The Ideal Cabo Lifestyle
In English, the Spanish word ‘cabo’ means cape, as in a point of land jutting into the sea or some other large body of water. But, for many worldly travelers, the word Cabo simply refers to the most naturally stunning, perpetually enchanting, and sun-drenched resort destination in the world – all tucked at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico and wrapped by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Sea of Cortez on the east.
Cabo, or more correctly Los Cabos, is an area comprised of two colorful resort towns, Cabo San Lucas (Cape Saint Luke), located right at the tip, and San Jose del Cabo (Saint Joseph of the Cape), curled up the east coast and home to the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD).
Cabo San Lucas took modern root in the mid-1900s when the sleepy village was discovered as a paradise for sport fishermen chasing world-record marlin, dorado, and yellow fin tuna.
Today, the town has a unique and animated vibe, a kind of melding of bohemians, A-listers, expats, and locals, all dusted with a hint of Casablanca, Cristal, and Quervo. The town is nourished by some of the premier culinary establishments in the world, like Seared at the opulent One & Only Palmilla Resort, Romeo & Julieta’s chic Italian fare across from the Cabo San Lucas marina, and the sleek, oceanfront Manta at The Cape, a Thompson Hotel.
But, you can also throw on your flip flops and kick back at popular cantinas like Cabo Wabo or rocker Sammy Hagar’s place in town. Chow down on fish tacos and a margarita at the Squid Roe Bar & Grill & Clothesline, or visit The Office on the Beach (with tables right in the sand), or The Usual Suspects marina bar, where “Whatever Happened in Cabo Never Happened.”
San Jose del Cabo, on the other hand, evokes more of a traditional Mexican village feel, its centerpiece being the Parroquia San José, a Jesuit Mission that dates back to the 1730s. San Jose has a rustic-chic gallery district, where the art walk on Thursday nights (in-season) is a must for perusing the rich offerings of local artisans.
Just above San Jose in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains is the foodie magnet of Flora’s Field Kitchen, part of a 10-acre farm that celebrates everything to do with fresh and organically grown food.
In between the two towns is a bustling, 20-mile seaside stretch called the Corridor that is sprinkled with a vast assortment of luxury hotels, golf resorts, and vacation homes, some right on the sea and some cradled in the cliffs that rise up just beyond pristine beaches.
A generation ago you’d have to scratch out a round of golf at Los Cabos on a dusty nine-hole muni. But today the premier golf course architects in the world have brought forth over a dozen stunning golf expressions, with holes that track along the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez, and are perched on bluffs overlooking the water, or trace through massive inland dune ridges and desert canyons.
Several of the top courses are in private resort communities like the Dunes course at Diamante, ranked
#36 on GOLF Magazine’s prestigious 2018 Top World Rankings. Diamante is also home to the Tiger Woods-designed El Cardonal. As mentioned, they’re very private. But, there also are glorious and accessible courses like Palmilla, Cabo’s original championship course built in 1992, which offers 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus brilliance. Nicklaus also shines with the ocean course at Cabo del Sol and the jaw-dropping Quivira 18 overlooking the Pacific. Green fees roughly range from $100-$400, depending on the course and season.
In and On the Water
Los Cabos is renowned for its coral reefs and unimaginable diversity of aquatic life in the Sea of Cortez. Snorkeling and scuba diving are most popular at the sheltered Santa Maria Cove and the Chileno Reef – both just offshore of the Corridor – plus the Cabo Pulmo Marine Life Preserve, located 60 miles up the coast. In the winter, pods of grey whales can be seen breaching the surface of the Sea of Cortez, where they bear their young after migrating 6,000 miles from the frigid waters of Alaska.
You’ll have every imaginable watercraft available to rent from glass-bottom kayaks and jet skis to water taxis and ocean-going catamarans. Los Cabos is a legendary surfing destination. And, every October, Cabo San Lucas hosts the highest-paying marlin tournament in the world, called the “Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore.”
It should be noted that many of the waters off Los Cabos need to be viewed with caution as currents can be very strong and treacherous. Some beaches are designated non-swimming.
If you kept going up the east coast from Cabo Pulmo Marine Preserve, you would reach the capital of Baja California Sur at La Paz, a captivating colonial town founded by Hernan Cortez in 1535 and now regarded as a vital eco-tourism and research center.
Travel an hour up on the Pacific side and nestle in to the town of Todos Santos, an oasis in the desert.Literally an oasis with underground springs creating a lush environment and unique Hexagon Caves (a smaller version of the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland). Todos Santos has a sweeping coastline popular with surfers, an old town awash in galleries, colonial architecture, and even the alluring 11-room Hotel California that has absolutely nothing to do with the iconic song from The Eagles.
On your way back from Todos Santos, about 10 minutes before you reach Cabo, is a sensitively developed oceanfront residential community and resort called Rancho San Lucas. The 834-acre property offers a rich variety of villas and oceanfront estates set along a stunning 1.2-mile beach framing the Pacific. A Greg Norman golf course, with seven holes on the ocean, is due to open toward the end of 2019.
The resort at Rancho San Lucas is called The Grand Solmar and is a sister to the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort and Spa, tucked literally at the tip of the peninsula and right next to the legendary Arco de Cabo San Lucas. El Arco is an arched rock formation set tight against the beach that has been eroded away by the churning currents where the Pacific and Sea of Cortez meet and tangle. Have your boat captain bring you as close as you dare for the selfie of a lifetime!
Los Cabos and the surrounding areas offer an abundance of festivals during the year with themes of jazz, art, food and wine, kite boarding and surfing, fishing, and even the festival of mangos at Todos Santos. The headliner is the Fiestas Tradicionales, celebrating the patron San Lucas in October, although Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash that month runs a close and raucous second place.
Check with www.visitloscabos.travel for all the naturally stunning, perpetually enchanting, and sun-drenched details.