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By: Zdenko Kahlina
Exploring El Arco – So stunning!
At the very tip of the cape, and of the Baja California Peninsula, is Baja’s most famous landmark, El Arco, the exclamation point at the end of the Baja Peninsula.
The glorious ‘El Arco’
El Arco Cabo San Lucas is a 200-foot granite rock situated at the tip of the Land’s End peninsula. A major landmark, El Arco Mexico attracts hundreds of tourists who come to see its spectacular natural shape, which was carved by the strong ocean currents. Centuries ago, The Arch was used as a hiding place by pirates, who would ambush and plunder merchant ships heading toward the west coast. Today, this unique landmark instead draws numerous cruises and mini boats filled with tourists looking for photo opportunities.
This was THE BEST thing we did in ten days in Mexico. Joined by our Canadian friends Valerie and Brian, we drove in our rented car to Cabo San Lucas early in the morning. I found free street parking at the end of Paseo de Marina, on the east side of the great new downtown Marina in Cabo.
Lady from the picture (in the middle) booked our boat ride
Boat ride with Maria Bonita’s water taxi
After walking only a few hundred meters to Medano beach we were approached by this lady (see picture) that offered us a boat ride to ‘El Arco’. It was 100 pesos per person for return trip. If you have to pay more than that they are ripping you off! We didn’t want to waste more time on this because the price was right, so we accepted the offer. Ten minutes later we were in a small glass bottom water taxi ‘Maria Bonita’ going towards El Arco. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and he was a great driver, but I don’t remember his name!
Maria Bonita boat with our driver
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent an ocean kayak from central Cabo and make your way south toward Land’s End, though this form of transportation is only recommended for those in peak physical condition (in other words, only for the young people!).
If you take a water taxi from the Cabo San Lucas harbor to Land’s End, you will see an array towering rock formations, including the arch. The series of rugged rocks in the Pacific, which reaches Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, is known by the locals as the Finisterra. El Arco Cabo San Lucas is distinct from other rock formations, however, because of its unique arch shape.
Canadians on the boat: Brian, Zdenko, Vera and Valerie
The ride over in this small water taxi was amazing and very short. Only few minutes and we were at the Lovers beach (Playa del Amor). Our driver/guide was a nice guy who showed as all the colorful fish through his glass bottom boat. At the same time he was explaining everything around us and pointing out certain things we would otherwise miss. We zipped past the big cruise ship and many private boats and yachts littering the coast to the Arcs. It was still early morning, so it wasn’t that bad, but later in the day it really gets very busy here.
The “Magic Cave.” Two go in, three come out (nine months later…)
The Baja’s signature landmark offers sightseeing, snorkeling and swimming galore — just watch out for dive-bombing pelicans.
Sea Lion colony resting on the rock
We went past the sea lions hanging out near the arcs and continued to the Pacific side onto divorce beach. Saw lots of sea lions, fish and pelicans! We were given a 45 minute tour before being dropped off at Lovers beach which is so beautiful. This beach is great for swimming and the water was a perfect temperature.
An interesting bit of geography where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean through a small opening in the rock.
This natural arch was carved from the granite cliffs by the collision of the warm Cortez current with the cooler Pacific flow that sweeps down the peninsula from the west, the same current that once carried Spanish galleons home to Mexico from the Philippines. This is Finisterra, or Land’s End, literally the end of the earth.
The Finisterra: Land’s End with both Playa del Amor and Playa del Divorcio
Located at the southern end of Cabo San Lucas and sandwiched between Playa del Amor and Playa del Divorcio, these rock formations were created from the rough winds and seas of the southern Baja peninsula. Sea lions frequent the area (especially along the Los Frailes rock formation), and Land’s End remains excellent for couples looking for a romantic spot to see the sunset. It’s also an excellent diving spot, with local charters offered from Cabo’s downtown.
Get up-close and personal with marine life at Pelican Beach
At Lovers beach
Land’s End has the only beaches in the world that access both an ocean (Pacific) and a sea (Cortez). Our guide dropped us off at this beach, for one hour of swimming and enjoying the sun. This is very peaceful and beautiful beach. It’s much different on the west side of Land’s End. Walking south from Pelican Beach, we wind around rock formations, past the “Magic Cave” (it’s magic because two people go in, and three come out… if you know what I mean), across Lover’s Beach — a calm, yellow-sand swimming beach with panoramas of the town of Cabo San Lucas — and towards the turbulent Divorce Beach.
Getting off the water taxi at the Lover’s beach.
The Lover’s beach, safe place for swimming.
Picture taking time with girl from New Jersey!
This area is known for the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the area — Pelican Rock itself is only a few dozen meters offshore; a simple swim (keep your eye out for rogue water taxis), but beyond the rock, the ocean floor drops to an astonishing depth of more than 1,000 meters. This creates a shelf full of sea life for the swimmer or diver to enjoy. Lukewarm water and easy ocean currents allow us to get prune hands without even noticing.
Tourists are especially warn against swimming on the Pacific Ocean side of Land’s End, as the surf can get very rough, pulling swimmers away from shore and out toward the ocean.
At Divorce beach
Although it may be tempting for the show-offs among us, no one should swim at Divorce Beach. The powerful Pacific Ocean creates a massive shore-dump, where 25 tons waves will subdue any swimmer before vicious undertows and currents drag him out to sea. Earlier this year, I’m told, a married couple dared the waters of Divorce Beach. Four months later, their bodies have yet to be found.
“Do not even get your feet wet,” we’re warned.
It is here that the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez
And why would you? Lover’s and Pelican Beaches have ample swimming in a much safer environment. Still, the raw ocean power at Divorce Beach is a must-see.
El Arco — the Arch — at Land’s End is as iconic as it is beautiful. Our water taxi guide told us it resembles a “dragon drinking water,” and now that’s all I see. Many rocks in the area are personified in this manner — from the Sea Horse, to the Skeleton, to Scooby Doo. The Mexican people have a sense of humor and whimsy the world at large could learn from.
This girl was very brave in the rough ocean
Nice enough but touristy
Travelers do note some setbacks to the area. For one, there are very few vendors or facilities, but that also makes it an ideal place for peace and quiet. One traveler on Yahoo! Travel remarks “the bad part is they are building too much around it and right on it now.” This development could very soon ruin the area’s tranquil atmosphere. Travelers especially warn against swimming on the Pacific Ocean side of Land’s End, as the surf can get very rough, pulling swimmers away from shore and out toward the ocean.
We stayed there only for about 1 hour before we were picked up again but probably could have stayed another hour, it really is that great! A must do in Cabo and is well worth the price!
Vera and Zdenko at the Land’s End
Back in Cabo at the end of our ride with water taxi, we slipped the driver an additional 200 Pesos for a tip, as he did great job of explaining all the history. We were back in the car in two minutes. Our next step was to drive to Todos Santos and have a lunch in famous Hotel California… but this will be another blog…
Here at El Arco de Cabo San Lucas (or Land’s End) — the signature landmark of Mexico’s Baja California Sur — action abounds all-around.
Panoramic view of Land’s End area
El Arco – The Arch – Land’s End, Cabo San Lucas. Do you see the “Dragon Drinking Water?”
The entire experience was great and I would recommend it… It was a great deal, was very beautiful and worth every penny!
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