A haven between the desert and the sea
Los Cabos, favored by a warm climate, deserted beaches and numerous attractions —like golf and fishing— captivates everyone arriving in this natural paradise. Located at the tip of Baja California, the world’s longest and most majestic peninsula, Los Cabos is in constant growth but always proud of its history and diversity.
Territorially speaking, this destination is one of the most extensive. The towns of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are connected by a 33 kilometer (20.05 mile) corridor that connects them and where the most elegant hotels, beautiful beaches and a collection of professional golf courses are located. Both are a paradise for lovers of fine travel.
In Cabo San Lucas you can enjoy almost perfect weather all year ‘round because it boasts 300 sunny days and an average temperature of 27°C (80.6 °F). During the summer, from June to September, the thermometer can climb to 33 °C (91 °F) but humidity decreases and the sea breeze helps to make the days pleasant.
San José del Cabo
San José del Cabo is a beautiful, peaceful, traditional town with natural and cultural attractions as well as exclusive restaurants, art galleries and handicraft shops. Charming is the adjective most used to describe it. It was officially established as a mission in 1730 but the first expeditions to explore the surroundings were headed by Cortés in 1535. The main street of this genuine, old Mexican town is well preserved and flanked by huge, leafy trees. The historic buildings in the downtown area, the San José parish and the old customs and traditions that seem to concentrate on the main plaza, makes it seem like time is just symbol of the modem world.
Cabo San Lucas
In contrast, Cabo San Lucas, with its gorgeous beaches, vibrant nightlife, restaurants, designer boutiques, marina for over 300 yachts, the best golf courses in the country and a great number of recreational activities and attractions, is the jewel of the peninsula.
Access to this destination, where villas and summer residences have been built, is either by land, sea or air. In the case of the latter, it is to the Los Barriles or San José del Cabo airports.
Its reference points are, to the north, Punta Pescadero and, to the south, Cabo Pulmo and Los Frailes, a bit below the Tropic of Cancer. Los Cabos is about a two and a half hour flight from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Mexico City. Each week, more than 150 flights land in the San José del Cabo international Airport. The airlines that regularly serve this destination are American Airlines, Continental. Alaska Airlines. America West. Mexicana. Aeroméxico. Aerocalifomia and. recently. Delta.
A Nautical Destination is Bom in 1969. the Baja California peninsula was chosen to be an integral part of a general tourism development plan in which San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas were essential elements of a spectacular 33-kilometer (20.5 mile) tourism corridor, it was to be a future ClP (Centro integralmente Planeado/lntegrally Planned Center) of FONATUR, the National Fund for Tourism Development.
Besides its natural beauty, its privileged geographic location, in northwest Mexico and near the west coast of the united States and Canada, was also taken into consideration. That is how. in 1976, it began its life as a tourism destination.
Twenty-six years ago they were just two small towns located between the sea. the desert and the mountain. They grew and became a world-renowned center for golf and sports fishing. Today they have 115.000 inhabitants (25% of the state’s population) and a master development plan. The master plan dis- tributed an 972 hectare (2,290 acre) polygon divided into three zones: one making up 80.2% for tourism. 9.2% for an urban zone and 10.1% for an area set aside for ecological tourism. Los Cabos is one of the favorite destinations of high end tourists, who spend an average of 450 dollars a day. almost double the national average, visitors are mainly from California. Arizona. Nevada. Texas and New Mexico though there are also tourists from japan and Europe.
The number of superior to five star hotels located there is also remarkable, in Los Cabos you will find the biggest, most prestigious hotel chains like Hilton.
Fiesta Americana. Meliá. Westin Regina. Royal Solaris. Sheraton. Marquis and Presidente intercontinental, among others, it is also home to some of the most expensive hotels in Mexico such as The One & only Palmilla Resort, with its vanguard construction and design and which features spectacular views, as well as the luxurious, exclusive Esperanza Resort.
As well as golf and fishing, there is much to do in Los Cabos. Windsurfing, diving, kite skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking and nature walks are some of the entertainment options available along the corridor formed by. among others, the Los Barriles. Buena Vista. Cabo Pulmo. Los Frailes. La Rivera and Punta Colorada beaches.
