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Cabo San Lucas’ Hidden Beach: Playa Coral Negro

Cabo San Lucas’ Hidden Beach: Playa Coral Negro

There is a beach in Cabo San Lucas that goes by many names – Playa Coral Negro, Cannery Beach, and Old Peoples’ Beach, to name just a few – yet seems to be little known by any of them. Playa Coral Negro is the name I have heard most often, although Playa Escondida, the name of neighboring sands in the collective group of so-called Cannery Beaches, is perhaps more accurate: Hidden Beach. Hidden in plain sight.

Playa Coral Negro

The sands of Playa Coral Negro slope gently away from the old Cannery.

I have never seen this beach mentioned in guidebooks or articles about Los Cabos, although it has more tradition than most, and is often thronged with people on weekends. The sandy stretch offers safe swimming and good snorkeling, enjoys a privileged location between the Cabo San Lucas Marina and Lover’s Beach, and looks out across the restaurants and resorts that line Playa El Medano.

Why isn’t Playa Coral Negro better known, or written about in travel guides and round-ups of the best local beaches? Perhaps because it is the traditional Mexican beach–the one that hasn’t been given over to tourists. There aren’t a lot of white faces to be seen here, particularly on weekends, and the beach lacks the amenities associated with the more popular seaside tourist haunts.

Every Sunday, Playa Coral Negro draws huge crowds of Choyeros (the name comes from the cholla cactus, and is used to describe natives of Baja Sur), with umbrella-shaded vendors selling food and drinks, and families sitting together near the shore. A wooden deck winds around the walls of the old cannery, and serves as a sort of makeshift pathway from the vendor carts to the rocks rimming the far side of the beach.

If you look out toward the rocks guarding Lover’s Beach on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll see enterprising youths carefully climbing around them, making a fairly difficult if not very dangerous traverse past the remaining Cannery Beaches to Playa del Amor. There is a reason guidebooks often claim that Lover’s Beach is only accessible by boat or water-based transportation. Local officials don’t want tourists hurting themselves. But this climb is something of a rite of passage for many who live here, and falling into the calm waters of the bay isn’t the worst thing that could happen (unless you’re run over by a rogue wave runner).

Playa Coral Negro

A lifeguard stand and some palapa-topped umbrellas are all the amenities you’ll find at Coral Negro Beach. Playa Grande is seen in the background.

For many years, the cannery was the center of commerce in Cabo San Lucas. In fact, as recently as fifty years ago – when the population numbered about 300 people – it was about the town’s only industry. Playa Coral Negro was the town’s most important beach. Visitors may notice that the entrances to two of Cabo’s earliest hotels, Finisterra and Solmar Suites, are only  a hundred yards or so from Coral Negro beach. The early developments moved incrementally inland, slowly edging away – both commercially and geographically – from the old cannery and its beach.

Nowadays, the cannery is in ruins, and the beach is virtually deserted for most of every week. Still, it’s a pretty place, and a strategic spot to watch all the boats motor in and out of the bay. It’s within easy walking distance of Pedregal and the Marina, and well worth a visit for those who like hidden treasures.

 

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The Beaches of Los Cabos

By Meghan Fitzpatrick

If you are vacationing in Cabo, chances are at some point on your trip you will go to the beach. Depending on your group and your personal interests, the beaches of Cabo have an endless array of activities available Whether you are looking for relaxation, partying, or just a nice scenic view, the beaches of Cabo have it all.

The beautiful Medano Beach

Medano Beach

Without question, Cabo’s most popular beach is Medano Beach.  Medano offers up a little bit of something for everyone. A fun place to go in the afternoon, if you’re looking for more of a rowdy, party time on the beach, is the famous Mango Deck. Mango Deck is a large bar on Medano Beach with a stage in the front. The team working at Mango Deck ensures that everyone present has a blast – shots are constantly flowing, drinks are always 2 for 1, and nearly every hour there are wet t-shirt competitions, booty shaking competitions, and the dance crew jumps on stage to show the crowd some serious moves. The music at Mango Deck is loud and the only agenda is fun. Billygan’s Beach Club is another fun establishment on the beach with loud music and good times to be had by all.

