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For general information  about Los Cabos, choose a topic below. For more detail, explore the links! Surf to your heart's content, but please remember to bookmark this page so you can find your way back!

Commercial sites are listed for information only, not as endorsements. Links featured at the tops of categories are websites of particular interest, or in some cases paid links. Paid links help support this site, so please check them out!

All links, including paid links, are screened for content before they are accepted, and it is Cabobob's desire to list only reputable sites. Even so, a listing cannot be taken as any kind of warranty or representation about the quality of a site, its information, claims, products or services offered. Please rely on your own judgment here as you would anywhere else.

Please keep in mind that there's a lot more in Los Cabos than can be found on the Web. Most businesses don't have websites, and many don't advertise or even have telephones. That's part of the adventure of living or visiting in Los Cabos. But, you won't find a better place than Cabobob's to explore Los Cabos on the Web!


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Nature and Geography
Los Cabos sunsets are hard to beat. You can watch the sun and moon rise over the Sea of Cortez and set over the Pacific Ocean, all in the same day. And, from the same spot! A full moon floating above the Sea of Cortez is a sight well worth seeing, and the lights of the stars dancing among the lights of fishing boats on the bay is as romantic a vision as you're ever likely to see.

Look for whales and dolphins in one direction, look the other way and see roadrunners, hawks, or maybe an eagle or caracara circling above the cactus, and thunderheads rising above the 7,000-foot Laguna Mountains. You could say the sea is blue, the sand white, the hills red or green and the mountains purple, but you can't really describe the colors, and they are always changing.

The signature Los Cabos landmark is El Arco, a natural stone arch at the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula. The arch marks the meeting of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, each an unpredictable shade of blue or green. Large swells boil up where the two ocean currents collide. Vistas of the arch and Cape Saint Luke's long arm encircling San Lucas Bay dominate the view from miles away. The bay is usually crowded with fishing and sightseeing boats, sailboats, jet skis, yachts, kayaks, and the occasional cruise ship or warship. In the daytime it's a postcard seascape, at night a panorama of glitter on dark velvet.

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Baja California is a narrow peninsula, often less than fifty miles wide, but nearly a thousand miles long. The peninsula is a jagged finger of mountains and desert poked southward from the U.S. border (alta California) into the Pacific Ocean. Baja was ripped apart from the Mexican mainland by millions of years of geologic violence. The resulting chasm, among the deepest on the planet, was filled by the ocean to form the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California).

The Sea of Cortez is a long arm of the Pacific Ocean wedged between Baja and the Mexican mainland. The upwelling of nutrients from its cold depths to its tropical surface helps to make the Sea of Cortez the world's most productive fishery, and home to more than 800 species of marine vertebrates.

Some say the name California derives from Calafia, mythical queen of the Amazons, whose home in a 15th century Spanish novel was the island of California. Possibly the giant figures found in prehistoric cave paintings in the Baja mountains were mistaken for Amazons. Indian myths also speak of giant saguaro-like cardon cacti taking human form and wandering the desert at night. Another theory is that the name comes from the Latin words callida formax (hot oven), said to be the words uttered by conquistador Hernán Cortés when he first set foot on what he thought was a desert island. The name is controversial, but no one can dispute that Baja is the original California, nor that all the theories of the origin of its name aptly describe its character.

The Baja Peninsula is divided politically into two Mexican states. The northern state is called Baja (lower) California and the southern state is Baja California Sur (south). Baja California Sur has 516 miles of coastline on the Sea of Cortez side, and another 870 miles on the Pacific Ocean, making nearly one-fifth of Mexico's total coastline. Los Cabos, the southernmost part of Baja Sur, boasts some of Mexico's most beautiful beaches, and is the only part of Baja lying within the tropics.

Inland from the beaches, the landscape is sandy desert, brush, cactus and rugged hills rising to the majestic Laguna Mountains, where alpine valleys support oaks and pine trees a mile above the ocean. The few human inhabitants in scattered villages and ranchos share the land with lizards, rattlesnakes, coyotes, deer and a variety of birds and other desert wildlife.

