The crash and calm of the ocean can be heard in the background of easy fireside chats. Life is scarce and sparse on land, but teems below the ocean surface. The dust and sand kick up to meet the sea breeze, creating pastel hues in the clear skies above. Vivid sunsets light up the sky and make way for untouched starry nights.
Welcome to Cabo Pulmo.
Cabo Pulmo is a National Marine Park located in one of the few such protected areas in Mexico. Despite being only a few hours north of Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo’s quiet and relaxed charm is a million miles away from the party scene in it’s big brother town.
How to get there
Getting to Cabo Pulmo isn’t necessarily easy, but believe me it’s worth it. You can take a taxi, or you can embrace your adventurous side and rent a car from Los Cabos airport. From here, drive an hour or so through desert landscapes and tiny roadside towns dotting the Baja countryside. The accompanying traffic slowly drops off until it’s just you, your amigos and your road trip playlist.
You’ll know that you’re getting close when the paved road turns to single dirt track in either direction. You can actually feel the stresses of day to day life melt away into the rear view mirror. The roads, though unforgiving, can still be navigated with some care with the smallest of rental cars. Our Chevy managed the commute just fine short of a few challenging hills, giant potholes and loose deep sands. They say its about the journey and not the destination, but in this rare case, its actually about both.
Cabo Pulmo is not your typical tourist destination. For one, it’s off the grid, but secondly, there is little in the way of infrastructure to support any meaningful number of visitors. This is precisely the charm of the place. The national park encompasses a rare and special ecosystem that exists here and here alone. I write this article with mixed feelings. On one hand, everyone should see the natural wonders and biodiversity, yet on the other, it’s the lack of tourism that has in part kept this place safe and thriving.
Where to stay
When the sun goes down, that’s it for light. Locals brandish their flashlights and stagger through moonlight and darkness to the local eatery and watering hole. A short walk from the main dusty intersection is the perfect place to call home. El Encanto de Cabo Pulmo is a beautifully designed and decorated home away from home. The ‘wow’ moments start before you even open the gate and continue as you walk through the meticulously kept botanical gardens that surround the property. Orioles and Black-fronted Hummingbirds fly in every direction, and the vast array of cactus from around the world are dotted with brightly coloured flowers.
At the centre of it all sits the main house, a delight for the senses, with gorgeous bright colours and curves in all the right places. The big open windows allow you to bring the outside in, and enjoy the garden from the comfort of the living room. The house is decorated with incredible artwork throughout, and the attention to detail is impeccable.
A wooden archway to the side of the main house leads you to the beautiful casita, which is where we stayed. This adorable building is ideal for two, with a big four-post bed and open bathroom. Again, the design is elegant and inviting.
The porch is just amazing. With a big comfy hammock and two lovely adirondack chairs, it’s the perfect place to spend a day watching the world go by. The garden invites so much wildlife – it’s a nature lover’s dream. Birds sing from morning til night, landing in the trees before your eyes.
It’s easy to lose track of time. Before you know it you’ll be staring awe-struck as the sky turns an incredible wash of orange and purple, and the sun sets over the hills. Lighting the chimaneer as the sun goes down gives you even more time to enjoy the outdoors, and to take in the incredible night sky with more stars than I’ve ever seen before! It’s so peaceful, you’ll be sure to get a great night’s sleep.
You’ll really feel at one with nature here. Everything around you boasts an eco friendly touch, from the natural building materials to the fact that El Encanto runs on solar power alone. It’s a true off the grid experience with all the comfort and convenience of modern amenities, including WiFi and a coffee maker.
Things to do
This is the place to come to get away from everything and simply enjoy nature. There are hiking trails right on the door step, and the sea life is vast and diverse. It’s easy to see how Cabo Pulmo got the name ‘nature’s aquarium’. The Sea of Cortez is thriving following a decade of focused conservation efforts.
El Encanto has you covered for the perfect beach day. Guests can use snorkels, masks and fins making exploring the sea life convenient and accessible. Once you’re exhausted from paddling through schools of fish, you can kick back on a beach towel, or read in a folding chair under an umbrella – they really have thought of everything!
A few minutes drive from El Encanto is Los Arbolitos beach. Here you can snorkel from the shore and along the shallow reef, where you’ll be surrounded by fish the whole time. We saw everything from parrot fish to angel fish, puffer fish and eels. Cabo Pulmo is also known for the awesome scuba diving, and it’s easy to see why. Whale sharks, manta rays and turtles can all be seen here at various times throughout the year.
For those seeking a Mexican experience unlike any other, Cabo Pulmo is the perfect destination. Explore the true natural beauty of Mexico through a new lens.