If you are seeking something a little more sophisticated, you can stroll next door to the famous Nikki Beach for more good music, dancing, cabanas, and their pool bar. The Office (owned by the same people who own Edith’s Restaurant), is right next door to Nikki Beach and has excellent margaritas and a hearty menu. Another, less noisy, option is the Medano Beach Club, a classy establishment with an excellent menu and fantastic views of the famous Medano Beach.

For the more active, surfing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, and jet skiing are three activity options available that do not require reservations. Generally, you can just walk to the beach and rent a board from one of the many activity vendors on the beach.  Medano Beach is a great place for SUP and jetsking because it is surrounded by rocks on one side, enclosing it like a bay, so there are very few (if any) waves. At the end of the rocks enclosing Medano Beach is the famous El Arco, Cabo’s one and only Arch. A great workout is to SUP to the Arch and back.

If you are a first time visitor to the beaches of Los Cabos, venturing out to Lover’s Beach, or Playa del Amor, is a must. Lover’s Beach is home to the famous El Arco, which sits at the end of the rocks enclosing Medano Beach.. A great workout is to SUP to the Arch and back. It is also the place where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet – making it a very romantic spot. Lover’s Beach is located on the Sea of Cortez side of the rocks, and the arch is the official marker for Land’s End.

On the other side of the arch, a short walk from Lover’s Beach, is the comically named Divorce Beach. This beach is a pummelled by the rough, crashing waves of the Pacific and, unlike Lover’s Beach, is not at all suitable for swimming. Divorce Beach experiences rip tides, strong currents and big crashing waves that can actually knock you over should you choose to attempt even a brave walk along its shores. Lover’s Beach is definitely the safer of the two beaches.  There are no vendors or services of any kind available on Lover’s Beach or Divorce Beach and you can only get to them via boat – either a private boat, water taxi or one of the glass bottom boats from Medano Beach or in the Cabo San Lucas Marina, but they should not be missed.

Pedregal Beach

Pedregal Beach sits at the base of the Pedregal hill, on the Pacific side of the peninsula. This beach is open to both Pedregal residents and visitors, though its secluded location affords it a lot of privacy.
The Pedregal is one of Cabo San Lucas’ most exclusive real estate developments. It has gated entrances, with one main entrance. Access to Pedregal Beach is via the main entrance of the Pedregal real estate development.

Playa Solmar

Playa Solmar is on the Pacific side of the peninsula, running from Land’s End to Pedregal Beach. Like Divorce Beach, Playa Solmar is not a good beach for swimming. Rip tides, undertow and large waves are characteristic of Playa Solmar, so don’t plan on swimming if you visit this beach. Famous for its sunsets and whale watching, Playa Solmar is definitely more of a walking beach. During whale watching season, don’t forget your binoculars and definitely try to remember a camera when you visit this beautiful stretch of beach.

Playa Solmar is also the home of a number or resorts, making it an ideal location at which to stop and enjoy a meal or a drink and to watch the sunset. To get to Playa Solmar, you can go through any of the resorts situated along the beach, which include Solmar Suites and TerraSol Beach Resort.

The Corridor

The majority of the beaches along the 20-mile Los Cabos Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo are not suitable for swimming. Most have too steep of a shore line and are less than ideal for snorkelers. There are only three beaches along the corridor that are acceptable for swimming: Playa Chileno, Playa Santa Maria, and Tule Beach.

Playa Chileno

Playa Chileno is located along the corridor around the kilometer 14 marker. Protected for snorkeling and swimming, this beach is very popular for tourists and is also the only beach along the Corridor that has bathrooms. It tends to get very busy on the weekends, especially during high tourist season, so if you want to avoid the crowds you may prefer to go during the week.

