Until recently, whenever the subject of “Cabo” has come up, I’ve dismissed it thinking it was synonymous with spring break. And then I went there, and everything changed.
I suppose I already knew that spring break doesn’t last all year. But, I did imagine that there would be a certain crowd that didn’t want to believe the party had ended. Our trip was as different from “Spring Break Cabo” as a shot of mescal is from a strawberry daiquiri. What was meant to be a turnaround point, ended up being a weeklong adventure that would totally flip my perspective of Southern Baja.
We based our adventures out of the Bahia Hotel; perched right over the bay with everything we needed close by. There were fancy restaurants with classy dining to taco stands where I could feed 4 people, Americans no less, for $20.
We are more easily swayed by the promise of authentic experiences than by the fancy all-inclusive resorts of yesteryear. We seek out places with no wall separating them from the culture of our destination, and we certainly don’t want to be herded like cattle onto a tour bus to “see the sights”. But, we do still want to treat ourselves to nice dinners, stay in comfortable hotels, and shower more than once a week. After all, we had just driven all the way to Cabo and had our fair share of “roughing it” along the way.
Early in the morning, we’d get up and venture out into the bay before any of the boats had begun to arrive. For a few hours, we had the bay all to ourselves. We’d paddle out to the arch, swim in the warm water, and generally have a good start to the day. Breakfast was always at a place called Sur, and that’s where we’d plan out what other adventures we had in store for the day.
A personal favorite of mine was a day trip to Cabo Pulmo, a marine reserve between Cabo and La Paz. This coastline is chock full of marine life, from whales and bull sharks to immense schools of jackfish. Imagine swimming with a mass of fish so large, that they can completely blot out the sun. Fish that school around you, completely unafraid, in giant pulsating swirls. One industrial fishing boat could wipe out the whole school in moments, but the protection that the area is under has allowed the biomass to grow by 465% since the reserve was created. Seeing such places where conservation is working makes me believe that it is, in fact, possible for us to turn around our mismanagement of the ocean.
On the days when we had no big plans, we did one of my favorite things. The surf just up the coast catches swell from nearly every pacific storm, making Cabo an easy warm water destination for a surfer like myself who’s tired of surfing cold mediocre California waves. More often than not, we would be the only people in the water as far as the eye can see.
Cabo does have a reputation for being a spring break spot, and that’s okay with me. As long as for the rest of the year it’s true colors keep showing through and I can continue eating cheap tacos and having isolated adventures. In fact, I’m heading back in a few days, this time in search of whale sharks.
If you’re planning a trip to Cabo, I would highly recommend going in April or May to get the best weather. And if you’re looking for adventure, talk to Oscar at Cabo Expeditions, he was a great guy and really helped show us the other side of Cabo.