Watching the waves off the Pacific Ocean roll in towards the gleaming, pristine, white-sand shoreline, it’s easy to see why Los Cabos has long been a popular getaway destination of Hollywood’s elite.
Located south of California, on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the area — which includes the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo — combines mountainous desert landscapes and picturesque ocean views, making it ideal for those wanting to relax or have a bit of an adventure.
Stars like Bing Crosby and John Wayne came for the latter in the 1950s, drawn by the allure of sport fishing. While I didn’t try it myself, I’m told this is one of best places in the world for deep sea fishing.
Anglers descend on Los Cabos every year in search of the big catch during Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament.
If fishing isn’t your thing and you would rather kick back and let your hair down, Cabo San Lucas has a vibrant nightlife, thanks in part to Sammy Hagar. The former Van Halen frontman opened his Cabo Wabo Cantina in 1990 and — in what seems like an appropriate pairing — later branched out into the tequila business.
It’s hard to tell from the outside, but the club’s interior has a very ’80s rockstar-glam feel. There is graffiti-style artwork painted on the walls, women’s lingerie hanging above the bar and — of course — classic rock pumping out of the speakers.
Whether you are looking to party it up, embrace the beauty of nature, enjoy some traditional Mexican cuisine or take it easy at a resort — Los Cabos has a little something for everyone.
The laid-back atmosphere may explain why celebrities keep coming. George Clooney and Cindy Crawford are making it their home away from home. And I got to see the room at One and Only Palmilla resort where celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was due to check in later that day.
Getting here is bit of an adventure that requires you to leave the highway and travel down a dirt road. But if you are looking for fresh, regional cuisine, it is worth the trip.
Located in San Jose del Cabo, Flora Farms is an organic operation that grows all of its fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs without pesticides or chemicals. But it’s not just a farm. It has expanded to include a grocery and restaurant, which cater to locals and tourists looking for a field-to-table experience.
The restaurant serves only produce grown at the farm and gives diners the opportunity to eat food overlooking the fields where it was grown. Menus change as the crops change.
For a hands-on experience, they also offer cooking classes that teach the basics of Mexican fare.
I had the opportunity to take part in a class and learned how to make salsa, pico de gallo and corn tortillas.
Our chef, Victor, let us help out and gave us tips on basics such as de-seeding spicy peppers and the easiest way to cut up an avocado. Since I enjoy cooking, I found it interesting to learn about local dishes and bring that knowledge back into my own kitchen.
I also learned that bottled salsa has nothing on the real deal!
SIGHTSEEING BY BOAT
El Arco — an arch-like rock formation where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean — is possibly Los Cabos’ most iconic landmark.
Coming here without getting your picture taken with the arch is like going to Disney World and not getting a photo taken with Mickey Mouse.
The arch is accessible by boat and many tours are offered at the marina.
We boarded a glass-bottom boat, which allows passengers to see the fish swimming beneath the waves. Once we were moving, however, it was hard to decide where to look — below the water or above. The scenery was incredible. We passed a group of lounging sea lions, divers jumping off a large rock sticking out of the water and pelicans hanging out at Pelican Beach.
Most area beaches aren’t suitable for swimming, but Lovers Beach on the Sea of Cortez side is. Swimming is not possible at nearby Divorce Beach on the Pacific Ocean side because of its dangerously rough waters. Ironically, it’s a very short journey between Lovers and Divorce.
Our boat didn’t stop at the beaches but some will drop passengers off and pick them up later if they want go sightseeing.
If you are looking to really wind down, the Auriga Spa at Capella Pedregal may be just the spot.
The spa offers many treatments, including specialized ones based on the phases of the moon. (My visit was during a full moon phase.)
With massage rooms overlooking the spa pool and the sounds of soft tranquil music — combined with the waterfall outside — it doesn’t take long to feel at ease.
Before or after the treatment, you can sip on a cup of tea or flavoured water and take a turn in the sauna, steam room, ice room or pool.
Capella Pedregal’s setting is unique. The hotel faces the ocean, but also has a mountain directly behind it. The entrance — a private tunnel known as Dos Mares — is impressive.
NEED TO KNOW
— Flora Farms has public and private cooking classes from November until May. These should be prebooked. See flora-farms.com.
— For a walk on the wild side, Cabo Adventures offers swimming with dolphins, camel rides, whale watching and snorkelling. See cabo-adventures.com.
— For travel info visit the Los Cabos Tourism Board at visitloscabos.travel.
— Esperanza, an Auberge Resort in Cabo San Lucas offers a secluded atmosphere, fitness classes, a spa, the Cocina del Mar restaurant and an outdoor firepit. See esperanzaresort.com.
— Los Cabos International is serviced by U.S. and Canadian airlines, including WestJet and Air Canada.