Cabo San Lucas is located on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula and is another popular Mexican port stop. Upon our arrival we were greeted by a plethora of pelicans and one gregarious sea lion.
Known affectionately as “Cabo”, our cruise ship and another cruise line, both tendered well outside the marina area. Our tender boat ride was picturesque as we passed the Arch of Cabo San Lucas and Lover’s Beach enroute to the marina.
Examining the history of the area, we learned that the original inhabitants were indigenous peoples known as the Edúes. They had a language of their own which was different from other peoples in the area. The Spanish arrived in 1533 and noted the Edúes people spoke very quickly so the Spanish called them the Pericúes after parakeets (pericos). The name stuck and for the next two hundred years, they were known as the Pericúes. A combination of Spanish domination and imported European diseases, decimated the Pericúes population. By 1767 they were culturally extinct. There is no record of their language, and little is known of their cultural history.
The area was sparsely inhabited for centuries and was primarily a fishing community. Unlike the more popular west coast Mexican cities, such as Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta, Cabo did not become a regular tourist destination until the last four decades. Consequently, the area is not as built up or cosmopolitan as those other cities.
Once onshore, we commenced to explore on our own. We had opted against any organized shore excursions and found that the marina area was perfect for self-guided sightseeing. There are shops, a lighthouse, bars and little restaurants all within easy walking distance.
In researching what there was to do and see in the area, I was faced with the usual horse or camel rides on the beach, glass bottom boat tours or the ubiquitous beach day options. The other possibility, and the one we chose, was to explore on our own.
We found the marina market area had shops inside and out. I mention this in case you arrive when there is inclement weather. Shopping inside, out of the rain, is always a bonus. The offerings were pretty standard for Mexican tourism kiosks, with t-shirts in abundance. I bought some regular and white vanilla, some leather items and blown glass. A friend bought some silver and pottery. Remember to bargain as prices are flexible and usually inflated with the idea that people will want to negotiate a price. We did not find the vendors to be pushy or aggressive.
For those who may want to buy some food or personal items (such as toothpaste, hairspray, shaving cream etc.), these were available in small local stores. There were also some small pharmacy shops for those in need of pain medication, but I caution you to pay particular attention to the type of drug you are buying and ensure that the security seal on the container is unbroken.
Some friends opted for a food tour which they described as typical regional fare in different restaurants with a little mezcal tasting. Unfamiliar with mazcal, I enquired as to the type of drink it was. I learned that true “tequila” can only be made from the Blue Weber agave plant. Consequently, any beverage made from a different type of agave plant is called mazcal. I was informed that most people cannot taste the difference between mazcal and tequila but those who are true aficionados of tequila, will spot the difference in taste. Not being a drinker of tequila, I did not engage in a taste test, but I did check the bottles for sale and noted that some bottles that I had thought were tequila, were in fact labeled mazcal.
We walked around the marina, and I took a few photos of a sea lion who seemed determined to photo bomb my pelican pictures. I also took shots of the light house, which is nothing spectacular, but its location in the marina pretty much guarantees it will make it into a snap or two.
Once we had finished our marina and market exploration, we decided to enjoy some frosty drinks. The number of tables was limited so we were soon joined by a couple from the other cruise ship who asked to share our table. This was their third visit to Cabo on a stop from a cruise ship, and according to them, they enjoyed this port stop more than any of the other ones in Mexico. They described it as less cosmopolitan and offering up a very laid-back vibe. I had to agree with them on their assessment as this was a very relaxing, port stop. Although there was not a huge number of things to see and do, it was an enjoyable and inexpensive day.
Normally, I would share any information I received from people who engaged in shore excursions, but I did not encounter anyone who participated in the glass bottom boat, whale watching or other activities.
Heading back to the ship on our tender, I tried to take some good photos of the rock formations with particular focus on The Arch and Lovers Beach. As you can see from my photos, I am no photographer, so I suggest you research photos on the internet. My shots will merely give you a small taste of what you will see in Cabo.