Popular activities at Playa Chileno include snorkeling, diving, kayaking, SUP, swimming and spear fishing — Chileno is not known for surfing, as it has very few waves. There is a large reef near the beach that makes it ideal for snorkelers, and snorkeling tours frequent the beach daily. On the beach itself there are both umbrellas available for rental and palapas built into the beach. There is also a palm grove nearby should you want additional shade. Chileno is a particularly flat beach, which makes it great for long walks or runners/joggers in the morning and evening. Vendors are also scattered around the beach selling a large variety of food, drinks and trinkets.

Playa Santa Maria

Playa Santa Maria is located at kilometer 13 on the Corridor. One of the reasons this beach is protected for snorkelling and swimming is because of the masses of marine wildlife that can be found here. The waters of Playa Santa Maria lie between two naturally occurring bluffs, allowing for an abundance of wildlife to make this beach home. As a result of all the marine life here, snorkelers frequent Playa Santa Maria, both by boat and via the shore. This is also a popular beach for families as there are not many waves, making it ideal for swimming.

Santa Maria is in a relatively secluded location and is a long walk from the highway, giving its beach-goers a lot of privacy. However, this beach has very little shade and no services, so come prepared.

Sunset at Tule

El Tule Beach

Playa Tule is a very popular beach for locals. It sits at the end of an arroyo (dry river bed) at the km 16.2 marker. To get to the beach you need to drive under the Puente Los Tules (Los Tules Bridge). During the hot summer months it is not unusual to see Tule’s beach-goers hiding in the shade under Puente Los Tules. Because Playa Tule is in an arroyo, the ground is very soft and breaks apart easily. It is important that whatever vehicle you take down to Playa Tule is equipped for driving on the soft, dried arroyo–4 wheel drive is highly recommended.

El Tule may appear to be good for swimming, however it has a few risks people should be wary of. Firstly, there are many large rocks under the water’s surface which are not easy to see, an obvious hazard for swimmers. A strong break also comes in from both sides of the beach because of the low lying shape of the arroyo, which also accounts for the large quantities of driftwood that wash ashore onto this beach. The driftwood and the shape of the arroyo make El Tule a very popular place for bonfires. It is not at all uncommon to drive by at sunset and see people crowded around bonfires along the beach. This beach is a fun local hangout, but make sure you come prepared with the right vehicle and be aware that there are no services.

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach is named after the Japanese fishing boat that sunk off shore and washed onto this beach in the 1960s. The boat sat there for many years, but has recently been removed. Shipwreck or no, this is a very popular beach because of its proximity to several large resorts and the Jack Nicklaus golf course, in addition to having a very well-known swell, making it popular with surfers.

Located off of Kilometer 11 on the highway, the beach is not close to the highway so be prepared to drive after you get off. Once at the beach, be aware that while swimming is possible, it is not recommended. There are a lot of rocks and some fairly strong currents on this beach.

Monuments Beach

Monuments Beach is located just off of the Kilometer 5 marker on the highway, beneath the famous Sunset Da Mona Lisa Restaurant and at the very end of the Tourist Corridor (closest to Cabo San Lucas). This beach is not one that is usually frequented by tourists unless they are visiting Sunset Da Mona Lisa. Among locals, however, this beach is very popular as it is considered to be an expert surf spot. Known for its challenging point break, this beach is not for weak swimmers or beginner surfers.

If you want to swim at Monuments Beach you can enjoy the pools of Sunset Da Mona Lisa Restaurant, which look out onto the beach. If you are lucky and the conditions are good then you sometimes snorkel and swim at Monuments Beach, but certainly not every day. The beach itself is ideal for sunbathing and exploring.

Playa Las Viudas (Widow’s Beach–Formerly Twin Dolphin Beach)

This beach is a popular beach for people looking for maximum privacy. Due to the beach’s countless coves and inlets, there are many places where you can sun yourself without anyone else seeing. Scattered with volcanic rock formations, this is also a beautiful beach with seemingly endless photo opportunities.

