Los Cabos: Mexico’s Gem of the Desert

Growing up in Southern California in the ‘60s, the rumor was that if you wanted to catch a big marlin, it was easier and cheaper to go to Mexico than to take the usual expensive trip to Hawaii. It didn’t take long before word spread like wildfire that the tip of Baja California was the place to go. By the mid ‘70s, Cabo was born.

San Jose del Cabo was originally the first settlement hundreds of years ago, made up of mostly native Mexican fishermen and farmers. When the first hotels sprang up in the late ‘60s, such as the famous Palmilla Hotel, the developers moved most of the population off the local coastline by supplying adequate funds and relocating them mostly to what is now the city of San Jose del Cabo.

Eventually, down the coastline to the west, Cabo San Lucas began to develop when wealthy developers started building immense hotels. Dirt runways for private planes coming to enjoy the incredible fishing were soon replaced by what is now the international airport that services all of the Los Cabos area.

Los Cabos Today

Today, the southern state of the peninsula, or Baja California Sur (BCS), is a modern array of luxury hotels, incredible beaches, modern shopping malls, and world-class fishing and golf. No wonder they call it the “Sportsman’s Paradise”.

From Cabo San Lucas, transportation is directed along a perfectly manicured coastline and a modern four-lane highway (commonly referred to as the corridor) that makes up about 20 miles connecting with the municipality of San Jose del Cabo. The city of Cabo San Lucas is the most populated in the area and is thriving with countless restaurants, boutique shops, and an ultra-modern shopping mall situated alongside the famous fishing marina.

The nightlife is comparable to most metropolitan cities in the U.S. and bumping into a Hollywood celebrity is a normal occurrence in this Mexican hot spot. Names like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Brad Pitt are frequent visitors. Living in Cabo San Lucas is a real treat for the locals. From the quaint little casitas on the outskirts of town to the ultra-mansions that are built on the cliffs of the Pedregal.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat during the day, Mama Mia’s, La Serena, and the Trailer Park restaurant are places not to miss. As far as a night out on the town, just start anywhere downtown and walk around and you will encounter a wonderful mixture of Italian, Asian, and of course some fine-dining Mexican restaurants.

Because of the cruise ship boom, the gift shops are endless with everything a visitor could want to take home as a “must-have” souvenir. Don’t forget to try the affordable bicycle taxis that can be flagged down on every corner. They are really convenient for winding through the traffic in backstreets and around the marina.

 

A True Sportsperson’s Paradise

©Gregory Michael Herman

Make no mistake about it, the sport fishing here is absolutely terrific. The tip of Baja California is about 250 miles from the coastline of mainland Mexico, where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez connect. The marlin is the main attraction and avid fishermen come from all over the world to test their skills. The deep waters that emerge onto the shallow reefs make for some of the greatest trophies in the sport. Because of its popularity, every year in October, the “Bisbee Black and Blue” fishing tournament is held and is billed as the richest in the world. With over 250 entrants and a three-day event, there is great excitement as the crowds wait for the giants to come into the harbor for the official weigh-in.

Another major attraction that brings thousands of visitors to Los Cabos is the world-class golfing. With over a dozen championship courses to choose from, the enthusiastic golfer should check his vacation calendar to visit this incredible Mexican destination. Famous golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, and just recently Tiger Woods have designed magnificent layouts that visitors will truly enjoy. Most courses are built right along the seashore and the views of the coastline and the towering mountains behind, make for a golfing adventure that is one of the most desirable in the world. Green fees can be pricey in high season, but if you wait until after lunch, the rates drop drastically. There is never a better time to enjoy the golf in Los Cabos, than to be finishing your round when the breathtaking sunsets start to glimmer with multicolored clouds and that shimmering blue/green ocean. Believe me when I say that there is nothing like it.

Things to do in Los Cabos

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There are many reasons to get your travel agent in gear and start planning your trip to this desert paradise. To many visitors from the southwest region of the U.S., this little piece of heaven is referred to as “Mexico’s Palm Springs with ocean”. The dry, warm desert climate mixed with the tropical breezes are unlike any other spot in the world. Don’t worry, there are plenty more activities to choose from that are guaranteed to appeal to everyone in the group.

Here is just a sample of the other fun and exciting things to do to keep everyone’s vacation time exciting:

  • Whale Watching: During the months of October through March, the humpback whales make their way down from the north to frolic in the warm waters off the tip of Baja. Watch them off your beachfront hotel or take a tour to get that up-close photo.
  • ATV Tours: Rent an ATV with others and explore the many empty beaches and mountain trails.
  • Water Taxi to the famous Arch and Lovers Beach.
  • Day trip to La Paz: Located on the Sea of Cortez, this wonderful city has everything. Go down to the malecon and browse the shops and all the unique eateries. Take a trip out to the end of the bay and have a shrimp cocktail while gazing at the numerous islands just off the coast.
  • Snorkeling/ Diving at Cabo Pulmo: For all you underwater enthusiasts, this is a must. Just about an hour from Los Cabos on the other side of the peninsula in the Sea of Cortez is the only living coral reef in North America, with its age estimated at 25,000 years old. Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez the largest aquarium in the world. You will be amazed at the clarity and the many species of coral and sea life.
  • Sailing/Sunset cruises: A favorite among visitors. Rent your own boat and bring all the family and friends, or book a tour that will arrange everything. A popular choice is the dinner showboat called Cabo Rey. Departing out of Cabo San Lucas marina every evening a couple hours before sunset, you’ll be right in the mix with everyone for the three Ds… dining, dancing, and of course drinking. The sunsets are amazing.

The Takeaway

©Gregory Michael Herman

I encourage anyone and everyone who likes the feel of swimming in warm, clear blue ocean water, the excitement of catching a record marlin, or maybe shooting a career round of golf, to consider a visit to this magical place. The hotels are five-star, the nightlife is addicting, and if you are a true foodie, you just might discover what all the fuss is about. Chances are you just might return to this wonderful playground again and again.

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