CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO
by EPIC DMC Los Cabos
CABO SAN LUCAS –
Where is Cabo San Lucas?
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is approximately one-thousand miles south from the border of California, U.S.A. It is located at the most southern tip of the Baja Peninsula which is the second longest in the world. The Pacific Ocean runs along the western side of the Baja Peninsula while the Sea of Cortez is on the eastern side. On a world map, the Baja Peninsula is west of mainland Mexico separated by the Sea of Cortez, appearing to be an extension of California in the United States. Located where “The land ends and ocean begins…” at the very tip of the Baja Peninsula is how you will most easily find Cabo San Lucas on a map..
Is Cabo San Lucas different from other tourist destinations in Mexico?
Cabo San Lucas is one of the most visited today by tourists from around the world as it continues to grow in popularity during the last twenty-five years. The destination is more “Americanized,” offers more diversity, cleaner, safer, English friendly, has exceptional quality restaurants, and the highest rated hotels in all of Mexico collectively. Aside from the beauty, hotels, and activities North American tourists find the direct flights from major airports or cities more affordable, less flying time, and a Mexican destination not considered to be, “…too touristee.”
High-end visitors enjoy the exclusivity as it is adhered to and always honored for the rich, high-end, famous, or high profile. Catering to all types of people is a reputation Cabo San Lucas has not only gained quickly but it is well ahead of the curve even though it is still a young destination in Mexico. Cabo San Lucas also provides flexible options for families; many of the hotels or resorts provide day care, in-room babysitters, play centers, children’s pool activities, arcades, and all-inclusive packages. Finally, the combination of beauty, sunsets, natural environment, climate, wildlife, plant life, and sea life are fascinating no matter where you go and what you do.
Is Cabo safe for tourists? Studies have shown that Cabo San Lucas is 90% safer than the Midwest in the United States! Crimes of physical assault, battery, rape, and robbery committed against tourists or residents by Mexicans living in Cabo are basically non-existent. Cabo San Lucas has an impeccable record over the years regarding the safety of international tourists.
In fact, the majority of safety, medical, or injury related issues arise due to tourists not obeying rules during tours or activities, excessive drinking of alcohol, lack of water intake causing dehydration which can become life threatening in some instances, failure to wear helmets in ATV tours, driving all terrain vehicles on the highway, not following rules of the road or driving intoxicated in rental cars, riding on motor scooters with no experience and at high speeds, not wearing helmets for activities, and ignoring the swimming precautions in dangerous waters with strong currents or undertows.
On occasion however, incidents of stolen wallets, passports, money, or purses left unattended at the beach by the careless or intoxicated will likely be taken advantage of. When at the beach, tourists need to be aware of their surroundings. The best advice when planning to go to the most popular beaches is the following NOT to do: no passports, no wallets, no purses and only beach bags, no excessive amount of money, no jewelry, and nothing left unattended for long periods of time. Be sure to secure your hotel room key at all times. Of course, this is true no matter which beach you go to at home however it is common that tourists tend to not take precautions and get careless during the fun.
Are there quality hospitals in case of a medical emergency? Hospitals or emergency services in Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos as a whole are far better than other tourist destinations around Mexico. Medical facilities are: state-of-the-art, providing modernized equipment, centrally located, employing bilingual staff, offer highly qualified doctors, will accept foreigners traveling abroad insurance, ambulances services are on site immediately, and emergency room support. In case of life threatening situations requiring complicated surgery or specialized hospitalization for critical care patients, medical air charters are on 24-hour standby for necessary flights to hospitals in the U.S.
Are water, food, and hygiene safe in Cabo? Cabo San Lucas is likely the most clean and hygienic destination in Mexico today. Exceptional cleanliness standards in service-related businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and even tours or activities provide North American hygiene.
- Water – Bottled water is available everywhere and oftentimes shipped in from the U.S. due to the isolation of the destination. Drinking water from the faucet is not recommended as is anywhere in North America. However, local supplies are pumped in from a freshwater river in San Jose del Cabo providing hotels and communities water so it is clean but may not taste great. Ice in Margaritas and beverages always comes from bottled water.