Originally named Twin Dolphin Beach because of its juxtaposition to the Twin Dolphin Hotel, this beach is now referred to as Playa Las Viudas, or Widows Beach, as the Twin Dolphin Hotel was closed in 2006. Access this beach from the 11.5 Kilometer marker on the main highway of the Corridor. There are no services on Playa Las Viudas, so come prepared and bring everything you need. As beautiful as this beach is, it is not recommended for swimming given the large number of rock formations and the strong tides and waves.

Playa Bledito Beach (Tequila Cove Beach or Playa Cabo Real)

Tequila Cove Beach is located near the Hilton and Meliá Cabo Real hotels on the Corridor at Kilometer 19.5. This beach is great for swimming and a number of water sport rentals are available. Playa Bledito is a long, flat, vast stretch of sand with no rocks in sight, making it an excellent beach for running, long walks, horseback riding or even just building a sand castle. Because this is such a long beach that backs onto several resorts, it has a few different names but all refer to the same beach–Playa Bledito, Tequila Cove Beach or Playa Cabo Real will all get you to the same spot.

This is a popular beach due to its close proximity to the surrounding resorts of the Hilton, Meliá Cabo Real, and the world famous Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort. Despite the luxurious resorts surrounding Tequila Cove, you do not have to be staying in one of them to use this beach. Playa Bledito offers its visitors bathrooms, restaurants, great swimming, an abundance of sea life, water sport equipment rentals and close proximity to some of the finest resorts in the world.

Westin

Playa Westin is located at Kilometer 23.25 on the tourist corridor. It is very close to Cabo San Lucas and sits between the Westin Regina Resort and Playa Buenos Aires. This beach has no services and is scattered with volcanic rock formations. The waves at Playa Westin make it a dangerous for swimming but the rock formations make it beautiful to walk along and take pictures of. A golf course runs along the majority of this beach, so if you are looking for privacy, this is not the beach for you.

Palmilla

The Palmilla Beach is an excellent beach for tourists, though it is a little off the beaten track. This beach is very private and secluded – access to this beach is only through the Palmilla Resort itself, however this privacy and seclusion is one of the things that makes Palmilla Beach such a great beach. Palmilla Beach is in a cove, so there are very few, if any, waves, making this beach very popular for jet skiing, snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming.

Located at Kilometer 27, Palmilla Beach is very close to San Jose del Cabo and has some of the best swimming conditions in Los Cabos. Its protected waters also make it a great place for water taxis to await customers and for fisherman to fish and bring their boats in. In addition to being a great beach for swimming and water activities, Playa Palmillia is also an excellent beach for sunbathing and relaxing due to its long stretches of sandy beach and the comfort of the food and services available at the nearby Palmilla Resort.

Costa Azul

Playa Costa Azul, or Blue Coast Beach, is located at Kilometer 29. This beach has just about everything a beach goer needs for a good day at the beach – long stretches of sand; a great beach for swimming, snorkelling and other water activities; restrooms; multiple surf breaks catering to intermediate and advanced surfers; a surf camp; cabanas you can rent for the day; a restaurant and even stores. If you come to Playa Costa Azul you can easily pass a full day at this busy beach in total comfort.

Playa Buenos Aires (Good Air Beach)

Playa Buenos Aires, or Good Air Beach, is several miles long and is well known for both its beauty and for being particularly hard to find. This beach has no marked sign and is accessible from multiple parts of the highway — you can reach it from Kilometer 22 or Kilometer 24 on the highway, and then drive down the arroyo from the old highway. Playa Buenos Aires runs into Playa Cabo Real and is part of a long network of beaches. Although this is a beautiful beach, it is not a beach for swimming and it offers nothing in the way of services, vendors, food or equipment rentals. You should ensure you bring everything with you if you plan to visit this beach.

Acapulquito Beach (Old Man’s Beach)

Accessible from Kilometer 28, Acapulquito Beach, or Old Man’s Beach, is a small beach and a popular surf spot for locals. While it can be a good beach for swimming, its popularity with the surfers makes it difficult to swim, as you will need to watch for surfers the whole time. This beach has a few services nearby, including surfboard rentals, a nearby restaurant and a few shops.

What’s your favorite Cabo beach? Share with us below!

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