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April 1998 Vol. 13, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Where the Schlock Meets the Sea

from the April, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Cabo San Lucas has a perennial spring-break atmosphere, one of almost-desperate festivity. Music blares from every establishment, the big American chains like Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe as well as momand- pop taquerias. At the most popular bars, like Kokomo and the Giggling Marlin, waiters with trays of Jello shooters or bandoleers of tequila shots force-feed the fun during audience participation shows that specialize in Elvis impersonations and similar humiliations. Half the people on the street are wandering around with drinks in hand.

Everyone also seems to have a hustle, from ancient Indian women peddling look-alike artifacts to pretty blondes hawking timeshares. Visitors seeking a quieter, more traditional atmosphere would be better off staying in San Jose del Cabo, about 18 miles up the highway, or at scenic Todos Santos on the Pacific Coast.

Cabo does offer some very pleasant underwater diversions. There are several dive shops in Cabo San Lucas, primarily in the waterfront Plaza Las Glorias. These are limited retail outlets that specialize in renting basic gear and booking excursions. A two-tank boat dive runs $60-$65, with rentals averaging $30 for tank, BC, and weight belt. If you dont want to do the legwork yourself, hotel concierges can help book your trips.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable two-tank dive with Amigos del Mar (the shop affiliated with the Solmar ) that took us to a couple of sites off Lands End at the tip of the peninsula. Near Lovers Beach we saw the underwater sandfall that Cousteau made famous (and over-hyped). Our second dive took us past the famous Lands End arch, from the Gulf of California into the Pacific. As we circled back, we were welcomed back to the Gulf by a committee of curious sea lions.

The next day we piled into a van for a two-hour drive up the Gulf of California coast to Cabo Pulmo, site of the northern hemispheres only living coral reef. It was really a rocky outcropping with some hard and soft coral growths, but it made for some interesting diving, particularly around the wreck of an old tuna boat where we enjoyed the irony of fish feeding in an abandoned gill net. A one-day trip is also offered to Gordo Banks, where you might get big-animal encounters similar to the Revillagigedos (minus the hands-on manta experience).

There's limited shore diving at Chileno and Santa Maria beaches, as well as Cabo Pulmo. Expect long walks, long kicks, and depths no greater than 40 feet. Snorkelers can try these spots or Lovers Beach, which can be reached by water taxi or a glass-bottom boat ride.

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