Category: Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

A- Overview:
Cancún has 200-plus days of sun a year and a temperature that averages 80F. With these statistics, it isn’t hard to understand why it is Mexico’s top tourist destination. Located on the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, its beaches are unparalleled, broad expanses of gleaming white sand stretched out beside the clear blue-green waters of the Caribbean.

Over 700 years ago, Cancún was home to the great Mayan civilization. Today, this exotic paradise joins the ancient past to the present as one of the world’s most modern and exciting resort areas.

A wide range of restaurants, vivacious night life, a variety of shopping opportunities, and the overall tropical atmosphere draw over two million visitors a year.

The hotel zone, which is what most tourists think of as Cancún, is a fourteen mile long, thin island shaped like a “7.” To the North is the Caribbean Sea with wide open beaches and strong waves. To the west the shore is buffeted by Isla Mujeres (Isle of Women), causing calmer waters. To the south, between the island and the mainland is the Nichupte Lagoon which is perfect for all water sports. It is this island that was created specifically for its present purpose, as the ideal vacation destination in a totally natural tropical setting accompanied by all the amenities of life in the 21st century.

Mainland Cancún has a much different ambience than the hotel zone, because it is an area of permanent residence for some 450,000 people. It offers markets instead of malls, and street vendors and outdoor cafes rather than air-conditioned restaurants. Downtown Cancún has little of the glamor of the hotel zone, but is a fast growing and interesting city to visit.

Visitors who are nostalgic for their home cities will be comforted to know that the developers of Cancún included businesses such as Outback Steakhouse, Dunkin’ Donuts, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, McDonalds, WalMart and Blockbuster.

The whole family is welcome and appreciated in Cancún. Much thought and preparation has gone into developing attractions that will be of interest to family members of all ages. AquaWorld is one such facility. It offers wave runners, water skiing, windsurfing, catamarans, paddle boats, sailboats, kayaks, floats and boogie boards. There is even a sub sea explorer craft with large glass windows built into the sides for underwater viewing of fish, coral formations, turtles, and other marine life. There is no excuse not to have fun! Children will also enjoy time spent at Xcaret, the waterside theme park.

The Cancún Convention Center is the site of a variety of performing arts events, as well as displays of paintings and sculpture. Cancún has a wide choice of nighttime entertainment. Most of the hotels on the island have discos where dancing continues through the night into the early morning hours. Ballet Folklórico de Mexico performs nightly at the Continental Villas Plaza Hotel. Latin music is performed live at several clubs and attracts people of all ages. Rock ‘n roll oldies bring crowds of dancers to Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Café. Comedy acts and romantic dinner cruises round out the nighttime offerings.

Holidays and fiestas provide additional reasons to celebrate the beauty and joy of time spent in Cancún. In the church plaza, intricate dances passed down from family to family since ancient times, continue for hours. Dancers dress in symbolic costumes of vivid colors. Some villages even offer a bullfight as part of the festivities. However, in the Yucatan, both the bull and the matador are required to end the contest unharmed. Live music accompanies the performance. In the end, the bull is untied and returns to his rural home.

There is never a season of the year that isn’t just the right time to step back from life’s hectic pace and visit Cancún. A world apart awaits the visitor to this majestic land of incomparable beauty.

B- City Information:
Population:
400,000

Location:
In the State of Quintana Roo, off the northeastern end of the Yucatan peninsula, directly south of New Orleans. Approximately 1.5 hours flying time from Miami.

Elevation:
16 feet

Area:
Cancún city is located on the northeastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula and is essentially a service town for the resort area of Cancún situated on L-shaped Cancún Island (13 miles [21 km] long by 0.25 mile [400 m] across). The resort area of Cancún (also called the Zona Hotelera [“Hotel Zone”]) is linked by a causeway to Cancún city.

Languages:
Spanish and Mayan, but English is spoken in most areas. The original inhabitants of this part of Mexico were Mayan and although Spanish is the official language, most of the indigenous population still speaks their native tongue. In the past few years, people from all parts of the world have settled here, giving this region a cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is fairly easy to encounter English, German, Italian and French- speaking people, especially in hotels and in larger towns.

Time Zone:
Central Standard year round. The time is one hour behind that of New York City. When it is 11:00am in New York City; it is 10:00am in Cancún.

Weather:
Cancún is warm year round, but the steady sea breeze tempers the heat. There is outdoor swimming all year. Rainfall is evenly distributed over the twelve months. The chance of hurricanes is greater in September and October. The sun reflected from the water is intense, so it is important to come prepared with sunblock. Most visitors wear shorts and T-shirts. A sweater is useful for air conditioned places and for the occasional cool winter day.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
High Low
January – March 84F 67F
April – June 89F 73F
July – September 90F 76F
October – December 87F 69F

Tourist Assistance:
Secretariat of Tourism
91-800-90392

Consulates:
United States Of America 830272
Plaza Caracol II # 2 3rd Floor 832296
Canada 833360
Plaza Caracol II 3rd Floor #L330 833361

Currency:
New Peso, Old Peso, U.S.Dollar

Banks and Currency Exchange Facilities:
US Dollars are easily exchanged into pesos in banks, major hotels, airports and exchange houses. Mexican banks are open from 9 am to 2:30 pm weekdays only. Most credit cards are accepted in shops, hotels and travel agencies. Major purchases are best made with a credit card. You automatically receive the bank rate of exchange, which is higher than the rates given in town or at the hotels.

US Dollars and Mexican Pesos: In Cancún,. The US dollar is widely accepted, however, most prices are quoted in Mexican pesos. Usually, any price that has a decimal sign is in pesos. Pesos can also be indicated by a price like “N$35”. The N stands for “new pesos”. If you see a bill with a high value, in the thousands or millions, that is “old pesos” and you have to drop three zeros from the number to get the true value.

Exchange Rates:
If no exchange rate is posted, the usual rate is 8 pesos to the US dollar. Any posted rate will be lower than this.

Credit and Bank Cards:
Before you go, check with your credit card company to get their exchange rate for Mexican pesos. You may find that plastic is more economical than cash for some purchases. However, small stores might charge an extra 10% for credit card sales, so you will need some cash. Cash advances and ATM withdrawals typically come in pesos. Major ATM cards work at ATMs at the big banks such as Banamex .Banks advertise their closing hour as 5 PM during the week.

Documentation:
Visitors to Mexico need a valid passport or must present an original birth certificate and photo ID. Minors traveling alone; with one parent; or with a relative or friend who is not their parent need notarized consent from parent(s). In addition, visitors must carry a Mexican Tourist Permit, which is issued free of charge after proof of citizenship upon arrival. This permit must be given to officials upon departure. If you lose your Tourist Permit while in Cancún, you can obtain a copy or permission to leave the country from the Immigration office located downtown.

Departure Tax:
is approximately US $17. Be prepared with US cash for this. Change may not be available. Children under 2 years are exempt.

Customs Regulations:
After passing through immigration, you must claim your luggage and pass through Customs. You must present a Customs form, which will be given to you at check-in before you leave the US or during your flight. You will be asked to press a button at a sort of traffic light: Green means go, red means your baggage will be briefly searched. Questions can be directed to the Customs office at the Cancún Airport at (52-98) 86-00-73.

