Paradise at the End of the World

by Matthew Dexter

If you're looking for an oceanic escape unlike any other coastal destination on earth, look no further. Los Cabos is a majestic playground on the edge of the earth, where the tip of the Baja California peninsula sinks gradually into the sea. Here the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez connect, kiss the aquatic mountains, carve an arch in the rocks, and part toward the heavens. Land's end beaches in this region are among the most scenic on the planet, especially between the twin cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Hidden within this mostly secluded twenty mile treasure of coastline you will find space where time stands still, where breathless moments of natural beauty last an eternity.

This jagged shoreline forms enclaves and warm tide pools that will draw you into the horizon like the setting sun. The snorkeling, swimming, and fishing on these beaches is the best in Baja, and the color of the water is like no other shade in existence. Turquoise hues paint the waves a bluish green, merging perfectly with the golden sand and pink corral rocks which encompass the backdrop. You will be immersed in the natural splendor of the canvas of land's end, and then you will begin to discover that paradise does exist in certain infinite forms.

But should you ever get bored with the tranquil beaches of the ‘tourist corridor,’ which is the local name attributed to this spectacular stretch of land, there is always action in Cabo San Lucas at Medano beach, just adjacent to the marina. Here the water sports are unlimited, the sky is filled with flying Parasailors, and the water is filled with kayakers, wave runners, boats, cruise ships, and anything else that floats. Venders comb the beaches with products of all persuasions, and the bars and restaurants are among the most exciting in Mexico.

Medano Beach is the place to go for people watching, bikini contests, and a great place for children because the water is tranquil and the waves meek. This is also a great place to find a boat to take you over to Lover's Beach, where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez and the waves break upon the golden sand from opposite directions and collide on the land from both sides. If you ever get tired of sitting on the beach and desire to go farther out to sea , then you can rent a water craft or a fishing boat at the marina and take an excursion for the purpose of escaping the heat and reeling in some marlins.

The sport fishing scene in Cabo San Lucas is world renowned. Each October prestigious tournaments occur and offer unprecedented millions in prize money for the lucky fishermen who can reel aboard the biggest catch and bring it back to the shore in time. You will find a plethora of deep-sea fishing excursions and different types of boats and interesting, quirky local characters to take you out on the water. They will have everything you need for the day; drinks, food, music, and anything else you request will be quickly and efficiently provisioned.

Traveling by catamaran or chartered boat between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo is the best way to see all the scenic beaches at the southernmost tip of the peninsula. There are dozens of wonderful boats that embark upon these pleasure cruises each day. Here you can meet other tourists, or take a smaller craft and travel with your loved ones and friends, instead of embracing the aquatic party that usually develops on these wild offshore excursions. Either way, you will be able to see how the desert land curls like a golden snake and exposes the secret uninhabited beaches that shimmer in the distance, inviting exploration and enjoyment.

About halfway between San Jose and San Lucas are two of the most amazing beaches in Mexico, Chileno and Santa Maria. Here you will enjoy the best snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming in the Cabo area. These may be popular spots and are sometimes quite busy, so it's best to go early in the morning, especially during the week because all the locals frequent the beaches during the weekends. The best weekend beach for privacy is in San Jose, between Costa Azul, where you first pass the giant overhead road sign welcoming you to San Jose del Cabo, and Brisas beachside bar and RV park, at kilometer 29 on the four lane trans-peninsular highway connecting San Jose with San Lucas.

The Cabo San Lucas marina is among the finest in the world, surrounded by dozens of the best restaurants, stores, and bars in all of Mexico. The Puerto Paraiso shopping center is a newly constructed upscale mall with a plethora of opportunities and even a multiplex movie theatre on the top level. Puerto Paraiso is also adjacent to the marina and within walking distance from Playa Medano, and if you ever get a rainy day, which you won't, there is no better place to walk around than inside this spectacular shopping mall denoted in Spanish as ‘Paradise Port.’

Los Cabos is the end of the real world and the beginning of the fantasy realm. The oceanic natural beauty will inspire you to find something deep within your soul. A piece of ecstatic sublime that you will want to hold on to forever. The majestic mountains descend into caves filled with breaking waves and the arch at land's end will make you want to pass through paradise and enter heaven. But be careful what you wish for, because you may never want to leave. •


Why Go
Certain destinations evoke preconceived notions of spectacular beauty and infinite opportunity. Cabo San Lucas is no different. It’s a majestic playground on the edge of the earth. Warm waves from the Sea of Cortez embrace cool cascades from the Pacific. Mountains kiss ripples in the water. The aquatic arch carved naturally into the rocks marches toward the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula. This angelic golden gateway serves and marks the perfect place to start your excursion. Paddle through and decide for yourself where dreams become reality. The Scenic land’s end beaches in the Sea are among the best on the planet. Secluded and diverse, this oasis coastline leaves you immersed in unprecedented panoramic scenery, with whales and sea lions beneath your kayak to keep you company. The constantly evolving rock face fades gracefully into the jaggedly protruding shoreline, showing you the way, as you paddle northeasterly along the uninhabited golden beaches, amid turquoise currents which orbit your kayak. The tourist corridor is the shoreline connecting Cabo San Lucas with San Jose del Cabo. This is the most spectacular place to paddle in the Sea of Cortez. It’s the ride of a lifetime. Rewarding, yet dangerous. Usually tranquil. Always unpredictable.

If You Go
Expect the unexpected. Weather is temperate, water is always warm, but temperatures fluctuate. During summer months daytime temperatures can reach upwards of 115. Dramatic temperature drops are not uncommon when the sun goes down. This is especially true in May and November. Bring sunscreen, hat, food, clothes, tent, cell phone, and an abundance of fresh drinking water. Call Tio Sports for kayak rentals when you arrive. 143-3399 (www.tiosports.com) For the best guidebook pick up Los Cabos Guide at any hotel. (www.loscabosguide.com) Costa Azul for outfitting. Weather can also change in the blink of an eye. Hurricanes between July and October can be devastating. Make sure to bring a radio for warnings or read the local paper before the storm impacts the tip of the peninsula. If a hurricane hits, give yourself sufficient time to assure you’re safely onshore, away from the beaches to wait out the storm. But when the rains cease, head directly for the Sierra de la Laguna Dry Forest to paddle the unfathomable precipitation, amid mesmerizing improvised ponds and glistening streams created by the torrential fountains pouring down the mountain.

While You’re There
Many beaches will be uninhabited, and you’ll have miles to explore. Hiking, fishing, snorkeling, swimming midcourse at Chileno and Santa Maria are best. Currents, riptides, and undertow can be hazardous, so please bring a life vest. Even highly experienced swimmers have died in these picturesque waters. Bring a buddy to paddle with, and remember this is Mexico, so 911 doesn’t work. Dial 066 instead, and speaking some Spanish and keeping track of your progress with the guidebook map of the beaches will help. All beaches in Mexico are public, so you can camp anywhere. No permits required. There are also dozens of hotels along the corridor. Some of the world’s best resorts. Eat, camp, grab a beer, margaritas at Brisas beachside bar and RV park at kilometer 29, just past Zippers when you arrive in San Jose.

from the March-April 2007 issue

Los Cabos is a majestic playground on the edge of the earth, where the tip of the Baja California peninsula sinks gradually into the sea.

photographs by Matthew Dexter