you step off the sands safely to immerse into the cape's natural beauty. Enjoy the crystalline waters of the San José estuary, bustling with diverse aquatic life, and the 250 species of native birds onshore that call the estuary home. Palmilla Bay in the San José Bay is a frequent kayak destination filled with the scenic majesty of the Baja coastline. Also Los Chopitos, a brilliant area of the bay containing shallow, vibrant coral bars where one can really get an eye view with the coral ecosystem. Playa Médano rents high-flying wave runners to charge hard through the waves. More refined watermen may opt to rent out a Hobie Cat and harness the power of the wind to glide and ride. For a view of Los Cabos, take in the entire Land's End vista of mountains, bays, beaches and try going parasailing, this is available at Médano as well.
Swimming with Dolphins:
There are seven bottlenose dolphins at Cabo Dolphins; the complex is a self-contained, enclosed aquarium tank for the gregarious mammals. At a fee participants can enjoy a 30-minute swim guided by an instructor. During this time, you can swim freely with the dolphins and enjoy close-up interaction complete with dolphin kisses, fin shakes and water rides. Pi creatures.
Desert Park, the gateway to the 50,000-acre Cabo Real Ecological Preserve, is filled with treasures such as hidden desert oases with unusual breathtaking waterfalls, myriad colorful birdlife and dazzling roadside flowers. The Sierra de la Laguna mountains are a designated Biosphere Reserve, given that over the centuries it's flora and fauna have evolved endemic characteristics that exist nowhere else primarily due to their relative isolation. El Picacho at 6,507 feet is one of Laguna's highest peaks that overlooks the unusual Laguna, a peaceful and 1.5-mile-long meadow located at 5,600 feet. From the vantage, you can lay your eyes on emerald pools, massive rock formations and incredible unspoiled desert scenery. Another spectacular spot to hike is in the Indian cave paintings at San Francisco de la Sierra. Dramatic earth-tone depictions of man and animal clenched in hunting battles adorn the walls of the caves. Walking amidst the artwork, you can get a real feel for the soul of Los Cabos set 10,000 years ago.