So you’re going on vacation to Cabo…
One of the first things you want to see is the iconic rock Arch of Cabo San Lucas, right?
You’ve heard about this remarkable sight rising up out of the sea…
The fun glass-bottom boat tours to get there. The barking sea lions. The frigate birds riding the hot air updrafts like roller coasters, high above the cliffs.
Every time we visit the Los Cabos area, we always make a trip out to the Arch. We’ve been visiting Cabo each year (sometimes twice a year) for more than 20 years now – and we’ve done all sorts of different tours to this famous rock formation in Cabo.
Here are our recommendations on how to get to the Arch of Cabo San Lucas (i.e., best Cabo Arch tours) and what you can see and do there.
What is the Arch of Cabo San Lucas?
Located at Land’s End, the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, the Arch of Cabo San Lucas is a distinctive granite rock formation which curves over the ocean in a majestic arch.
The three-story-high Arch is a natural phenomenon, carved by tidal and wind erosion over thousands of years.
A popular tourist attraction, it’s known locally as El Arco, which literally translates as “The Arch.”
You can’t walk or drive to it – it can only be reached from the water.
Attractions at El Arco
The sight of Los Cabos’ famous Arch is awe-inspiring.
But it’s more than just a stunning rock formation to gaze at. There are several other cool attractions to discover here too.
Known as Playa del Amor by the locals, this secluded hideaway sits between the mainland and the Arch of Los Cabos and, like the Arch, is only accessible by boat.
It hugs the protected Sea of Cortez, so the waters here are usually calm (especially in the morning, before the wind picks up, and then again around sunset, when the wind dies down).
Although the alluring scenery may ignite a romantic spark, you’re not likely to have the beach to yourself, as it’s one of the most popular spots in the area.
One reason: Its calm waters make it one of the few safe swimming beaches in Cabo. Second reason: There’s also some great snorkeling offshore.
Directly opposite Lover’s Beach, facing the rougher Pacific Ocean is this equally beautiful stretch of sand.
Jagged rock formations guard the beach like sentries.
Divorce Beach is said to have earned its name because of the strong currents and impressive waves that crash upon the beach’s shores – which can result in couples fighting.
Like… “Honey, don’t go for a swim there!” and “Nah, don’t worry, I can do it!”
Both Divorce Beach and Lover’s Beach have no facilities (such as eateries or restrooms), so you should bring your own water and snacks.
Sea lion colony
Cabo’s Arch isn’t just popular with tourists.
Hanging out on a nearby wave-washed rocky platform (La Lobera or The Rookery) is an entire colony of sea lions.
Fun fact: Weighing around 400 pounds, these water-loving creatures can hold their breath underwater for up to 20 minutes!
The best way to view these playful marine mammals is via a boat tour from the Cabo San Lucas Marina (details below).
You can hear them before you see them. Their bark echoes loudly across the water. Oh, and you can smell them too. Talk about stinky!
Pelicans and sea birds
The rock formations which line Land’s End are the perfect resting place for a range of sea birds, including egrets, gulls, cormorants and brown pelicans. (Sea birds like offshore rocks since they offer a safe refuge.)
The aptly named Pelican Rock (which itself sort-of looks like a pelican!) is a favorite spot for these noisy birds to roost – the white poop that coats the rock is a dead giveaway.
Tucked away near the base of the picturesque Arch of Cabo San Lucas is a hidden cave that was once a clandestine haunt for pirates before the 1900s. Or so the rumor goes…
It’s said pirates used to lurk here and in other coves along the Baja coast, waiting for unsuspecting trade ships to pass by.
This sea cave is best seen at low tide on a boat tour.
How to see the Arch in Cabo
The best way to see this famous rock formation is to take a Cabo Arch tour.
There are numerous tours available, from luxurious sunset cruises to kayaking adventures.
Below are some of our faves. When planning your trip to Cabo, you’ll want to do one of these!
Prices are in USD.
6 Best Cabo San Lucas Arch tours
1) Sunset cruise
There’s really no better way to end a day in Cabo San Lucas than via a classy sailing experience as the sun sets over the stunning Arch.
Cabo Sailing is our go-to tour operator for this experience.
We’ve enjoyed two luxurious cruises with them now, sipping wine and margaritas and nibbling on appies as we sailed around the Cabo San Lucas rock formations.
Their sunset cruises take a maximum of 14 people but you can typically expect fewer people. We only had six guests (including us!) on one of our cruises.
