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Los Cabos: 20 Key Facts

Sep 22, 2023

Schools are back in session so it’s timely to learn (or relearn) the most fascinating and interesting facts about Los Cabos, Latin America’s most in-demand destination.

  1. Located 30 miles south of the Tropic of Cancer, Los Cabos (“The Capes”) enjoys a mild Mediterranean-like climate. Average year-round temperature is 78°F. With more than 320 days of sunshine, low humidity and cooling sea breezes, Los Cabos is a subtropical paradise. Warm, mild days and cool evenings prevail from November through June. The rainy season arrives in September. The region receives an average of six to 10 inches of rain per year.
  2. Situated at the tip of the 775-mile-long Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is the chosen name for the destination’s 20-mile coastal Corridor. This Corridor is bookended by San Jose del Cabo, a municipal seat and charming colonial town circa 1730; and Cabo San Lucas, a lively party capital with a world-class marina. Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) is 45 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. 
  3. Los Cabos is on Mexican Pacific Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is no longer observed.
  4. Los Cabos tourism is booming. The destination will welcome roughly 3.3 million visitors this year. In Mexico, Cabo is second only to Cancun as a warm-weather vacation getaway. Seven out of 10 visitors to Los Cabos are repeat guests. Ninety percent of first-time visitors say they would return.
  5. When Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes arrived in 1535, he named the Gulf of California the Sea of Cortes (Mar de Cortes in Spanish). The region’s main indigenous group at that time was the Pericus, a polygamous, hunter-gatherer tribe that subsisted on seeds, fruits, fish, reptiles, small mammals, and deer. The first pirate in the area was Sir Francis Drake in 1578, followed shortly after by Thomas Cavendish. Both raided Spanish galleons carrying treasures from Asia. 
  6. Choyero is the nickname for those born in the state of Baja California Sur, specifically the Los Cabos region. (Only about 15% of the area’s populace are Cabo natives). The word refers to the cholla cactus, a prickly desert dweller covered with sharp barbed spines that easily detach from the parent plant and onto unsuspecting passersby. Choyeros have a slight Baja accent and several expressions specific to the region.
  7. The region’s geography is a rare mix of unspoiled desert, golden sand beaches and dramatic rock outcrops. Behind the desert foothills, stark mountain peaks in the Sierra de la Laguna rise to more than 6,000 feet. 
  8. In the span of 30 years, Los Cabos has established itself as a premier golf destination. Three of its venues, including the spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature design at Quivira Golf Club, are fixtures on Golf Digest’s list of the “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.”
  9. El Arco (the Arch) is an iconic rock formation that juts out of the sea among towering rock pinnacles at a place known as Land's End. Roughly three stories high, the taffy-colored arch is a splendid example of organic architecture. Surprising fact: the arch predates the sea by millions of years. In popular imagination, El Arco is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortes. In actual fact, the two seas meet at a place marked by El Faro Viejo, the landmark 1905 lighthouse that clings to a bluff near the eighth tee at Quivira Golf Club. 
  10. There’s a dive spot in San Lucas Bay known for its underwater sand waterfall, where sand cascades to a 1,200-foot canyon below. This rare phenomenon (advanced divers only) was first discovered by French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau during his visit to the region in the 1960’s. Cousteau once described the Sea of Cortes as “The Aquarium of the World,” a reference to its schools of large pelagic species and teeming marine life. 
  11. Los Cabos, a.k.a. “Marlin Alley,” is a sport-fishing capital nonpareil. More big-game fish are caught here than anywhere else in the world.  Catch and release is the general rule for billfish. Blue and black marlin season runs from June through December. Striped marlin is plentiful year-round. Tuna, dorado, sailfish, wahoo and roosterfish are among the prized species that swim in Cabo’s nutrient-rich waters. 
  12. Starting in early December, hundreds of whales migrate from the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean to the warm, calm waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula. Balmy weather, ideal salinity and ample food sources make the bays and lagoons around Los Cabos the perfect place for whales to birth and rear their calves. Of the eight species that venture to Los Cabos, the most common are humpback whales, which routinely spout close to shore and thrust themselves out of the water in fantastic leaps. Whale-watching excursions are a great way to observe these magnificent creatures.
  13. Medano (Playa El Médano), a broad, two-mile stretch of soft sand lapped by calm waters, is the most popular beach in Cabo San Lucas. Here you’ll find activity rentals for water sports and informal beachfront restaurants, including The Office, Mango Deck, The Sand Bar and many more.
  14. Because the Pacific Ocean and portions of the Sea of Cortes have big waves and strong, potentially dangerous undertows, visitors should confine themselves to safe swimming beaches. These include (but are not limited to) Medano, Chileno Bay, Palmilla and Santa Maria Bay. 
  15. For surfers, Cabo San Lucas offers diversity in location, break direction, level of difficulty and coastal scenery. Zippers, Monuments and El Tule are favored by advanced surfers. Playa Acapulquito, a.k.a. “Old Man’s Beach” in front of Cabo Surf Hotel, is a perfect spot for beginners.
  16. Downtown Cabo San Lucas is synonymous with Cabo nightlife. Clubs and bars stay open until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. in high season. You’ll find everything from funky bars with live music to swanky clubs with top-notch DJ’s. The legal drinking age in Cabo is 18.
  17. U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Los Cabos. Most restaurants and retail outlets list prices in both dollars and pesos. However, if you do use dollars, you will most likely get pesos in change. All major credit cards are accepted in Los Cabos. If you need cash, there are many ATM’s in Cabo, but be aware that most will dispense only pesos. The current exchange rate is $1 USD = $16.90 MX. 
  18. English is widely spoken in Los Cabos, especially in the tourist sector. English-speaking tour guides, hotel managers and waiters are common. However, try to speak a little Spanish. Locals will appreciate the effort. “Hola” (hello), “por favor” (please), “gracias” (thank you), and “de nada” (you're welcome) are great starters. 
  19. The water in Los Cabos is safe to drink. In general, hotels, bars and restaurants use filtered water systems. If you’re concerned about water purity, order bottled water: “Una botella de agua, por favor.”
  20. If you hire a taxi, agree on the price before you get in. Most resorts have set rates to certain locations; the bell staff will help you arrange that rate with the driver. Keep those rates in mind when you return to your hotel. Note that Uber is widely available in Los Cabos.