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East Cape

For years the East Cape was the secret playground of private pilots who flew into the fishing resorts scattered along the cape. Even though the secret is out, and the blacktop now connects La Paz with Cabo San Lucas, the rough dirt road wrapping around the east cape has done a good job in preventing mass development on this pristine stretch of coast.

The East Cape is still famous for fishing, although surfing and kayaking are increasingly popular. The hotels still do a great job of taking care of visitors, and beautiful custom homes continue to be built on the low bluffs overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Even with the new homes being built, there is still plenty of wide open beach front property for all to enjoy.

Although most of this area is accessed by dirt or graded roads, the paved highway is working it's way down from La Ribera, slowly but surely. Some day the entire East Cape will be accessible by paved road, allowing any type of vehicle to traverse the area. But for now the road is still an adventure, large R.V.'s are scarce, and some of the best coastal scenery to be found in Baja awaits you at every turn. If you are looking for a deserted beach to find some well-deserved solitude, the East Cape is waiting for you.

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East Cape Beaches 

The East Cape has been famous for it's great beaches to those in the know for over half a century. These beautiful beaches run from Buena Vista, all the way to San Jose Del Cabo, over 65 miles south. They are the best beaches Baja has to offer!

Although there has been some minor development along this spectacular stretch of coastline, the vast majority of these beaches are empty and untouched. Most of these beaches are unnamed! The beaches mentioned here are only a tiny sampling of the more well known beaches. Part of the fun of exploring the East Cape is discovering new beaches to add to your list of favorites!

List of Beaches North to South

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Camping on the East Cape means back to basics. There are very few facilities, so most camping consists of pulling up to an empty beach, and just setting up camp. But the scenery is so spectacular, most Baja travelers don't seem to miss the amenities that are offered at most other Baja destinations. A key element to an enjoyable camping experience on the East Cape is remembering to bring in everything you need, as forgotten items may not be obtainable without going all the way down to San Jose Del Cabo, or all the way up to Buena Vista.

R.V.'s are increasingly common along the East Cape as the government continues to regularly maintain the graded road. Even still, this is a very slow journey in an R.V., and down right impossible (and impassable!) after heavy rains. It's a good idea to ask around in San Jose Del Cabo as to the current condition of the road.

Locations along the East Cape where campers and R.V.'s tend to gather include:


About half way up the coast, either north from San Jose, or south from Buena Vista. Several locations to set up camp, and a few restaurants and such take off the edge. Cabo Pulmo Marine Park


A few miles south of Cabo Pulmo on the East Cape dirt road. Camping is not generally permitted on Los Frailes Bay itself. However a spectacular wide sandy beach is available just around the corner. Beautiful!

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The waters off the East Cape are full of fish, however most of the organized fishing facilities are located at the very north end, in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area. Surf fishing can be productive along the many sandy beaches.

The large sweeping bay in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area is a good place to drop the hook when conditions are nice, but when the wind pick up, most sailors prefer the natural harbor at Bahia Los Frailes. It is very well protected from the prevailing winds, provides more than enough draft for even the largest boats, and there are a few restaurants in the village of Cabo Pulmo to put the galley on hold for a meal or two. Bahia Los Frailes also makes a great sailing destination, coming from either Cabo on the south, or from La Paz to the north.

Towing a small boat along the East Cape road is possible, but not common. The road can be tough enough to negotiate in a regular vehicle, and towing a boat is that much more of a challenge. For those who do bring boats, they can be launched across the sand at Cabo Pulmo.

Hiring out a panga for a half day is possible in both Los Frailes and Cabo Pulmo. In Los Frailes the fishing pangas tend to collect at the south end of the bay. In Cabo Pulmo it's best just to track down Mario 'Paco' Castro. He'll set you up with a good boat and skipper, or he'll take you out himself.

Mexico Vacation Packages
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There are very nice hotels on the East Cape, most of them are located in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area at the north end of the cape. The information on those hotels is covered in the 'BUENA VISTA' section. There are also a few accommodations that are located south of the Buena Vista area, which are included here.


Los Cabos Vacation Packages East Cape
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For decades the only place to eat and drink on the East Cape was at the hotels on the north end. And the north end still holds the edge on good dining in these parts. However, with the Los Cabos crowds sneaking up from the south for a peak at paradise, a few more options are becoming available.

List of Restaurants

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Shopping is 'nada mucho' on most of the East Cape. Baja travelers headed in this direction should pick up basic supplies in San Jose del Cabo when coming in from the south, or in Buena Vista when dropping down from the north.


Located in Cabo Pulmo, on the ocean side of the main coastal road.

A small tienda offering just the basics.

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Mass transit has yet to hit the East Cape. And nobody seems to be in too big of a hurry to change that. Almost everyone visiting the area arrives via the coast dirt road, although there is another dirt road that cuts through the mountains from Highway One, 1.5 miles south of the Los Cabos airport.

No taxis, no buses (except for the occasional Green Tortuga full of Dead-heads), no nada. Flying in or boating in are the only other ways to get here. Be sure to get gas in Buena Vista or La Ribera before dropping in from the north, or in San Jose del Cabo before coming up from the south.


