El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
The Arch of Cabo
Arguably its most spectacular landmark attraction, El Arco de Cabo (The Arch of Cabo) has drawn travelers and adventure seekers for hundreds of years. A natural limestone rock formation rising up from the waters of the Baja Peninsula to form a magnificent archway, El Arco is now an iconic and instantly recognizable symbol of Cabo San Lucas. Sandwiched between Playa del Amor (Lovers Beach) and Playa del Divorcio (Divorce Beach), El Arco is viewable from afar at nearly all times. Visitors can access the golden arch by boat taxis (many of which feature glass bottoms) from the Cabo San Lucas Marina. Passengers can view the archway from the boat or request to be dropped off and picked up at a scheduled time. Privately chartered cruises are also available, offering an intimate and unforgettable close-up of El Arco de Cabo. Sea lions have also been known to frequent the area (particularly around the Los Frailes rock formation), providing an endless source of fascination and entertainment.
A Brief History of 'El Arco'
Once an important trade route for 16th century merchants, The Sea of Cortez also enjoys a colorful bit of notoriety. Pirates routinely concealed themselves behind the shadowy nooks and crags of El Arco awaiting Spanish Galleons carrying gold, precious stones, silks, and spices, seizing the opportunity to ambush. In his Log from the Sea of Cortez, author John Steinbeck wrote: "It seems the perfect place to hide and from which to dart out in a pinnacle on the shipping of the world; a place to which to bring the gold bars and jewels and beautiful ladies, all of which are invariably carried by the shipping of the world. And this little beach must have so appealed to earlier men, for the names of the pirates are still in the rock, and the pirate ships did dart out of here and did come back.” With such a captivating mix of history and fanciful lore, it's no wonder explorers and scuba divers (including Jacques Cousteau) have combed the reefs for decades.
For those who choose to be dropped off on the beaches surrounding El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Amour is an idyllic spot for a strolling, picnicking, and light snorkeling. While swimming is generally not advised on the Pacific side of Lands End due to rough currents and an unpredictable surf, both Playa Divorcio and Playa del Amour are ideal for sunbathing, sea lion watching, and unforgettable photo ops. Cabo sunsets are a particularly gorgeous spectacle, and visitors are encouraged to bask in the magic hour while touring Lands End.
Carved out over thousands of years by Baja winds and waves, El Arco de Cabo San Lucas is often referred to as the gateway to the ocean. A stunning panorama of the Sea of Cortez and Lands End peninsula, this popular Cabo destination is perfect for couples, solitary travelers, and families alike. With its abundance of aquatic life, from sea lions to tropical fish, and rich pirate lore, the area truly offers something for everyone.