The Los Cabos climate ranges from tropical near the beach to arid inland and alpine in the mountains. Weather is generally warm and dry, and especially mild in the winter. However, summers are hot and often humid, with hurricanes and tropical storms sometimes a threat, and winter frosts are not unusual at higher elevations.


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Towns and People
Los Cabos (The Capes) is the municipio (county) at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. It includes two main towns, Cabo San Lucas, at the extreme tip of the peninsula, and San José del Cabo, on the Sea of Cortez twenty miles northeast by four-lane highway along the corridor, together with Cabo del Este (East Cape), and the Pacific capes between San Lucas and Todos Santos.

The majority of local residents are immigrants from the Mexican mainland drawn to Los Cabos by economic opportunity. They are joined by increasing numbers of foreign expatriates and entrepreneurs, especially norteamericanos from the U. S. and Canada. Most locals speak some English along with their Spanish, and dollars are very popular. It is still possible to find a few native Cabeños, who trace their ancestry back through generations of Indian, Spanish, English and German ancestors.

Cabo San Lucas is totally the party town, all resorts, restaurants, shops, nightclubs and extravagant homes, except for the dusty back streets where most of the Mexican workers live. A great town for people-watching and tourist stuff. Music and aromas from open-air grills fill the air. One tries to ignore the noise of traffic, street hustlers and competing musicians, and the increasing dust and smog. Fortunately, the smog still smells more like seafood barbecues than exhaust pipes. Cabo's booming population already exceeds 30,000, and it doubles during the winter tourist season.

The tourism boom provides a relatively high (and expensive) standard of living for the fast-growing population. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent for Mexicans in Los Cabos, although pay is low by U. S. standards and immigration rules can make jobs hard to find for foreigners. The thriving economy makes the region a magnet for workers and entrepreneurs from the Mexican mainland, and for investors from the U. S., Canada, Europe and Japan.

San José del Cabo has its share of resorts and tourist traps, but is an older, more sedate and more authentic Mexican town, cleaner and quieter than Cabo San Lucas. San José is also the administrative center and seat of government for Los Cabos. The town rests on several hills overlooking the Sea of Cortez, near a freshwater estuary formed by the Rio San José, a river that flows mostly underground from the mountains. The estuary is a bird and wildlife preserve. San José has a traditional town plaza for frequent fiestas. Downtown buildings date to Spanish colonial days, and many have been restored for modern uses. Some of Baja's best surfing is along the Costa Azul near San José .

The Corridor, between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, has developed rapidly in recent years, and contains some of Mexico's finest beaches, resorts, and golf courses. New construction is booming. The four lane carretera provides easy access to the resorts and beaches between the two towns.

The East Cape stretches nearly a hundred miles along the Sea of Cortez from San José, eastward and northward past Los Barriles. This beautiful stretch of desert coastline is still mostly undeveloped, with few paved roads, and electricity and fresh water are scarce. However, development is coming. The main East Cape towns of Los Barriles and Buena Vista are thriving fishing and tourist communities, and the windsurfing center of Los Cabos. The more remote Cabo Pulmo draws divers to the most northerly coral reef in the Pacific.

The Pacific Coastline north of Cabo San Lucas is developing more rapidly. Electricity and other services are pushing northward from Cabo and southward from Todos Santos. Several exclusive residential projects are already built or underway, and others are planned. Much of this spectacular coastline is still undeveloped, but the paved highway provides easy access and sightseeing, including frequent whale sightings during the winter months.

Inland villages, such as Santiago, Miraflores, Las Cuevas and El Triunfo have changed relatively little with the influx of tourists to the coastal areas. These communities still retain much of their historical character. Many residents still engage in traditional occupations like cattle ranching, farming, leatherworking and mining.


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History
Los Cabos has a colorful history, encompassing ancient Indian cultures, Spanish conquistadores and missionaries, British and Dutch pirates, French and German settlers, U.S. and other military invaders, and modern artists, writers, architects, adventurers and pleasure seekers from all over the globe.