Church Services:
Roman Catholic
Cristo Ray Church,15 Margaritas Street, Downtown Cancún
Daily Messes: 7A.M. and 7 P.M. Saturday: 7P.M.
Sundays: 8A.M., 11 A.M., 5P.M., 6:30 P.M., and 8 P.M.
840513.

Hotel Zone Masses
Cancún Baptist Fellowship, Hyatt Hotel each Sunday 10:00am
Hotel Camino Real , 10 P.M.
Continental Villas Plaza, Sunday 12 P.M.
Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, Sunday 10:30 A.M.
Presidente-Intercontinental, Saturday 6:30 P.M.
Sheraton, Sunday 10: A.M.
Chapel next to Plaza Nautilus, Sunday 10 A.M.

Presbyterian
Puerto del Cielo Church, 15 Crisantemos St. Downtown Cancún.
Sunday services: 10:45 A.M., 6:30 P.M.
842362

Episcopal
Marriott Casa Magna, Hotel Zone
Sunday services: 10 A.M. in English
852000

Electricity: The standard current in the hotels in Mexico is 110 volts AC. European travelers should bring a converter or check their electric devices in advance.

Telephones & Fax:
For local directory inquiries dial 847612.

From North America to Cancún:
Dial 011 (int’l access code) + 52 (Mexico’s country code) + 98 (Cancún’s area code) + the local number.

From Cancún, calling within North America:
Dial 00+1+area code+local number. Many US long-distance phone companies have access numbers that you must dial in order to use your phone card, usually through the Mexican telephone company public phones, Ladatel. Calls may be less expensive than direct-dialed calls from your hotel room. (Check your hotel surcharges before calling.)

Using Tel/Mex public telephones:
If you are calling within Mexico, you can pay for the call in cash or call collect. International calls are collect only at some casetas. The service charges may apply whether or not you connect and there might be an extra charge for information or any other service involving the international operator. Only use official TelMex phone booths for long distance calls, as all others charge very high fees, so high that the government is now removing the phones. The non TelMex phones usually have a little ad on them urging you to call collect, decorated with an American flag. Don’t be misled by the ad.. use Telmex.

Ladatel
The least expensive way of paying for an international call is to buy a Ladatel card at one of the locations that sell them, such as the newsstand in front of the post office. These come in amounts from 30 pesos up. You put the card into a slot in a Ladatel public phone and direct-dial the number. The amount of credit you have left will appear on the display and be updated when you connect. The charges are automatically deducted from the card.

Credit Card Calls:
– Some credit cards will also work in Ladatel phones, including Master Charge and Visa International.

Fax:
You can send faxes from the post office or from any Caseta de Larga Distancia. The two most convenient locations are:
[1] Downtown next to Lavandería Alborada on Nader.
[2] Mercado 28, near Farmacia YZA.

Computel:
Downtown – Av. Tulum just past main bus terminal.
Hotel Zone – Coral Negro Market, Plaza Kukulcán, 2nd level. Fast, efficient fax service.
A one-page fax to the United States will cost about $3.35 in this computerized telephone and fax service.

Internet:
Public internet service is available in all major hotels at rates of about $10 an hour. There are also many Internet cafés in the Hotel Zone and Downtown. Hotel Zone malls with Internet service include Plaza Caracol, Plaza Kukulcán and Maya Fair, but there are many other locations.. Service in downtown Cancún ranges from $1.50 to $5 an hour.

National Holidays:
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
Feb 5 – Constitution Day
Mar 21 – Birthday of Benito Juárez, Mexican president and national hero
Holy Week – (Semana Santa) Good Friday through Easter Sunday
May 1 – Labor Day (Día del Trabajo) with workers’ parades
May 5 – Battle of Puebla commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at Puebla in 1862
Sept 1 – The president of Mexico delivers the annual State of the Nation address
Sept 16 – Independence Day
Oct 12 – Day of the Race (Dia de la Raza) Columbus Day
Nov 1-2 – The Day of the Dead
Nov 20 – Revolution Day: Anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution
Dec 12 – Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe
Dec 25 – Christmas Day

Emergency:
Local Police 841913/ 842342
Fire Department 841202
Highway Police (Federal) 841542/ 841107
State Police 841171
Federal Police 887291

Business Hours:
Most stores are open from 10 am to 10 pm daily in the Hotel Zone. Stores downtown may close between 2 pm and 4 pm for the traditional “siesta” and on Sundays.

Hospitals: Mexico has a nationalized healthcare system and almost every town and city has either a national hospital or medical clinic. Most hotel have a 24-hour doctor on call. No vaccinations are need to enter Mexico from the US or Canada. Below is a list of local hospitals and clinics.

Hospital Americano
84-61333/84-6068 (24-hours)
15 Viento Street, SM4

Red Cross
84-1616 (24-hours)
Yaxchilan Avenue, SM21

Total Assist
84-1092, 84-8116 (24-hours)
5 Claveles Street, SM22

Social Security Hospital
887274 /887354

General Hospital
842967/ 842666

Public rest rooms:
Restrooms are difficult to find in most places. You are expected to supply your own toilet paper.

Children:
Many resorts, hotels, and beachfront villas have many activities especially for families with children.

How to get around:
A counter at the airport exit sells tickets for buses (called colectivos), which cost about $8. The buses are air-conditioned and sell soft drinks and beer on board. You can also take a government-subsidized cab. The driver will accept the taxi vouchers sold at stands inside or just outside the airport.
Car Rentals:
Major rental car companies operate from the airport and some hotels. You must be 25 years old, hold a driver’s license and major credit card. Road signs are in Spanish.

Public Transportation:

Tips and Taxes
In cases where the gratuity is not included or provided for, 15% is the accepted amount. Most items sold in Mexico have a “value added tax” or sales tax of 10% that is additional to the posted price. In Spanish, it is called IVA. You will see it itemized separately on your receipt. City buses and taxi vans run through the hotel zone and downtown. Localurban bus companies service the hotel zone. They stop by all hotels during the day.

Taxis
Taxi Union 886992

Local Bus Service:
The bus system in Cancún is very convenient and inexpensive. The fare is 3 pesos. It is much better to pay in pesos because, according to some travelers, if you pay with US money the fare is $1, and no change is given.

Ferries and Boats
The ferry for foot passengers runs to Isla Mujeres departs Puerto Juarez, just north of downtown Cancún, eight times a day in both directions.
The Caribbean Express and the Caribbean Miss (tel. 987/70254 or 987/70253), both air-conditioned cruisers with bar service, make several 30-minute crossings daily from Puerto Juárez, just north of Cancún, to Isla Mujeres, a small island resort offshore. Boats run from 7:30am – 7:30pm at approximately 30-minute intervals; the fare is under $4 per person.
There are three passenger ferries that leave at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10, 10:30, and 11:30 AM, and on the half hour from 12:30 to 7:30 PM; the schedule varies depending on the season, so check the times posted at the dock. The one-way fare is only about $1.50 and the trip takes 45 minutes.