- Food – “Montezuma’s Revenge” used to be an expected part of traveling in Mexico but in the last decade or so, sanitary food practices have been improved dramatically. Due to being a new destination with American influence at the development stages in tourism, Cabo has always been ahead of the curve. Ironically, much of the beef in fine dining restaurants or hotels is shipped in from the United States. Fresh fish, seafood, and tuna is caught daily in surrounding local waters while lobster is harvested just north. “Street Food” where tacos, hot dogs, fruit, burritos, and other great tasting meals are places to especially avoid from eating.
- Hygiene – Hotels and most fine dining restaurants in Cabo pride themselves on standards of hygiene according to North American standards. Mexican Government requirements in hygiene have vastly improved with frequent inspections by officials. Some hotels or restaurants have surpassed requirements being awarded exceptional standards of service in tourism. Restaurants are owned and managed within resorts or restaurants a majority of the time unique to Cabo so tourists can feel comfortable that hygiene policies are adhered to.
Is Cabo like other destinations in Mexico? One important thing to mention: Cabo San Lucas was and continues to be a collaborative effort as U.S. citizens already living or owning land assisted in the conceptualization of the area along with Mexican land owners, federal tourism officials, and developers that would be the most accommodating place for the North American public. The destination reflects the requirements, demands, and appeals to the United States and Canadian audiences ensuring a safe visit with maximum experiences.
Cabo is not like other tourist destinations in Mexico, not even close and incomparable. The “locals” tend to make jokes about the influence from the United States while the majority, seemingly feel like Cabo is an extension of the U.S.A.
What should be expected for first-time travelers? Cabo San Lucas is also the most repeated tourist town in Mexico as one trip is simply not enough, growth is doubling every five years, and unfortunately those “must-see’s” or “must-do’s” are lost due to a lack of time, too many possibilities, and a little overwhelming especially for first-timers. Planning in advance is the optimum way to make sure your time is programmed, and trying to stick to the plan is the most difficult as soon as you step foot outside of the Los Cabos International Airport. If you’ve been to Cabo before, you understand…if not, you will understand as soon as your airplane takes off for the return trip home.
Is Cabo for families? Those on budgets or traveling with older adults or children can be assisted by EPIC DMC Los Cabos. Discounts, booking advanced reservations, and accommodations are offered as some of the most affordable deals available. In many cases, Cabo San Lucas is actually sometimes cheaper than traveling within the United States or to theme parks and bigger cities. Car rentals are shockingly reasonable, insurance coverage is required but less than twenty dollars daily, and souvenirs, restaurants, tours, and activities are worth the price.
What if I cannot speak Spanish? Cabo San Lucas is a destination that is actually more Americanized than anywhere in Mexico. Some 90% of travelers originate from English-speaking countries mostly the United States or Canada. Therefore, tourists have either heard great things about Cabo San Lucas, or been highly recommended to go, or they feel like the destination is the right amount of Mexico while being a place that offers aspects and comforts equivalent to North American standards. Comparing Cabo to other parts of Mexico is understandable as it is extremely similar to a Mexican experience with North American understanding, values, and standards.
What attracts people to Cabo San Lucas? Natural wonders abound in every direction, the collection of hotels and resorts offer over twenty rated as five stars, fishing is abundant, golf is world-class with signature courses designed by the best, activities on land, air, and sea are endless, destination weddings are magnificent, villas and mansions with million-dollar views can be rented on a daily basis, and home buying is hotter than ever. Cabo San Lucas is also home to one of earth’s natural wonders and now an icon aptly named, “The Arch.”
Diversity, nature, tours, water sports, fishing, golf, attractions, activities, publicity, celebrity, exceptional climate, cleanliness, safety, and real estate are merely a few reasons for a substantial growth in Cabo. Americans feel comfortable with the destination based on the endorsements by famous personalities. Average people planning a vacation think to themselves, “If they visit Cabo in Mexico, it must be safe and accommodating for my family or for me!” Include a vast number of tourists who have experienced something memorable, and the result is a genuine love affair with the destination.
