Los Cabos for Families

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Los Cabos for Families
Los Cabos has plenty of beaches where children can run free, opportunities to swim with dolphins and spot whales, and some exceptional kids' clubs—it's easy to see why the region makes for an ideal family vacation.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by age fotostock
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    See the Ocean from the Lighthouse
    Skip the mediocre, Americanized menu at No Worrys, located inside the 90-foot lighthouse at the Cabo San Lucas Marina, and see, instead, if you can talk your way into visiting the observation deck at the top. The lighthouse seems somewhat out of place in this touristy part of the town, where buildings are, for the most part, of modern construction, but the ocean views are both memorable and photo-worthy. If you're visiting between December and March, bring your binoculars to see if you can spot any humpback whales breaching.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Sailing Los Cabos
    Plenty of families have explored Los Cabos by sailboat, provisioning their vessels, mapping their routes, and teaching each family member the essential skills for living on, maintaining, and navigating a boat. But if that all sounds just a bit too advanced, the next best option is to charter a half-day or day-long sailboat, complete with a captain and crew who will man the sails for you. Cabo Sails is one local outfitter who will work with you and your family to customize your experience. You can help choose your route, as well as the time of day (or evening—sunset is spectacular) you want to sail. Snacks and drinks are often included.
    Photo courtesy of Cabo Sails
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    Swim with Dolphins
    Among the hundreds of animal species that call the Sea of Cortéz home are one-third of the world's dolphin and whale species, and swimming with dolphins is a top memory-making experience for many families who visit Los Cabos. Local outfitter Cabo Adventures offers several different meet-a-dolphin experiences, ranging from their Dolphin Swim, a 40-minute in-water interaction, to Trainer for a Day, a five-hour experience that involves more in-depth learning about dolphin behavior and, of course, plenty of one-on-one time. Some activities have age restrictions, so if your kids are under 12, be sure to ask prior to booking.
    Photo by Joseph Diaz
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    Off-Road Experiences
    It may not seem like it when you're downtown, but just beyond the bustling beach areas of Los Cabos are thousands of miles of desert that run the full length of the Baja California peninsula. The rugged, often punishing terrain attracts adventure enthusiasts, many of whom come to Baja to participate in the annual Baja 1000, an off-road race that tests the mettle of even the most skilled professional drivers. Many participants carry on a family tradition of tackling the 1,000-mile drive. Maybe your family isn't quite up to that challenge, but you can still get some good off-road experience by going out with local outfitters Wide Open Baja. The group offers half-day to four-day adventures in rugged off-road vehicles.
    Photo courtesy of Wide Open Excursions
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    Whale-Watching in Los Cabos
    Every year, eight species of whale—including humpback, gray, and blue—pass Los Cabos on their annual migratory journey. Like people, the whales find Los Cabos to be a particularly hospitable winter refuge. Warm waters, a shallow bay, and an abundant food supply keep them happy from December to March, during which time local boat captains become busy running excursions for visitors who are eager to see the giants of the sea. If you're lucky, you may even see whales calving, or giving birth to their young. One of the top spots to see whales is San Ignacio, the only undeveloped, pristine lagoon in Los Cabos.
    Photo by Michael Nolan/age fotostock
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    Plaza Central on a Sunday
    Plaza Central may lack the over-the-top colonial-era splendor that characterizes the main squares of many of Mexico's cities and towns, but it's still a fine and fun place to spend a Sunday afternoon or evening with your family. That's largely because the plaza serves the same function as zócalos (public squares) throughout Mexico: It's a magnet for families looking for an affordable way to relax and spend time together, especially on a Sunday afternoon, when vendors and, occasionally, musicians rove through the square. Arrive earlier in the day to browse some of the art galleries surrounding the plaza, or to peek into the San José Church.
    Photo by San Rostro/age fotostock
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    Los Cabos Scavenger Hunt
    Sometimes, the best memories you can make on a family vacation are the ones that aren't organized by a hotel concierge or tour operator. Fun family activities include scavenger hunts and I Spy, customized to the location. In Los Cabos, you can have your kids keep an eye out for certain items they're sure to see: endemic species, such as the desert iguana, and spectacular natural features for which the region is renowned, such as El Arco (The Arch, also called Land's End) and stellar sunsets. Up the ante—and the fun factor—by promising winners a shopping trip at one of the area's local artisan markets for an authentic souvenir to take home.
    Photo by Brett Hughes
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    See Live Glassblowing
    Los Cabos wasn't famous for glassblowing until Sebastian Romo, the owner of Vitrofusion Glass Blowing Factory, set up shop; his was, in fact, the first glassblowing shop on the Baja California peninsula. Kids in particular love watching the artisans at Vitrofusion blow, pull, and shape the glass during demonstrations, which are held daily before 2:00 p.m. Several local tour operators run excursions to the factory, offering knowledgeable commentary about the glassmaking process. Stick around afterward to browse the shop and purchase some souvenirs. Cups, glasses, bowls, vases, light fixtures, and decorative gifts are among the items made on-site and available for sale.
    Photo by Sonja Wittke/age fotostock
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    Los Cabos Kids' Clubs
    Los Cabos is home to many resorts, a good number of them all-inclusive. Most of the resorts have large kids' clubs that are staffed by trained professionals offering an array of activities on-site. Villa del Palmar Beach Resort is popular among younger kids because of its whale-shaped pool slide, while Dreams Los Cabos is preferred by parents because of its educational nature- and science-based activities; it also has CPR– and first aid–certified staff, and a pager program—parents are given pagers to stay in touch while separated from their children. The resort has an ocean trampoline, sand castle contests, and movies under the stars, so the kids love it too.
    Photo courtesy of Villa del Palmar Beach Resort
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