Airports:
Cancún International Airport – Phone 870088 Airport is 9 miles southwest of the heart of Cancún City, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the southernmost point of the hotel zone.
Shuttle (tel. 98/83448), runs directly from the Playa Tortugas dock in Cancún’s hotel zone to the airport at least four times a day and costs about $15 round-trip.

Marriage while in Cancún:
Due to Cancún’s popularity as a honeymoon destination, most major hotels are happy to arrange a wedding for a visitng couple, and will likely have a wedding coordinator on-site, or be able to refer you to a local company that provides those services. The legal requirements for marriage in Cancún are as follows:
(1) Certified copies of both parties’ birth certificates or valid passport
(2) Blood tests from their doctors taken within 15 days of their wedding date; tests for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
(3) A copy of their tourist permits or visas if required for entry
(4) Four witnesses
(5) If previously married, the parties will need to show the divorce decree or a certified copy of spouse’s death certificate, if widowed.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
D- Family Fun Attractions:
E- Events & Entertainment:

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

A- Overview:
For anyone who has dreamed of finding the perfect powdery white, sandy beach stretching along miles of turquoise blue water, Playa is the place to be! The accommodations are known for being reasonably priced, and the standard is high. The restaurants are beautifully decorated and offer good service. From Playa del Carmen it is easy to take the ferry to Cozumel. It is also a convenient location from which to take one of the tours to visit the various ruins in the area such as Chitchen Itza and Tulum. These are only a few of the reasons that this sun-splashed resort area has become one of the world’s top tourist destinations!

Originally named Xaman-Ha (waters of the north) and known as the capital of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is located on the beautiful Caribbean coast some 40 miles south of Cancun.

Playa was once a sleepy Mexican fishing village, but has been transformed into the world’s fastest growing city. It is a favored destination for an increasing number of world travelers, as well as for thousands of day-trippers from Cancún and from Caribbean cruise ships.

The town is laid out so that the main street, Avenida Juárez, leads to the zócalo (town square) from Highway 307. As it does so, it crosses several numbered avenues that run parallel to the beach, all of which are multiples of 5. Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) is closest to the beach. It is closed to traffic from the zócalo to Calle 6 (and some blocks beyond, in the evening). This avenue bustles with hotels, restaurants, and shops. With mariachi musicians entertaining in the streets, Playa is reminiscent of the colonial towns of Mexico.

Almost all of the town is north and west of the zócalo. Immediately south are the ferry pier and a Resort Hotel. Beyond this southern edge of town are the airstrip and the golf course development called Playacar, with many private residences and resort hotels.

The beach at Playa is one of the most beautiful on the coast, with white sand and sparkling, clear water. A distinct advantage of this resort paradise is its compact size, which allows it to be easily covered on foot. Playa contains the most vibrant and popular nightlife on the Riviera Maya.

A visit to Playa is never dull! If your visit to Playa del Carmen coincides with a full moon, you could camp on the beach and enjoy one of the celebrations the inhabitants hold in its honor. Playa provides an enormous variety of water activities throughout the year, ranging from swimming on the beach to more strenuous sports such as windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing or diving at the nearby reefs. There is also an 18 hole golf course designed by Robert Von Hagge. Skydiving from Playa is another possibility.

Playa del Carmen’s natural features, beauty, and spectacular beaches, its enviable geographical location and its blend of sea and jungle make this destination on the Mexican Caribbean a favorite of visitors from all over the world.

B- City Information:
Population: 47,200

Location:

In the State of Quintana Roo, off the northeastern end of the Yucatan peninsula, south of New Orleans. Approximately 1.5 hours flying time from Miami.

Languages: Spanish and Mayan, but English is spoken in most areas.

The original inhabitants of this part of Mexico were Mayan and although Spanish is the official language, most of the indigenous population still speaks their native tongue. In the past few years, people from all parts of the world have settled here, giving this region a cosmopolitan atmosphere

Time Zone: Central Standard Time. The time is one hour behind that of New York City. When it is 11:00am in New York City; it is 10:00am in Playa del Carmen. However, Daylight saving time is observed from the first weekend in May until the last weekend in September.

Average Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
80F
68F

February
81F
68F

March
82F
69F

April
84F
71F

May
87F
74F

June
85F
75F

July
88F
75F

August
87F
75F

September
87F
75F

October
83F
73F

November
81F
71F

December
80F
70F

When to Visit: Playa del Carmen is warm year round, but the steady sea breeze tempers the heat. There is outdoor swimming all year. Rainfall is evenly distributed over the twelve months. The chance of hurricanes is greater in September and October. The sun reflected from the water is intense, so it is important to come prepared with sunblock. Most visitors wear shorts and T-shirts. A sweater is useful for air-conditioned places and for the occasional cool winter day.

National Holidays:

Jan 1 New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)

Feb 5 Constitution Day

Mar 21 Birthday of Benito Juárez, Mexican president and national hero

Holy Week (Semana Santa) Good Friday through Easter Sunday

May 1 Labor Day (Día del Trabajo) with workers’ parades

May 5 Battle of Puebla commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at

Puebla in 1862

Sept 1 The president of Mexico delivers the annual State of the Nation address

Sept 16 Independence Day

Oct 12 Day of the Race (Dia de la Raza) Columbus Day

Nov 1-2 The Day of the Dead

Nov 20 Revolution Day: Anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution

Dec 12 Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe

Dec 25 Christmas Day

Currency: The currency is in Mexican Pesos.

Banks and Currency Exchange Facilities:

US Dollars are easily exchanged into pesos in banks, major hotels, airports and exchange houses. Mexican banks are open from 9 am to 2:30 pm weekdays only. Most credit cards are accepted in shops, hotels and travel agencies. Major purchases are best made with a credit card. You automatically receive the bank rate of exchange, which is higher than the rates given in town or at the hotels.

Cash advances and ATM withdrawals typically come in pesos.

Major ATM cards work at ATMs at the big banks such as Banamex .Banks advertise their closing hour as 5 PM during the week.

Departure Tax: is approximately US $17. Be prepared with US cash for this. Change may not be available. Children under 2 years are exempt.

Customs Regulations: After passing through immigration, you must claim your luggage and pass through Customs. You must present a Customs form, which will be given to you at check-in before you leave the US or during your flight. You will be asked to press a button at a sort of traffic light: Green means go, red means your baggage will be briefly searched. Questions can be directed to the Customs office at the Cancún Airport at (52-98) 86-00-73.

Mail

A post card home will probably take many weeks, or even months. A package will probably not make it. Don’t send anything valuable with the Mexican Mail. If you do want to send some post cards, stamps can be found at the Post office and at the pharmacy or the mini super. Stamps are called estampillas.

Business Hours:

Most stores are open from 10 am to 10 pm daily in the Hotel Zone. Stores downtown may close between 2 pm and 4 pm for the traditional “siesta” and on Sundays.

Public rest rooms: Restrooms are difficult to find in most places. You are expected to supply your own toilet paper.

Children: Many resorts, hotels, and beachfront villas have many activities especially for families with children.

