Once just a placid fishing village at the very tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas has blossomed into one of the world’s most famous spots for celeb sightings, grand scenery, sunning and snorkeling that’s unparalleled, and of course, parties, parties, parties.
But that’s not to say that you have to only come to Cabo when you’re ready for that weekend (or week long) bender. Restaurants offer steals on excellent seafood or Mexican fare – many allowing you to bring in your own catch of the day so they can grill it for you. And for those with a set of wheels, it’s easy to escape the tourist zone and surf in secluded beaches, shop in quaint art towns, visit nature’s most pristine deserts, jagged mountains, or dive in coral reefs in the Sea of Cortez.
El Arco is a spectacular rock formation off the southern tip of Baja California.
Here are the top 5 things to do in and around Cabo:
- Nature watch at El Arco
For something stately, hop on a panga (some are glass bottomed), and head out to Cabo’s most famous natural feature, the Arch. “El Arco” is part of a formation known as the Three Friars, which make up the peninsula’s very southern tip, Land’s End. On one side, the Pacific Ocean in all its grandeur; on the other side begins the Sea of Cortez. Despite the crowds of people and the cruise ships, it doesn’t take much to look at these majestic rocks, squint, and envision this area as it must have looked for centuries. Keep an eye out for pelicans and sea lions too.
- Chase whale tail off Baja
As early as October through as late as March, the annual migration of gray whales occurs, bringing thousands of these magnificent creatures to various shallow lagoons around the Baja Peninsula. Some only go as far as Laguna Ojo de Liebre, far north, in Guerrero Negro, but many go all the way to the Sea of Cortez side and pass right by Cabo San Lucas. Whale watching tours run to many places around the area, often lasting three or four hours. You might also see whales just by scanning the horizon, or (as happened to this author) have one surface a few yards away while you’re surfing.
Getting up close to whales is one alternative to lazing on a beach in Baja California. Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket / Getty Images
- Surf (or spectate) at Zippers
Surfing is a huge draw for Baja, and Zippers, at Mile 17 on the Cabo Corridor, is one of the best spots. You’ll want a south swell and some experience if you plan to paddle out – this is not a beginner’s break – but it’s great to watch even from shore as people glide in on the waves.
- Get romantic at Lover’s Beach
Lover’s Beach is one of Cabo’s most fabled spots, a strip of virgin sand accessible only by panga that’s best visited with someone you met at spots 1 or 2 (above). Stretch out and sunbathe amid wave washed rocks that look almost like gray bread dough. Bring a lunch or have the boatman pick you up after a few hours.
It’s easy to fall in love with Lover’s Beach. Image by DEA / M. Santini / Getty Images
- Sun worship at Divorce Beach
Divorce Beach, appropriately connected to Lover’s Beach, is on the Pacific side. Come here to soak up some sun, and then watch it go down – Cabo sunsets don’t get much better than seen from here. Be warned however, the currents are deceptively dangerous and even strong swimmers can be easily swept away, so don’t risk it.
By: RAY BARTLETT | Lonely Planet Writer