The Pericú Indians and their ancestors had Los Cabos to themselves until the first Europeans arrived from Spain in 1533. It was nearly another 200 years before the conquerors were able to overcome fierce Indian resistance and harsh conditions to establish the first permanent Spanish settlement on Baja, a Jesuit mission founded at Loreto in 1697.

The logs of Spanish galleons refer to the estuary at San José as aguada segura, or "safe watering place". Pirates used the estuary for fresh water, and hid behind the cape at San Lucas to ambush the galleons, loaded with Mexican gold and silver, sailing from Acapulco to the Philippines to buy silks and spices. There are, of course, many stories of sunken and buried treasure!

In 1587, Thomas of Cavendish, a British pirate, sacked the "invincible" galleon Santa Ana off Los Cabos, and put 190 survivors, including women, ashore at the San José estuary. That prompted King Philip II of Spain to charter soldiers and Jesuit missionaries to begin colonization of California to protect Spanish shipping.

Despite the abundance of fresh water at San José del Cabo, tough Pericú warriors prevented establishment of a mission there until 1730. The mission was founded by Jesuit padre Nicolás Tamaral. The slaughter of Tamaral and his party by the Pericúes a few years later is commemorated today in a mosaic above the entrance to the church in San José. The settlement was named for St. Joseph, the namesake of one of the colony's early benefactors.

The first resorts were built after World War II, financed in part by Hollywood money, for the exclusive use of wealthy clients with yachts and private airplanes. There were no paved roads. Cabo San Lucas, now the largest town in Los Cabos, barely existed as a tiny fishing village as recently as thirty years ago. Completion in 1974 of the transpeninsular highway, a treacherous two-lane asphalt ribbon stretching more than a thousand miles from Los Cabos to the U. S. border, ended the isolation. An influx of cash from international developers and the Mexican tourist agency, Fonatur, and the construction of the modern marina in San Lucas and the international airport at San José in the 1980's, ignited the current boom.

Modern pirates seek treasure from visitors, using non-violent means to separate tourists from their gold. Los Cabos has become one of Mexico's hottest tourist destinations, its dozens of resorts drawing visitors from all over the world to fish, golf, eat, drink and play in the sun and surf.

Fresh water is the real treasure in Baja, and San José still has the best supply in the southern peninsula, thanks to the Laguna Mountains combing 30 inches per year from the clouds, feeding the underground Rio San José and the estuary. Even so, water usage and real estate development are now tightly restricted. Cabo San Lucas pipes its water from San José. New resorts are required to install desalination plants for their water supplies, and golf courses are irrigated with recycled "gray" water. Property values are rising fast. Fortunately, development has brought modern water and sewage systems, and Los Cabos is one of the few areas in Mexico where tap water is usually (but not always) safe to drink.


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Recreation
Local charters claim the world's best deep sea fishing. Some of the world's deepest water is just offshore from Los Cabos, and San Lucas Bay is said to be the third or fourth deepest bay in the world. Record marlin, swordfish and sailfish, tuna, wahoo, roosterfish, rays and many others are caught in local waters. Overfishing is a problem, but sportfishing is still excellent and catch-and-release is the rule for trophy fish.

Because of the sudden depth of both the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez, surf fishermen catch many deep-sea species even from the beach, and whales can swim very close to shore. During the winter season, whale watching is a very popular pastime. Grays, humpbacks, orcas, blues and other whales can be seen in local waters. The world's largest fish, the whale shark, is also found here.

All Los Cabos beaches are open to the public. Beaches in both Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo are bountiful and accessible, although some are crowded with resorts, tourists and commercial activities. Virtually all water and beach sports are readily available, from sportfishing, snorkeling, diving, surfing and parasailing to professional volleyball and bikini contests. Many accessible beaches are isolated, empty of humans, and littered with treasures for beachcombers, especially away from the resorts. Off the pavement, the East Cape provides almost endless isolation on its remote beaches. The pelicans are almost tame. Beach surfaces range from boulders to gravel and granulated granite to powdery white sand. Some have world-class surf, others are protected and calm, with a multitude of colorful tropical fish and other exotic lifeforms.