Car Rentals:

Major rental car companies operate from the airport and some hotels. You must be 25 years old, hold a driver’s license and major credit card. Road signs are in Spanish.

Public Transportation:

Tips and Taxes

In cases where the gratuity is not included or provided for, 15% is the accepted amount. Most items sold in Mexico have a “value added tax” or sales tax of 10% that is additional to the posted price. In Spanish, it is called IVA. You will see it itemized separately on your receipt.

Arriving

Airports:

Visitors will most likely arrive at Cancun International Airport, which is only about 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen. Playa has a small airport that mainly has service to Cozumel and some ruins, such as Chichén Itzá and Palenque. There is also an international airport in Cozumel, from which it is easy to get to Playa del Carmen. Cancún International Airport – Phone 870088. The airport is 9 miles southwest of Cancún City.

Exiting customs, you will find a mass of people calling out their readiness to help. Some with with hand carts try to confuse you into using their service by calling out different destination names until one catches your attention. Plan your transportation in advance or just keep moving forward to the exit to the taxi kiosk. Look for an authorized white, yellow and black airport taxi. It is a 45 minute ride to Playa del Carmen. The union controls who can carry tourists from the airport and what they charge. Taxis originating in Playa del Carmen are not actually authorized to take people to Playa, but you can go with a transfer company that is authorized. The ride to Playa del Carmen will cost a little over $50. The fare can be shared among others traveling ot the same destination. To take one of these authorized taxis, go to any of the TTC kiosks located around the terminal and buy a ticket.

The Mexican bus company, Riviera, now operates direct bus service between Cancun airport and Playa del Carmen. Tickets are reasonably priced each way, either way. It leaves from outside the main arrival hall at the airport. Just before you exit the terminal, there is a Riviera counter where you buy the ticket. In Playa del Carmen the bus works out of the main bus terminal on 5th Avenue and Juarez. These are big blue Mercedes buses with huge butterfly fish decals on the back.

The crowd of sales people for other modes of transportation (authorized and unauthorized) will continue to shout out invitations to use their services or to accept boarding assistance from them even as the visitor is boarding the Riviera bus with a ticket in hand. It is best to ignore these entreaties and to proceed on your own onto the bus, as planned. This is the schedule (subject to change on short or no notice):

Cancun airport – Playa
10:30, 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 15.00, 16:45, 17:45, 19:00, 20:30
Playa-Cancun airport
8:00, 9:00, 10:30, 11:45, 13:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18.15

From Cozumel Airport: Take a taxi to the dock, (el muelle). Ferries to Playa leave every hour on the hour, except at 11am and 1pm. The ferry ride will take about 30 minutes. By the dock in Playa, there are guides on tricycles who can take your luggage to your hotel, or to the taxi stand by the bus station.

Air-conditioned passenger ferries to Cozumel leave every hour on the hour from the town’s pier one block from the main square. Construction of a second pier at the end of Av. Constituyentes proceeds in fits and starts. There is also a car ferry to Cozumel from the Calica pier just south of the Playacar development.

The ferry dock in Playa is 1 block from the main square and within walking distance of hotels. Playa has two bus stations. Buses coming from Cancún and places along the coast, such as Tulum, arrive at the Riviera bus station, at the corner of Juárez and Quinta Avenida, by the town square. Buses coming from destinations in the interior of the peninsula arrive at the new ADO station, on Avenida 20 between 12th and 14th streets.

Getting Around

It is easy to get around in Playa. You don’t need a car to get around town, in fact it’s easier not to have one. Playa del Carmen is small enough to for you to walk almost everywhere. Taxis are cheap and they are found everywhere. As soon as you leave the center area of town, the rates rise steeply and inconsistently, so ask before you go. Another popular means of transportation is the scooter or bike, both of which are available for rent in Playa. There are plenty of buses going to Cancun or Tulum, and if you want to go on a day trip, it is easy to rent a car in Playa.

Buses

The are two bus terminals in town, one on the corner of Avenida Juarez and 5th Avenue and one on Avenida 20, between Calle 12 and 14. Both have direct bus service to Cancun, Tulum, Merida and a lot of other places in the area and the country. The Colectivos are white vans running up and down the highway. They stop anywhere you want, and you can flag them down by the side of the road. They operate from Calle 2 between Avenida 15 and 20, next to the baseball court.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Cenotes (freshwater underground springs)
Located in the heart of the Yucatan’s underwater cavern region, there is an opportunity in Playa to experience cavern diving and snorkeling. Cavern diving is available at Cenote Dos Ojos. Tour the Bat Cave, and experience underwater caverns decorated unlike any others in the world.

Scuba Diving
Extreme sports enthusiasts will enjoy scuba diving in the open seas in the crystal-clear waters of Playa del Carmen. You can go snorkeling and scuba diving on the Great Mayan Reef, located less than 100 meters out from the beach. Alternatively, you can go diving in the caves: a great experience.

Akumal
Also known as “The Place of the Turtle” Akumal is a bay protected by a coral reef, which has been developed as a natural aquarium and an excellent site to learn how to scuba dive and snorkel. It has not so shallow waters and no streams affect it, so it is like a big natural swimming-pool waiting to be explored.

Archaeological Sites near Playa del Carmen
Several of Mexico’s famous archaeological sites can be reached from Playa del Carmen, such as:

Chichen Itza
This archaeological city of the state of Yucatan was founded by the Maya-Itzas who arrived in the Peninsula around the year 435-455 A.D.. Chichen was occupied twice. The first occupation was from 495 to 692, and the second from 948 to 1204. The architecture of the first period is considered to be authentically Maya, and the second is considered to have Toltec influence, since it has certain elements in common with those found in Tula, the ancient capital of the Toltec-Hueytlapalanecas.

Tulum
Considered by many as the most beautiful of the Mayan sites, it is small, but is exquisitely poised on the fifteen-meter-high cliffs above the Caribbean. The Spanish first considered it to be as large and beautiful a city as Seville, Spain. They were apparently misled by their dreams of El Dorado, by the glory of its position, and by the brightly painted facades of the buildings. Architecturally, Tulum is no match for these great cities, but it is striking in its appearance.

Coba
This archeological site was constructed between two lakes. More than 80 square kilometers of buildings remain. Its main pyramid is the tallest of the whole Peninsula and is 130 feet tall. It overlooks the rain forest area.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Heading south from Playa del Carmen, travelers reach the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Natural Reserve, also known as “the place where the sky begins”. It is an area of rain forest, lakes, swamps, coastal ponds, bays and reefs, all of which are the natural habitat of thousands of species, such as jaguars and pumas, white-tail deer, crocodiles, howler and spider monkeys and 345 species of birds. All day expeditions from Monday to Saturday are available, which include a three hour boat trip. Requires reservations in advance.

Xel-ha
This is considered to be the largest natural aquarium in the world. Formed by a huge inlet, it is a setting for hundreds of tropical fish; and is also known also for its ruins, cenotes, and caves. Restaurants,, showers, and lockers are available.

Swimming With Dolphins

In the two nature parks south of Playa, Xcaret and Xel-Ha, you can have the opportunity of interacting with dolphins.

