Los Cabos Travel Guide

An Insider Reveals Baja’s Vibrant Scene And Natural Wonders

Roger Balam

Manager, Royal Service; Paradisus Los Cabos

Roger Balam came to Meliá’s Paradisus Los Cabos following time spent in the Mexican Caribbean. There, he acquired an understanding of hospitality and luxury hotels, which proved invaluable. As manager of Royal Service, the Spanish hotel company’s signature program of amenities and facilities, he is attendant to everything that translates into a superlative guest experience. At an all-inclusive property, where seven restaurants delight the palates of guests and four pools are among many features, Balam and his team aim to exceed expectations and indulge guests with Baja California’s special brand of Mexican hospitality.

Roger Balam, manger of Royal Service at Paradisus Los Cabos.

Local Recommendations

Explore Los Cabos With Roger Balam

Los Cabos, a chain of capes (cabos in Spanish) extending along the southern coastline of the Baja California peninsula, is an area of extraordinary natural beauty and biodiversity. Explored by the Spanish beginning in the 16th century, its geological history extends more than 6 million years when it was hewn from the Mexican mainland. Discovering Los Cabos offers limitless possibilities. Its waters sustain hundreds of species of fish. Whales migrate to the peninsula’s seas to mate and bear young. The world’s largest cactus, growing more than 60 feet tall, are native to the area, as is the tiny green-hued hummingbird, three-to-four inches in length. Balam is keen to make suggestions, including favorite spots such as the otherworldly Balandra beaches for snorkeling or kayaking, and advice on Cabos’s popular water and land sports and abundant culinary pleasures and nightlife. Read on for a few of his top picks.

What To Do In Los Cabos

San José del Cabo-Cabo San Lucas corridor

The region encompassing the cities of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas is known as Los Cabos. Though only about 20 miles apart, these two cities along the coastal corridor are distinct in character. José del Cabo grew from a Jesuit mission, established in 1730, and has the character of a small town with fine restaurants, cafés, and boutiques. On Thursday evenings from November through June, Art Walk (artcabo.com), in the city’s gallery district, provides a survey of contemporary painting, sculpture, and photography by Mexican and international artists. For a break along the walk, visitors can slip into the cantina at the Baja Brewing Company (1277 Morelos, San José del Cabo; +52-624-142-5294) to sample a small batch ale or signature Mexican IPA. Cabo San Lucas, a one-time fishing village, is known today for its lively marina and fashionable nightlife, bars and restaurants. It is the scene of annual events, such as the Los Cabos International Film Festival (+52-55-658-5106; cabosfilmfestival.com), held in November, a showcase for Mexican, U.S., and Canadian films and documentaries.

Visiting galleries during Art Walk in San José del Cabo. Photo courtesy of Los Cabos Tourism.

Restaurants In Los Cabos

Farm And Global Influence

Restaurants in Los Cabos, rustic-chic to fine-dining, draw chefs from throughout Mexico and beyond who come to make their mark on the vibrant and ever evolving culinary scene. Café Flora, a small organic restaurant that opened in the late 1990’s in San José del Cabo, emerged at the vanguard of the local food movement. Its success gave rise to a farm and Flora’s Field Kitchen (Km 30 Carretera Transpeninsular San José del Cabo; +52-624-142-1000), where among fields of vegetables and herbs, diners chose from dishes like a risotto of garden-fresh vegetables or mesquite-wood roasted chicken. At his Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar (Km 6.5 Carretera Transpeninsular, Punta Ballena; +52-624-104-3184), innovative Mexican chef Richard Sandoval fuses the food traditions of Mexico and Latin America with the Japanese- and Chinese-Peruvian blended cuisines to create a tantalizing pan-Latin menu. Dishes include white fish Peruvian ceviche and miso-chipotle escolar fish, with grilled asparagus and daikon radish. Los Tres Gallos (corner of Leona Vicario and 20 de Noviembre, Cabo San Lucas; +52-624-130-7709), named after three luminaries of the golden age of Mexican cinema—actors Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, and Javier Solís—is a deserved mainstay in downtown Cabo San Lucas. The restaurant’s unassuming setting, which includes a gracious patio, belies superb Mexican cuisine, including such classics as chicken in mole sauces, enchiladas in salsa verde; and the ever popular tacos de mar, a trio of lobster, shrimp, and scallop.

The restaurant Flora's Field Kitchen in the hills above San José del Cabo. Photo courtesy of Los Cabos Tourism.

Cabo Pulmo National Park

Marine Wonders of Every Dimension

In 1535, 16 years after he set foot in Mexico, Spanish explorer Hernando Cortés led an expedition to the Baja California peninsula. Others followed and in the late 17th-century, Jesuit, then Franciscan, and Dominican missionaries arrived to establish churches and settlements. Confronted by a hot and arid climate, neither the explorers nor missionaries could imagine the biodiversity the seas and landscape encompassed. One of the most extraordinary sites, Cabo Pulmo National Park, lies two and half hours north of Paradisus, on the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California, described by Jacques Cousteau as the “aquarium of the world.” A National Marine Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has one of the largest and most diverse coral reefs in North America. In its waters flourish more than 800 species of marine life, including five of the seven types of endangered sea turtles, sharks ranging from hammerhead to whitetip, sea mammals, including the endemic gulf porpoise or vaquita, and an astounding array of fish, silver mackerel, gulf grouper, blowfish, manta rays, and beyond. As might be expected, Cabo Pulmo offers exceptional snorkeling and diving. Ecotour operators include Eco Adventures (+52-624-157-4072) and Mar y Sierra (+52-624-168-5186).

A humpback breaches near the coastline of Los Cabos. Photo courtesy of Los Cabos Tourism.

Hiking Los Cabos

Look For Iguanas And Piney Woods

Whether it is zip-lining across a canyon, horseback riding, hurtling along off-road trails in an ATV, or birding, Los Cabos provides seemingly as many land sports and activities as along its coastal waters. Varied ecosystems, set between 1,300 and 6,800 feet, encompass semi-desert, scrub, oak forests, and piney woods, in the foothills and mountains of Sierra de la Laguna reserve. Located approximately 80 miles north of Los Cabos, it is filled with surprises. Hiking, trekking, mountain biking, and camping bring visitors to close encounters with diverse fauna—iguana, owl, and even the rarely spotted ring-tailed cat. Swimming holes and natural springs supply refreshing breaks from hikes through canyons. Visitors can spend the day or take up multi-day treks.

The waterfall at Santiago village in the Sierra de la Laguna reserve. Photo courtesy of Los Cabos Tourism.

The Best Views In Los Cabos

Land’s End And Sunset Views

The Arch or Arco is the most recognizable landmark in Los Cabos. The jutting promontory, lies at the southern tip of the peninsula, also known as Land’s End, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. There are many angles from which to take it in, including up-close from a ship excursion. But it can be appreciated from a distance, too. One of the best views is from Sunset Monalisa (Km. 5.5 Carretera Transpeninsular, Cabo San Lucas; +52-624-145-8160) restaurant and its terraces. Popular year-round, especially at twilight, this vantage point also affords the thrill of spotting whales during their winter migration.

The terraces of the restaurant Sunset Monalisa with the Arch, the distinctive Los Cabos landmark on the horizon. Photo courtesy of Los Cabos Tourism.
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