Alternatively, if you’re searching for a unique Cabo activity (maybe with the kids?), jump aboard a pirate ship for a sunset cruise like no other!
You’ll set sail on the only pirate ship in Cabo for a fun dinner cruise.
Hear pirate tales, play games with the pirate-dressed crew, dance, enjoy an open bar (adults only, of course!) and tuck into a barbecue dinner with ribs and chicken.
2) Water taxi ride to the Arch at Cabo San Lucas
If you’re just visiting Cabo during the day (maybe on a cruise?), a glass-bottom boat ride or water taxi is probably the best option to take you to the Arch.
You can hop on one from Medano Beach or the Cabo San Lucas Marina.
There are plenty of different vendors.
But in general, the cost is about $20 to $25 p.p. If lots of cruise ship passengers are milling around, you might pay more.
These Cabo Land’s End tours typically putter around Land’s End, showing you all the sights – and slowing down at the Arch so you can take pictures.
If you’d like, they’ll drop you off at Lover’s Beach for some swimming or snorkeling and pick you up later at a predetermined time to take you back to where you came from.
For example, here’s a shared water taxi ride aboard a 30-foot boat that costs just under $20 p.p.
It’s one of the cheapest tours we’ve found! And it’s received tons of 5-star reviews.
The one-hour tour leaves from the Marina, and you have the option of being dropped off at Lover’s Beach on the way back. (Just ask, however, about being picked up again – that may cost extra.)
Alternatively, this glass-bottom boat tour is 45 minutes long.
You can ask for drop-off and pick-up at Lover’s Beach (time spent at the beach is in addition, making your tour longer).
Or you can ask to be dropped off at Medano Beach at the end, instead of back at the Marina.
Or upgrade from a glass bottom boat to a completely clear boat! It’s one of the most unique ways to tour Land’s End.
When you’re in one of these completely transparent boats from Enva Tours, you can see all the colorful tropical fish through the bottom of the boat and the sides!
Their tours are 50 minutes’ long.
(But we don’t believe you have the option of getting off at Lover’s Beach and being picked up later. Perhaps if they’re not busy, you can arrange this.)
3) Kayaking tour to Land’s End
If you’d like to get some exercise too, a kayaking tour is one of the best ways to see the Arch in Cabo.
Paddling along the clear Sea of Cortez water, you’ll be met by unrivaled views of the Baja California Peninsula without the rumble of a motor disturbing the sounds of the ocean or the cries of seabirds.
For kayaking tours in Cabo, we highly recommend a small family-operated tour company called Cabo Outfitters. We’ve gone out with them on several tours in Cabo (including a kayak tour).
Cabo Outfitters is run by a lovely couple, Casey Catlin and his wife.
They’ve been living in Cabo for over 22 years now and they’re incredibly knowledgeable about the area.
They only hire the best tour guides for their kayaking tours (Casey is one of them), so you can be confident you’re taking to the water in safe hands.
Their Arch and Lover’s Beach kayaking and snorkeling tour is about 3½ hours long and includes hotel transfers. All the reviews are 5-star.
4) Snorkeling or scuba diving near the Los Cabos Arch
Beneath the surface of the water near the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, there’s a whole world of marine life just waiting to greet you.
Sea turtles, rays and angelfish are just some of the creatures you may encounter here when snorkeling or scuba diving.
For snorkeling at Land’s End, we recommend this luxury yacht sailing and snorkeling tour with Cabo Sailing. We’ve done two sailing trips with them now – and love the upscale experience they offer.
You get to snorkel near El Arco, sip cocktails from an open bar and enjoy a light lunch on their 3-hour trips.
If you’re traveling with friends or family, you might like a private Cabo boat tour to the Arch.
Check out this private boat tour with La Isla Tours.
Their 32-foot x 12-foot custom-made catamaran is unique.
The deck space is flat and wide, with lots of space to chill out – think comfy couch seating and coffee tables under a shade roof – and it comfortably takes up to 12 guests.
It putters out to the Arch, where it anchors so you can hang out, play your own music on their MP3 system, go snorkeling and relax on a floating mat.
You can even bring your own food and alcohol! (Or let them cater for you.)
As for scuba diving, certified divers can go out with MANTA Scuba on a 2-tank dive at Land’s End on one of their shaded, custom-made dive boats.
The water visibility is typically very good – and you can watch the unique underwater sand falls here!
We’ve gone scuba diving with MANTA (at Cabo Pulmo National Park) – they’re highly professional and very good.
