Going Natural: 5 Authentic, Off-the-Boat Excursions

By Raphael Kadushin

From the March/April issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. Subscribe to the print or iPad edition and see all it has to offer.

Until recently Cabo San Lucas, sitting at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, got by on its party-town, sand-and-cerveza reputation. But now, fresh restaurants revive the local cuisine, rediscovered galleries showcase Baja crafts, and eco-expeditions celebrate the area’s natural beauty. Most cruise ships sailing the Mexican Riviera stop here, anchoring at sea and tendering passengers into port. Among the town’s top lures:

Swim With Sharks (2.5-8 hours)
Cabo has always been famous for its sportfishing. But if you’d rather commune more peaceably with the resident wildlife, Cabo Expeditions’ sustainably minded trips feature seasonal whale watching (December to April; 2.5 hours, $85); swimming with docile whale sharks (8 hours, $175); and zero-gravity trekking in the Sea of Cortez (3.5 hours, $75).

Eye Glass Artists (1.5 hours)
Artisans show off the traditional art of glassblowing at the Cabo San Lucas Glass Factory. Some of the artists will even let you blow a few glass bubbles yourself. Then browse the on-site shop stocked with pitchers, plates, tequila glasses, and signature cactus-shaped drinking glasses.

From Mole to Mangos (2.5 hours)
Decorated with murals of old Cabo, Mi Casa serves Mexican favorites such as a 35-ingredient mole as well as typical Baja dishes like almejas rellenas (stuffed queen clams cooked in a fire pit) and sopa fresca (homemade flour pasta with dried chile paste and olives). Hacienda Cocina y Cantina turns locally grown produce into dishes like the crab flautas topped by a zesty mango Baja slaw.

Grab a Pew (1 hour)
Anyone needing a moment of tranquillity—no matter what your denomination—should duck into the Iglesia de San Lucas. Spanish missionaries completed the stone church in 1730. The interior is so hushed you can hear the ceiling fans whir.

Hump Day (5 hours)
See Cabo from a different perspective with a four-hour Cabo Adventures safari ($99). It starts with a tour of the Baja desert outback, builds to a camel ride along the beachfront, and caps off with a toast of local tequila.

Do you have a favorite thing to do in Cabo? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Comments

  1. Juan
    Orange County
    September 26, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Found another great webcam that is located on the East Cape of Baja at a fishing resort called Rancho Leonero. I stayed there many years ago, but it looks like it still is a place that is filled with old Baja charm.

    http://www.allaboutbaja.com.

  2. Mark
    Orange County
    March 7, 2012, 8:54 pm

    Rent a jeep for the day and drive around the East Cape all the way to Cabo Pulmo. The best snorkeling in Baja, but the scenic beauty is like using a time machine to go back in time. Bring a cooler full of drinks and seafood snacks like ceviche etc.