For southbound sailors, the hyper-touristy Cabo San Lucas is a significant stepping stone on the way south, marking the end of the Pacific Baja leg, and opening a gateway to the lovely cruising to come further along Mexico’s coast. Those who think Cabo represents the best, or even typical features of Pacific Mexico cruising will be disappointed by the endless calls of hawkers peddling timeshares, drugs and hookers to the throngs of buzzed gringo tourists. It’s been said that Cabo is a lot like Las Vegas, but with fewer Mexicans. There might be some truth to that.
The outer anchorage at least lets you have the appearance of proper cruising, with lovely water, the photogenic arch at Land’s End, quick access to Lover’s Beach, and the string of palaces and hotels blaring music and comical happy hour challenges for their gringo guests. But it’s also a churned up mess for most of the day, with jet skis, pangas and other tourist boats tearing around among the large cruise ships often anchored nearby. We say get your Cabo fix and move on.
Clearing the obvious point of rocks that protect the bay is your only real hazard, if you don’t count the nearly continuous stream of tourist and fishing boats pouring in and out of the bay. Keep your eyes open, and cross the deep bay toward the more shallow, but sloping, sandy shelf that runs along the hotel (north) side of the bay.
Drop anywhere along this shelf in 20-30 feet, with scope adequate to account for the sloping bottom. This is a good place to get a good look at your set with snorkel and mask. Breezes often cycle from NW to SE and back again. Be prepared.
Everything you’ve probably heard about Cabo is true. It is an adult Disneyland, without the rules, or the closing time. Pace yourself and have a good time. Don’t be dumb or obvious in the way you throw cash around, or make a big show of expensive cameras and jewelry, and you’ll be just fine. There are also some local real-Mexico gems hidden in the sticky seedy rough of Cabo, if you go looking for them.
A night at Cabo Wabo or The Giggling Marlin, just to say you did. Although if you “do it right” you might end up a little foggy on the details.