Reef Club Playacar
This All Inclusive resort is located in Playa del Carmen, on the coast of the Riviera Maya, 40 minutes south of Cancun. Nestled on one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches of Playa del Carmen, the resort setting is one of lush tropical jungle greenery, natural springs (cenotes), and vestiges of Mayan ruins. The Reef Club Playacar is the first resort in the Playacar development area, within 15 minutes walking distance of downtown Playa del Carmen and the pier, from which the ferry to Cozumel departs.

Xcaret
Playa Del Carmen is an ideal spot for visiting one of the most beautiful parks in Mexico: Xcaret, which is also the point from which ferries set out for the 45 minute ride to the Island of Cozumel. It is near the natural well area of Puerto Aventuras.

Shopping in Playa del Carmen
Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) is Playa del Carmen’s main shopping area. This pedestrian walkway is also home to much of Playa’s activity both during the day and night. Not only does it have many shopping options, but also restaurants, bars, hotels and more.

All sort of handcrafts from Mexico’s different regions, including clothes and beachwear, hammocks and Mexican articles are sold. At the open markets furniture, and silver jewelry are also available.

Nightlife in Playa del Carmen
The evening offers a number of options such as places to dance. Popular fiestas take place on the beaches and in the lively bars. On 5th Avenue there are bars and discos with a lively ambiance.

Visiting the Ruined Cities of the Maya

There are four cities within easy reach of Playa and most of the coast. The easiest to reach is Tulum. A half-hour inland from Tulum on a pock-marked road is Cobá, rising up from a jungle setting. This city has not been reconstructed to the same degree as the other three and doesn’t have the rich imagery or clearly delineated architecture. The other two cites, Chichén Itzá and Ek Balam, are 2 1/2 hours distant in the interior of the peninsula.

Tours

From Playa and the rest of the coast there are tours to the ruins. The tour buses usually stop at a few places along the way for refreshments and souvenirs. Some combine the ruins of Tulum with a visit to a nature park.

There is a tour agency in Playa called Alltournative: 984/873-2036 which offers small tours that combine a visit to a contemporary Mayan village; kayaking, rappelling, snorkeling, and cenote diving; natural history; and ruins. It offers these tours daily using vans for transportation.

Call the agency directly or arrange a tour through your hotel; they pick up at most of the large resorts that are along the coast.

Sian Ka’an Biopreserve Ecological Tour

This originates from Tulum.

The Nature Parks: Xcaret, Xel-Ha, & Tres Rios: These parks require full-day excursions, and offer opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and other aquatic activities, educational tours highlighting the region’s natural history and local Mayan culture and entertainment. They are completely self-contained and offer food, drink, watersports equipment, and various choices of merchandise. Tres Ríos isn’t far north of Playa. Xcaret is just south of Playa, while Xel-Ha is further south, almost to Tulum.

Sports

Deep Sea Fishing

The largest marina on the coast is at Puerto Aventuras, not far south of Playa. There you will find a number of options for boating and fishing.

Horseback Riding

There are several places along the highway that offer horseback rides. One is just south of Playa near the Calica Pier and is called Rancho Punta Venado (984/877-9701).There is a clearly marked sign.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

In Playa, Tank-Ha Dive Center 984/873-0302;arranges reef and cavern diving. The owner offers reef and cenote diving excursions. He and his staff speak English. There are also good dive shops in Puerto Morelos, north of Playa, and in Akumal, south of Playa. The area around Akumal has a number of underwater caverns and cenotes that have become popular scuba and snorkeling destinations. The Akumal Dive Shop specializes in cavern diving and offers a variety of dives.

Hidden Worlds Cenotes, 15km south of Akumal provides everything, including wet suit.

Golf

an 18-hole championship golf course (984/873-0624), designed by Robert Von Hagge, is adjacent to the Continental Plaza Playacar. The club also has two tennis courts.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Heading south of Playa del Carmen, travelers reach the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Natural Reserve, also known as “the place where the sky begins”. It is an area of rain forest, lakes, swamps, coastal ponds, bays and reefs, all of which are the natural habitat of thousands of species, such as jaguars and pumas, white-tail deer, crocodiles, howler and spider monkeys and 345 species of birds. All day expeditions from Monday to Saturday are available, which include a three hour boat trip. Requires reservations in advance.

Xel-ha
This is considered to be the largest natural aquarium in the world. Formed by a huge inlet, it is a setting for hundreds of tropical fish; and is also known also for its ruins, cenotes, and caves. Restaurants,, showers, and lockers are available.

Swimming With Dolphins

In the two nature parks south of Playa, Xcaret and Xel-Ha, you can have the opportunity of interacting with dolphins.

E- Events & Entertainment:
January
Jan 1st: Public holiday.

March
Mid-March: Carnaval with dancing, parades and floats

June
June 1: Navy Day Fishing Tournament. Playa Del Carmen hosts an annual fishing tournament.

September
September 16: Independence Day. Public holiday celebrated throughout Mexico with grand parades.

December
December 16 – December 24: Las Posadas. Each night the faithful re-enact Joseph and Mary’s search for posada (shelter) on their journey to Belen. For others, it’s an occasion for a party. Many hotels and restaurants hold their own posada festivities.

Los Cabos, Mexico

A- Overview:
Los Cabos has become one of Mexico’s most popular coastal getaways, with deluxe hotels, championship golf courses, and some of the best sport fishing in the world. The population is growing faster than in any other part of Mexico. Yet, Los Cabos retains an air of mystery and of pristine beauty.

At the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of (also known as the Sea of Cortés), meet, and the land ends in a rocky point called El Arco (The Arch). It is a place of rugged beauty. In the late 16th and 17th centuries, the Gulf side of the area was a favorite hiding place for pirates who plundered Spanish galleons stopping there to take on fresh water. Later in its history, it was the mooring spot for the yachts of wealthy, vacationing Americans who came to the warm waters of the Sea of Cortés to relax and to the Pacific Ocean to fish for the marlin and sailfish that leap out of the waves of the pounding surf.

Once solitary, sleepy villages, and now joined to create one of Mexico’s fastest growing resorts are the two Capes. Located 1050 miles from the US border, Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, are 18 miles apart via a four lane, divided highway. The view along the road is spectacular! In the 1970’s the Mexican government decided to combine the two towns into one resort area, called Los Cabos (the Capes). This was the beginning of what is now a major resort consisting of Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, and the stretch of highway that connects them, called the Corridor.

The area is readily accessible through the local airport which is serviced by major airlines. Plan ahead and bring your favorite fishing rod and golf clubs, or rent them locally. The waters of the Gulf abound with hundreds of species of game fish including marlin, amberjack, bonito, black sea bass, mahi mahi, roosterfish, sailfish, snapper, wahoo, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail. There are many excellent fishing charters, and all of the major hotels arrange daily fishing expeditions. A catch and release policy is an option observed in order to perpetuate the sport for years to come.