Why are ocean activities fascinating? Cabo San Lucas is unique, acting as a connecting point for two contrasting bodies of water. The merging of colder Pacific Ocean currents with a stagnantly warm Sea of Cortez has created an incomparable environment for an array of underwater sea life to flourish during the last 15 million years. The longest corral reef in the Northern Western Hemisphere is found in the Sea of Cortez known as the “East Cape,” and only second to Australia’s in sea species. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving are two of the best ways to interact with these fascinating underwater environments and life forms.
Sport fishing is the most popular activity in Cabo San Lucas today but SCUBA diving, snorkeling, jet skis and wave runners, glass bottom boat rides, and more allow tourists the chance to interact with thousands of species of fish many of which are only found in Cabo. Giant Manta Rays are common sightings and sometimes have wingspans of up to fifteen feet and friendly sea lions are surprisingly large in person, swim around tourists playfully, and are found in the hundreds at the Sea Lion Colony on the last rock at “Land’s End.”
Annually, various types of whales have been migrating to the warm waters of Cabo San Lucas for tens of millions of years. Tours capitalize on these sensational sight seeing activities during the months of January through the first two weeks of April. Surely, this is a “must do” activity if visiting the region at this time.
Why land tours, activities, and golf are unique in Cabo? Combine mountain ranges, deserts, microclimates, rain creating freshwater rivers and subsequent waterfalls, cactus, the Tropic of Cancer to the east, and the overall result is nearly a perfect climate 350 days per year. Indigenous species of wild life and plant life have been allowed to flourish over hundreds of thousands of years as the region was relatively untouched, and remains unindustrialized still.
The views and diversity are vastly different than any other region in the world and exploration in guided tours, or activities, and even golf, are unique experiences each and every time. In addition, the microclimates change abruptly from dry, arid deserts to tropical plants blooming beautiful flowers, palm trees mixed with indigenous trees that grow from rocks and only found just outside of Cabo, and wild life including eagles, vultures, reptiles, and even deer sightings are possible in the higher mountain ranges.
To top it off, national parks are protected by Mexico but trails are accessible as ranch owners and Mexican Tourism Officials work together to allow tourists to enter into these areas with full access. In Mexico, federal areas are open to the public by law, and ranchers own hundreds of acres or even square miles that are priceless. Owning waterfalls, a mountain peek, an arroyo, or an oasis was only recently opened up for tours and an unforgettable experience in Cabo.
How Cabo became a place to call “home” for Americans? Historically, Cabo was popularized by word of mouth in the Hollywood community, and slowly but surely southern Californians longing for a bohemian, hippie, less restrictive, artsy, or surfer lifestyle journeyed south of the border. These free-spirits would travel in a long, bumpy, and oftentimes dangerous car adventure resting in small towns along the way. Traveling down the 1000 mile strip of land in order to reach Cabo during the 60’s and 70’s would take about one week or longer, if nothing went wrong.
Commonly, American visitors ended up camping, squatting, or renting for months and many decided to quit their jobs and move down permanently. Many of these pioneers still live in Cabo San Lucas today, while being successful entrepreneurs, photographers, artists, magazine publishers, writers, or own restaurants and boutique hotels among other things. Additionally, some of the U.S. founders now have adult children nicknamed “Caboyeros,” a term used for children born in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Especially in the late 80’s to early 90’s, citizens from the United States purchased enormous amounts of land in and around the region of Cabo San Lucas. Most from the U.S came from Orange County, California or Texas while some Canadians and Mexicans came from Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Visionary entrepreneurs, real estate owners, and developers, passionate about the region while usually already living in Cabo aggressively began their planning.
Why is Cabo so publicized today? Some of the first attractions have garnered worldwide attention historically, ultimately pushing Cabo into the media spotlight. U.S. travelers who visited Mexico were familiar with Acapulco, then Puerto Vallarta and finally, Cancun. All offered different experiences in Mexico however mixed reviews developed over time. The overpopulation, “Springbreaker” crowds, cleanliness, safety, inflated prices, and overall boredom as no new hotels, tours, and activities were developed.
Cabo San Lucas offered bigger, better, and something new all at the same time. The destination was underdeveloped, small, diverse, safe, exclusive, beautiful, a short flight, and more affordable airline tickets. Moreover, Americans were given the opportunity as the driving force as Mexicans would provide the backbone in the creation of Cabo, to be unlike other destinations. This group of pioneers knew that blockbuster events, big names, and A-list celebrities were a part of American culture which could be tapped in to. Over a short period, the press took notice and so did travelers. Attention has grown hundreds of times over in the last 20 years or so.
