Sealife on steroids, where the desert meets sea, plus an off-the-beaten-path location that attracts everyday and celebrity visitors alike are three great ways to describe Cabo San Lucas. Call Cabo for short, this sun-soaked town is located at the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Gulf of California to the east.
The native Pericú first called Cabo home over 10 millennia ago, as Hernán Cortés arrived in 1535 in search of gold and left empty-handed. Pirates arrived in the 17th century to plunder passing galleons. Later, politicians led the expansionist charge during the Mexican- American War, only to leave Baja California to Mexico. A century later, wealthy Californians began flying or cruising into Cabo where the lack of roads made it possible to party incognito. Hollywood money built the first hotel in the mid-20th century. Today, Cabo retains a fun, funky laidback vibe sparked with a star-studded excitement that spans from cantinas to casinos.
On land, strap in behind the wheel of an off-road racer and get a taste of the desert north of Cabo. Guides offer one-third, one-half and one-day long adventures. North in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains, tour companies lead guided treks or pack trips to panoramic views and natural pools ripe for a dip.
On the water, dive the famous Arch, a naturally shaped rock formation. Nearby the Arch is the only place worldwide to witness undersea waterfalls where beach sand continuously cascades into a canyon created by the San Andreas Fault. Whale watching expeditions are a must. Six different species swim here including the world’s largest blue whales.
The Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament is the world’s richest sport-fishing event, awarding nearly $75 million in its 37-year history. Darren Carey, manager of Marina Cabo San Lucas, sums up Cabo’s transition from a sleepy fishing village to playground of the rich and famous by referencing this bucket-list tournament. “If you have some spare change, enter Bisbee’s, held every October, it’s a great way to snag a sh and a cool million-plus in prize money.”
Where to Dock
- Marina Cabo San Lucas (igy-cabosanlucas.com) The largest full-service facility, managed by Island Global Yachting, o ers 380 slips for yachts up to 375 feet. Amenities include high- speed fuel, a full-service boatyard, restaurants and shops.
Where to Dine
- Los Tres Gallos (Calle 20 de Noviembre) Fork into authentic Mexican cuisine in a quaint courtyard setting serenaded by a mariachi band. The specialty here is the mole-sauced dishes.
- SEARED (San José del Cabo) Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s menu spans from Hamachi sashimi to Mexico’s most comprehensive wine list.
- Cabo Wabo Cantina (Calle Vicente Guerrero) Tequila shrimp, tamarind chicken and chipotle rib-eye put a south-of-the- border spin on American favorites. Bands here frequently feature the restaurant’s founder, Sammy Hagar.