virtuoso global December 2019 Los Cabos Three Ways

Los Cabos Three Ways

The Marina Cabo San Lucas is a prime spot for seaside adventures – but there’s a lot more to do farther inland, too. 
The Marina Cabo San Lucas is a prime spot for seaside adventures – but there’s a lot more to do farther inland, too. 
Photo by Getty Images
From the Sea of Cortés to the Sierra de la Laguna, day trips reveal the natural diversity of this Mexico destination.
On the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is a destination of contrasts. Consider, for instance, the differences between lively Cabo San Lucas and laid-back San José del Cabo, just a half-hour drive apart. Cabo San Lucas — a haven for luxury resorts — has soft-sand shorelines, surfing, whale watching, and vibrant nightlife. San José del Cabo exudes Spanish colonial charm with an eighteenth-century main plaza, local art galleries, family-owned stores selling handmade crafts, and classic farm-to-table Mexican fare.

Los Cabos’ nature-rich diversions are just as varied, from its iconic coastline to cactus-dotted deserts to rugged, palm-fringed mountains. Here, discover more about these three diverse terrains along with what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in each.
Fondly known as El Arco, Cabo San Lucas’ famous limestone arch marks the spot where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific Ocean.
Fondly known as El Arco, Cabo San Lucas’ famous limestone arch marks the spot where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific Ocean.
Photo by Getty Images

The Seaside

Do: Swimming with whale sharks – the largest fish in the ocean – makes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, says Virtuoso advisor Claudia A. Fernandez-Davila. Full-day guided excursions take place September through April and typically entail a two-hour boat ride up the east coast (be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins along the way). In the Sea of Cortés near La Paz, the boat will stop in several spots to give travelers a chance to swim alongside whale sharks. Fear not: “They’re known as gentle giants because they look intimidating but are quite the opposite,” Fernandez-Davila says.  
 
These gentle 20-ton fish feed on plankton.
These gentle 20-ton fish feed on plankton.
Photo by Getty Images
Eat: Sunset Monalisa sits on a seaside bluff with views of the famed El Arco and Lover’s Beach. Arrive before sunset for Champagne and oysters at the Ocean Terrace by Veuve Clicquot lounge, and be ready to snap pictures as day transforms to dusk. Winding paths lead diners to the alfresco dinner tables set on the terrace above the waves. Fresh seafood dishes such as mussels with tequila, chili pepper, and coconut-milk pair with crisp white wine produced right here in Mexico.

Stay: The hotel buzz in San José del Cabo these days is all about Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, scheduled to open this month. Set among dunes along the coast, the 115-room resort offers perks such as plunge pools and terraces to go with views of the Sea of Cortés. Amenities include four dining venues (one serves Mexican street food) and an array of watersports. At the nearly 30,000-square-foot Spa Alkemia, treatments range from hydrating body scrubs with hand-blended mixes of local tamarind and brown sugar to massages that incorporate desert sage and warm herbal compresses.
At the Zadún, king staterooms come with a private patio and mini infinity pool. 
At the Zadún, king staterooms come with a private patio and mini infinity pool. 
Photo by Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

The Desert

Do: A camel safari through the Baja outback might just be the best way to take in the region’s arid inland topography (and the 120 subspecies of cactus that flourish here). Camel rides begin in the desert and end along the sandy Rancho San Cristobal beaches, and yes, the camels will walk through the water. “There aren’t too many places in the world where you can go by camel from the desert to the ocean,” Virtuoso advisor Kari Mollan says. These three-hour safaris often end with a hike through a landscape dotted with agave, palm trees and fernlike mimosa shrubs.

Eat: An outdoor seat on La Lupita Taco & Mezcal's patio, where a live band accompanies the sunset, feels like attending a fiesta at a friend’s home. The friendly waitstaff serve up cold beers and mojitos while dish after shareable dish – mushroom-and-cactus tacos with ranchero sauce or guacamole with a side of grasshoppers, perhaps – emerges from the kitchen. Stay an hour or three.

Stay: A 15-minute drive east of Cabo San Lucas, The Cape, a Thompson Hotel faces the desert on one side and the ocean on the other. “You get the best of two worlds,” Virtuoso advisor Melissa Wu says. The 161-room property’s stone design blends with the Baja landscape, and guests gaze out across the desert from the many open spaces and large windows (the best vantage point: the hotel’s rooftop bar). The Currents spa offers open-air treatments, such as Citrus Essence facials, in oceanside cabanas. Lauded chef and mezcal devotee Enrique Olvera infuses his native Mexican food with Japanese and Peruvian influences at Manta, the hotel’s flagship restaurant.
Outdoor cabanas at Currents spa, a black miso fish taco at Manta, and The Cape’s rooftop bar.
Outdoor cabanas at Currents spa, a black miso fish taco at Manta, and The Cape’s rooftop bar.
Photo by The Cape, a Thompson Hotel and Nick Hall

The Mountains

Do: Zip-lining through Boca de Sierra National Park at the base of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains is the peak of any mountain-focused trip here, Melissa Wu says. “You get an elevated view of the surrounding environment, including the desert and the ocean as you zoom across a zip line that’s almost 2,000 feet long,” she says. “It’s a heart pounding, exhilarating adventure.” After the ride, stay in the UNESCO-protected national park to try crossing suspension bridges with names like Commando, Crazy Ladder and Hanging Bridge. Visitors can cap off the day with a swim in one of Boca de Sierra’s hundreds of streams.

Eat: The 125-acre Flora Farms in the Sierra de la Laguna foothills crafts renowned farm-to-table cuisine. Booking ahead is a must, but it’s worth arriving at least a half an hour before your reservation to explore the beautiful grounds. The menu, which changes seasonally, uses the farm’s own produce. Some recent dishes: charred cauliflower with a lemon-and-herb sauce, burrata with heirloom tomatoes, and a wood-fired pork chop with tomato chutney. After the meal ends, listen to live music courtesy of local bands while sipping fresh-mint-and-strawberry cocktails.
At Flora Farms: a Pelo de Perro Bloody Mary, rows of produce near the open-air restaurant, and a Farmarita cocktail. 
At Flora Farms: a Pelo de Perro Bloody Mary, rows of produce near the open-air restaurant, and a Farmarita cocktail. 
Photo by Flora Farms
Stay: The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal’s architecture attracts travelers who favor sleek accommodations and poolside relaxation. Built along a granite formation called the Pedregal, the 115-room hotel welcomes guests through a rock-carved tunnel to its cliffside perch overlooking the ocean. The property has multiple infinity pools, a saltwater pool, a waterfall meditation pool, and a main pool with a swim-up bar – plus private en-suite plunge pools in some rooms and suites. The best perk of all may be the fresh guacamole with warm tortilla chips delivered daily to each room. 
Four-bedroom Casa Bella Vista suites take in prime views at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.
Four-bedroom Casa Bella Vista suites take in prime views at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.
Photo by Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

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