What to Do and Where to Stay While on a Trip to Los Cabos

After being hit with a devastating hurricane two years ago, Los Cabos is reclaiming its reputation as a paradise on the Pacific. Here’s why it should be back on your holiday radar.



El Arco (The Arch) marks the divide between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez.

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Down on the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the azure calm of the Sea of Cortez, you’ll find the vibrant town of Cabo San Lucas and historic San Jose Del Cabo, known collectively as the municipality of Los Cabos (The Capes). The two are connected by a 33-kilometre stretch of highway known as The Corridor, lined with luxury resorts, championship-calibre golf courses and gorgeous beaches.

Jacques Cousteau deemed the Sea of Cortez “the world’s aquarium,” and the marine life-rich waters are a big part of what makes Los Cabos so special. During whale-watching season, whales with their calves can be seen right from shore, and the area is a first-rate fishing destination known as the Marlin Capital of the World. 

It was sport fishing that first lured Hollywood heavyweights such as Bing Crosby and John Wayne to the area after the Second World War, putting Los Cabos on the map. The rich and famous could afford to make the journey by private plane or yacht, and exclusive luxury resorts that catered to celebrities began to open, such as Hotel Palmilla in 1956 (it’s now known as the One&Only Palmilla). 

In September 2014, Hurricane Odile tore through Cabo San Lucas. The Category 3 storm was one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the Baja Peninsula, ripping apart hotel lobbies and facades, shattering windows, uprooting trees and power lines and damaging the airports, leaving thousands of tourists stranded. Now, two years later, Los Cabos has fully reclaimed its reputation as a paradise on the Pacific.


What to do in Los Cabos

Beach life

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LOS CABOS TOURISM BOARD

Medano Beach.

Los Cabos is famous for its beautiful beaches. The popular Medano Beach is lined with beachside bars and booths offering kayak and jet-ski rentals as well as ocean-sport activities and tours. Located midway between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo, Chileno Beach, with its crystal-clear waters, is a haven for snorkellers and divers looking to swim with turtles and tropical fish. 

 

Beaches by boat

At the very tip of Los Cabos, a distinct rock formation known as El Arco (The Arch) marks the divide between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. At the base of the rocks, on the Sea of Cortez side, you’ll find Lover’s Beach, a spread of white sand — accessible only by boat — that offers sheltered swimming and snorkelling (look for the sea lions and seals that make their home on the rocks during the boat ride to and from the beach). Across from Lover’s Beach on the Pacific Side is Divorce Beach. Swimming is not advised here due to strong ocean currents, but, aside from that, the beach is scenic and tranquil, perfect for a leisurely picnic while watching for manta rays jumping in the surf. The easiest way to Divorce Beach is via water taxi from either Medano Beach or from the marina in Cabo San Lucas. 

 

Sport fishing

Los Cabos is celebrated among sport fishers, with hundreds of fishing boats available to charter. One of the longest-running charter companies is Pisces Sportfishing, which has a range of vessels from basic skiffs to 120-foot luxury cruisers. The company has a reputation for being conservation-minded, promoting catch and release, particularly for marlin. Pisces also has non-fishing watercraft in its fleet; book a yacht for a day trip, sunset cruise or week-long adventure.

 

Exploring historic San Jose Del Cabo

photograph courtesy of los cabos tourism board

Art Walk in San Jose Del Cabo.

San Jose Del Cabo’s historic town square is known as Plaza Mijares. Here you’ll find the Mission of San Jose Del Cabo church, built near the original Jesuit mission that was founded in 1730, as well as boutiques, restaurants and shady places to linger. Tucked behind Plaza Mijares is San Jose Del Cabo’s Gallery District. Between June and November, the district hosts a weekly Art Walk on Thursday nights, where passers-by are encouraged to wander in, view the works and meet the artists.   

 

Whale watching

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LOS CABOS TOURISM BOARD

Humpback whale breaching for watchers.

December to March is whale-watching season in Los Cabos, when hundreds of whales gather to birth and nurture their babies in the waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula. During those months, guided tours leave daily. Eight species of whale can be seen in the area including humpback, minke, grey and fin. Humpbacks and grey whales are some of the most common sightings, as they are known to “breach” during mating season, jumping out of the water and vigorously slapping their fins and tales. 


Where to stay

Hacienda Beach Club & Residences

photograph courtesy of hacienda beach club and residences

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences.

Hacienda Beach Club & Residences is a gated residential beach resort on the southern end of Medano Beach that offers views of the Sea of Cortez. Stay in expansive one-, two- or three-bedroom condos with floor-to-ceiling windows and fully stocked kitchens, or splurge on a private villa complete with pool, outdoor fireplace, gourmet kitchen and private beach access. Sip a margarita by the infinity pool, take an early morning stand-up paddleboard yoga class or book a treatment at the open-air Hacienda Spa. In-house restaurant Hacienda Cocina y Cantina offers traditional Mexican cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. 

 

The Resort at Pedregal

photograph courtesy of the resort at pedregal

Resort at Pedregal Estrella suite.

Located at the western edge of Solmar Beach on the Pacific, The Resort at Pedregal is actually built into the rocky cliff at the base of Pedregal Mountain. Guests enter through a private, 300-metre-long underground tunnel that connects the hotel to the town of Cabo San Lucas. Guest rooms and suites are generous — even the standard King Ocean View measures 856 square feet — and all come with an ocean-facing private terrace complete with plunge pool. Of the multiple restaurants to choose from, El Farallon stands above, highlighting the freshest local seafood and featuring a seaside patio that integrates seamlessly into the mountain face, so diners can feel the spray of the Pacific while enjoying the catch of the day.  


​ Traveller's tip: Avoid the liquids and bring stick sunscreen

If you prefer to travel light, the current rules limiting quantities of liquids and gels in carry-on luggage can really cramp your style when it comes to sunscreen and skin-care products. Instead, switch to a solid sunscreen stick like Neutrogena’s Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection, which provides broad-spectrum SPF 50+ coverage and follow up with Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s soothing After Sun Body Butter stick when the sun goes down. No fuss, no muss and no checked baggage.

 

This article appears in the September 2016 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here. 

 

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