Los Cabos Beaches

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Los Cabos Beaches
These southernmost points of Baja California have beaches facing both the Sea of Cortéz and the Pacific Ocean, with plenty of water sports—including superb surfing, snorkeling, and diving—and the chance to see the area from horseback or hang glider.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Cabo SUP
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    Stand-Up Paddleboarding
    Similar to surfing, but with an oversized board and a long-handled paddle, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fast-growing sport at beach destinations. With SUP you don't need waves—only surf—and the activity can be modified to suit all levels. Cabo SUP, which offers paddling off Medano Beach, rents gear and provides lessons, along with tours that are guided by the region's only ASI-certified guides. (ASI is the Academy of Stand Up Paddleboard Instructors.) Lessons cover safety and the basics; they're even free with your paddleboard rental. Once you're ready to venture out on your own, you can do so worry-free thanks to constant supervision by your instructor.
    Photo courtesy of Cabo SUP
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    Surfing Beaches
    Los Cabos' position on the tip of the Baja Peninsula makes it a privileged location for surfing. Waves are excellent year-round, with good swell on the Sea of Cortéz side from May to October, and on the Pacific side from November to April. With nearly 1,000 miles of coastline, it's not hard to find a choice patch of water to drop your board in. If you're new to surfing and need lessons, or if you just want a hand finding all the sweet spots, check in at Costa Azul Surf Shop or Surf in Cabo. Costa Azul offers three-hour excursions, but if you're ready to really dig in, go for Surf in Cabo—they arrange trips lasting up to 10 days.
    Photo courtesy of Costa Azul Surf Shop
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    Kayak and Snorkel Tours
    A protected area since 1995, Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park is home to three coral reefs, including North America's only hard coral reef. With an underwater marine terrace dating back to the Pleistocene Era, and reef estimated to be 20,000 years old, the park is attractive to kayakers and snorkelers. Tour operator Cabo Outfitters leads kayak and snorkel excursions in Cabo Pulmo, which is about 60 miles north of Los Cabos, as well as kayaking excursions in Los Cabos proper. Also check Cabo Snorkeling and Cabo Sails, both based in Cabo San Lucas—each of these operators provides options to see El Arco, Lover's Beach, and other local landmarks.
    Photo courtesy of Cabo Sails
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    El Arco at Land's End
    El Arco (The Arch) is a rock formation at Land's End, where the Sea of Cortéz meets the Pacific Ocean. The landmark is three stories high, and features a naturally formed arch through which water flows. It is Los Cabos' most iconic natural landmark, and to see it, you'll need to hire a boat. Numerous local companies offer trips to El Arco, including Cabo Eco Tours, which takes you there on a catamaran, and Cabo Sails, a sailboat tour outfit. Depending on the season, you may catch a glimpse of the humpback whales that migrate through these waters, and sea lions are known to gather in the area.
    Photo by Robert Chiasson/age fotostock
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    Aerial Beach Views
    Los Cabos is beautiful enough on the land, but the view from above adds an extra-dazzling dimension. Book with Cabo Sky Tours for a flight in Ernesto Magaña's powered hang glider. A captain with decades of flying experience, Magaña can arrange tours of 10 minutes to an hour. He'll also vary the intensity of your trip from smooth to extreme, based on your preferences. Speaking of intensity, try parasailing, where you're strapped into a harness attached to a parachute that is tethered to a motorboat. The more the boat speeds up, the more lift you'll get, giving you unobstructed views of the region.
    Photo courtesy of Cabo Sky Tours
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    Horseback Riding
    Horseback riding is a low-key, fun, and romantic way to explore the surrounding areas of Los Cabos. The Cuadra San Francisco Equestrian Center in Los Cabos has over 50 professionally trained horses for beach, canyon, and desert riding. Let their trained guides take you to popular destinations such as the Great Thorn Forest in Cabo Real or the canyons at Venada Blanco. Carriage rides, which are perfect for families, are also available, as are private rides. The facility welcomes riders of all levels, and can customize your tour to your interests.
    Photo by Michele Westmorland/age fotostock
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    Lover's Beach
    Playa del Amor (Lover's Beach) is hardly a secret, but the fact that it's only accessible by boat keeps some visitors away. It's worth the trip, if only for the view of the Sea of Cortéz and the dramatic rock formations jutting out of the sand. The water on the Pacific side is too rough for swimming, so stick to the bay side. Bring a picnic and shade—there are no services at this remote hideaway. Hotel concierges can arrange a boat taxi to the beach, but be sure to ask about cruise ship arrivals; on "ship days," the beach can be unbearably crowded.
    Photo by Paul Thompson/age fotostock
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    Snorkeling at Chileno Beach
    Chileno Beach is widely regarded among locals and expats as one of Los Cabos' top snorkeling beaches. Known for its intact reefs, teeming with colorful fish and other sea life, for its active tide pools, and for the possibility of seeing a humpback whale (depending on season), this is a great place to spend the day. The beach itself has several palapas (grass umbrellas), so you'll be able to get some shade. There aren't any vendors, making this a peaceful retreat, but note that you'll need to pack in and pack out whatever you need for the day. Lifeguards are present in high season, and restroom facilities are well-maintained.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Diving the Revillagigedo Archipelago
    The Revillagigedo Archipelago (known simply as Socorro) is a small group of islands in the Pacific, about 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, which is known for its superb diving—particularly, the likelihood of encountering large sea animals. This excursion is only for the experienced, though. You'll need to be a certified diver to head out on one of the live-aboards, a trip that can take several days. Once anchored, you can expect to have a number of put-in sites and long dive times; down in the deep, you'll see everything from giant Pacific manta rays, to dolphins, to hammerhead, reef, and whale sharks, as well as scores of smaller fish.
    Photo by Franco Banfi/age fotostock
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    Cabo's Party Beach
    Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas is the main safe swimming beach in the area, as well as a renowned party spot—complete with a raucous beach bar, Billygan's Island, that keeps things going with drinking games and stage shows. Loaded with services and amenities, visitors can spend the day on Jet Skis, kayaks, or banana boats, or playing frisbee and volleyball. Plenty of vendors will come by sunbathers to ply their wares, which include everything from silver jewelry to hair braiding, and several restaurants are nearby for when you want to fuel up. If you're looking for the hustle—and hustling—that accompanies the party-hard vibe, Medano Beach is a great choice.
    Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/age fotostock
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