Planning a trip to Baja? If so, plan to spend a significant amount of time in Baja’s East Cape. There’s no better place for lazing beach days, thrilling outdoor sports, and all-around amazing exploration than East Cape Baja.
East Cape Baja is a 70-mile coastal arc of land running along the Sea of Cortez. While many parts of Baja have become modern, crowded tourist attractions, this part of the peninsula is known as “Old Baja.” The area has dirt roads, hidden beaches, and secret fishing spots that only locals know about.
While visiting East Cape Baja is a more authentic, rustic experience, there are still plenty of activities to please everyone. To help you enjoy your time in East Cape Baja, we’ve put together a list of the top ten things to do in the area. First, though, let’s get our bearings and explore where the East Cape area is.
Where exactly is East Cape Baja?
To understand where East Cape Baja is, you have to understand a little about Baja’s geography. The Baja California Peninsula is a narrow 775-mile long strip of land in northwestern Mexico. The entire peninsula is referred to as “Baja,” but East Cape Baja is a small section that sits at the southern tip, as you can see in the map below.
Credit: East Cape Guides
More specifically, the East Cape makes up the southeastern side of the Baja Peninsula, from Punta Pescadero south to Cabo Pulmo. However, some locals say the East Cape extends further south down to San Jose Del Cabo.
Credit: East Cape Guides
The 10 best East Cape Baja activities
As mentioned, East Cape Baja is a throwback to a simpler time. The area is quieter, more rugged, and feels miles away from the busy, developed cities like Cabo San Lucas.
Here’s a list of activities you can enjoy:
#1 – Fishing
The Sea of Cortez is home to an array of exotic fish, which explains why it has become one of the most popular fishing spots in the world. In fact, the first tourist attraction in southern Baja was a remote fly-in fishing resort that opened back the in 1950s. To this day, fishing is still the thing to do in the area.
You can fish from the shore and buy bait from a local tackle shop near Los Barriles, or you can sign up for a fishing tour. Hotels and outfitters offer guided fishing tours. You can fish from a kayak, join a larger group on a fishing cruise, or rent a small “panga”, a modest-sized fishing boat, to see what you can reel in yourself. Here’s a look at what you might snag: Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Sierra, Grouper, Tuna, Wahoo, Snapper, Yellowtail, Cabrilla, Rooster fish
#2 – Enjoy the (quiet) nightlife
If you’re looking for clubs and big parties, you won’t find them in East Cape Baja. That’s reserved for Cabo San Lucas. In East Cape, you’ll find a handful of mom-and-pop bars and restaurants that offer low-key entertainment. Crossroads and RoadRunner Café, for example, have live music, and Tio Pablo’s in Los Barriles is a good spot to hangout and watch live sports.
#3 – Kiteboarding
Thrill seekers won’t want to miss an opportunity to kiteboard in the Sea of Cortez. The small East Cape town of Los Barriles has become a renowned kiteboarding spot, and hosts a premier competition: Lord of the Wind Showdown, annually.
Powered by the wind, a kitesurfer sails through water and air with the help of a board, harness, and kite. The best time to kitesurf is between November-March, when strong “El Norte” winds sweep through the area and create a consistent 15 to 30 mph breeze.
Local outfitters can hook you up with lessons and gear.
#4 – Scuba diving
There’s an entire underwater world waiting to be discovered in East Cape Baja, and the best way to see it is by diving. You can dive year-round in this area, but the months between June and November offer the calmest waters and the best visibility.
One of the most common dive spots in the area is Cabo Pulmo, where you can access one of the oldest living coral reefs. Again, local outfitters can provide lessons and gear.
#5 – Surfing
Whether you’ve taken hundreds of barrel rides or are completely new to the sport, you won’t find a better spot to surf than East Cape Baja. The Sea of Cortez offers year-round surfing conditions, with the best waves crashing during the summer months.
For beginners, there are a handful of great spots to try like La Fortuna or Zippers. It’s best to go with a guide if you’re just starting out, so he or she can not only provide direction but point out safety hazards.
More experienced surfers should try spots like Cerritos and Middles.
#6 – Golfing
The golf scene is exploding in Baja. More than a dozen champion golf courses await in and around East Cape. The number of courses, quality of the greens, and diversity of play is why the area is dubbed, “The Golf Capital of Mexico.”
In East Cape Baja, link lovers should try the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course located in the Costa Palmas resort community. The course sits alongside a north-facing beach, looking up the Sea of Cortez. The result is a calm, scenic space for a round of 18 holes. Plus, the amenities are unrivaled, making it a truly unique experience for elite golfers.
#7 – Shopping
After a day in the sun, do a little shopping. You’ll find quaint, boutique-like shops in East Cape with unique items for sale. Head to Los Barriles and walk along the town’s downtown area for the best shopping. You’ll find Baja Beach Company, which is great for souvenirs; Charlie’s Chocolates, the best place to get sweet treats; and Copper River Designs, which offers handmade jewelry.
#8 – Relax on a beach
If a lazy day in the sand is your wish, you’ll have a variety of great beaches to pick from. Beaches in East Cape Baja are often secluded, and sometimes even deserted. You’ll take a dirt road to get to many of them, but you’ll certainly find tranquility when you reach them. East Cape Beach, Playa Anonima, and Playa Higuera are great beaches to try.
#9 – ATV tours
To truly experience “Old Baja,” an ATV tour is a must. Back in the day, tourists came to the area to fish and rip around on the rugged terrain with four-wheelers. Some locals still get around on small ATVs. Now, visitors can take a number of ATV tours to see places otherwise unseen.
You can even take specific ATV tours based on what you want to see, like bird-watching tours or mountain tours.
#10 – Tour the towns
Touring the towns that line Baja’s coast is the best way to take in the local culture. The small towns in East Cape Baja are worth exploring. Take a sunset yoga class in Los Barriles and follow it up with a few drinks at Taqueria El Viejo, go paddleboarding in the small town of La Ribera, and check out the National Marine Park in Cabo Pulmo. Just hop in your car, explore sights that interest you, and be sure to talk with the locals.
With so many things to do, it’s hard not to fall in love with southern Baja. You might even find yourself longing for a beach-side home in the area. If so, there are amazing real estate opportunities available. To learn more, check out these impressive East Cape homes for sale.