Crystal@Home Featured Port: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Sun, Sand & Sportfishing
From Quiet Fishing Village to International Hot Spot
Nearly 500 years ago, Spanish explorer Francisco de Ulloa, commissioned by Hernán Cortés to lead expeditions up and down the “island” of California, founded what is today Mexico’s fastest-growing tourist destination: Cabo
San Lucas. In 1587, in an effort to ensure the safe passage of treasure-laden galleons on their way back to Spain, King Philip II established a fortress there to monitor an area of heavy pirate activity, and a century-and-a-half later the Jesuit mission
of Jose del Cabo helped establish the first permanent Spanish settlement of the new “Los Cabos” region. Sports fishermen discovered the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez in the mid-1900s, and soon thereafter wealthy tourists began flocking
to the unspoiled Baja community to vacation, build homes and develop world-class resorts.
Today, this unique and friendly vacation town has blossomed into a spectacular resort with a thriving restaurant and bar scene, and a unique culture based on a charming mix of small-town past and vibrant, fast-paced present. At the heart of the city, colorful vendors of traditional arts and crafts set up stalls alongside local farmers’ markets, and quaint, authentic restaurants serve up delicious regional seafood dishes and classic Mexican favorites. The Historic District’s impressive San Jose del Cabo Church, founded by Jesuits almost 300 years ago, hosts daily tours and still offers Mass in its striking interior. Cabo’s treasures include miles of pristine beaches and outstanding fishing and diving, and an infrastructure that allows tourists to take full advantage of the diverse land- and seascapes of Baja California’s most magnificent seaside destination.
While Crystal explores several locations throughout Mexico, from Cozumel to Costa Maya in the Caribbean and from Puerto Vallarta to Mazatlan in the Pacific, today we shine a light on this idyllic piece of heaven at the very southernmost tip of Baja California…Cabo San Lucas.
Dramatic and distinctive, no landmark epitomizes the area as does the stunning rock formation known as El Arco – “The Arch” or Land’s End – standing guard where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Visitors approaching by yacht, water taxi or glass-bottom boat may spot sea lions or pelicans basking on its craggy limestone surfaces, and whales feeding, playing and raising their young in the area’s warm, shallow waters. El Arco’s Playa del Amor, or “Lover’s Beach,” one of the most photographed beaches in the area, is only accessible by boat or a difficult rock climb, but swimming here is safe and ideal for snorkeling. Strong Pacific currents off the much larger Playa del Divorcio, or “Divorce Beach,” make swimming and diving dangerous activities.
WHERE THE MOUNTAINS MEET THE SEA
Truly a recreational paradise, canyons, sand dunes and a dry Mediterranean climate make the starkly beautiful Baja California Desert the ideal area for horseback riding, ATV tours, hiking, and ziplining. Those seeking an active beach scene hang out at Cabo’s main swimming area and center of tourism, Playa el Médano; hotels, palapa bars and al fresco restaurants line the crowded shores of this “in-town” popular area where beach parties and high-energy dance clubs attract young people wanting to see, be seen and socialize. World-class golf at some of Mexico’s most scenic courses attracts players from far and wide, while sailing tours and catamaran cruises tempt visitors with breathtaking sunset views.
Sportfishing in Cabo – an industry contributing an estimated $1 billion per year to the local economy and still the town’s main attraction – entices both novice and professional fishermen with over 850 varieties of fish and several annual high-paying, premier fishing tournaments. Whether onshore fishing for halibut or bass or offshore, deep-water trophy fishing for sailfish, swordfish or blue marlin, anglers couldn’t ask for better fishing grounds than the rich waters off the majestic El Arco where the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez come together. Although regulations restrict the number of fish caught and allowable methods of catching fish in Cabo, there is no limit to the practice of catch-and-release, ensuring that native fish populations not only survive but thrive for generations to come.
Under the Sea
Cabo San Lucas' main attractions include the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, location of the only surviving coral reef in the Gulf of California, and marine life – manta rays, sharks, dorado and dolphins – that is among the most diverse in the world. The dazzling Sea of Cortez, a gulf between the Baja Peninsula and Mexican mainland once dubbed “the world’s aquarium” by underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, is famed for the vast array of fish species and marine mammals that breed here. The legendary sandfalls of Cabo San Lucas – rivers of sand flowing down vertical cliffs on the ocean floor – are a rare and magnificent natural phenomenon.