SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 17, October 2016 - Page 69

whales and dolphins have used for centuries as their winter calving and breeding grounds; in the summer most of those species travel north to feed. September is not quite the peak season to participate in whale watching, but I do hope to go back to see it sometime between mid-December and mid-April when viewing opportunities are almost guaranteed. Some of the species found in the area include blue whales, fin whales, sperm whales, humpback whales, and gray whales, the latter of which undergo the longest migration of any mammal on earth. Common dolphin species can found in the area include bottlenose dolphins, rough toothed dolphins, and even orcas. Whale watching is a huge source of income for the people of Cabo San Lucas, but be cautious of any tour that guarantees you will be able to touch, feed, or swim with those animals in the wild. Marine mammals can quickly become accustomed to human presence and stop looking for food on their own if it is provided for them; this teaches bad habits to newborn calves in the area. Besides, it just isn’t safe or wise to try your luck with some of the biggest animals to have ever lived. Choose a tour where you can responsibly view the animals from a short distance or choose a hotel such as The Cape that offers whale watching binoculars as an amenity for the rooms.

Animals and rock formations are not the only highlight of Cabo San Lucas and Baja California Sur. The people are friendly and the culture of Los Cabos is vibrant and rich with interesting history. There’s a little something for everyone here, especially since Los Cabos are known for being very safe for tourists to visit. My trip was spent with quite a bit of rest and relaxation by the pool and on the beach, that is, prior to Hurricane Newton, a Category 1 storm that directly hit the area. The Cape hotel staff did a great job communicating before, during, and after the storm, and made sure the experience at the hotel was as uninterrupted as possible while ensuring everyone’s safety. Getting a little stir crazy after the storm passed, yet not having too much time left in the area, I decided on a combination sightseeing tour with a company called Land’s End. This tour was perfect for familiarizing myself with the area and we got to see The Arch, the bird estuary, a glass blowing factory, do a tequila tasting, tour a historic church, learn

about the history of Los Cabos and Mexico, and take some great photos of the area. The tour usually offers lunch and an hour for shopping, but since there were only two of us on the tour, we decided to skip the shopping. Our tour guide, Zacarias (Zach for short), was incredibly knowledgeable and as friendly as friendly gets. The Land’s End combined city tour is perfect if you want to spend a short day experiencing the area with air conditioned pick-up and drop-off at your hotel.

As a person who likes to eat constantly, I like to have options that range from the familiar to unique local foods to try. With casual dining options, popular tourist spots, and fine dining, there’s no reason you should ever feel hungry in Cabo San Lucas. Besides the several pounds of chips and guacamole I ate, there was always something new to try. From cactus salad to tacos and tamales, traditional Mexican food is at every corner for those interested in trying authentic Mexican food that doesn’t come from a drive-thru or with an upcharge for guac. My favorite restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, by far, was Sunset Da Mona Lisa, an Italian restaurant featuring seafood located just up the hill from The Cape. The restaurant has an awe-inspiring view of the Gulf of California, The Arch, and the sunset. It is one of the most sought after restaurants in Los Cabos and is rated #1 on TripAdvisor. After taking part in a chef’s tasting menu, I totally understand why. The menu is finer dining with the fine dining price tag, but the unobstructed view of the sunset that is perfect for Instagram and a sunset ritual put on by the staff, it is well worth the expense and the time to put on fancy clothes. If fine dining isn’t your thing but the view is, Sunset Point, a more casual version of Sunset Da Mona Lisa is conveniently located upstairs with an equally as impressive view but a less startling price tag. When headed to Cabo, I recommend checking out some of TripAdvisor’s top ranked restaurants and exploring the city to find some authentic, local restaurants to round out the experience. It doesn’t hurt that the

exchange rate in Mexico generally gives tourists more spending power.

While there may be quite a bit of interesting rhetoric coming from the U.S. about Mexico,

it’s actually one of the coolest countries I’ve been to so far. Give it a chance and see for yourself what amazing places Mexico and Baja California Sur are. Who knows, you might like it.