Kayaking and snorkeling in Los Cabos? Here’s my suggestion!
by Chris Sands
Few companies in Cabo San Lucas can match the quality and diversity of eco-tours offered by High Tide Los Cabos. From surfing at Cerritos and Costa Azul to hiking and outback off-road jeep explorations of Baja Sur, this premier outdoor activities outfit delivers no frills thrills and spectacular interactive adventures in some of the region’s most unforgettable settings. For instance, take kayaking and snorkeling…
For my money, the best introduction to the natural wonders of Cabo San Lucas is High Tide’s kayak tour to the Arch. El Arco and the unique rock rock formations at Land’s End are the result of untold years of erosion, with the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean working on opposite sides to create the remarkably shaped and sculpted granite monuments like Neptune’s Finger and Pelican Rock that describe the southernmost point of the Baja Peninsula. Almost all the commercial boats here offer Land’s End tours, but for intimate, unhurried, up-close-and-personal looks at Cabo’s most recognizable geographic features, kayaks are the preferred mode of transportation.
Kayaking is one of the best ways to get up-close looks at El Arco and other Land’s End rock formations.
Although one of High Tide’s best amenities is round trip transportation, the tour itself starts at Playa Coral Negro, also known as Cannery Beach. Starting here seemed perfectly apt to me, since this spot is so historically significant locally. Before Cabo San Lucas was earmarked for tourism development in the 1960s, the old cannery was the most important structure in town. It served as the center of commerce, and at one point was the the most productive cannery in all of Latin America.
After unloading the kayaks and stand up paddle boards (SUP is the fastest growing water sport in Cabo, and the aboards are available as an alternative to kayaks), our guides Marco and Sergio gave us a rundown on our equipment and the the most efficient paddling techniques. The paddle is slightly concave at each end to help in the displacement of water, and to stop the kayak all you have to do is reverse your stroke. Because the water can get rough beyond Land’s End, it’s important to keep an eye on your guides, and make sure you follow their lead. Safety is a hallmark at High Tide, and life jackets are issued to all participants.
The kayaks are tandem, making this is a great activities option for couples. The paddle out is occasionally hard work (depending upon the wind and current), but it is also very romantic – vistas of sand, sea, and surf as pelicans dive for fish, sea lions bark after the catch of incoming fishermen, tourists dance on the decks of party boats, and frigate birds sail gracefully overhead – with the salty sights accentuated by gently undulating waves and the misty spray from offshore breezes.
The highlight of the tour, at least in my opinion, is the stop as Lover’s Beach. This beautiful stretch of sand is only accessible by water, and provides spectacular views of Cabo San Lucas and the luxury resorts which line Medano Beach. After pulling our kayaks out of the water and securing our belongings, Marco and Sergio gave us a walking tour of Lover’s and Divorce Beaches (which cynical locals are always quick to note is five times the size of Lover’s Beach). Divorce Beach is accessible through a break in the rocks at the back of Lover’s Beach, and looks out over the dazzling blue waters of the Pacific. If the multitude of signs there don’t impress you, let me point out that this is a very dangerous place to swim due to the exceedingly strong rip currents. The protected waters of Cabo San Lucas Bay, however, are perfect for swimming and snorkeling – calm, comfortable, and teeming with fish – and there is about 30 minutes set aside for those who wish to don mask and fins.
After snorkeling and a refreshment break for bottled water and granola bars, we set off on our return leg, dodging boats and buoy lines as we paddled for the finish line. This is the point, by the way – with the end in sight – that you seem to get in perfect sync with your partner… a bit like golf, where a superb fairway iron on the 18th hole erases all the poorly struck shots that preceded it, this is always the moment in a kayak tour where I start thinking about how much I want to this again…and soon.
Cost: High Tide’s “Kayak to the Arch” tour is $70 U.S. per person. The tours are three hours in duration, and start at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition to their superb kayak and snorkel tour of Cabo San Lucas Bay, High Tide also offers twin bay kayak adventures at pristine sites in Chileno and Santa Maria Bays, as well as guided snorkel tours. Corporate outings and private excursions for families and large groups are also available.
Where to Go: Round trip transportation is provided to and from tour sites.
What to Bring: Sandals and beach towels are recommended, and sunglasses, sunscreen, and swimwear are also a good idea. Even if you to skip the snorkel option, expect to get wet up to the waist when getting in or out of the kayak. Kayak and snorkel equipment is included in the tour price, and wetsuits are available upon request. Bottled water and snacks are also provided, as are dry bags to keep phones, cameras, and other valuables safe and secure.
HOW TO BOOK: Call BAJA.COM toll-free from US and Canada at 855-225-2411 or from Mexico at 612-145-0087.
Where is your favorite place to stay when you’re visiting Cabo San Lucas for kayaking and snorkeling? Let us know at Baja.com.
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