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Whale Watching Season Opens in Cabo San Lucas

Whale Watching Season Opens in Cabo San Lucas

by Chris Sands

“They’re back.”

I hear that sentence several times every December, courtesy of friends who spend the better part of each day working on the water.  It signals the unofficial beginning of Cabo San Lucas‘ most celebrated season, when migrating whales make their way south from Alaska and the Bering Sea to breed in the warm waters off the Baja coast. Whale watching season officially stretches from mid-December through mid-April, and sees an estimated 10,000 gray, humpback, blue, fin, sperm, and pilot whales – even the occasional orcas – cruising majestically through the local waters.

They’re back: a humpback whale announces his presence in local waters.

Grays and humpbacks are the whales most commonly sighted. The breeding grounds for gray whales are centered around Magdalena Bay, off the Pacific Coast of Baja Sur, while the humpbacks continue on into the Sea of Cortez. Humpbacks are more flamboyant of the two species, prone to spectacular breaching – leaping almost completely out of the water and displacing large amounts of water upon splashdown – but both grays and humpbacks make their presence known through behaviors like sounding (waving an enormous fluke) and spy-hopping (raising the head out of the water to check out the surroundings). The whales send up a huge white spray before breaching, and the trick for tour captains is to anticipate where the whales will surface based upon the the preceding spray.

 

Although whales can occasionally be seen from shore, most visitors interested in up-close-and-personal looks at these gargantuan creatures sign up for one of the many local whale watching tours. From December through March, seemingly every commercial boat in San Lucas offers some sort of whale watching excursion, from small pangas (water taxis) and fast inflatables to fishing boats, sailboats, and luxury yachts. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each variety of watercraft, but depending upon whether you prefer high-speed action and adventure or comfort and style, there is a tour type that will appeal to virtually every taste.

 

A spectacular sounding captured on one of Cabo Adventures’ whale watching safaris.

There are often brisk winds outside the protected bay – the best place to see the whales, particularly photogenic humpbacks, is beyond Land’s End, where they turn to enter the Sea of Cortez – which is why, for my money, the best way to whale watch in Cabo San Lucas is aboard a sailboat. Sailboats don’t have the same degree of maneuverability enjoyed by pangas and high-speed inflatables, but they offer a mores stylish, exhilarating, and amenity-laden experience. The area’s premier charter company, Cabo Sails, offers private whale watching cruises aboard their fleet of 28′ to 44′ sailboats, each of which boasts a bilingual crew, an open bar, and a selection of snacks that include appetizers and sandwiches. The charters can accommodate two to twenty guests, with morning, afternoon, and sunset cruises available.

 

For the high-speed inflatable experience, join Cabo Adventures for one of their whale watching photo safaris. Their Apex boats were designed for whale watching, and will get you as close to the deep-sea leviathans as is legally allowed – The whales were born in Mexican waters, and locals like to joke that they are therefore Mexican citizens. That may be stretching the point, but the whales are legally protected, and there are rules and laws designed to protect them from overzealous boaters – That said, these tours are as intimate as whale watching gets, with excellent vantages from which to see and photograph these magnificent mammals. The tour guides are experienced and knowledgeable, and hydrophone listening technology is available for those who would like to hear the “songs” of the whales.

Humpbacks can be a bit flamboyant. Just ask the guests aboard this Cabo Sails charter.

 

A little unsteady on your “sea legs?” For those seeking stability, a smooth ride, and plenty of service, sign up for one of the whale watching cruises aboard Caborey. The luxury triple-decked catamaran is best known for its dinner cruises – complete with five-star cuisine and a Las Vegas style floorshow – but the 144′ ship also offers seasonal whale watching excursions. Relax on the top deck with cocktails and sushi rolls, and keep an eye peeled for the cetacean crowd as they continue on course towards their traditional breeding grounds. This is without question the most luxurious way possible to whale watch, and considering the complimentary food and beverages, surprisingly affordable. The tours are offered at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., January through March, and cost $50 U.S. for adults, $25 for children.