The many beaches offer opportunities for snorkeling, surfing, water skiing, and windsurfing. Diving, kayaking, and sailing can also be arranged. Whale watching is popular along the mid-Baja coastline and tours depart regularly from Los Cabos. Golf is a major sport thanks to a process that recycles purified waste water and uses it to irrigate the greens and fairways. There are at least six courses between the two Cabos. Golfers play against a backdrop of rugged seaside scenes and desert terrain. The tee shot at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Palmilla course, must carry over a cactus filled arroyo. The same canyon wraps around the front of the green as well.

Craft items and folk art are featured in the little shops that line the marina walkways. A combination art gallery and museum, The Faces of Mexico, contains items for viewing and for purchasing. Near the hotel zone in San José del Cabo is a marvelous open air market selling Mexican handcrafts. Higher quality items and antiques are found in shops along Calle Zaragoza and Boulevard Mijares.

Nightlife in Cabo San Lucas is full of youthful vitality and a rock beat. The nightly entertainment in the slightly more staid San José del Cabo consists of live bands playing a combination of international pop and Latino music; disco and folk music. On most Saturday evenings during the December – March tourist season there is a fiesta in Plaza Mijares in San José del Cabo. The fiesta features folk dances, mariachi performances, cockfight demonstrations, and piñata breaking. Food vendors and artisans present their wares. Profits from food and beverage sales go to local charities.

The weather in Los Cabos is sunny and mild year round. The Gulf is calm and warm; the Pacific surging with energy, to the delight of surfers and photographers. Many great beaches extend between the two Capes. In addition to the many sports offerings, there is an underwater nature preserve and endless miles of natural rock formations that defy description of their beauty. Standing on the beach and looking out at the Pacific or at the Sea of Cortés is like being in another world.

Writer John Steinbeck in his Log from the Sea of Cortés said of the area, “The very air here is miraculous, and outlines of reality change with the moment.” Assuredly, this is one of the reasons that over 250,000 visitors are drawn annually to the wonders of Los Cabos, Mexico.

B- City Information:
Population:
25,000

Visitors:
250,000 annually

Location:
In the State of Baja California Sur, in the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula. The capital is La Paz. Approximately 2.5 hours flying time from Los Angeles to Los Cabos.

Elevation:
16 feet

Languages:
Spanish, but English is spoken in most areas.

Time Zone:
Mountain Time Zone The time is two hours behind that of New York City. When it is 11:00am in New York City; it is 9:00am in Los Cabos. Daylight saving time is observed between April and October, the same as in the US.

Weather:
Average Temperatures (in Fahrenheit): High Low
January – March 79 55
April – June 93 59
July – September 96 74
October – December 90 57

Los Cabos are sunny and mild year round. There is very little rainfall (7.5 inches per year!) There are 360 days of sunshine.

Tourist Assistance:
Secretariat of Tourism
91-800-90392

Consulates:

United States Of America 830272
Plaza Caracol II # 2 3rd Floor 832296

Canada 833360
Plaza Caracol II 3rd Floor #L330 833361

Currency:
The unit of exchange is the peso which comes in paper denominations of N$10; N$20; N$50; N$100 and N$200. Coins come in denominations of five, ten, twenty and 50 centavos and one, tow and five pesos. N$ stands for new pesos which were introduced in 1993 to replace “old pesos.” Sometimes the currency is referred to as “m.n.” followed by the number of new pesos. The m.n. stands for moneda nacional or national money and is the same as N$. If you see a bill with a high value, in the thousands or millions, that is “old pesos” and you have to drop three zeros from the number to get the true value.

All payments are rounded off to the nearest multiple of 5 centavos. Most places will take US dollars as well as pesos, but will not give as much in exchange as would a bank or ATM machine. It is customary for vendors to set their own exchange rate, and not to rely on the one set by the government or the banks. Please be advised that PEMEX gas stations will not take credit cards or US currency. If you are driving in Los Cabos, be sure to have Mexican cash with which to pay for gasoline purchases.

Banks and Currency Exchange Facilities:
US Dollars are easily exchanged into pesos in banks and major hotels.

Business Hours
Banks are generally open weekdays 9-3. Government offices are usually open to the public 8-3; along with banks and most private offices; they are closed on national holidays. Stores are usually open weekdays and Saturdays from 9 or 10 AM to 7 or 8 PM; shops may also be open on Sundays. Some stores may close for a two-hour lunch break — about 2-4. Airport shops are open for business seven days a week.

Most credit cards are accepted in shops, hotels and travel agencies. Major purchases are best made with a credit card. You automatically receive the bank rate of exchange, which is higher than the rates given in town or at the hotels.

Credit and Bank Cards:
Before you go, check with your credit card company to get their exchange rate for Mexican pesos. You may find that plastic is more economical than cash for some purchases. However, small stores might charge an extra 10% for credit card sales, so you will need some cash. Cash advances and ATM withdrawals typically come in pesos.

Passports and Visas

Entering Mexico
U.S. and Canadian citizens need only proof of citizenship for entry into Mexico. Tourists from other countries should check with a Mexican consulate or embassy. Minors traveling alone; with one parent; or with a relative or friend who is not their parent need notarized consent from parents. In addition, visitors must carry a Mexican Tourist Permit, which is issued free of charge after proof of citizenship upon arrival. This permit must be given to officials upon departure.

Customs and Duties

Arriving in Mexico
Upon entering Mexico, you will be given a baggage declaration form and asked to itemize what you’re bringing into the country. Mexico has instituted a $15 visitor fee that applies to all visitors except those entering by sea at Mexican ports who stay less than 72 hours and those entering by land who do not go past the 16-18-mi checkpoint into the country’s interior. For visitors arriving by air, the fee, which covers visits of more than 72 hours and up to 30 days, is usually included in the airline-ticket price. You must pay the fee each time you extend your 30-day tourist visa.

Electricity
For U.S. and Canadian travelers, electrical converters are not necessary because Mexico operates on the 60-cycle, 120-volt system; however, many Mexican outlets have not been updated to accommodate three-prong and polarized plugs those with one larger prong, so to be safe bring an adapter plus. If your appliances are dual-voltage you’ll need only an adapter. Don’t use 110-volt outlets, marked “For shavers only,” for high-wattage appliances such as blow-dryers.

U.S. Embassy
Paseo de la Reforma 305, Col. Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, 5/209-9100.
Emergencies
Police 114/3-39-77 Cabo San Lucas; 114/2-03-61 San José del Cabo.
Hospital 114/3-15-94 Cabo San Lucas; 114/2-00-13 San José del Cabo.
Red Cross 114/3-33-00 Cabo San Lucas; 114/2-03-16 San José del Cabo.

Language
Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Basic English is widely understood by most people employed in tourism, less so in the less developed areas.

Mail
The Mexican postal system is notoriously slow and unreliable; never send packages , as they may be stolen. For emergencies, use a courier service or an express-mail service, with insurance.

Post offices oficinas de correos are found in even the smallest villages. International postal service is all airmail, but even so your letter will take anywhere from 10 days to six weeks to arrive. Service within Mexico can be equally slow.

Taxes
Mexico charges an airport departure tax of US$18 or the peso equivalent for international and domestic flights. This tax is usually included in the price of your ticket, but check to be certain. Traveler’s checks and credit cards are not accepted at the airport as payment for this.

