Post Travels: 5 Adventures in Cabo San Lucas

Though its spring break stories are legendary, there’s more to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, than late nights filled with tequila. Long, sunshine-filled days are the norm on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, but how to best stay busy in these parts is a matter of opinion. For some it’s as simple as soaking up vitamin D while napping on the sand. For others, off-roading on mountain trails and beaches provides a sought-after adrenaline boost. Outdoor options are plentiful and typically come with postcard-worthy views that getaways were made for. Need more inspiration? There are plenty of ways to fills those vacation days.

1.    Watch the Parade of Boats

If you’re an early riser, you’re in luck because you’ll experience the Cabo San Lucas most others miss. Grab a cup of caffeine and head straight to the marina for sunrise. Boat after boat charges past El Arco, Cabo’s famous arch, loaded with hopeful fisherman competing for the catch of the day. Take in the view and then take advantage of the quiet and stroll along Medano Beach, one of Cabo’s few swimmable stretches of sand. Even first thing in the morning, chances are good it’ll be warm enough to jump right in.

A group of fishing boats out to sea at dawn.
Morning fishing boats going out to sea in Cabo. (Dana Rebmann)

2.    Test Your Sea Legs

As impressive as El Arco is from the beach, it knows how to take a close up. A sea lion colony blends into the scenery, but their boisterous barks give them away. Pack a picnic and explore Lovers Beach, go snorkeling near Pelican Rock, or simply enjoy the scenic ride. (Some boats even boast glass bottoms.) If you’re organized you can plan ahead and book a tour; if you like to do things on the fly, just hire a water taxi.

School of fish under the sea.
Snorkeling near Pelican Rock. (Dana Rebmann)

3.    Have a Whale of a Time

They don’t stay for long, but when humpback whales come to town, it’s worth setting aside a few hours to try and catch a glimpse. Whale watching cruises run daily, typically December through mid-March, or when the whales decide it’s time to head north again. Small boats can maneuver a little quicker and easier, but larger boats come with amenities like bathrooms, food, and drink.

Dress in layers. It can be quite a bit cooler on the open sea, and it’s always better to be able to shed layers than wish you had them.

Humback whales leaping out of ocean water.
Humpback whales. (Dana Rebmann)

4.    Ride Camels in Cabo

Giddy up! Well kind of. More than a dozen camels are giving horses a run for their money on the coast. Camel-back beach tours are run daily by Cabo Adventures. A handful of the camels are rescues. After a little education about the curious creatures, guests saddle up two to a camel and embark on a cruise along the sand. There’s little skill involved on the part of the rider; guides are plentiful and the camels know the way to beach. Every camel has a four-day work week, followed by two days off to roam dozens of seaside acres.

Tourists ride camels on a beach.
A beachfront camel ride. (Dana Rebmann)

5.    Spin Your Wheels in the Dirt

First the bandana gets tied across your nose and mouth. Next, a guide slides a helmet over your head. But it’s when the goggles go across your eyes and the straps get tightened that your heart may start to beat a little faster. Buckle up and hold on: you’re ready to go off-roading in Cabo San Lucas.

About a 40-minute drive northwest of town, Cabo Adventures runs daily tours in an area known as Elias Calles. With dusty trails, cacti, and the occasional cow, the landscape is everything you’d expect to find in the Mexican desert. But in this stretch of arid scenery, adventurous travelers get to hit the gas and roar their way through in a Polaris UTV (utility task vehicle) with seats for four. (Be sure to bring your driver license if you want to drive.) The dust gets in every crevasse. You’ll have dirt under your fingernails. And there’s a good chance you’ll get wet. But you’ll be smiling from ear to ear through every grimy minute.

UTVs driving through a desert road.
UTVs in the desert. (Dana Rebmann)