Why is Cabo now a part of the “Pop Culture” in the United States? The following are only some of the main attractions explaining what specifically has attracted tourists to Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos:
- The Arch - The Arch is an icon around the world today; a mysterious yet beautiful natural wonder and located perfectly at the very tip of a remarkable peninsula. After tens of millions of years, the combination of powerful winds, crashing Pacific Ocean currents, tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity around the “Pacific Rim,” powerful hurricanes, and the slipping away of a deep underwater canyon range just beneath Land’s End all helped in the creation of what we now call, The Arch.
- Deep Sea Sports Fishing - The Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Sports Fishing Tournament celebrated its 25th anniversary in October of 2006; awards the biggest prize money of any fishing tournament jackpot in the world today. In October of 2006, the jackpot total was over 4 million U.S. dollars!
The Bisbee’s Sports Fishing Tournament capitalized on the richest Black, Blue, and Striped Marlin waters for sports fishing enthusiasts. The annual tournament is the media event in Cabo each October, considered to be the “Super Bowl of Sports Fishing.” Quickly, the tournament gained worldwide following, covered by ESPN Sports, major magazines, Cabo enthusiasts, celebrities, and the world’s best sports fishermen. Entry fees alone for The Bisbee’s Black and Blue are now an incredible $25,000 U.S. dollars!
- Golf - Golf in Cabo is the most popular activity in the destination now. The main reason was due to the two signature golf courses designed by Jack Nickalaus nearly 20 years ago. “The Bear” had visited Cabo as a tourist, loved the terrain, and jumped on board immediately when courted by a group of developers, both American and Mexican. Being the most well recognized golfer in the world, Jack Nickalaus created the golfer’s paradise and at the same time, designed his first of what has become a series of golf courses in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Estimated to be open for play in May of 2007, the multi-million dollar and master planned community in San Jose del Cabo called, Puerto Los Cabos. This Jack Nickalaus’ 9-hole design is a joint venture with Greg Norman. “The Shark’s” first signature course consisting of 18 holes, and 27 holes combined by two of the world’s icons in the sport has become the next big thing in Los Cabos.
In January of 2007, “The Bear” made headlines again agreeing to design two more signature golf courses within the master planned community along the Pacific Ocean called, Cabo Pacifica. Among golf’s greatest names, there are a collection of eight golf courses currently. The destination has hosted the Senior Slam, The PGA Pro-Am tournaments, and celebrity tournaments. Professionals from around the world are known to play a few rounds during their vacations.
- Cabo Wabo Cantina & Cabo Wabo Tequila - Sammy Hagar had been a common visitor in the area for years before building the Cabo Wabo Cantina. Many stories about his experiences in Cabo San Lucas when it was only a small fishing town have been well documented. His passion for Tequila, the quaint lifestyle in Mexico seemed much more real than his hectic rock-n-roll lifestyle, fishing was a favorite for him, and he had a vision which would combine all of these.
Cabo Wabo Cantina offers good American food with Mexican flair, inexpensive meals, live concerts nightly, and now the most famous Tequila in all of the world aptly called, Cabo Wabo. More than the restaurant itself, Sammy’s Tequila became the vehicle in the promotion of Mexico, Cabo Wabo Cantina, and Cabo San Lucas. His fame during the Van Halen days as the lead singer provided constant access to the media, and he used it as any good businessman would.
The heavily promoted Cabo Wabo Cantina and Cabo Wabo Tequila brand was a turning point for Cabo San Lucas. The Sammy Hagar Birthday Bash Celebration concert was free for anyone traveling to the destination and now lasts two weeks and is the “kick-off” for the “high season” in Cabo at the beginning of every October right before the fishing tournaments.
Even the famous like Mick Jagger, Eddie Van Halen, and Tommy Lee are only some of those seen in the crowd or, joining the festivities spontaneously. Paparazzi, print publications, and numerous television affiliates in the U.S. and even internationally, attend enthusiastically. Dedicated followers of Sammy Hagar have been nicknamed, “Red Heads” and flood the streets of Cabo yearly.
