Hidden Secrets of Baja

While not on Baja Wild’s standard list of adventures, the hot springs are sometimes offered as an alternative

By: By Janice Mucalov


Baja Wild Outfitters

The Cabo Pulmo Marine Park snorkeling and kayaking daytrip is $130 per person while the Waterfalls and Canyons excursion, which may also visit the hot springs, is $98 per person. Snacks and lunch are included.

Commission: 10 to 20 percent, depending on the number of clients referred.

 Sea kayaking is a popular sport at Cabo Pulmo. // © Janice Mucalov
Sea kayaking is a popular
sport at Cabo Pulmo
Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate when you’re on vacation, and plans have to be reconfigured. A good tour company is one that can react quickly and turn a cancelled excursion from a disappointment into a terrific day — despite the change in plans. On a recent visit to Cabo San Lucas, Baja Wild Outfitters did precisely that for us.

We were booked to go kayaking and snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, a national marine sanctuary on the unspoiled eastern cape of the Baja Peninsula. One of only three living coral reefs in North America, Cabo Pulmo has been described by Jacques Cousteau as “the aquarium of the world.”

Marcos and Fernando, our guides, picked us up at our hotel early in the morning for a scenic, two-hour drive.

When we reached the town of Cabo Pulmo — population 111 — we piled out of the minivan at the general store to fill up on warm empanadas (meat pies) made fresh that morning. Then, we carried on to the wild, secluded five-mile bay of Cabo Pulmo.

Wild it was, in more ways than one. In summer, waters are calm and ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking. But between December and March, heavy winds can restrict water activities for days at a time. And so it was with us. No one would be heading out into the water that day.

“How about going to the hot springs instead?” suggested Marcos.

While not on Baja Wild’s standard list of adventures, the hot springs are sometimes offered as an alternative.

Declared a biosphere reserve in 1994, the protected, granite mountain range is home to clear running streams, canyons, swimming holes, remote farms and ranches, green forests, hot springs and plenty of wildlife. It’s an area that few visitors to Cabo San Lucas explore, but one that offers adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts a rich, fulfilling experience — very different from a day at the beach!

Parking on a rancher’s land, we trudged a short distance through the bush until we reached a beautiful oasis of palm trees and lush bamboo groves. Here, a spring-fed river running through an arroyo is punctuated by large smooth granite boulders, which form a series of pools. Small sand beaches curl around the rocks and nudge up against the river’s edge. Some pools are deliciously warm, fed by underground hot mineral springs.

Stripping down to our swimsuits, we settled into a large hot pool. Marcos passed around soft drinks and snacks, and we happily lounged in our own private garden of Eden — a pretty good substitute for kayaking, we all agreed.

When we were ready, we drove to the small town of Santiago. Earlier in the day, Marcos reserved us a late lunch in the courtyard of a Mexican restaurant. We feasted on fresh fish and hot cheese quesadillas, washed down with cold Coronas and lime, and toasted our guides on making our day a great and spontaneous adventure.