Many states charge a 2% tax on accommodations, the funds from which are used for tourism promotion. Mexico has a value-added tax of 15%, which is occasionally and illegally waived for cash purchases. Other taxes and charges apply for phone calls made from your hotel room.

Tipping
When tipping in Mexico, remember that the minimum wage is the equivalent of $3 a day and that most workers in the tourist industry live barely above the poverty line. Recommended tips: Porters and bellboys at airports and at moderate and inexpensive hotels: $1 per bag. Porters at expensive hotels: $2 per person. Maids: $1 per night all hotels. Waiters: 10%-15% of the bill, depending on service make sure a 10%-15% service charge hasn’t already been added to the bill, although this practice is more common in resorts. Taxi drivers: Tipping is necessary only if the driver helps with your bags — 5 pesos to 10 pesos.

Telephones
The country code for Mexico is 52. The area code for Los Cabos is 114.

Directory and Operator Information
Directory assistance is 040 nationwide. For international assistance, dial 00 first for an international operator.

International Calls
To make a call to the United States or Canada, dial 001 before the area code and number; Long-Distance Calls One option for long-distance calls is to find a caseta de larga distancia, a telephone service usually operated out of a store such as a papelería stationery store, pharmacy, restaurant, or other small business; look for the phone symbol on the door. Casetas may cost more to use than pay phones, but you have a better chance of immediate connection.

Internet – Public internet service is available in downtown Internet cafés.

National Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year’s Day Año Nuevo
Feb 5 Constitution Day
Mar 21 Birthday of Benito Juárez, Mexican president and national hero
Holy Week Semana Santa Good Friday through Easter
May 1 Labor Day Día del Trabajo with workers’ parades
May 5 Battle of Puebla commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at Puebla in 1862 Cinco de Mayo
Sept 1 The President of Mexico delivers the annual State of the Nation address
Sept 16 Independence Day
Oct 12 Day of the Race Dia de la Raza Columbus Day
Nov 1-2 The Day of the Dead
Nov 20 Revolution Day: Anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution
Dec 12 Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Emergency:
Local Police 841913/ 842342 Fire Department 841202 Highway Police Federal 841542/ 841107
State Police 841171 Federal Police 887291

Public rest rooms:
Restrooms are difficult to find in most places. You are expected to supply your own toilet paper.

Arriving and Departing

By Air
The Los Cabos International Airport SJD 114/2-03-41 is about 7 mi north of San José del Cabo and about 30 mi from Cabo San Lucas. U.S. and Mexican carriers fly nonstop to Los Cabos from several U.S. cities. Flying time to Los Cabos is 2 1/2 hours from Los Angeles, 2 1/2 hours from Houston, and 2 hours from Mexico City.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

By Bus
Inexpensive airport shuttles run the 7 miles from the airport to San José del Cabo, as well as to Cabo San Lucas.

By Taxi
In regular official cabs white and yellow, passengers bargain with the driver over the fare, which should average US$10 to Cabo San Lucas.

By Bus
The Autotransportes de Baja California bus line runs the length of the peninsula from Tijuana to Los Cabos, stopping at towns en route; the peninsula-long trip takes 22 hours. The Aguila bus line runs from Santa Rosalia to Los Cabos.

By Car
Mexico Highway 1, also known as the Transpeninsular Highway, runs the entire 1,060 mi from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. The highway’s condition varies depending on the weather and intervals between road repairs. Do not drive at high speeds or at night, as it is not lighted. There are exits for all the principal towns in Baja Sur. The road between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas was widened to four lanes and is in good condition, although dips and bridges become flooded in heavy rains, especially from August to November.

Getting Around

By Ferry
There are three ferry services that offer an alternative way of reaching the mainland. One connects the capital of Baja Sur, La Paz, with the Mexican mainland at Topolobampo; ; a second runs to Mazatlán. A third ferry service runs between Santa Rosalia in central Baja and Guaymas, Sonora, on the mainland. Passenger and vehicle fares are separate on all of the ferries.

Intercity Bus
Buses are widely available and inexpensive. They run between all Mexican cities, and provide an excellent way of traveling from one of the Capes to the other.

Cycling
The Cape area is the most popular in Mexico for cycling. Touring and mountain bikes are available for rent. There are many interesting trail rides.

By Car
If you plan to dine at the Corridor hotels or travel frequently between the two towns, it’s a good idea to rent a car for a few days. Taxi fares are high.

Temporary Vehicle Import Permits
If you are driving your own US registered car into Mexico, you will need one of these only if you plan to travel on one of the ferries with your vehicle. Any Mexican customs checkpoint can issue one to you upon presentation of proper registration and driver’s license information by the vehicle’s owner.

Insurance
In order to drive in Mexico, you must have Mexican auto insurance, which runs about $100 a week. You can buy a policy at the U.S.-Mexican border. If you injure anyone in an accident, you could be jailed whether it was your fault or not, unless you have insurance.

Driver Requirements
A valid foreign driver license is acceptable in Mexico. If you enter the country with a car, you must depart with it.

Road Conditions
Since the completion of the 1,059-mi Transpeninsular Highway, also called Mexico Highway 1, in 1973, travelers began gradually to find their way down to Baja Sur, drawn by the wild terrain and the pristine beaches of both coastlines. Baja Sur remains a rugged and largely undeveloped land, and many people opt to fly to the region rather than drive. Highway 1 is in fairly good repair, but there are potholes in some stretches, and services including gas and rest rooms may not be available. Be well prepared with water and other necessities for a long drive in desolate, but beautiful, country.

Rules of the Road
When you sign up for Mexican car insurance, you should receive a booklet on Mexican rules of the road. Read this booklet in order to avoid breaking laws that differ from those of your native country. Mileage and speed limits are given in kilometers: 100 kph and 80 kph 62 and 50 mph, respectively are the most common maximums. Observe the posted speed limits, which can be as low as 20 kph 12 mph.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
San José del Cabo is the municipal headquarters for the two Los Cabos towns, and the downtown area with its adobe houses and jacaranda trees still maintains the languid pace of a Mexican village, although bumper-to-bumper traffic often clogs the streets during weekday business hours. Most of the shops, services, and restaurants are located between Avenida Cárdenas and the waterfront.

Connecting the two towns, the Corridor has developed as a distinct destination with a number of legendary fishing lodges, exclusive resorts, and three championship golf courses. The highway has been widened to four lanes and is in good repair most of the time, but tends to flood occasionally between August and November.

The sportfishing fleet is headquartered in Cabo San Lucas, and cruise ships anchored off the marina dock so that passengers can visit the town. Trendy restaurants and bars line the streets, and massive hotels have risen on every available piece of land along the waterfront. To become acquainted with Los Cabos, take a short boat ride out to the natural rock arch and Playa de Amor, the beach underneath it.

There are few sites of cultural interest in any part of the area. The attractions are all in the nature of outdoor entertainment and relaxation.

Cabo San Lucas

El Arco
A spectacular natural rock arch at the point of intersection of the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean is visible from the marina and from some of the hotels, but is most impressive from the water.

