With sunny skies warming the Sea of Cortez for most of the year, and average air temperatures ranging from 60° F to 95° F, there are many water-based activities for an adventurous family to experience in Los Cabos, Mexico. There are boat excursions of all sorts: snorkeling, whale watching, sunset cruises, breakfast and dinner show cruises.
With our two active daughters in tow, we were torn between choosing a whale watching tour and a snorkeling tour. After having seen several pods of whales right from our balcony at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort on our first day, we decided to take our daughters on their first snorkeling adventure.
The concierge suggested several charter boat outfits that offer very similar packages for snorkeling in Cabos San Lucas. Most charters offer three or four 3-hour boat trips a day, most of which include a light meal, beverages and snorkel equipment. Through the concierge, we reserved a noontime departure so we could enjoy a leisurely morning.
We chose the outfitter La Princesa, and took a 20-minute taxi ride from the hotel to the marina at Cabo San Lucas, where all of the charters are based. Because the marina is VERY touristy and the number of vendors vying for our business was a little overwhelming, we were relieved to have reserved in advance.
The Tropicat was a 60-passenger catamaran, but we were pleased there were only about 30 passengers aboard that day. First, the boat sailed slowly near The Arch (El Arco) where everyone took pictures, and my daughters were thrilled to see some sea lions sunning themselves.
Then we relaxed and enjoyed some drinks while the boat took us up the coast to the small reef where we would snorkel. Once the boat anchored, guests slid down a waterslide into the chilly water. We stayed at the reef for about an hour, which was plenty of time for our kids’ first snorkel experience. We saw lots of fish in varying colors and shapes — my older daughter was hooked (pun intended)! After snorkeling, we were greeted back onboard with freshly made sandwiches, fruit, chips and more drinks.
The boat ride back was idyllic. We enjoyed the gentle pulse of the boat gliding over the waves while the sun’s rays warmed our wet skin as we watched the beautiful Mexican coastline drift past. It was a perfect afternoon.
WHAT WE LIKED:
The refreshments — A full array of drinks and fresh fruit were available to us as soon as we boarded the boat. Included in the price was our choice of beer, bar drinks, sodas and water as well as our lunches.
English-speaking, competent crew — The Tropicat was well-maintained and clean, and the crew was very professional. The captain gave instructions in both Spanish and English, and we did not have any problems communicating with the crew.
Great photography available for purchase — We brought our own camera, of course, but the crew also took some fantastic photos of our family. We bought a CD of photos for $40 which also included a 5×7 photo of amazingly high quality for having been printed on a boat!
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Cash only if paying at the marina — Some charters will take credit cards when making the reservations. We arrived at the boat without knowing they only accepted cash. We were lucky to have had just enough American money to pay for the trip we had reserved.
Safety is YOUR concern — I think Americans tend to assume that security measures will be mandated, especially for children. That is not the case outside the U.S.! There were life jackets readily available for all passengers, but they had no rules that required our children to wear them. Ours did much to their chagrin.
We found this trip to be the a wonderful “starter” snorkeling trip for our daughters. The water wasn’t too rough, the visibility was good and the group was small enough that we weren’t swimming over each other to view the sea life. The reef was located in a cove near a small beach, and being near land gave my daughters a sense of security.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.