Los Cabos has first class nautical installations. Among the best is Marina Cabo San Lucas, developed by FONATUR and operated by its subsidiary BMO (Baja Mantenimiento y Operación/Baja Maintenance and Operation) and which also has the port precinct con- cession. This marina, in what is considered one of the world’s best fishing spots, has a total of 589 slips for private fishing and recreational boats.
when construction of the marina was completed in October 1990, Los Cabos became Mexico's most important tourism bay. Since then, other marinas began to appear along the entire Pacific coast.
Fishing in Los Cabos
The zone’s principal attraction is sports fishing and it is renowned as the “world marlin capital’. The region’s fishing fleet is made up of over 200 boats that serve the visitors who arrive each year in search of a prized marlin, rayado, dorado, roosterfish. sword- fish and sailfish. The best time to find them is from May to November.
Each year, from October to November. Los Cabos hosts a series of marlin fishing tournaments. They are the most popular in the world and events not to be missed, even if you are not a professional.
Taking part in a family fishing trip is spending quality time that will be treasured forever. You will find the world's biggest charter fishing fleet in three areas: Marina Cabo San Lucas. La Palmilla and Playa de San José.
The ideal Golf Destination
Los Cabos is also Mexico’s golf capital, it has eight excellent courses in which an average of 1S0.000 to 200,000 rounds are played annually. Its market is enormous and consists of millions of golfers from the west coast and southern states of the united States, who have ranked it as one of the world’s 13 best destinations for practicing this sport.
The perfect golf courses, most of which are championship class and were designed by jack Nicklaus. Tom Fazio. Robert Trent jones II. Tom weiskopf and The Dye Corporation, are located between the cities of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.
what makes the Los Cabos courses unique is the presence of the Sea of Cortez, a wonderful, dazzling aquatic world of incredible tones which delights the eye. Golfers receive added value... as well as 11 rainless months in which to play at their leisure.
It is also important to mention that three courses are being developed, including Puerto Los Cabos, which will be the new Greg Norman creation.
FONATUR was instrumental in communicating that Los Cabos will further develop its nautical and golfing facilities by building a new marina and three addi- tional golf courses, it is almost certain that several projects, which had been temporarily halted, will be resumed: Puerto Los Cabos. Conjunto Residencial Bellavista and Polígono ill. The latter is where the Club Campestre San José is being developed and where infrastructure was recently begun with the pri- vate investment of SO million dollars.
Club Campestre San José is an integral residential development on 220 hectares (S43 acres), infrastruc- ture consists of marking out the streets, installing drainage, lighting, a residual water sewage-treat- ment plant and basic infrastructure for 900 residen- tial and condo lots. Twenty hectares (SO acres) will be used for commercial lots and four hectares (10 acres) will be used for educational and cultural spaces.
It will have an 18-hole golf course, by Nicklaus Desiga beach club and social club where a wide range of activities, not available today in Los Cabos, will be offered, as well as gardens, entertainment and sports areas. This concept was developed to fulfill the desire to create a private community where entertainment and relaxation will be available without leaving the com- pound. The golf course is being planned for completion about mid-2006 and the complex will be totally commer- cialized in eight years, it can be said that the overall goal for this area is focused on the shaping of a tourism and real estate corridor, based on nautical and golfing tourism with anchor activities, that will increase its competitiveness and consolidate, at medium-term, a Los Cabos-La Paz circuit known as the Sea of Cortez Project.
Los Cabos can be calm, romantic and relaxing, like any far away, secret place. However, it can also be as intense as you could ever imagine.
From San José del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas there are 23 important and varied beaches to explore. The most famous are Playa Costa Azul, a surfing paradise; Playa Palmilla, a favorite of amateur photographers; Santa Maria Bay. with its sheltered cove and marine sanc- tuary; Playa Chileno, famed for its wonderful condi- tions that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling; Playa El Médano, the heart of Cabo San Lucas’ water sports; and Playa Amor, accessible only by boat and near the famous arch, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific.