Most of the hotels in the Buena Vista - Los Barriles area have decent airstrips (See Buena Vista). South of Buena Vista, there are 3 additional places to park the bird.


Hardpacked dirt runway, 2840 feel long. Restaurant, bar, & hotel services. No fuel.


Hardpacked dirt runway, 3200 feet long. Restaurant, bar, & hotel services. No fuel.


Dirt runway, 3000 feet long, parallel to shore. Hotel within walking distance.

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Cabo Pulmo Reef is a very special place in Mexico. It is one of the few places on the west coast of North America where the conditions are right for coral to grow. Those in the know have stated that the reef itself at Cabo Pulmo is not entirely made up of coral, but of coral growing on the existing strata of 8 linear rock reefs running progressively further from shore. Whatever! The point is that this is one special place, so special that the Mexican government has declared the waters of Cabo Pulmo an underwater nature preserve (just like Cozumel on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula), and that the taking of fish and the anchoring of boats is prohibited.

The popularity of Cabo Pulmo's main reef is greatly enhanced by the fact that is easily accessible from shore. Snorkelers and divers can make beach dives very easily. For die hard divers looking for deeper dives, taking a boat to the Pulmo Outer Reefs offers more of an open water experience. Fish are plentiful on both sets of reefs, and visibility tends to be at it's best when the seas and winds are calm. The water temperature in the waters off Cabo Pulmo are comfortable almost all year long, and get downright warm in late summer.


The lack of a decent road has kept the crowds away from the East Cape for many years, and to some extent, continues to do so today. However, as tourism continues to heat up in the Los Cabos area, more and more Baja travelers are venturing off of the beaten path to escape the crowds, and heading up towards the East Cape for a look.

Many visitors are surprised to find that there are still a handful of Mexican families that continue to live out here on their ranchos much as their ancestors have for many generations. These folks lead very simple lives, have no running water or electricity, and most of what they live on still comes from the land and the sea. They are a very gracious and appreciative people. Unfortunately, it looks like their days may be numbered.

At some point the East Cape road will be completely paved. When that happens, all hell is going to break loose on the East Cape development scene. It is unlikely that these warm and friendly people will survive the onslaught of future growth. If they disappear, so will a very special element of East Cape history.

As you journey along the East Cape road, take note of these small ranches and their people. Smile and wave, say "Hola!". They may not be there next time you come through.

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Like much of coastal Baja, many of the recreational activities on the East Cape take place on or near the water. Access to the mountains west of the coastal road is limited by a lack of access roads, so the vast majority of East Cape activities takes place between the coastal road and the Sea of Cortez.


The coastal road that wraps around the East Cape is relatively flat, although there are sections where it traverses through hills and passes where some inclines will challenge the lower gears of most mountain bikes. The Sea of Cortez is visible along most of this road, and mountains provide a beautiful backdrop on the west side. Water and basic services are available in Los Frailes and Cabo Pulmo. Depending on how recently the road has been graded, it can be pretty smooth or the ultimate washboard experience.


Telephone 011-52 (114) 7-5149 * 011-52 (114) 7-5179.

Mountain bikes for the coastal roads and back trails.


Good snorkeling can be found north of Cabo Pulmo at Punta Bickel (just north of the house with the round roof), and along the cliffs at Los Frailes further south. Cabo Pulmo offers some of the best snorkeling in Baja, as well as some excellent diving opportunities! The area consists of eight fingers of coral reef, some more than a mile long, and starting just off shore. The Inner Pulmo Reefs are great for beginning and advanced snorkelers, and experienced divers will enjoy Outer Pulmo Reefs, accessible by boat. All reefs offer beautiful coral, and a multitude of fish and sealife. See 'Miscellaneous' below for more information on Cabo Pulmo.

Diving Companies


Because much of the East Cape is 'tucked in' and protected from most of the swells from the Pacific Ocean, the majority of the coastline tends to be relatively calm, and perfect for kayaking! Scenery alternates from beautiful sandy beaches, to occasional rocky bluffs, and the water tends to be very clear most of the year. There are many places to put in, and just as many places to beach the kayak for a relaxing break. Launching at Cabo Pulmo and paddling to Los Frailes is a wonderful one day excursion, and limited supplies are available at both locations.


Telephone 011-52 (114) 7-5149 * 011-52 (114) 7-5179.

Ocean kayaking for all skill levels.


Telephone 011-52 (114) 4-5353.

Office is located at Zippers / Costa Azul, about one mile south of San Jose del Cabo.

Kayak tours from Cabo San Lucas to Cabo Pulmo. Prices include transportation from Cabo San Lucas, breakfast and lunch, and a guide with knowledge of the local Cabo Pulmo waters.


The east Cape has several well known surf spots, and a few secret spots as well. Half the fun of surfing here is discovering new breaks, so we're not going to divulge any secrets here. A few of the more popular breaks include:


Towards the north end of the East Cape, just before Punta Colorada.

A good left break when a strorm swell pumps up from the south. Otherwise flat.


About 10 miles up from San Jose Del Cabo on the dirt road, a long beautiful beach.

A fun right break, picks up most any south-southwest swell, almost always breaking.


A few miles up the coastal dirt road from La Playita, not far from San Jose. Not as consistent as Shipwrecks, but a fun ride when there is a definite swell in.