Los Cabos, Baja California Sur
Time Zone: Mountain Standard
Airport: San Jose del Cabo International Airport (SJD)
Elevation: Sea level
Los Cabos (meaning “the capes”) has been shortened to “Cabo” by most savvy Mexico travelers. Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo is comprised of Cabo San Lucas at land’s end and San Jose del Cabo, twenty miles to the north on the Sea of Cortez. Prior to the construction of the Transpeninsular Highway in 1973, stretching for over 1,000 miles from Tijuana to Los Cabos, the region was stagnant, in effect cut off from mainland Mexico and the U.S.
From a layout perspective, Los Cabos is one of the country’s largest destinations. It is set up very simply in three areas of concentration –San Jose Del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, and a region known as “The Corridor” (a 20-mile stretch of beach and golf between the two cities.) Since the airport is just outside of San Jose, this will be the first encounter for visitors who are coming in by plane.
San Jose del Cabo attracts an older traveler than San Lucas, as it is a traditional town more reminiscent of the Colonial Cities on mainland Mexico. It has been said that San Lucas is where you party hard…and San Jose is where you sleep off the hangover. This is a true Mexican town with the same charm and colonial splendor it has had since a Jesuit mission brought its founding population here in 1730. Quiet and subdued, it is the perfect retreat for those looking all the amenities without the crowds. San Jose del Cabo is a nearly 270-year-old semitropical town with an abundance of mangroves, avocado and orange trees.
Leaving San Jose and traveling down “The Corridor” will showcase not only some of Mexico’s finest hotels and gated communities, but also some of the Baja’s most stunning beaches. This is also the area where Los Cabos is establishing itself as one of the top golf venues in North America. Certainly one of the most prestigious of Mexico’s golf destinations, Los Cabos has been called the “golf capital of Latin America.”
Finally, you will arrive at the town of Cabo San Lucas, certainly the best known of the bunch. This is the epicenter of tourism with one side facing the crashing Pacific and the other side facing the quiet waters of the Sea of Cortez highlighted by the much-photographed landmark rock-outcropping, El Arco. Here fishing and diving are king and nightlife is queen. Since Cabo San Lucas only began to come to life in the 1970’s, you won’t find any historic buildings or ancient culture, but you will find a busy marina lined with restaurants and bars, and plenty of shopping.
Los Cabos’ stark, desert setting contrasts with the azure-blue sea creating a visual wonder, where swarms of expats are buying condos and villas, taking advantage of the now easy access to the U.S. Once a sleepy fishing village that attracted primarily sport-fishermen, it is now known as the place to party for much of Southern California and Arizona.
Interesting day-trips are to drive an hour up the west side of the peninsula to Todos Santos, a green oasis old town that has attracted a vibrant art colony. It’s also worth the two-hour drive up the coast to the state capital, La Paz.