Cabo San Lucas, Mexico*Location: Mexico
Located at the southern tip of the 1,000-mile long Baja California peninsula, Cabo San Lucas boasts a landscape dotted with prickly cacti and dramatic rock formations bordered by white-sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. Its gorgeous scenery and mild desert-like climate make this city a natural destination on a Disney Cruise Line itinerary.
Cabo San Lucas is famous for sports fishing, earning a reputation as the billfish capital of the world and plays host to a gala of marlin-fishing tournaments every year. "Cabo," as they call it, is also fast becoming a golf mecca, home to some half dozen world-class championship golf courses. It's a haven for outdoor sports, fancy resorts and restaurants as well as a busy nightlife, yet Cabo still remains a charming, small city with miles of beaches and scenic trails for those who seek a more relaxed pace.
Things to See and Do
Cabo San Lucas is blessed with a prime location on the tip of the peninsula, making its seemingly endless strip of white-sand beach a magnet for nature lovers. Two of the most popular scenic attractions include Playa del Amor (Lover's Beach) and El Arco, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean at Land's End.
Name your sport, Cabo is sure to offer it—most likely beachside. There's all types of water activities from sailing and parasailing to boating and jet skiing, to scuba diving, snorkeling and of course, fishing. Those who prefer sticking closer to terra firma can enjoy golf, horseback riding and verdant nature hikes.
By night, Cabo doesn't slow down. The nightlife options are legendary, from standards like the Hard Rock Café to the resident favorite Cabo Wabo Cantina owned by the former lead singer of Van Halen, Sammy Hagar.
From January to March, whale watching is a popular draw. There are various boat tour operators that offer whale-watching excursions and an opportunity to spot these marvelous giants of the sea. The Cabo Dolphin Center in the marina offers a variety of educational and interactive dolphin programs.
Souvenir-hunting? There are plenty of shopping venues all around the city center. Many of the shops are within easy walking distance of each other, particularly around the marina. From specialty shops and boutiques to galleries and street vendors, Cabo San Lucas offers an array of local handicrafts and souvenirs, such as silver, ceramics, wood carvings and even Cuban cigars.
After a morning of shopping, Parque Amelia Wilkes is a great place to take a break and relax on a shaded bench. The town square is a perfect vantage point for people-watching.
Duck into the Museo de las Californias for a look at the very early years of Cabo San Lucas. A whale skeleton greets you at the entrance and a collection of ancient fossils and historical artifacts dating back to the 16th century await you inside.
Local Culture and Flavor
Cabo San Lucas attracts visitors from all over the world, especially America, and thus has an international feel with a strong American influence in everything from eateries to designer boutiques. But you can still find traditional Mexican "street food" at the local taquerias and get your fill of authentic tacos, tortas and quesadillas.
And for a dose of local culture, Cabo San Lucas has a nice selection of artesian markets, Jesuit missions and art galleries. The Casa de la Cultura originally served as a refuge for U.S. citizens during the U.S.-Mexican War of 1847 and its structure has been preserved. It features a theatre, small park and lookout point with a commanding view of all Cabo.
Past and Present
Cabo San Lucas was originally inhabited by the Pericues, who were a Native American tribe known for their skillful weaving and an advanced knowledge of irrigation. The 1500s brought Spanish explorers and pirates. At the end of the 19th century, Cabo San Lucas became a main shipping port with the bark from the Palo Blanco tree a primary export.
With the discovery of an abundance of tuna offshore, an American tuna cannery was established in 1917, and by the 1930s, a small fishing village had developed. This became the driving force of the local economy until 1941 when a hurricane destroyed the factory and the area was virtually abandoned. But Cabo San Lucas would live to see another day. After World War II, the former fishing village began attracting a sport-fishing contingency and later became known as a playground for the rich and famous. Today, the warm waters, beaches and abundance of world-famous sport fishing ensure Cabo San Lucas a spot on Mexico's most popular places to visit.
* This port requires tendering.
Fun Facts & Tips
Cabo San Lucas has a climate similar to Palm Springs with an arid atmosphere and low humidity.
The annual sport-fishing tournaments in Cabo San Lucas yield the world's richest prizes at upwards of $2,000,000.