Want to find out where to stay in Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo?  Visit Baja.com!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants,hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us

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Cabo San Lucas Activities: King of the Dinner Cruises

By Chris Sands

Looking for Cabo San Lucas activities?  Every resort destination boasts a few must-see sights and seemingly mandatory excursions, trips or tours so closely associated with the area that to skip them is almost unthinkable. As far as Cabo San Lucas activities go, Caborey certainly qualifies as a “must do.” This 144′ triple-decked catamaran is the largest and most luxurious tour ship in Los Cabos, with sunset margarita and dinner cruises that are among the area’s most sought after tickets.

Luxury dinner cruise: One of the top activities in Cabo San Lucas.

Pick up a cold beer or a margarita from the open bar, then kick back and relax with cocktails and classic rock as a live band rocks into a set list of popular hits from the 1970s and 80s. This is when the music mattered–at least if you’re my age–and if you’re not, you’ll still enjoy the campy, good-natured appeal of these retro stylings as the boat cruises into Cabo San Lucas Bay.

Tables and chairs are set up along the rails, and provide perfect vantage points to take in the spectacular sunset views of Bahia San Lucas, as well as a scenic panorama that encompasses both Medano and Lover’s Beaches, and all the unique rock formations at Land’s End. This is an excellent time to get some pictures, of course, and the captain is nice enough to turn the boat around so that people on both sides of the rail get great looks at all the local landmarks.

Two belowdeck areas are set aside for dinner, depending on which ticket you’ve bought. On the middle deck, margarita cruisers can attack a snack buffet loaded with Mexican favorites like taquitos, burritos, and chips, salsa, and guacamole. There is a VIP area forward, where the fortunate few can feel the salt spray from their lounge chairs as they succumb to a comfort food coma.

For those who have chosen the sit-down dinner option, Caborey provides a guests with a choice of six delicious entree options, ranging from chateaubriand and grilled lobster to sea bass and jumbo shrimp. Vegetarian pastas are available, as is a kids menu with chicken fingers, spaghetti,  and other simple selections sure to please the ten and under set. Salads and desserts are also included in this multi-course extravaganza, with opera chocolate cake and petit choux a la creme among the most satisfying of the meal cappers.

After dinner, enjoy Latin American singing and folk dancing. Caborey

After coffee and dessert is served, the lights dim in the dining room for a Las-Vegas style floor show showcasing Latin American singing and folk dancing. Mexico and Argentina are the featured countries, with the latter included, presumably, for the sultry and sexy tango numbers. Mexican contributions include traditional mariachi ballads and energetic renditions of regional folk dances. The after-dinner show is, for me at least, the highlight of the tour. The performances are exhilarating, and the performers are nice enough to stick around for photos afterward, as the boat cruises back into port.

As if dinner, drinks, and tango dancing weren’t enough, Caborey is a full-service tour provider, and also offers snorkeling trips to Chileno Bay, as well as telescoped two hour tours on a Rolls Royce fast boat. Parasailing and seasonal whale watching tours are also available. If you’re looking for Cabo San Lucas activities, this is the ‘king’ of choices!

General Information

Where to Go: Caborey boards at the cruise ship terminal. Dinner and margarita cruises leave at 6 p.m. and return at 8:30 during the summer months, one hour earlier during the winter months. Snorkeling and seasonal whale watching tours depart at 10 a.m. There are two Rolls Royce fast boat tours offered daily, from 10-11 a.m.  and 5-6 p.m. Fast boat whale watching tours are available from December through March, and go out from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

What to Bring: Hats and sunscreen are highly recommended during daylight hours. For sunset tours, jackets and sweaters are a good idea, particularly during the winter months.

Cost: Tickets for the dinner cruise are $92 U.S. The margarita cruise is $55, snorkeling $49, and seasonal whale watching $50. Children under 10 years of age pay half the adult cost for all four of these tours. Rolls Royce fast boat cruises are $29, seasonal whale watching $39.

How to book: For tour reservations, call 1-866-460-4105.

