Headed to Cabo San Lucas? Here are 9 activities to book for your family
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As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
As countries tentatively decide plans for reopening, there is still a lot up in the air about how, where and when to travel. It’s difficult to keep all of the information straight, but one thing we know for sure is that nonessential travel between the U.S. and Mexico is still restricted until June 22. Even though you can’t jet-set the world right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t in the future. Plan your trip now to rack up the best deals once countries open.
Once best known for wild nights and romantic weekends, Cabo San Lucas is increasingly popular as a family travel destination, and for good reason. This former fishing village at Baja California’s southernmost tip has gorgeous sandy beaches, endless opportunities for recreation and a wide choice of hotels and resorts with some of the latest family amenities.
Cabo San Lucas (SJD) is also easy to get to, thanks to a multitude of nonstop flights from major airports, and it’s one of the most affordable Mexico beach resort destinations. This is particularly true when you take advantage of the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass (or some of the other ways to fly to Mexico using points and miles).
Check out TPG’s Mexico hub for everything you need to know about traveling to the beaches, ancient ruins and inland destinations.
Here are some of the fun-filled experiences you and your kids can look forward to in Cabo San Lucas. TPG already has a list of some great hotels in the area you can book with and without points, but here are some things to do outside of just hanging at the resort (though we highly recommend that, too).
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Wonderful whale watching
Every year, thousands of gray and humpback whales make their annual migration from their northern summer feeding habitats to Baja’s warmer waters. Here, in the Sea of Cortez on Baja’s eastern shore, female whales give birth to and raise their calves in sheltered bays. All of this makes Cabo a whale watcher’s paradise, where kids can have close-up encounters with playful young whales eager to show off. Choose from among numerous options, from half-day boat trips that take you beyond the spectacular rock formation known as El Arco into the open waters of the Pacific to one- and two-day trips to visit the “whale nurseries” of Magdalena Bay and San Ignacio Lagoon. From the Cabo San Lucas harbor, go out on a Zodiac or covered boat tour with Whale Watch Cabo, which guarantees a whale sighting or you get a second trip for free.
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For the best close-up experience with baby whales and their mothers, choose an experienced guide service such as Cabo San Lucas Tours or CaboTrek, or drive to Magdalena Bay on your own where Magdalena Bay Whales will set you up with a boat and guide. Prices of these services vary dramatically, so shop around until you find the right match for your interests and budget. Chances are, you’ll be accompanied by playful dolphins along the way!
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From sheltered bays with calm waters to long stretches of golden sand pounded by surf, the beaches of Cabo San Lucas come in a wide variety. There are swimming beaches, surfing beaches, snorkeling beaches and beaches that are perfect for a long sunset stroll but where the surf is too dangerous for anything more than a toe dip. Médano Beach, which extends from the Cabo San Lucas harbor east to Villa del Palmar, is considered one of the safest for swimming, and many nights there are fireworks shows hosted by the hotels. Nearby hotels include Pueblo Bonito Rosé and many other family-friendly options, including the Hilton Los Cabos and Hampton Inn by Hilton along the tourist corridor to the east.
If paragliding or parasailing is on your child’s wish list, Cabo will let you check off that box. (What’s the difference? Paragliders are the colorful seated gliders you see drifting slowly through the sky; parasailing is similar, but you are pulled by a boat.) Happy Flights, Para Mex and Baja’s Watersports are among the many outfitters offering paragliding and parasailing in Cabo. Happy Flights allow kids as young as 5 to fly tandem and prices are $105 for a double flight.
Depending on where you are staying, you may be able to snorkel right offshore from your hotel. But many beaches in Cabo have too much surf for good visibility, so the best snorkeling is typically done by boat tour. Top destinations include the sheltered coves of Santa Maria Bay and Chileno Beach to the east of Cabo San Lucas; outfitters like Cabo Sailing, SunRider, Aries Water Sports and Cabo Expeditions lead daily snorkeling tours departing from the marina. Serious snorkelers opt for the longer trip to Cabo Pulmo on the Sea of Cortez, where a national marine park protects 350 varieties of fish; Cabo San Lucas Tours offers this as a day trip. Snorkel trips range from about $20 to $200 per person, depending on the itinerary.
Long before the hotels arrived, sport fishing put Cabo on the map, and the town well deserves its nickname as the Marlin Capital of the World. Today sport fishing charters take fishing enthusiasts of all ages in search of marlin, sailfish, swordfish, tuna and dorado. Kids and their parents can also learn to fish from shore with a surf fishing lesson.
Kids love ziplining, and Cabo loves kids. Cabo area now features several ziplining adventures that take advantage of the peninsula’s dramatic inland topography of deep desert canyons. As its name suggests, the most adventurous is the Monster zip line at Wild Canyon, a four-hour thrill ride available to kids 55 pounds and over. Go with Cabo Adventures for additional offers, including bungee jumping and ATV rides.
With more than a dozen championship golf courses now open and more on the way, Cabo has become an internationally renowned golf destination and the perfect place to introduce the kids to dad or mom’s favorite sport. Top among them — and closest to Cabo San Lucas — is the Jack Nicklaus-designed Quivira, the “Pebble Beach of Mexico,” where the clifftop cart ride alone will have kids on board. Other options include Puerto Los Cabos near San Jose del Cabo and Cabo del Sol, convenient to the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar.
El Arco awaits
You’ve almost certainly seen an image of El Arco, the iconic arch just off the shore at Cabo San Lucas. Even though it’s deceptively close, the water is usually way too rough to swim or wade your way out to the island that sits underneath the arch. There are plenty of boats offering to get you to the island, from simple water taxis to packages that include whale watching and other water activities.
Once you’re on the island, there are plenty of nooks and crannies for kids to explore on the small beach area. The current is usually too rough for swimming, but the views are great and imaginative children will find makeshift caves they can claim for their own. With kids, the simplest and cheapest approach of a water taxi may be best. Check with your hotel about booking tours.
Learn the art of glass blowing
You’ll find multiple factories in both Cabo San Lucas and neighboring San Jose del Cabo. Kids will marvel at the colors being spun into glass creations and watching the glass get formed into all sorts of objects. Many of the glass pieces are pricey, but watching the daily demonstrations won’t set you back a penny.
There is no shortage of family-friendly activities to do while in Cabo, whether that’s on or off the water. The whole family can join in on the fun, which makes Cabo a perfect place to escape with family. Whether you redeem Hyatt points for an all-inclusive stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos or go high-end with your Hyatt points at The Cape, Thompson Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, there are also plenty of places where you, and your family, can blissfully stay and vacay while enjoying all of the fun things that Cabo has to offer.
With additional reporting by Mimi Wright.
Featured image by Joe Petraglia/Getty Images
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