- Marina Cabo San Lucas - A state-of-the-art marina in Cabo San Lucas was constructed in order to house million-dollar yachts, high-tech sports fishing vessels, and cruise ship passenger. The 380 slip marina provides the infrastructure hosting an extensive boardwalk, glass bottom boat rides, tours, activities, sunset cruises, restaurants, shops, and picture taking opportunities.
- El Squid Roe – Nightlife in Cabo is well recognized and a tradition yet nothing compares to the success or popularity of El Squid Roe. Almost 15 years later, El Squid Roe has become an icon on its own; celebrities, professional athletes, models, pop singers, average adults, Spring Breakers, and even couples frequent the establishment as one of the “must do’s” during their vacation. Known for being raucous and playing ear drum blasting music, it definitely exceeds expectations!
During the daytime, lunch at the restaurant is surprisingly good providing great service. Souvenirs, pinstriped personnel, two-story design, party theme, and open-aired facility makes El Squid Roe unique whether stopping by for a meal and Margarita at noon or entering into the thumping frenzy of dancers and partiers at night. There is no cover charge but drinks are pricey however, people line up year-round to get in.
- Planet Hollywood – Sylvester Stallone has owned a mansion overlooking Cabo San Lucas for years in the exclusive and first million-dollar residential community, Pedregal. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis partnered in a “pop culture restaurant” chain named Planet Hollywood. Cabo San Lucas was targeted as one of the worldwide locations.
Upon the grand opening of the establishment, a mega-event celebrated the destination putting Cabo in the limelight. Eventually, Planet Hollywood in Cabo went out of business as Americans had little interest in frequenting a restaurant they could find at home. The attention however, was an enormous boost for Cabo giving the destination credibility on a larger scale.
- Television – “Wild On” produced by E! Entertainment shoots has a long history in documenting the nightlife in Cabo San Lucas. MTV Productions first began producing shows in the destination almost a decade ago and now visit more than five times per year. MTV’s new program called “Laguna Beach” is shot at the Melia Hotel Cabo San Lucas annually for one week. “Orange County” on the Fox Network has visited more recently while an infamous television series more than ten years ago called “Land’s End,” was filmed on-location in Cabo for years.
- Movies, Documentaries, Music Videos, Photo Shoots, and Films – Most famously, “Troy” produced by Warner Bros. starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana, and Peter O’Toole was filmed in one of the most expensive epic films ever made. The production was highly publicized for the problems experienced with extreme heat conditions and even a hurricane destroying the sets. In order to complete the movie, the great “Wall of Troy” had to be rebuilt while the overall shoot in Cabo San Lucas extended to nearly an eight month period. Upon theatrical release and later DVD, Cabo San Lucas was highlighted internationally.
Director James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator), shot a documentary in the Marina Cabo San Lucas documenting the life of an underwater diver from Cuba named Pippin. Pippin is known for setting a record in the Guinness Book of World Records as he held his breath for over four minutes and reaching an underwater sea depth of hundreds of meters. Shooting the documentary was done in individually piloted, state-of-the-art mini-submarines brought in from England.
Multi-million dollar private mansions or villas with spectacular views in Cabo play host to music video productions all of the time. Additionally, many other theatrical films are shot in and around the destination which vary from a few scenes to one month of production. National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, and other programs film more than once per month in Cabo or around the region.
Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and other NFL cheerleader squads shoot their yearly team calendars in Cabo San Lucas. The destination has become a popular venue where the diversity of beaches, exclusive properties, palm trees, yachts, beaches, blue waters, cactus, deserts, and five-star hotels, mansions, or villas provide the perfect set.
What are some of Cabo’s nicknames or phrases to remember? Cabo San Lucas has pick-upped a variety of nicknames and phrases over the last few decades such as: “Land’s End” (a television show at one time, filmed in Cabo), “The Party Begins, Where the Land Ends” (Cabo Wabo Cantina slogan), “What Happens In Cabo, Stays In Cabo,” “The Aquarium of the World” (Jacques Cousteau), “The Mystical Arch” (the most common usage), “Discover Los Cabos, Mexico…Rediscover Yourself” (The Mexican Board of Tourism, Los Cabos).