Fishing was what brought the early adventurers to Los Cabos, and it keeps them coming. Cabo San Lucas in fact first developed (though only roughly) as the site of a major tuna fishery and canning operation, in the first half of the 20th century. One of today’s major hoteliers arrived as part of that industry, and stayed to found a hotel dynasty. As the tuna fishery slowed and then died out, sport fishing evolved as a replacement. Movie stars and other celebrities came by air, many of them flown by pilots who’d seen the area during WWII while flying patrols for the Army Air Corps, dropping into dirt strips at Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Punta Pescadero, Loreto, and a number of other locations. As the news spread of huge billfish in abundance, and especially after paving of the highway from Tijuana in 1974 and upgrade of the international airport in the 1980s, the trade grew, and sport fishing for the big fish was one of the first big draws for the area. The Cabo San Lucas harbor was dredged and re-created in its present form, and a major charter fishing fleet filled it.
Fishing for the “big ones” has remained a major draw for Los Cabos, and Cabo San Lucas’ fleets are joined by smaller fleets out of Puerto Los Cabos (just north of San Jose), and Los Barriles, and there are a number of major tournaments each year, the most famous being the Bisbee in October. Over the years, too, concern to conserve the resource has resulted in a generally-observed policy of catch-and-release for all but the largest fish or ones caught in a tournament that are thought to have a chance at a prize. At the same time, a fleet of smaller boats (“pangas” – open boats with large outboards) is also available for charter to fish for smaller varieties near the shore and for the pure pleasure of being out in the unremitting sunshine on the clear waters of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez.
Los Cabos may have the highest concentration of high-quality golf courses, many of them signature designs by famous designers, in the world. Mexico created an agency (Fonatur) to work at boosting tourism at chosen sites nation-wide. Los Cabos was one of them along with Cancun. A part of the concept, in the case of Los Cabos, was the evolution of golf as a draw for tourism. Boy, did it work.
Fonatur built a nine-hole course in San Jose (now owned and operated by Mayan Palace, a resort hotel firm), and it proved the concept so others followed, all of them taking advantage of Los Cabos’ elevations and sea views to create some of the most spectacular golf scenery on the planet. One of the first was a spectacular 27-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus at Palmilla, just south of San Jose. Pick a pair of nines and play, then come back the next day for another pair. Now there are (literally) more than a dozen championship-quality courses, including, going north to south and then north again, and not necessarily including all of the contenders:
Puerto Los Cabos – Across the estuary north of San Jose del Cabo, two eighteen-hole courses sharing a clubhouse and facilities, with designs by the Jack Nicklaus group and Greg Norman on hillsides overlooking the Sea of Cortez.
San Jose Fonatur/Mayan course (nine holes – see above)
Club Campestre – (the name means “country club”) In and among the neighborhoods of this new high-quality residential development on the south edge of San Jose del Cabo with a great vew of the Costa Azul beach
Querencia – A Tom Fazio design on a private course, regarded by many as the most beautiful of Los Cabos’ spectacular array of courses
Palmilla (see above) – 27 Holes designed by Jack Nicklaus; his first construction outside the continental United States.
Cabo Real – An 18 hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design reaching far uphill from the highway near mid Corridor.
Chileno Bay – Another private course, also above the highway, just south of the Arroyo Seco at mid Corridor.
Cabo del Sol – A pair of 18-hole courses by major designers, one by the ocean and a second higher on the hillside including some holes above the highway
CSL Country Club – Just outside Cabo San Lucas, an older course but one regarded by many as challenging and beautiful
Diamante – Eighteen Pacific Ocean-side holes, almost a “links” course, with a lot of technical golf in and among the dunes and hillocks of a unique setting in one of Los Cabos’ newest major developments.