I visited the gorgeous region of Los Cabos in Mexico for the second time this winter and, after I returned, I felt the need to clarify some of the myths about this destination that is just as “mythical.”
The region called “Los Cabos” is the tourist area, where the marina and all the hotels are located. It stands between the two “Cabos :” Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. “Los Cabos” is a more popular term and if you stay there, you will probably end up in San Lucas or San José but most likely somewhere in between.
The Los Cabos region is located in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The state is often called B.C.S., for its acronym, or Baja California. Regardless of its name, you are actually in Mexican territory, approximately 1000 miles from the US border and San Diego, at the tip of the California peninsula.
Myth #1: Californians drive to Cabo
Completely false! Almost no one crosses the border in Tijuana; it is even proscribed by the government because it is considered too dangerous. And, between Tijuana and Cabo, it is a solid 10-hour drive in the arid desert with very little civilization. There is not much going on in the middle of the Baja Peninsula—and let us just say I wouldn’t be up for it. The best way to get there is by plane: the San José del Cabo International Airport is bustling, welcoming local and international flights from around the globe.
Myth #2: You can swim in the sea anywhere in Cabo
This is probably the biggest myth about the Cabos region. Most people do not know that the beautiful beaches of Los Cabos, where the sea and the desert meet at the tip of the continent, are not for swimming. The current and the waves are so strong that it is extremely dangerous to swim in the ocean in Cabo. Because of this, the majority of Cabo’s beachfront resorts post security guards and lifeguards to ensure no guests set foot into the water. The only swimmable beaches in the area are located in small bays or are only accessible by boat. Be sure to inquire with your hotel before booking to avoid being disappointed as 85% of the hotels in the region are located on beaches where swimming is prohibited. On the other hand, the beaches and the landscapes of Cabo are absolutely breathtaking: wild, colorful, indefinable, and that is (among other things) what makes this destination so unique.
Myth #3: Cabo is reserved for Hollywood’s rich and famous
It is true that Cabo is not considered an affordable destination—taking into account its geographical location, its unique landscape and climate (where else can you find deserts, dramatic landscapes, mountains and the sea in the same place?). But, on the other hand, there are still small and charming boutique hotels that offer a 5-star quality stay in the heart of the action without having to break the bank. Nestled between the ultra-luxurious, all-inclusive resort complexes is the recently opened Mar del Cabo boutique hotel that offers European plan rooms starting at $175 per night for double occupancy. Not bad at all, considering that you are directly on the main beach and in the heart of the main hotel zone.
Myth #4: Everything is a tourist trap in Cabo
False! Several expats, mostly Americans, permanently moved to Los Cabos and have since opened restaurants, bars and exceptional establishments to satisfy both tourists and locals. If you want to get out of the tourist area or just eat outside your hotel, it’s quite possible and often excellent! Flora Farms is the perfect example of a restaurant with authentic local cuisine that will take you off the beaten path. It is also, in my opinion, the best table in the region. Opened in 1996 by a couple who could not find a quality organic restaurant in their adopted city, Flora Farms started as an organic fruits and vegetables farm. The farm then became a restaurant and market that now supplies numerous restaurants and hotels in the region and is also a delight for traveling foodies. An excellent table in the most unlikely site (the road to get there is pretty shady … but it is also part of the charm of the place, trust me).
Myth #5: It’s cold during winter in Cabo
It is not true that “it’s cold during winter in Cabo.” I have fought against getting sunburned during many of my winter visits. From December to March, the average temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, yes, it might be necessary to put on a small jacket during the early mornings or at night during the “cold” season. If you find this disheartening, you can also choose to visit the area during another time of the year when the temperatures are closer to 80 degrees. But if you live in a country where winters are harsh, the light jacket in the evening will feel like an excellent trade off. Warm weather and sunshine are never guaranteed, but most winter days are plenty warm.
Myth #6: You don’t get value for your money in Cabo
It really depends on where you choose to stay, but let’s not forget that Cabo is the playground of the rich and famous… and they have extremely high standards. Therefore, if you want to treat yourself and stay in an exceptional hotel, rest assured that you will not be disappointed. Take for example the Grand Velas Los Cabos, which is in a class all of its own. It is an “ultra-luxurious” all-inclusive hotel where the staff to customer ratio is 3 to 1. You can dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant or have breakfast in your bathrobe on your private sea view terrace. Anything is possible when staying at Grand Velas Los Cabos !
Let’s not forget that: the further your destination is, the less accessible it is, therefore the more exclusive it becomes. Cabo is also less busy than other popular destinations in Mexico, which is a good thing if you ask me. If there is one thing you should not forget when you visit Los Cabos, it is the (very) high level of quality you will find everywhere you go. The quality of the infrastructures, services, facilities, food and hotels is of the highest caliber. In the region, the tourism industry is keenly aware of guests’ expectations. You will not be disappointed once you arrive, as long as you are well informed about the destination and have all the useful tips available. Now, get ready to be amazed during your getaway in beautiful Cabo!