Want to find our more about Cabo San Lucas activities?  

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.


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Family Friendly Fun in San Lucas

Family Friendly Fun in San Lucas

The captain pulls the wheel hard a-port, coming about for another pass by Land’s End as the Jolly Roger dances in the wind. Meanwhile, two scurvy mates stalk each other amidships as they prepare to cross swords in a battle over shares of the buried treasure.

Although best known as a playground for adults, Cabo San Lucas also offers many excellent family-friendly activities. So whether you are traveling with toddlers, tykes, or teens, there is no shortage of things to do, and enough variety to satisfy children of all ages.

One of the best tours is offered by Buccaneer Queen, a pirate ship replica that looks as if it sailed the Spanish Main. The cruises are very theatrical, with swordfights and tales of hidden treasure, and are a big hit with younger children. Whale watching is an added attraction during the winter months, and adults are free to walk the plank during the snorkel tour.

Cabo Submarine offers another popular waterborne adventure, and this tour is perfect for the younger set. The semi-submersible provides a steady ride.  It’s a short trip (one hour), and best of all, the undersea viewing portholes look out upon an undersea fantasia, allowing kids up-close-and-personal views of over 70 kinds of fish, with frequent cameos from dolphins, sea lions, and manta rays. The crew chums the water, so there is always plenty to see, and guides are available to help with fish identification.

Cabo Dolphins is known for their interactive dolphin swims, but they also offer encounter sessions for toddlers and young children. The encounters take place in very shallow water, where a well-trained dolphin is brought in for the kids to pet and hug in a non-threatening environment. More mature youngsters may want to join in the swims, which also include plenty of dolphin kisses, and some memorable photo opportunities.

Trying to find something to keep the older kids happy? Take them to Wild Canyon Adventures. Located near Tule Beach in the Tourist Corridor, this thrill-packed theme park features enough hair-raising, pulse pounding excitement to satisfy even the most jaded of teens. The onsite adventures here put the average roller coaster ride to shame, and include a glass-bottom gondola that travels over 300 feet above the canyon floor, as well as zip-lining, bungee jumping, rappelling, and off-road racing excursions.

Where To Go

Buccaneer Queen – Cabo San Lucas Marina, www.buccaneerloscabos.com, info@ buccaneerloscabos.com, (624) 144-4218.

Cabo Submarine – Cabo San Lucas Marina (behind Wyndham Los Cabos), www. cabosubmarine.com, reservations@cabosubmarine.com, (624) 143-8718.

Cabo Dolphins - Marina Boulevard, Lote 7, www.cabodolphins.com, info@cabodolphins.com, (624) 173-9500.

Wild Canyon – El Tule Bridge, www.wildcanyon.com.mx, info@wildcanyon.com.mx, (624) 144-4433.

Planning a visit to Los Cabos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Los Cabos as an LGBT Vacation Destination

By Meghan Fitzpatrick

Think Los Cabos is only good for fishing and partying? Think again. Los Cabos is a community that welcomes everyone and is of growing interest as a holiday and wedding destination for lesbians, gays, bis and transgenders alike. The LGBT scene in Los Cabos is not outwardly apparent, but the two main towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are widely accepting and tolerant of all kinds of visitors, making the region an ideal LGBT holiday and wedding destination. Cabo San Lucas has the busy marina district and abundant nightlife. Should you prefer a quieter day in Los Cabos, away from a lot of the hustle and bustle of the tourists, San Jose del Cabo is a great option. Located about 20 miles away from Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo is known for its art galleries and exceptional restaurants. Don’t miss the weekly Art Walk every Thursday evening.

ME Cabo Hotel and Nikki Beach, both sit on Medano Beach

A Wide Range of Places to Stay

Visitors have many choices when it comes to accommodations in Cabo. From renting a seaside villa to staying in a full-scale resort or hotel , there is an ideal accommodation for every kind of traveler. Enjoy the luxury, quality, exceptional service and how it caters to each individual guest. Anywhere in Los Cabos that you may choose to stay, your privacy can be assured.

