When I landed in Los Cabos, I almost immediately started daydreaming. You will too, if you come here. It’s rare that I arrive at a destination and start planning my return trip. Cabo hooked me in an hour.

Why? It’s something I started calling “Baja Soul” — a feeling of complete tranquillity. I always say you can channel different parts of your personality when you travel; in Cabo, I was feeling the most easygoing, unflappable parts of my disposition bubble to the surface.

After traveling to Vallarta/Nayarit and Mexico City, I was acutely aware that Baja California Sur was different. The remarkable combination of desert suddenly meeting bright blue water is a landscape I haven’t seen before.

In Los Cabos, on the tip of the peninsula, it rains six or seven days a year. And when you think about the temperate climate, it’s no wonder people from all over the world come here to unwind all year round.

Rosewood's Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort (Photograph courtesy Rosewood Hotels & Resorts)

Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort (Photograph courtesy Rosewood Hotels & Resorts)

Los Cabos refers to a trio of communities — Cabo San Lucas, which has a livelier vibe next to the main marina, San Jose del Cabo, a small, charming town chock-full of art galleries and restaurants, and the Corridor, a 20-mile strip filled with resorts and housing communities.

Separated by the Sea of Cortez from mainland Mexico, Los Cabos also possesses a certain international elan. The people I met hailed from France, Tokyo, Chicago, New York, even Australia. For visitors who hail from the U.S., it’s an even easier trip, as many establishments accept American dollars.

Los Cabos attracts a bevy of A-listers and jet-setters. If you are even a casual reader of celebrity gossip (I need to pass the time during flight delays somehow!), you may know that Jennifer Aniston and Cabo have a love affair that has far outlasted most of her real-life relationships.

“Welcome, Annie. There are 380 of us here to pamper you,” was my welcome greeting as I checked into Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a name that translates to ”the windows to paradise.” And if I thought I would amble to my room and get unpacked, I was wrong. I was handed a welcome margarita, whisked to the spa, and treated to a ten-minute massage.

When I did return to the spa, the massage was so heavenly (stress knots blasted into oblivion!) that I begged the therapist to move to New York. He didn’t want to leave paradise, naturally.

In colonial San Jose del Cabo, the heart and soul of Mexico can be found in local shops. By chance, I met Eduardo Sanchez, a jewelry and handbag designer, who showed me a gorgeous clutch I was eyeing (the accent on it was made from a rattlesnake skin he had spied in a parking lot). Sanchez is a  third-generation jewelry designer (“My grandmother was making jewelry 50 years ago, right here in Cabo,” he told me) who spent four years in Italy studying his craft.

The Arch at Lands End forms the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula (Photograph by Annie Fitzsimmons)

The Arch at Land’s End forms the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. (Photograph by Annie Fitzsimmons)

On the other side of the peninsula, in Cabo San Lucas, I took a glass-bottomed boat to the remarkable El Arco (The Arch), which marks Land’s End, where the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean meet. We passed Pelican’s Colony, Lover’s Beach, Pirate’s Beach, and Divorce Beach (as a newlywed, I wasn’t interested in stopping for a visit) and saw sea lions lounging on rocks.

The waters of Cabo aren’t really for swimming — they’re rougher than they look — but are gorgeous just the same. Luckily, most hotels make up for that fact by offering stunning pools that offer incredible views. But if you feel the ocean calling your name, look for beaches with “Blue Flag” designations for their eco-friendliness and commitment to sustainable development. El Chileno was my favorite spot — and you can swim there.

In the pre-Internet era, Baja California Sur drew old-time luminaries like Jimmy Stewart, John Steinbeck, who wrote The Log From the Sea of Cortez about a marine expedition he took here in 1940, and Ernest Hemingway and John Wayne, who were lured by fishing for black and blue marlin.

Today, the Cabo of yesteryear has most definitely changed, with hundreds of resorts lining the Corridor. Still, it draws you in and will draw you back again and again.

Tip: Cabo is extremely easy to zip around by car. My car rental agency even tried talking me out of getting the GPS, but I insisted. The agency was right — I didn’t need one. There’s basically one main road, and it’s nearly impossible to get lost.

Comments

  1. Megan C. Stroup
    San Jose, California
    October 25, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I went to Cabo for the first time in April and was so frustrated that I had bothered exchanging money. Everyone told me prices in dollars and I had to have them convert it for me! Good to know for the future.

  2. Reg of The Spain Scoop
    Barcelona
    October 29, 2013, 3:53 am

    I’ve had Mexico on the brain lately. Got to get back over there soon!

  3. Andy Enni
    La Grange, CA
    October 29, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Don’t even think about it…My experience started at the airport..employees have atitudes..almost drowned on beach , saved a mate from New Zealand who also almost drowned, lucky for him, I had a long beach towel..Had live flies crawling thru my cerviche at hotel buffett. just an all around scuzhole as far as I am concerned..go to Hawaii you will be better off…sorry, but that’s my experience in Cabo..

  4. beachtours
    mexico
    October 29, 2013, 10:34 pm

    @Reg of The Spain Scoop

    hi, Mexico is the nice place to visit and worth to spend few days to visit its beautiful beaches and other attractions.

  5. VacayGirl
    Cabo San Lucas
    October 30, 2013, 10:27 am

    Sorry for your experience Andy. I really think you should give Cabo another try. It’s the place that I have chosen to spend my year long hiatus and I haven’t regretted doing so. The people are friendly, the backdrops are amazing and there’s so much to do here. Hope you reconsider a stay here.

  6. Dominic
    Louisville Ky
    October 30, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Some people just can’t be pleased or they refuse to be happy. They’re the ones who would give heaven a bad review on tripadvisor. Cabo is a magical place.

  7. Marilynn
    San Jose del Cabo
    December 19, 2013, 6:26 pm

    I live in Cabo. We see idiot tourists a lot. Why would one almost drown? Because they were careless. I walk the beach every morning, along the surfs edge, never seen anyone close to drowning yet. I also live at the beach in the USA, careless people drown there as well. Flies in in your ceviche, where on earth were you eating? I have been all over for 20 years and never seen such a thing. In fact I was employed to write restaurant reviews, wow you must have picked a scuzzy place to stay.
    The way a person behaves towards others makes a huge difference in their attitude toward you. Fact is I have traveled many places in the world, bad attitudes create bad attitudes I have seen people get very drunk, get sun burned and than go home saying they are sick because of the food they ate in Mexico. Cabo is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Some folks should not travel. Perhaps a vacation is good, but if you ever come back to Cabo get an all inclusive resort, you need it.

  8. Jeff
    US
    May 17, 3:19 pm

    Going to Cabo in a month with my wife. Any suggestions on excursions/activities that are worth the time? Or places we should certainly visit?

  9. amy
    portland, oregon
    May 22, 12:10 pm

    Just returned from an amazing trip to Los Cabos! Jeff – you should definitely head to a place called Flora Farms. It’s about a 15 minute drive from the heart of old town San Jose del Cabo, maybe 45 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. Brunch or dinner among the lush palms and bright colors of this organic farm is truly a wonderful experience. The fresh juice cocktails and wood-fire pizzas are a must!