Cabo Acuadeportes
Hotel Hacienda, Playa Médano
114/3-01-17
offers diving trips along with all other water sports. Also arranges whale watching tours along the shore.

El Faro De Cabo Falso
Lighthouse of the False Cape, built in 1890 and set amid sand dunes, is a little bit farther on from El Arco. You need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the lighthouse by land. The best way to view it is from a boat ride on the water.

Beaches

Playa De Amor
Playa De Amor is a secluded cove at the very end of the peninsula, with the Sea of Cortés on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The contrast between the peaceful cove on the Sea of Cortés and the pounding white surf of the Pacific is dramatic.

Playa Hacienda
Playa Hacienda in the inner harbor by the Hacienda Hotel, has the calmest waters of any beach in Cabo San Lucas and good snorkeling around the rocky point.

Playa Médano
Playa Medano just north of Cabo San Lucas, is the most popular stretch of beach in Los Cabos and possibly in all of Baja. The 2 mile long span of white sand is always crowded, especially on weekends.

Playa Solmar
Playa Solmar fringing the Solmar Hotel, is a beautiful wide beach at the base of the mountains leading into the Pacific, but it has dangerous surf with a swift undertow.

Fishing
Most hotels will arrange fishing charters, which include a captain and mate, tackle, bait, licenses, and refreshments. Charter companies include Gaviota Fleet at marina, 114/3-04-30 or 800/521-2281; Minerva’s at Marina And On Madero Between Blvd. Marina And Guerrero, 114/3-12-82, FAX: 114/3-04-40; Pisces Sportfishing Fleet at marina, 114/3-12-88; and Solmar Fleet Solmar Suites Hotel, Blvd. Marina, 114/3-35-35, 114/3-00-22, or 800/344-3349, FAX: 114/3-04-10; 310/454-1686 in the U.S..

The Corridor

Bahía Chileno
Baha Chileno an underwater preserve, which is inhabited with a variety of marine life and is a wonderful place for snorkeling and diving. Visitors must bring their own equipment.

Bahía Santa María
A picture-perfect white-sand cove protected by towering brown cliffs, has superb snorkeling, with hundreds of colorful fish swarming through chunks of white coral. A concession stand on the beach rents snorkeling gear. It does not keep regular hours, so plan alternative activities in case it is closed the day you are there.

Costa Azul
Costa Azul is the most popular surfing beach in Los Cabos. A few small campgrounds and casual restaurants line the beach facing the waves.

Jig Stop Tours
800/521-2281
books fishing trips for several Los Cabos fleets.

Victor’s Aquatics
114/2-10-92
FAX: 114/2-10-93
has a fleet on the Palmilla resort’s beach.

San José del Cabo

City Hall
There is a small, shaded plaza beside the little yellow building that serves as the municipal center. There are a few café tables in front of small restaurants.

Iglesia San José
The town’s church is located on a hill above the city hall plaza. The front of the building displays a tile mural of a captured priest being dragged toward a fire by Indians.

Los Lobos Del Mar
Brisas del Mar RV park, on the south side of San José, 114/2-29-83 provides kayak tours and rentals. The tours paddle along the Corridor’s bays and are especially popular in the winter months when gray whales pass by offshore.

Beaches

Playa Hotelera
Playa Hotelera is the stretch of beach that most of the finer hotels use. It’s beautiful, but the current is dangerously rough, and swimming is not advised. At the east end of the beach, near the Presidente Inter-Continental, there is a freshwater lagoon filled with tropical birds and plants. One of the attractions to the birds is the abundance of insects for food. Visitors may ewact differently to the swarms of insects, and may wish to come prepared with a coating of insect repellent.

Playa Palmilla
Playa Palmilla is the best swimming beach near San José. It is protected by a rocky point just south of town. The northern part of the beach is filled with boats and shacks. Farther south is the Hotel Palmilla beach, a long stretch of white sand and calm sea.

Plaza San Lucas
Locals and travelers mingle at this large central plaza, with a white wrought-iron gazebo and green benches set in the shade. Buildings around the plaza house galleries and restaurants.

Estero de San José
Located at the end of the tourist area of San José del Cabo, this is where the freshwater Rio San José flows into the sea. The estuary is a natural preserve closed to boats. More than 200 species of birds can be seen here. A building on the edge of the estuary serves as a nature center with exhibits explaining the culture of Baja’s indigenous people.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Los Cabos is not an area of museums and zoos. Even so, it is an area for spectacular family vacations.
Families will enjoy the beaches and water sports as well as the whale watching and snorkeling.

Estero de San José
Located at the end of the tourist area of San José del Cabo, this is where the freshwater Rio San José flows into the sea. The estuary is a natural preserve closed to boats. More than 200 species of birds can be seen here. A building on the edge of the estuary serves as a nature center with exhibits explaining the culture of Baja’s indigenous people.

Beaches

Playa Hotelera
Playa Hotelera is the stretch of beach that most of the finer hotels use. It’s beautiful, but the current is dangerously rough, and swimming is not advised. At the east end of the beach, near the Presidente Inter-Continental, there is a freshwater lagoon filled with tropical birds and plants. One of the attractions to the birds is the abundance of insects for food. Visitors may ewact differently to the swarms of insects, and may wish to come prepared with a coating of insect repellent.

Playa Palmilla
Playa Palmilla is the best swimming beach near San José. It is protected by a rocky point just south of town. The northern part of the beach is filled with boats and shacks. Farther south is the Hotel Palmilla beach, a long stretch of white sand and calm sea.

Plaza San Lucas
Locals and travelers mingle at this large central plaza, with a white wrought-iron gazebo and green benches set in the shade. Buildings around the plaza house galleries and restaurants.

E- Events & Entertainment:
January
Last weekend in January: Todos Santos (19 miles north of Cabos San Lucas) Art Show is held at the Casa de la Cultura in Todos Santos. The show features sculptures, paintings, ceramics and other works by local artists and a few from outside the area.

February
Artosan, a local non profit group sponsors a Home and Garden Tour of some of the older, restored homes in Todos Santos, which is 19 miles north of Cabos San Lucas.

July
July 12 – 13: Vuelta Tecate Los Caboscarrera de bicicletas Bike Race from San José del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas

October
Mid-October: Torneo de Pesca Deportiva “Copa de Oro”Gold Cup Sportfishing Tournament at Cabo San Lucas
Mid-October: Carrera de Autos Cabo San Lucas 200Cabo San Lucas 200 Car RaceCabo San Lucas
Mid-October: Fiestas Patronales de Cabo San Lucas A Tradition Festival in Cabo San Lucas
Late October – early November: Bisbee’s Black & Blue Jackpot Tournament in Cabo San Lucas

November
Nov 1, 2: Traditional Day of the Dead Festivities
Nov 20: Mexican Revolution Day Anniversary

December
2nd week: Turkey Tennis Tournament San José Golf Club San José del Cabo
Dec 12: Guadalupe Day. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration
Mid-December: Christmas Festivities begin in San José del Cabo.
The last Saturday of the month Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo have a Mexican Fiesta with fireworks, mariachi, Mexican food, and traditional ballet.