Sea and sun meet at Baja's tip.
Head south along the far west coast of North America and eventually you’ll come to that point where Mexico’s Baja California peninsula finally peters out: Land’s End, marking the briny border between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, backdropped by desert mountains. On the opposite side of the country from the thronged, powdery beaches of Cancun and the Riviera Maya lies a tropical destination that’s wildly different in ambience but just as bliss-inducing—and, though booming in popularity, can still feel like an off-the-beaten-path gem.
We’re talking about Los Cabos, the combined seaside spread of the resort cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, whose many charms range from beachfront restaurants and clubs to spouting whales, cavorting dolphins, and graceful schools of eagle rays. The appeal to visitors from around the world—not least the droves of U.S. expats and snowbirds who’ve fallen under the Los Cabos spell—is not hard to figure out.
“It’s a visual masterpiece,” says Sandy Marks Johnson, AAA travel advisor and a regular visitor to Los Cabos, “because it has that interesting gentle sloping arm going out into the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific.” Sandy—who performs music in Cabo with her husband and local players during her south-of-the-border getaways—loves the area’s unique blend of attractions. “The local culture is as amazing as that geography,” she notes. “It’s really a traveler’s paradise: You have nightlife, you have art galleries, there’s adventure tourism, incredible sunsets, great food, gray whales—and, I mean, who doesn’t want to see a whale?”
Pay a visit to Cabo and its sun-splashed surrounds, and it won’t take long for you to see why people such as John Steinbeck—the American author who chronicled a scientific expedition in regional waters with marine biologist Ed Ricketts in The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951)—loved the place. “He was really smitten with it,” Sandy says. “He said a dream hangs over the whole area.”