Cabo San Lucas
Nightlife is still a big draw in this teeming tourist town, but those in the know skip the rowdy scene at El Squid Roe and head to the serene, open-air terraces of The Rooftop. Located at The Cape hotel, this upscale bar delivers topnotch service, craft mixology, and soaring views of the Pacific punctuated by iconic El Arco. For a dramatic dining experience, El Farallon at The Resort at Pedregal is second to none. Carved into craggy cliffs bordering the sea, the setting alone will have you dropping your jaw. Reserve an oceanfront table and be led along narrow, torch-lit footpaths to your own private nirvana. The waves lap so close that you can sense their salty spray as you dine on Baja’s best bounty pulled fresh from the ocean that day.
Ready to reel in some fish of your own? The waters are teeming with tuna, marlin, mahi mahi, wahoo, and other prized catches. Cabo San Lucas remains the epicenter of sport fishing, and each morning the marina is abuzz with boats heading to sea in search of their quotidian haul. The opportunities to join the fleet are plentiful. Grab a pal and a private panga for a taste of traditional hand-lining fishing techniques. For larger groups, choose from dozens of big boat charters specializing in deep sea, bottom, or fly fishing methods. For the finest of fishing trips, book a private excursion with High Style Yachts and hop aboard the 87-foot Tourbillon. Equipped with state-of-the-art electronics, custom fighting chair, and live bait wells, this $6.5 million luxury charter yacht is primed to provide the ultimate big game sport fishing experience.
The Quivera Golf Club
Lavish resorts (see page 64 for a full report) define the 20-mile swath connecting Cabo San Lucas to San José Del Cabo and the legendary One&Only Palmilla is the resort that started it all. Check into a romantic oceanfront suite and enjoy velvet-glove treatment along with ocean views from your room, patio, and private plunge pool. Indulge in his and hers custom treatments at One&Only Spa then relish time in the steam rooms, saunas, rock pools, and outdoor leisure areas. Be sure to wander the resort’s sumptuous grounds. Lush jungle-like landscaping creates a tropical paradise that will make you feel like Adam and Eve.
Thirsty for that first tee? Grab your clubs and tap in to the area’s numerous golfing opportunities. The Quivera Golf club serves up spectacular views from every tee. But there not be a more striking hole in all of Cabo than Quivera’s par 3 6th hole (pictured right)that was designed by Jack Nicklaus. It’s a must-play for any golfers who visit Cabo. You can also find your swing at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Palmilla Golf Club. One of the top courses in Mexico, it features a layout comprised of the 3,337-yard Arroyo Nine, the 3,602-yard Mountain Nine, and the 3,548-yard Ocean Nine. Another must-play golf destination is the two seperate nine-hole courses designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus respectivly in Puerto Los Cabos. Future 18-hole layouts by both designers are in the works.
San José Del Cabo
This tranquil town is rich in 18th-century Spanish Colonial architecture, making it a top destination for history buffs. For nature enthusiasts, the San José Estuary provides ample opportunities to observe the local flora and fauna. The playas are lovely here, and the new beachfront resorts popping up along the shoreline supply plentiful options for a vacay on the sand.
The addition of a recently installed marina complex is making San José Del Cabo a mecca for yachtsmen as well. Sail up to the new Puerto Los Cabos Marina and slip into the luxe amenities of this master-planned, 2,000-acre, mixed-use resort community complete with its own golf course, botanical gardens, spas, and luxury accommodations. A freshly built bridge links these posh premises to the rest of the area, making excursions outside the enclave a breeze.
When wanderlust comes calling, swap your flip-flops for sneakers and stroll the narrow cobblestone streets of San José’s historic downtown. Grab a refreshingly fruity ice cream popsicle from a local paletería; then make your way to colorful Plaza Mijares and its neighboring Gallery District. Rainbow-hued papel picado banners, lively music, and spice-laden aromas fill the air throughout the plaza’s specialty boutiques, hip art galleries, and quaint courtyard eateries. Thursday evenings are especially festive during the weekly Art Walk (5-9 p.m. October–June). Artist receptions, cultural performances, and free-flowing wine make this self-guided soirée a must-see affair.
Farther afield, snuggled into the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, your organic garden of eatin’ awaits. It’s a dusty drive up a ragged road to get to Flora Farm, but once arrived you’ll be greeted by an oasis of edible greenery and an unforgettable farm-to-table feast (visit oceanhomemag.com for our video reviews). Meals are served family style in outdoor dining areas surrounded by fields of good things growing, many of which are destined for your plate. Nearby Acre boasts a similar concept and is well worth the short pilgrimage to experience its fare. If you lack time for both, plan for fruit-infused cocktails at Acre followed by wood-fired pizzas and cauliflower steaks at Flora Farm. Whatever your strategy, be sure to reserve early. These epicurean sanctuaries book up quickly.
Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park
Seeking pure, rugged, sparsely populated playas? Pack your adventure gear and trek to East Cape. Although recent developments are bringing more visitors to the area, it retains a sleepy, untouched ambiance. It also has some great spots for beach camping. The crescent cove of Bahia Los Frailes is a personal fave. The warm, gentle, crystalline waters are deliciously inviting. Swimming and snorkeling are quintessential experiences here, but you should also spend time exploring the bay by kayak. Paddle over to The Friars rocks to observe the resident sea lion colony. Affable and curious, they may swim out to greet you.
When you’re ready to commune with life beneath the sea, don your mask and dive into the vibrant waters of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. Thanks to the area’s protected status, aquatic life is abundant and the coral reef is alive and well. With roughly eight established sites to choose from, you can log some serious bottom time. Be sure to include the wreck dive at El Vencedor. The sunken trawler forms an artificial reef and is frequented by legions of pufferfish, schools of yellow snapper, and a spine-tingling shiver of resident bull sharks. Farther out at Los Morros, up-close encounters with sting rays, groupers, jewel eels, and turtles are common. Depending on the season (and your luck), you may also bear witness to the creature on every scuba diver’s bucket list: the whale shark.
Cabo Whale Sighting
On the opposite side of the Baja lies the sun-drenched surf haven El Pescadero and the art-filled Pueblo Mágico Todos Santos. You’ll want to spend a few days here, and Rancho Pescadero makes the perfect basecamp. Small, intimate, and beautifully appointed, this adults-only beachside boutique offers complimentary yoga sessions at its onsite pavilion, breezy indoor/outdoor suites, a spa by the sea, and sumptuous cuisine by Executive Chef César Pita. You won’t want to leave, but the waves are calling.
Well-seasoned surfers swoon for the consistent right breaks of San Pedrito, but use care if you join them. Swift currents and a rocky bottom make for treacherous wipeouts. For friendlier swells, hit the beach breaks at Playa Cerritos. The sandy sea floor provides softer landings while the waves are welcoming to surfers and swimmers alike. Cliffside Hacienda Cerritos, set on the jagged point north of the beach, enhances the scenery. Finish your day at the hotel’s patio bar—it’s the perfect perch for sipping cocktails as the sun slips into the sea.
To the north, the intriguing artist colony of Todos Santos provides a kaleidoscope of paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, and handicrafts to explore. Tequila tasting rooms and tiny taco stands are other worthy pursuits in this authentic Mexican town. Snag a snack and then wander the dusty, colonial streets to discover more than 20 gallerías along with cantinas and tourist abodes adorned with local artworks. Be sure to stop in at the colorful Hotel California. While it holds no relation to the iconic song, it’s a work of art unto itself. This town bustles throughout the year, but if you time your trip for February, you can take in all the above plus five days of folk dancing, theatre performances, live music, and hands-on workshops during the Todos Santos Art Festival.