For snowbirds traveling from the frozen north, Cabo San Lucas may seem like the land of perpetual sunshine. And while it’s true that the area never sees snow or sleet or hail, there are definitely seasonal variations here. Okay, so there aren’t many spring showers, and the leaves don’t change spectacular colors in the fall. But sometimes we have to wear windbreakers, and there are even days when we have to festoon our margaritas with tiny umbrellas to keep them safe from tropical storms.
If you’re looking for proof-positive that life in Cabo has its ups and downs climatically, look no farther than our favorite sports. Although conditions for golf, fishing, and other active pursuits are generally good year round, each has its ideal season.
Winter is when the El Norte winds blow down the Sea of Cortez, and Baja Sur boasts world class conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding. Every January, aficionados of these water sports flock to the small East Cape community of Los Barriles for the annual Lord of the Wind contest, seeking everlasting glory and the ultimate ride. This isn’t the best season for board surfing (although the Pacific Coast sees some excellent days), but sailors will enjoy the brisk breezes that blow outside of Cabo San Lucas Bay.
However, let’s face facts. The most popular winter sport in Cabo isn’t really a sport at all. You don’t have to be in shape, and if you are athletic enough to get in and out of a kayak, panga, high-speed inflatable, or catamaran, you can participate in the annual whale watching rites. From mid-December through Mid-March, these leviathans of the deep – humpbacks and grays, primarily – make their annual migration to breed in the waters off Baja Sur, and getting close enough for a great photo does have elements of competition.
The annual influx of Mexican, American, and Canadian students during Spring Break and Semana Santa makes this a great season for mixologists and cultural anthropologists, but hardly ideal for some of our other favorite pastimes. Nonetheless, this is my favorite time of year for the grand old game of golf. Los Cabos has a number of great courses to include in the sports guide for Los Cabos, courtesy of design efforts by major champions like Nicklaus, Norman, Player, and Love (a second Diamante layout by Tiger Woods is also in the offing), and this is the perfect time to see visiting golfers in all their plus four plumage. Bargain hunting duffers may prefer the fall, when rates drop, but the weather is often so hot and stifling that it is hard to summon enough energy to kick your tee shots out of the rough, and sandbag gullible types by heartily overstating your handicap. Spring is ideal, in my opinion. The winter winds have abated, the greens have softened, and beverage service is at its most attentive.
Sure it’s hot, but autumn is hotter, and rates in summer drop for just about everything, starting at the end of May. Summer is a good time for camping, whether on the coast, or at altitude in the Sierra de la Laguna, the mountain range that forms the spine of Baja California Sur. You can even take the easy way out and stop at one of the many campgrounds found in the Cabo area, where you’re treated to luxuries like electricity and hot water. But for pure sporting pleasure, summer is for surfing. This is the best and busiest season, with good waves on the East Cape, as well as the in the Los Cabos area and off the Pacific Coast. There are several good surf shops in the area, companies like High Tide offer lessons at Costa Azul, and there is even a boutique resort – the Cabo Surf Hotel on Acapulquito Beach – that caters to hipsters in high-end board shorts. The area is also home to several current and former professional surfers. For apres-sea action, head to Faraway in downtown Cabo San Lucas for Thai food, tropical cocktails, and surf-friendly ambience courtesy of the ownership group of former pros.
In many regards, Cabo owes its existence as a resort destination to the area’s superb big-game sportfishing. This is one of the best places on the globe to catch enormous blue, black, and striped marlin, as well as sailfish and tuna, and autumn is the best time to try your luck. The world’s richest fishing tournament, Bisbee’s Black and Blue, is held in October, and for the price of a midsized sedan, you can join in the chase for one of their million dollar jackpots.
This is also the best time of year for snorkeling and diving, with peak water temperature and visibility. There are great sites in San Lucas, Santa Maria, and Chileno Bays, as well as East Cape sites like Cabo Pulmo, home of both the the most spectacular living coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, and the highest concentration of marine life of any site in the Sea of Cortez. And although it lacks the romance of whale watching, sea turtle season also draws plenty of dedicated adherents, philanthropic types who like to help these fledgling critters navigate their perilous journey from seaside nests to the sea itself.
What is your favorite sport in Cabo San Lucas? Let us know, and maybe we’ll include it in the seasonal sports guide for Los Cabos!
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