By: Alex Navarro, Baja Adventure Expert for Destino Magazine
This vacation get out to the east coast or what is called the East Cape, where you can experience beautiful and mystical outings. One of my favorite little adventures is at Los Arbolitos beach, at the south end of Cabo Pulmo bay. To arrive to Los Arbolitos or “Little Trees” in English, contract a tour operator or drive out of Los Cabos on Highway 1 towards La Ribera town. First you will pass the airport out of San Jose, then pass Miraflores and Santiago, and after about an hour you will come to La Ribera, which is a fishing town on the Sea of Cortez. This is just south of Los Barriles. At La Ribera take the road to Cabo Pulmo. The drive from there is about a half hour or more depending on conditions and speed, and also because the last stretch of road before Cabo Pulmo is a dirt road. Upon arriving to Cabo Pulmo you might want to stop to stretch and maybe get some provision for your outing, unless you packed a cooler before you departed Los Cabos. There, maybe also get some directions to Los Arbolitos.
Furthermore, from Cabo Pulmo town, keep driving south on the dirt road towards Los Frailes bay and towards the end of Cabo Pulmo bay. After ten or fifteen minutes you will notice the bay begins to end as you can see it on your left hand side as you drive. Once the bay is ending and some hills begin ascending on your left hand side, keep an eye also on your left hand side for a dirt road the turns in towards the bay to Los Arbolitos Beach. You should see a sign there, but if not you can ask a local or rancher in the area. If you arrive to Los Frailes bay, you have passed the Los Arbolitos exit. Once at the Los Arbolitos road, drive a couple minutes to the beach. This is Arbolitos beach, there you will find some facilities like palapa umbrellas, bathrooms and trash cans.
Here you can park and set up a beach camp in one of the palapas and enjoy the calm beach. Snorkeling is good here if the wind is down. But the real adventure here is to do a short hike from Los Arbolitos to La Sirenita beach, which is at the farthest and southernmost point of Cabo Pulmo bay. The hike goes next to the bay coast and is quite short. It can be done in less than half an hour while enjoying the spectacular views. The hike is pretty much flat and no climbing is required. If you plan to do this part of the outing, bring a back pack, bag cooler and maybe a beach umbrella. Once you arrive at La Sirenita you will find the most magical snorkeling spot, surrounded by astonishing rock formations and beautiful scenery. The plan here is to set up a temporary beach camp here and enjoy this wonderful beach snorkeling. La Sirenita is one of my favorite spots in Baja.
If Los Arbolitos is windy, La Sirenita beach can usually still be calm because it is protected at the end of the bay by rock formations and hills. I recommend doing this outing early, maybe leaving Los Cabos at 7 or 8 am to arrive at Los Arbolitos by 10 am to avoid stronger winds later in the day. Although you might get a perfect day with no winds at all. As always, it is recommended to pack up well before sunset at La Sirenita if you are driving back the same day. On the other hand, if you wish to camp in the area, which is a great spot if you love camping, then no worries on packing up early, just keep enjoying! The drive back is also amazing as you get the sunset on the mountain skyline to your right as you go back towards Los Cabos. Have a great time everyone and don’t forget to take your snorkeling gear, if not you can rent one in Cabo Pulmo town or buy one at many Cabo stores before you begin your adventure.