In San Jose Del Cabo, Posada Chabela is a small boutique hotel that is also known for being especially LGBT friendly. Posada Chabela was opened in 2006 as “a place in the sun for everyone.” Rose Ann, the owner, is well-known for her amazing hospitality. The hotel sits on top of a hill overlooking the ocean, and on a beach that is a known and popular surf spot, Costa Azul. Aside from its proximity to the surf and the privacy it offers, the hotel is preferred by the LGBT crowd because it offers popular commitment ceremonies. For more information or to contact Posada Chabela please visit http://baja.com/san-jose-del-cabo/hotels/posada-chabela-bed-breakfast/, or contact Baja.com to book at 855-BAJA-411 or info@baja.com.

The famous ME Cabo, home of the notoriously trendy Nikki Beach, is a well-known gay friendly establishment in Cabo. Located in Cabo San Lucas, the hotel sits on Medano Beach, right in the middle of all the action. ME is also the home of Passion Lounge, one of Cabo’s most renowned nightclubs known for frequently hosting some of the world’s best DJ’s and some of Cabo’s biggest parties, including the Annual Pimp n’ Ho Party. If you stay at the ME you can expect a gay-friendly destination guide awaiting you in your room, in addition to an ‘adult’ film rental service.

A Vibrant Nightlife

In Cabo San Lucas, you may not find an abundance of gay bars per say, but the clubs and bars in Cabo welcome everyone warmly. Among the most friendly establishments is a well-known hotel and “Supper Club” called Scoop which was opened by the editor of the Gringo Gazette (a local English-language newspaper), Carrie Duncan, and her partner David Flores. Scoop is located in downtown Cabo San Lucas, on Leona Vicario St. The club boasts a large stage, dance floor, three bars, a private dining room ,and a conference room with a 60-person capacity for private events. On Friday and Saturday nights Scoop’s nightclub turns into a gay club from 12am until 4am. The hotel itself is a fairly luxurious place to stay, comprised of 8 unique rooms, each equipped with their own private bathrooms with marble bathtubs. For more information or to make reservations at Scoop, please visit http://baja.com/cabo-san-lucas/hotels/scoop-hotel-supper-club/  or contact Baja.com to book at 855-BAJA-411 or info@baja.com.

The most famous gay club in Cabo San Lucas is called Rainbow Bar. More than a decade old, this club has changed locations several times in Cabo. Rainbow Bar caters to a predominantly gay clientele, and is known for their disco-like interior with bright lights, a dancefloor and lots of mirrors. They play a mix of Mexican and English music, and they have a variety of cocktails on their menu. Be sure to check up on the hours of Rainbow Bar before you go as it may be closed during the off season (July-September). In season, Rainbow Bar is open from 4pm until late daily. To contact Rainbow Bar please call (624) 143 1455.

So Many Beautiful Places to Say “I Do”

Los Cabos is one of the number one wedding destinations in the world. In fact, Baja is one of the world’s ultimate wedding destinations. It’s easy to understand why: this is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world, and the weather is just about guaranteed to be perfect year-round. Same-sex marriage is growing more and more widely accepted in Mexico. On August 10th, 2010 Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that all 31 Mexican states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City. Individual territories do not have to recognize same-sex marriages. Currently Baja Sur does not recognize the legality of same-sex marriages performed in Baja Sur, but they are required to recognize same-sex unions that were performed in Mexcio City. Commitment ceremonies are still a very popular choice for same-sex couples throughout Baja Sur, especially in beautiful Los Cabos.

Cabo is secluded and yet still easily accessible from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). There are countless white sand beaches, hundreds of beautiful resorts, and an endless array of scenic places to hold a commitment ceremony. Whatever kind of event you want, the professional wedding planners in Cabo can arrange it for you. Businesses in Cabo are friendly to everyone who walks through their doors. Cabo is a destination where all who come can enjoy sun, fun, beautiful scenery, and an all around good time. From an endless array of water-related activities, to fabulous food, and a hopping nightlife, the Los Cabos region has it all.