Whale petting is a popular tourist pastime. North of San Lucas on the Pacific side, Baja has several protected lagoons where whalers once killed whales by the thousands, but now tourists hire boats to pet the giants, or to watch them crash out of the water up close. In some places the friendly whales and their curious babies allow tourists to pet them from fishing docks. The lagoons are winter breeding and calving waters for gray whales and other species that summer in Alaska.

Hikers take trips of several hours to several days into the highland peaks and valleys of the nearby mountains, the Sierra de la Laguna. Many species of flora and fauna are found here and nowhere else on earth, due to the unique convergence of desert and alpine forest in an ecosystem isolated by desert and ocean.

Golf is a popular daytime activity. Los Cabos boasts several beautiful golf courses, including designs by Roy Dye, Trent Jones and Jack Nicklaus. Those who prefer shopping or sightseeing can find plenty to look at. Fine arts, jewelry, crafts, food and drink are available in abundance. Everybody wants your dollars, and there's plenty of junk on the shelves, but bargains are available for careful shoppers and good negotiators. At night, few places can compete with the party atmosphere of Cabo San Lucas, with its all-night discos, clubs, bars and restaurants.


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Food and Drink
Restaurants are everywhere. They change with the seasons, and two new ones seem to pop up for every old one that disappears. Taco stands and open-air palapas with seafood grills are common, but the variety of cuisines and settings is endless. Some are as fancy and expensive as you'll find anywhere. But, it is still possible to stuff yourself with a fresh seafood dinner for less than ten bucks, including excellent Mexican beer and tip. "Catch of the day" might be dorado, huachinango, cabrillo, dogfish, parrotfish, halibut, sierra, any of several kinds of tuna, or other mariscos whose names are less familiar.

Several varieties of shrimp, octopus, abalone, squid, scallops, clams, oysters, crab and sea snails are popular. A nice lobster dinner runs ten bucks and up. A memorable lobster thermidor or seafood stew with lobster in cognac can be had for fifty bucks...or free, if you're willing to sit through a timeshare pitch and can say "No!" enough times!

Seafood tacos are the favorite local "fast food". They can be delicious and cheap, generous chunks of whatever fish was most recently pulled from the water, barbecued, sauteed in butter and garlic, grilled, breaded or battered and deep fried, usually served on steamed corn tortillas with a platter of salsas and condiments typically including guacamole or sliced avocado, marinated sweet onions, refried beans, roasted chiles, shredded cabbage and carrots, maybe radishes, jicama, chayote, cactus or other fresh veggies. Or, make it shrimp, clams, scallops or excellent barbecued chicken, pork or beef.

Local produce is inexpensive and delicious, and includes avocados, mangos, limes and other citrus fruits, bananas, papayas, cactus fruit, dates and numerous garden vegetables. Local chicken, eggs, pork and beef are also cheap and excellent, if you know where to shop. Familiar U.S. grocery brands (and California produce) are generally available but much more expensive, and often not as tasty as Mexican versions.

For better or worse, Los Cabos is a drunkard's paradise, or perhaps an alcoholic's nightmare. Imported liquor is tax-free, and local booze is almost free. Popular Mexican beers are available by the case at agencias for a fraction of their price north of the border. Potent margaritas and scores of varieties of tequila and other liquors can be had in bars, stores and most eateries for a few pesos. Cuban cigars are readily available, and most Mexican cigarettes are as cheap as they taste.

Contrary to popular myth, both food and water in Los Cabos are generally safe for human consumption. Common sense is always in order, as it would be anywhere else. Overindulging in a combination of tropical sun, booze and unfamiliar foods can be a mistake. Don't eat green mayonnaise that's been sitting in the sun all afternoon. If it doesn't look safe, it might not be. But, if a place looks popular, it's a good bet the food is safe, even if it's served from a taco cart on a back street. Most food handlers are sanitary, their business depends on it. Virtually all restaurants and hotels use purified water and purified ice in their drinks, although many people drink tap water with no problem. Those few folks who do get sick can usually blame it on something stronger than water!


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