5) SUP to the Arch
Another fantastic way to see Los Cabos’ famous Arch up close is by paddling there on a SUP board. It’s one of our favorite water-based activities in Cabo! (Well, Janice’s – George is still working on his balance.)
You can rent stand-up paddleboards on Medano beach for around $25 to $30 an hour.
Be aware that you can only SUP from Medano Beach to Land’s End early in the morning. For safety reasons, you can’t cross over the Marina channel after 10:00 am, when boat traffic picks up.
As it takes about 90 minutes to two hours to paddle to the Arch and back to Medano Beach, you should plan on leaving by 8:00 am at the latest.
Also, the wind is typically calm early in the morning, so the water will be flat and easier for paddling.
Alternatively, opt for a guided SUP tour, which includes snorkeling at Pelican Rock and/or relaxing on Lover’s Beach.
The beauty of this top-rated tour is that you go with an expert tour guide and instructor and learn how to SUP if you’re a newbie to the sport.
You also leave from a beach on the other side of the Marina channel – so you’re in no danger of crossing the path of any boats and don’t have to finish by 10:00 am.
Hotel pick-up and drop-off is included in this Los Cabos Arch tour.
6) Day sailing tour to the Arch of Cabo and beyond
Of course, the Cabo coastline consists of more than the Arch and Land’s End.
And there are some great sailing trips that visit both the Arch plus one or two other top snorkeling spots like Santa Maria Bay and Chileno Bay.
Check out this popular 4-hour snorkeling and sailing cruise from Cabo Adventures.
Lounge on cushions and pillows scattered about the deck of a luxury sailboat as you first cruise by the Arch. You then head for Santa Maria Bay or Chileno Bay, where you anchor for snorkeling and SUP boarding.
You’re also treated to an open bar, along with fresh grilled shrimp, seafood ceviche and chicken Caesar salad for lunch. Fresh towels, snorkeling gear and SUP boards are included.
Alternatively, if you like to sleep in, you may prefer this highly-rated snorkeling and sailing afternoon excursion on the 48-foot Cabo Blue trimaran.
Leaving at 1:00 pm, it combines a Cabo Land’s End tour with snorkeling at Santa Maria Bay.
Enjoy sipping on ice-cold cocktails from the open bar as you relax under a shaded canopy on the boat. After cruising to the Arch, you sail to Santa Maria Bay to snorkel.
The boat carries SUP boards, so you can try the sport of stand-up paddleboarding too.
More than 300 happy sailors have given this Santa Maria Bay and Cabo Arch boat tour 5-star reviews on Viator.
In the winter, these sailing adventures offer whale watching too.
Humpback and other whales migrate to the waters off Cabo in the winter months to mate and give birth to their young. So between December and April, you’ll probably also get to marvel at some of the largest mammals on the planet up close!
Frequently asked questions about the Cabo San Lucas Arch
What is Land’s End, Cabo San Lucas?
Land’s End is a unique geological feature consisting of dramatic rock formations at the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico.
It marks the point where the Sea of Cortez merges with the Pacific Ocean.
The highlight of this landmark is the iconic El Arco or Arch, a rugged symbol of the beauty of the region.
How was the Arch of Cabo San Lucas formed?
The Arch, which is part of the rock formations at Land’s End, was formed over millions of years through the process of erosion and weathering.
Over time, the wind and constant pounding of waves against the rock have worn away the softer rock, leaving behind only the harder parts that form the Arch.
Can you walk to the Arch in Cabo?
No, you can only get to the Arch via the water, be it by boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
However, every few years, enough sand accumulates around the Arch and the tide recedes enough to reveal a hidden beach which runs from Divorce Beach under the Arch.
We were lucky enough to discover it one year. We were able to actually walk through the Arch and look at it from a unique vantage point.
Mind you, we haven’t seen this sand beach underneath the Arch since that time.
Can you see the Arch at Cabo from the beach?
No, the Arch can’t be seen from Medano Beach.
One place, however, where you can see the Arch from shore is The Cape, a Thompson Hotel.
Its position at the northern end of the Cabo San Lucas Bay gives it great views – though they’re long distance views. It’s one of the best places to stay in Cabo.
That wraps up our guide on the Cabo San Lucas rock Arch!
No matter how many times we’ve visited the famous Arch in Cabo San Lucas, we never get tired of going out to visit it again.
This stunning natural wonder is a testament to the incredible power of nature and a must-see Cabo San Lucas attraction when you visit the area!
Photos: 3, 5, 6, 8, 11, 28 © Janice and George Mucalov, Cabo Visitor