Tag: Los Cabos Mexico

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.