Drive about two hours northeast of Cabo San Lucas, and you come to wild, wonderful Cabo Pulmo on the unspoilt eastern cape of the Mexican Baja Peninsula.
The drive itself is very scenic, past giant cacti, hundreds of years old, growing out of the red-brown earth, their thorny fingers reaching for the vivid blue sky. When the paved road gives way to dirt – beyond which there’s a sandy cluster of campers and makeshift houses – you know you’ve reached the simple town of Cabo Pulmo (population 111).
You might want to stop at a store to fill up on warm, freshly-baked empanadas (like a meat pie) before continuing on to the secluded five-mile bay of Cabo Pulmo.
Marine life galore
A living coral reef, Cabo Pulmo is a national marine park.
Jacques Cousteau described Cabo Pulmo as “the aquarium of the world.”
More than 200 marine species live in and around the reef, including leatherback sea turtles, moray eels, tiger and bull sharks, unique orange grouper, bat rays and galaxies of colorful fish.
A colony of California sea lions also resides by a jumble of huge boulders, and you can swim, snorkel and dive with them.
Best time to visit Cabo Pulmo
Be forewarned, however, that Cabo Pulmo is wild in more ways than one.
In summer and fall, the waters are glassy-calm and ideal for kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving.
But between December and March, heavy winds can restrict water activities for days at a time.
You could end up being buffeted by wind looking out at frothy whitecaps – and realizing that no one is heading out into the water that day.