The Arch at Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos
The Arch is an icon of Cabo San Lucas & the Los Cabo area.
Each country and each geographical place has its recognizable and famous icons, Los Cabos and specifically Cabo San Lucas has its own in The Arch (El Arco) in the so-called “Land’s End” (Latin: Finis terrae; Spanish: Final de la Tierra) where the sea kisses the rock of Baja.
The Arch of Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos is an imposing and majestic rock formation, a natural arch at the very tip of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the state of Baja California Sur in Mexico.
This arch is also the one that separates the Gulf of California (also called the Sea of Cortez) from the Pacific Ocean, if you are an avid observer you will realize that these two separate sections have distinct fish, seawater has a different color and even the waves and wave patterns are distinguishable.
It’s a wonder of nature that identifies Los Cabos, is a great tourist attraction and brings a lot of tourism to Cabo San Lucas.
Just as you cannot visit Paris and not go through the Eiffel Tower, you cannot visit the Los Cabos area and not take a yacht, boat or catamaran to take you closer on a visit to observe, enjoy and take photos of The Arch.
How to get to The Arch
Access is mainly by sea, there will be some very adventurous and brave ones that maybe organize excursions to the area, but the usual and most recommended way to get here is to do it by sea.
Normally you will leave from the Marina of Cabo San Lucas or from El Medano Beach in CSL, you will be approaching along the shore of “Land’s End” (Finis Terrae) the last part of the peninsula, you will pass Playa Empacadora, smaller beaches, Pelican Rock and Neptune’s Finger, Playa del Amor and you will see the colonies of pelicans and sea lions that rest on the rocks and at the end of the peninsula, The Arch (El Arco) will appear before your eyes. It is a fantastic ride. Remember that you can only access by sea and even if it were at all possible, you should neither arrive nor pass under the arch on foot.
In the Cabo San Lucas Marina there is a wide variety of boats and cruise options to the Land’s End part of the peninsula, and if you are good at haggling you will get an excellent offer. Boats are leaving all the time to the southern tip of Baja California. In about 30 or 45 minutes by boat from the pier, you can enjoy this beautiful spectacle of nature where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet.
The cheapest ones are by boat (water taxi – panga), there are boat options with a transparent bottom, yachts with dinner and catamarans like Cabo Blue, with food, drinks and music. Some tours give you the opportunity to get off at one of the beaches (Del Amor Beach normally) and pick you up on one of the other trips that the boat makes here, talk to the boat captain and see if it possible. With larger cruises that include dinner or lunch, this option is not normally available. Check this out with them before you commit.
What to do at The Arch
Around the golden hills of the arch and its surroundings, there are four main beaches, the most visited are Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach or Love Beach), Playa del Divorcio (Divorce Beach) and Playa del Pelícano (Pelican Beach). On these beaches you can see many colorful fish even without snorkeling equipment, without a doubt they are among the best beaches in the area with views of the rocky landscape, very crystalline water, golden sand.
Lover’s Beach (Playa del Amor) is quieter, you can sunbathe, swim and maybe enjoy snorkeling if you bring the equipment, although you have to be careful with the boats that arrive. Depending on the tide, the beach area can be very small. About 300 feet away to the west is Divorce Beach (Playa del Divorcio), it has very strong waves and it is definitely not a place to go into the sea, it is very dangerous. Sometimes it is used for other activities, when I went there, they were using the southern part for skimboarding.
It is said that every certain number of years (they say each leap year) the conditions of the sea and sands uncover an extension of the Playa del Amor that allows you to walk under the arch. It is not surprising that an accumulation of sand under the arch will depend on how the rains behave and how much material has come down from the mainland to the coast. The sand that is deposited under the arch is exposed and some boats take advantage of dropping tourists off so they can enjoy this unusual phenomenon. If you take the chance you have to be careful because the tide and the waves can rise suddenly (people have been swept away and lost their lives, so it’s no joke). Take into account that this activity is strictly prohibited by the Harbor Master’s Office and we are not recommending it!
Some of the activities that you can do in the arch and its waters include kayaking, enjoying snorkeling and diving, this will normally require a specialized tour, there are companies that rent jet skis (water scooters) with which you could get to the place as well. A more modern option is the paddleboard (SUP), if you are interested, check the options available in the marina or in El Medano Beach. There are tours of varying price that take you by yacht or catamaran. On the cheaper side, there are boats that have a transparent bottom to enjoy an underwater view on your trip.
Attractions at The Arches:
There is a colony of seals and sea lions on the opposite side of the arch, they are so close that you can even hear them.
You will observe pelicans and other seabirds along the way.
If the tour you take allows it, you can go down to Playa del Amor, a beach that faces the Sea of Cortez and from there walk to Playa del Divorcio, a beach that faces the Pacific Oceanside.
Along the way you will see some striking rock formations, one being Neptune’s Finger, another being Pelican’s Rock and obviously El Arco.
There are other rocks with endless shapes, including one called “Scooby-Doo”, another from a pregnant woman, it depends on the imagination.
Underwater (and sometimes above), you will see colorful fish and with luck and depending on the season, whales, dolphins and manta rays.
Take your camera or smartphone and take photos like crazy, it is a romantic place, and the landscape is exceptional for photography and makes for beautiful memories. you could also take a bay cruise that takes you to El Arco around sunset, the perfect time for postcard-worthy photos and amazing selfies.
With blue skies, a beautiful sea, caramel-colored limestone rocks, The Arch is undoubtedly one of the most photogenic places in the world.
History of El Arco
This rock formation is not hundreds of millions of years old as badly reported in various tours and sites. For a structure like the one at the Arch of Cabo San Lucas to form, there must be the action of water, salts, waves, sand and the wind. These are sanding the stone and forming the perforation. It is known that the seawater level was much lower than it is today, that is, the arch had not been formed yet. 50 thousand years ago the sea level was 200 meters lower than the current height. According to Paulino Rojo García, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS), this rock formation of the Arch of Cabo San Lucas will cease to exist in about 2,000 or 3,000 years, giving way to new columns. In any case, they should not worry, it is a natural process and the geography of the coasts is very dynamic.