Cabo San Lucas

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The trip
Pirate Ship Sutherland
Pirate Ship Sutherland

I took advantage of being in California visiting the MV Kaitlin and caught an Aeromexico flight from San Diego to the Los Cabos area on the southern tip of Baja California. I spent the week of April 4-11, 1999 there, diving and exploring. Avis wanted $220/week for a stick shift, $450/week for an automatic. I took the stick, a tiny black Chrysler Neon, and ran up over 300 miles. A week later, back in the states, I was still stepping on an imaginary clutch when stopping at traffic lights.

You can do without a car in the Los Cabos area, but if you're staying anywhere but downtown Cabo San Lucas, you'll find the cost is offset by the savings on rather expensive taxi service.


Landscapes in this dry area are mesquite, yucca plants and dust, until you come to the explosion of flowers marking the entrance to one of the many resorts lining the 12 mile corridor between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. The main streets of Cabo are similiarly lined with flowers, and every morning the water trucks would dutifully care for them.


There is also a notable absence of bridges over the normally dry arroyos. During the rainy season they simply overflow even the main highways. Metal stakes are found along the edge of a road where it crosses the arroyos, letting folks know how deep the muddy water is. The rest of the year drivers slow down to traverse the sandfills and washouts where the water flowed. Fortunately, they don't usually have rain this time of the year, but those washouts can sure sneak up on you. Then there is the last 16 miles of the road to Cabo Pulmo. It's gravel with big ruts and bigger rocks.


Plaza las Glorias
Plaza las Glorias

I stayed at the Plaza las Glorias, a 287 room complex that dominates the west side of the marina in downtown Cabo San Lucas. Rooms were clean, full sized, with phones and cable, and well appointed as befits a 4 Star ranking. It is within walking distance of nearly everything in town. All the area's activities are available from many vendors at Plaza las Glorias. Cabo is a watersports town, with fishing, diving, swimming, and cruising on an enormous variety of watercraft being the dominant activites. Golf, horseback and 4-wheel ATV riding are also available.

There are a dozen highly rated resturants within a short walk, and a bazillion bars of every musical persuasion that operate until the wee hours. There are hills just west of the Plaza las Glorias. If you find your way there, you'll get some excellent photos of the town, the marina, and Land's End. You'll also learn to turn your Avis stick shift Chrysler Neon around on a narrow dirt road with a rock cliff behind you and a soft shoulder and a 400 foot drop in front. The photo will go on the webpage even if it's not very good.

The Diving
Napoleon Wrasse
Napoleon Wrasse

I did two days of diving while in Los Cabos. Early in the week I did the 80 mile drive to Cabo Pulmo, and dived with Pepe's Dive Center. Pepe was off in La Paz doing National Park things, but his wife Libby was there, and Roberto, our Divemaster. We assembled our gear under the awning, donned our wetsuits, then left in the back of a pickup truck for the half mile trip to the boats. All diving is from 20 foot wooden pangas. Easy out (back roll) but tough recovery (doff gear, get pulled over the side by helpful DM.) We all helped shove off from the shore, then scrambled aboard.

Cabo Pulmo has the most northern coral reef in the eastern Pacific. All the reefs are nearby, and it was a short ride to El Baho, a 60' reef and the first site. The 2nd site was El Centril, a 20-45' depth and barely offshore.
There was a bit of a chop on the water, which silted the visibility down to about 25 feet. Water temperature was in the low 70F's. There was also a noticible current, making for drift dives. The reef was mostly rock, with occasional purple gorgonians (some sea rod species) and low lying finger coral on top, particularly on the shallow (20') portion of the reef.

Diver Group Divers at Cabo Pulmo

Fish were plentiful but not overwhelmingly so. There were lots of striped burrfish, yellow tailed surgeon fish, and a couple of Napeleon Wrasses. Bat rays were jumping all around the surface in a feeding frenzy, but we only saw a few underwater in the low vis. We did find a few bullseye rays in the sand near the rocks.

Moorish Idols
Moorish Idols

Midweek I dove Cabo San Lucas with Land's End Divers. I chose them from the 4 dive operations at Plaza las Glorias for the expedient reason that I could drop my divegear out my window and it'd land on their doorstep. Okay, I didn't really do it, but I could have. A continuing SW surge left only 3 dive sites open, and they were silty. We did the Sandfall, max depth 100' and then nearby North Wall, where like any wall you could reach 3000' but managed to stay above 70. Visibility was less than Cabo Pulmo, surge was noticible at the hang, and water was again in the low 70F's.

We saw many of the same species as before, but added a spiny lobster and several small morays. Diving here is from pangas also, with even more freeboard than in Cabo Pulmo. These dive sites were barely out of the marina, about 5 minutes by boat. All in all the diving was great for the folks from the California coast and the midwest, where the water is 54F and the visibility is seldom greater than 15 feet. For us Florida types, it was about as cold as we can tolerate, and we rarely see visibility that low. On the other hand, these sites had enough new things to keep it interesting.

Ray in Sand
Bullseye Ray

I didn't bring the RS, so shot only Hi8 video, from whence come these shots. None would make the photo galleries, but they do give a sense of the area. I may head for La Paz in the fall, when whale sharks are common in the area, and I'll be better armed camera wise.

Dr Z's Internet Cafe & Bar
Dr Z
Dr. Z

I posted reports from Dr. Z's Internet Cafe and Bar in Cabo San Lucas. This is an excellent place, equipped with 7 computers online and phone jacks for use with your own computer. Of the two internet cafe's in Cabo, this is the only one where you can log on with your own computer, making it useful for things other than checking email. Besides that, Dr Z's is a fine cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating, with an excellent menu and a full service bar.

I took advantage of both the specialty coffee and the quesadillas on more than one occasion to FTP uploads to the site and check the 100 or so emails that come from the various lists.


Rates are available for 1/4, 1/2, and 1 hour times, with 1 hour running 100 pesos ($11). Both Dr Z and his helper Ziggy are fully conversant in the ways of computers. In the photos, Dr. Z labors at another tricky HTML table, Oti uploads a couple of margaritas, and Ziggy looks on as I FTP to Wade's Page.

The Map
Wade's Cabo Map
Until we return....

The arch at Land's End seems to be the photo in 90% of the area advertisements, so I took the mandatory shots too. The banner photo at the top came from across Cabo San Lucas Bay near Cabo Sol, a distance of about 3 miles. There was a sea mist up, even though it was midmorning, and a ground swell pounding the rocks below. This picture was taken from the bridge of the MV Kaitlin a few weeks later when I returned in it, making the journey south to Acapulco.

Cabo Arch
The arch at Cabo San Lucas