Discover the hidden gem of Cabo Pulmo with our comprehensive travel guide. Explore pristine reefs, vibrant marine life, and experience authentic local culture in this eco-friendly paradise that is not popular to tourists yet!
Traveling to Cabo Pulmo in Baja California Sur, Mexico is an experience that will captivate your senses and enrich your understanding of the natural world. This jewel on the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Mexican National Park, known for its extraordinary marine biodiversity.
The journey to Cabo Pulmo often starts with a flight into Los Cabos International Airport, followed by a two-hour drive that takes you through arid desert landscapes, skirted by the mesmerizing blues of the Sea of Cortez. On arrival, you’ll be greeted by a small, tranquil village, the gateway to the oldest and largest living coral reef in the Sea of Cortez.
Cabo Pulmo is absolutely worth visiting, particularly for nature lovers, divers, and those who seek serene beauty away from the bustling tourist zones. The primary attraction here is the extraordinary marine park, renowned for its vibrant coral reefs and teeming aquatic life, including hundreds of species of fish, sea turtles, rays, and even the occasional whale shark.
The clear, warm waters are ideal for snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. Besides the marine attractions, a handful of quiet beaches and hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the desert, meeting the sea. The local community is committed to conservation, and this commitment has kept Cabo Pulmo relatively untouched, providing an authentic and sustainable travel experience.
If your idea of a perfect vacation includes a mix of tranquility, natural beauty, and rich biodiversity, Cabo Pulmo is a destination that should be on your bucket list.
🙋 Questions about Cabo Pulmo? Talk to a travel expert.
🗺️ Map of Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
✨ Cabo Pulmo Travel Tips
- Plan for the Seasons: The best time to visit Cabo Pulmo is between June and November when the Sea of Cortez is calm, clear, and full of marine life. However, be aware that hurricane season also falls within these months, so keep an eye on weather updates.
- Book in Advance: Due to its status as a national park and conservation efforts, only a limited number of divers are allowed in the water each day. Make sure to book your dives in advance to secure your spot.
- Pack for Adventure: Don’t forget to pack essentials for outdoor activities such as sturdy shoes for hiking, biodegradable sunscreen for snorkeling or diving, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated in the desert heat.
- Know the Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the park’s regulations to protect the reef, such as not touching or standing on the coral, keeping a safe distance from marine life, and not leaving anything behind.
- Cash is King: Cabo Pulmo is a small village with limited facilities. Bring enough cash for your stay as ATMs are not readily available, and not all businesses accept credit cards.
- Speak Some Spanish: While many locals can communicate in English, knowing some basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in enriching your travel experience and interacting with the local community.
- Rent a 4WD Vehicle: The final stretch of the road to Cabo Pulmo can be rough and sandy. A 4WD vehicle is recommended, especially if you’re planning to explore other nearby beaches or attractions.
- No Fuel Stations: There are no gas stations in Cabo Pulmo, so ensure your vehicle has enough fuel for the round trip from Los Cabos or La Paz.
- Respect the Quiet: Cabo Pulmo is a tranquil place, and the locals like to keep it that way. Be respectful of this and limit noise, especially at night.
- Try Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to try fresh seafood dishes in local eateries. The ceviche and fish tacos are particularly popular. Remember that many of these small restaurants operate on a cash-only basis.
🌎 Cabo Pulmo Travel Blog
🚦Getting around Cabo Pulmo
Cabo Pulmo, being a small village within a national park, does not have the extensive public transportation system you might find in larger cities or more urbanized tourist areas. That said, there are several ways to get around:
- Private Vehicle: The most common way to reach and explore Cabo Pulmo is by renting a car, ideally a 4WD, at the airport or in larger cities like Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo. The road to Cabo Pulmo includes some rough terrain, so a 4WD vehicle is recommended, especially if you plan to visit more remote beaches or attractions in the area. Remember to fill your gas tank before leaving the city, as Cabo Pulmo has no gas stations.
- Shuttle Services: Some dive shops and resorts in the area offer shuttle services from Los Cabos to Cabo Pulmo. This can be a great option if you’re primarily interested in diving or staying put at your accommodation. Still, it will limit your ability to explore the area independently.
- Taxis: While you won’t find taxis roaming the streets of Cabo Pulmo, you can arrange a taxi to take you to and from the village from Los Cabos or La Paz. This is a more expensive option, but it could be convenient if you prefer not to drive.
