The open ocean. A warm wind whipping through your hair. Dolphins leaping alongside the prow as you slice through the wild waters. You breathe in the fresh sea air. The sun dips below the horizon, turning the sea a ferocious orange color, and pink clouds wheel above. Your destination? Miles away. Last time you were on land? Who cares! You’re on the sea now, and everything else seems to diminish in importance.
Sailors know the feeling. And many know why Los Cabos has become a premier sailing destination for yachters, fishermen, and sailors alike. Sure, the natural beauty, warm weather and crystalline waters help. But Los Cabos harbors another secret: a collection of impeccable marinas all along the coastline. These little beauties range in size, but all have one this in common: they bridge the gap between land and sea, offering you the amenities of a full-service marina (internet service, anyone?) while helping you realize your open-ocean dream.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of some of these marinas. The most famous is in Cabo San Lucas, a stone’s throw from the famous Arco: the meeting place of the Sea of Cortez and the mighty Pacific. This is the reigning king of the marinas in Los Cabos: 380 slips that can accommodate vessels up to 200 feet. The blue waters of the ocean are offset by a variety of ships, ranging from flashy luxury yachts to simple, elegant sailboats. The marina’s location is second to none, especially for those who like to spice things up. At one end of the marina, you’ll find the Puerto Paraiso mall, complete with bars, restaurants and a movie theater. Restaurants and some of San Lucas’s famous nightlife spots line the marina’s edge, along with shops, boutiques and hotels.
The marina is the heart of San Lucas, a meeting point for all of the characters who love Cabo: jet setters, spring breakers, vacationing families, yachting enthusiasts, sport fishermen, divers, cruisers and those who just like to party. If you don’t have your own boat, you can find all kinds of outfitters and services that cater to your every whim: parasailing, diving, snorkeling, fishing, jet skiing, even the Mexican fiesta booze cruise. True, it can feel a little crowded sometimes, but one look at the vast blue sea and the delicately sloping cliffs in the distance, and you’ll understand what makes San Lucas the most famous of the Los Cabos marinas.
A few miles north, there’s another contender for best marina in Los Cabos: Puerto Los Cabos in San Jose. This newly built marina is perched right outside of the historic downtown, right past the fresh water estuary. Next-door is La Playita (or, little beach in Spanish), a traditional spot for local fishermen in small pangas. Here you’ll find a mix of old and new at this dazzling marina. With 535 slips, accommodations for vessels over 150 feet, and a dry dock, Puerto Los Cabos is a serious marina. But the beauty here lies in the community that envelops the marina. Here you’ll find a traditional Mexican plaza, and sculptures that line the quiet streets leading to the marina. As the area grows and develops, a high-end housing community will overlook the marina and the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. It’s quiet here: no cruise ships, no spring breakers. Just gently breaking waves, the birds chattering in the estuary, and the lull of the ocean against the docks. If San Lucas is the king of the marinas, San Jose is the elegant queen.
Further up the coast, you’ll find Cabo Riviera, the marina in the famous East Cape, near La Ribera. If you love the ocean, the East Cape has it all: fantastic fishing, surf, long stretches of empty beaches, diving and more. Cabo Riviera has the advantage of being near the Cabo Pulmo marine park, an ecological reserve housing one of the largest living reefs in Mexico. This full-service marina caters to all of these destinations. Plans for a thoughtful housing development, golf courses and more make this a jewel in the East Cape, situated between the larger cities of San Jose del Cabo and La Paz.
All of these marinas and more make up the Nautical Ladder, a grand scheme devised by the Mexican government to incorporate various marinas and docks throughout the Baja Peninsula and parts of mainland Mexico. For sailors looking to explore the peninsula in it’s entirety, it’s completely feasible to stop off in various locations: La Paz, Los Barriles, La Ribera, and Loreto on the Sea of Cortez side; Ensenada (right outside of San Diego), Bahia de Tortugas, San Juanico, Puerto San Carlos and more on the Pacific side, even Tobolobampo, Mazatlan, Guaymas and Mazatlan in mainland Mexico. As the Mexican government works to improve and implement more elements, the Nautical Ladder will include even more spanking-new marinas, giving sailors and visitors more options to explore Baja in comfort and style.
With nearly 2,000 miles of coastline, Baja Sur is a sailor’s dream. Sailing to Los Cabos doesn’t mean sacrificing the comforts of home or luxury. The marinas here are sure to take care of you and your vessel, keeping you both safe and comfortable as you cruise around and explore the spectacular beauty of Los Cabos. If you’ve never been on a boat or yacht, now is the time to experience what thousands of visitors to Los Cabos have already discovered: life is just better on the sea. Visit the marinas of Los Cabos and find out for yourself.