Cabo San Lucas Attractions
After a number of cruise ship calls to Mazatlan were canceled due to minor thefts in February, the city had just restored its reputation when a shooting incident occurred at a local hotel. Now Carnival, Disney, Holland America, NCL and Princess have all decided to skip Mazatlan for the foreseeable future.
Many cruise ships are choosing to stay two days in Cabo San Lucas instead. Carnival Splendour and Carnival Spirit, for example, arrive at Cabo and tender all day, and then sail at night only to return to Cabo the next day.
The sculptures of Sergio Bustamante are available in the Bustamante Gallery in Cabo San Lucas.
In fact, if you have not been to Cabo San Lucas lately, you just might be surprised at how nicely it has "filled out." At the end of the 700 mile long Sonoran Desert peninsula known as Baja California, the former small and isolated Cabo is now a booming city with modern shopping malls and fabulous resorts - although the "Old Town" near the pier still has plenty of old style Mexico charm. It is clean, friendly and full of fun activities within close proximity. The only drawback is that the port still does not have a pier, so ships are forced to tender their guests ashore.
The best shopping in Cabo is in the Puerto Paraiso galleria - a short walk from the pier. Inside are several art galleries, one selling the works of renowned Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante. You may not think you have seen his pieces, but you are likely to recognize his style immediately. Bustamante is an art world icon now - specializing in modern jewelry, paintings and ceramic sculptures that are colorful, fun and attractive enough to brighten any home.
Swimming with the dolphins is a popular pasttime anywhere and Cabo has a brand new, state of the art facility call Cabo Dolphins. It is one of the first things you see as you set foot on land after leaving the tender pier. There are now several discount offers available if you book online at cabodolphins.com.
December through March is whale watching season in Cabo - when the humpbacks arrive to breed inside the Sea of Cortes. Unfortunately, the peak season ends in March and the chances that you will see a whale now are already down to about 50/50. January and February were the peak season when chances were closer to 90%.
If you are a sailing enthusiast you can crew a real America's Cup contender yacht. Cabo Adventures has four racing yachts acquired from the America's Cup Match; the New Zealand NZL81/NZL82 and Australia AUS29/AUS31. For this experience you climb aboard and become the crew for one of the yachts as it races another. These are authentic yachts that sailed in actual America's Cups competitions - among the fastest sailboats in the world.
A more unusual attraction is the Outback and Camel Safari. Ride through the desert in an off-road vehicle as local guides show you the Sonoran desert. Then it is on to Rancho San Cristobal to ride camels along the beach. After all, the pyramids near Cairo are now off limits to most cruise ships, so you why not ride a camel in Mexico?
Golfers will be happy to hear about the six championship golf courses in Cabo - including three designed by Jack Nicklaus (one of those is a 27-hole course) and a brand new 18-hole course designed by Tom Weiskopf. Scuba diving is available for certified divers, and even novices can make a "resort" scuba dive after a two-hour round of guided instruction.
Or you can do as most people do in Cabo- hop into a Zodiac and take a ride around the famous rocky precipice at the end of the Baja Peninsula. There you will find the isolated Lover's Beach. The scenery along this ride is spectacular for photography. You can even get out and enjoy the beach - just be aware that there are no shops, restaurants or even lifeguards there. The only access is by boat.
Bottom line, while it is sad that Mazatlan has lost its cruise business, it is a chance for cruisers to really discover Cabo San Lucas - the one port that I consider to be the best on the Mexican Riviera.
The only downside is the ships sailing away at night - Cabo is a great city for nightlife, including the famous nightclub Cabo Wabo owned by former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar. He opened the club in 1990 and still owns it. It became so successful he opened another one in Las Vegas. Cabo Wabo is open during the day if you want to take a peek inside, but if you want to spend the night in town you will have to book a hotel - which might not be a bad idea.
Discuss Safety in Mexico here: How Safe is Mexico?.
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