Are you looking for adventure? One of Los Cabos’ most popular daytime activity is renting an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) because it is a fantastic way to enjoy some of the lesser-known, more inaccessible sites, like the old lighthouse, or simply to enjoy a drive in the dunes and along the rivers and water holes on the beach, although there are special tracks for these vehicles.
Cacti Mundo is a special botanical garden with an important collection of cacti, including species that, until now. had never been publicly exhibited. About S.000 species of cacti and succulents from all over the world are artistically displayed in concentric circles around a fountain. These installations are also a refuge for several species in danger of extinction.
The Arch at the End of the world
Created by the erosive force of the oceanic winds, this magnificent rock formation in the shape of an arch is the symbol of Los Cabos and is right at the place where the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez meet. The area is only accessible by boat and many tour and charter companies offer trips there so that you can see if up close, it is a must see sight for everyone visiting Los Cabos.
The tip of the Baja California peninsula offers the world’s best opportunities to get close to a gray whale. After traveling more than 9.S00 km (5,903 mi) from the North Pacific, gray whales reach the Baja California peninsula, generally between December and March, to give birth and feed their calves in the sheltered waters of the peaceful lagoons in the area.
One of the most impressive sights on this tour is seeing an adult whale breaching and playing with her calf. The curious babies frequently approach the boats and. sometimes, spectators can touch them.
Diving and Snorkeling
It really is not important if you are an experienced, enthusiastic diver or a beginner, some of the best places to dive or snorkel are less than a 20-minute drive away. The Sea of Cortez offers unique opportunities in which to appreciate, up close, some of the most exuberant species of marine animals such as giant manta rays, whale sharks and lots of schools of porpoises. Many species found in the Sea of Cortez are not to be seen anywhere else on earth. This is the home of the only living coral reef off the western coast of North America and a spectacular area for diving and snorkeling. Lovers of these sports should not forget to visit the world-renowned sand falls, located near the famed Arch at the End of the world.
The estuary, a natural setting exclusive to this region, allows visitors to amble along a series of green paths where nature has built a sanctuary for about 250 species of migratory birds. Here, they find temporary shelter in the vegetation. Because is it one of the few sources of fresh water in Baja California, many types of birds and other animal species depend on it.
if you want a rest from the hustle and bustle of Cabo San Lucas. Todos Santos is the perfect place. The mountains of the Siena de la Laguna, the Pacific Ocean and the Baja California desert are found here. Established in 1723, this enchanting town is considered a small jewel of the Pacific, a place where fishing and agriculture are still the main source of income.
with a strong New Mexico influence. Todos Santos is home to painters, sculptors, artisans and intellectuals. Tourists can visit old. tradi- tional buildings and. of course, the legendary Hotel California, made famous by The Eagles.
Islands and Protected Areas of the Sea of Cortez: A World Heritage Site
The islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California have been designated a world Heritage Site, by the United Nations Educational. Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The formal declaration was made during the last week of September 200S, coinciding with world Tourism Day. which was celebrated in Los Cabos this year. President Vicente Fox unveiled a plaque com- memorating the site that Jacques Cousteau called "the world’s Aquarium.’
The area is home to almost 40% of the marine mammal species on this planet and a third of the world’s marine cetaceans, it comprises 244 islands and islets as well as coastal areas of the states of Baja California Sur. Sonora. Sinaloa and Nayarit. It con- tains 4.500 species known as marine invertebrates. 181 species of birds and 695 of plants, of which 28 are endemic to this region.
The world Heritage Sites Convention was created in 1972 to identify natural and cultural patrimony of universal value and guarantee its protection through international cooperation, while respecting the sovereignty of the countries. Mexico has 25 loca- tions on UNESCO’s list of world Heritage Site of which 22 are cultural and three are natural. Now the islands and protected areas of the Sea of Cortez are classified as reserves, along with the Galapagos Islands and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Text: Araceli Cano ± Photo: Consejo de la Promoción Turística, Proyecta Publicidad, Marina Cabo San Lucas by Bgeman, Archivo