Close the guidebooks and let a local lead the way
By Chris Sands
Los Cabos has a way of casting a spell that is not easily broken. Take it from a gringo who came here on vacation and never left.
The charms are obvious. Where else do mountains, desert, and two major bodies of water exist in such close proximity? Where else can you catch a marlin, go off-road racing, dive a living coral reef, climb a mile-high mountain, see humpback whales breaching, play three of the world’s 100 best golf courses, and see movie stars modeling the latest bikini fashions, all within a single municipality?
I’ve been writing about the place for a living for seven years now, and each thing I learn, each new secret that is revealed, only makes me love it here even more. Here are my suggestions for optimizing your time ashore in Los Cabos.
Cruise ship visitors to Cabo San Lucas typically follow a well-worn path, walking all the way around the broad boardwalk promenade that parallels the marina to Playa El Médano. As a consequence, this boardwalk is lined with vendors hoping to sell tourists everything from timeshares and tours to cheap silver jewelry and fake Cuban cigars.
The best tip for first-time visitors is to immediately get some distance from this touristy hustle and bustle, which is easily done: Simply divert a few blocks into downtown Cabo San Lucas. You can still reach the beach, but with a great deal more peace and quiet. As a general rule, the farther you get from the marina, the less English you’ll hear. But the Mexican food gets more authentic, too.
If It’s Free, It’s For Me
The beaches are all free and they’re spectacular. Medano Beach is by far the most popular — two miles of gorgeous golden sand bounded by luxury resorts and beachfront cantinas. Taxi rides open up more possibilities, including three internationally recognized Blue Flag beaches (a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a beach meets its stringent standards): Chileno, Santa María, and Palmilla. You’ll find them in what is referred to as the Tourist Corridor, the 20-mile coastal stretch between cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.
How Not to Look Like a Tourist
It’s not just the inability to speak Spanish that marks one as a tourist, as there are expatriates who have acclimated quite well to the culture without ever progressing beyond basic greetings like buenos días and ¿cómo está usted?
Visitors tend to be substantially less modest in terms of clothing. No local, for example, would walk into a restaurant or boutique in their beach bikini or bare-chested in a pair of board shorts. A little modesty goes a long way in establishing local bona fides.
Eat Around the Town
If you’re lucky enough to have dinner ashore, the must-try restaurant experience is at Los Tres Gallos, an eatery named for three….
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Photo: Francisco Estrada:PhotoMexico.com