- On Foot or Bike: Once you’re in Cabo Pulmo, getting around the village is easily done on foot or by bike. It’s a small community with a handful of restaurants, dive shops, and accommodations, all within walking distance of each other. Some accommodations provide bicycles for their guests to use.
- Boat: If you’re planning to dive or snorkel in the marine park, you’ll likely be getting around by boat. Most dive shops in Cabo Pulmo offer boat trips to various dive sites in the park.
Given the village’s commitment to conservation and the sensitive nature of the surrounding environment, visitors are encouraged to travel responsibly and with minimal impact.
☀️ The best time to visit Cabo Pulmo
The best months to visit Cabo Pulmo for good weather are typically between June and November. During these months, the average daytime temperatures range from 28°C to 34°C (82°F to 93°F), offering warm and sunny conditions ideal for outdoor activities.
The water in the Sea of Cortez is also at its warmest and clearest during this period, ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), which makes it perfect for snorkelling and diving. This time of year is also when marine life is abundant, providing visitors with the best opportunities to spot a diverse species. However, it’s worth noting that this period overlaps with the region’s hurricane season, which peaks in September, so it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecasts.
If you’re looking to save on your trip to Cabo Pulmo, the cheapest months to visit are typical during the shoulder seasons: May to early June and late November to early December. During these times, the weather is still relatively pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 30°C (72°F to 86°F), but tourist traffic is significantly lower.
As a result, you’ll often find better deals on flights, accommodations, and tour packages. However, be aware that some businesses in Cabo Pulmo may operate on a seasonal basis and may have reduced hours or be closed during these less busy periods. Always ensure that the services and activities you’re interested in will be available.
📅 Cabo Pulmo weather by month
January in Cabo Pulmo
January is one of the cooler months in Cabo Pulmo, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 19°C to 24°C (66°F to 75°F). Nighttime temperatures can drop to around 14°C (57°F). The weather is generally sunny, but there can be occasional rain showers. The humidity is relatively low, ranging from 40% to 60%.
February in Cabo Pulmo
February sees similar temperatures to January, with daytime highs between 20°C and 25°C (68°F to 77°F), and nighttime lows around 14°C (57°F). The weather is mostly dry and sunny, and humidity remains fairly stable at 40% to 60%.
March in Cabo Pulmo
In March, temperatures start to rise slightly, with daytime highs reaching 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F). Nighttime temperatures remain cool at around 15°C (59°F). The weather is typically dry, and the humidity starts to increase, ranging from 45% to 65%.
April in Cabo Pulmo
April sees warmer weather, with average daytime temperatures of 26°C to 30°C (79°F to 86°F). Nighttime temperatures are around 17°C (63°F). The weather remains dry, and the humidity continues to rise slightly, sitting between 50% and 70%.
May in Cabo Pulmo
May is the start of the warm season in Cabo Pulmo, with daytime temperatures ranging from 28°C to 34°C (82°F to 93°F), and nighttime temperatures around 19°C (66°F). The weather is usually dry and sunny, with humidity levels ranging from 55% to 75%.
June in Cabo Pulmo
In June, temperatures continue to rise, with daytime highs reaching 30°C to 36°C (86°F to 97°F), and nighttime lows around 21°C (70°F). The weather is generally dry, and the humidity ranges from 60% to 80%.
July in Cabo Pulmo
July is one of the hottest months in Cabo Pulmo, with average daytime temperatures of 32°C to 38°C (90°F to 100°F), and nighttime temperatures around 24°C (75°F). There’s a chance of occasional rain showers, and the humidity can be quite high, ranging from 65% to 85%.
August in Cabo Pulmo
August is similar to July, with high heat and humidity. Daytime temperatures range from 32°C to 38°C (90°F to 100°F), and nighttime temperatures are around 24°C (75°F). Rain showers are more frequent, and the humidity can reach 70% to 90%.
September in Cabo Pulmo
September continues to be hot and humid, with daytime highs between 30°C and 36°C (86°F to 97°F), and nighttime lows around 23°C (73°F). This month often sees the most rainfall, and the humidity can remain quite high, reaching up to 90%.
October in Cabo Pulmo
In October, temperatures start to decrease slightly, with daytime highs ranging from 28°C to 34°C (82°F to 93°F), and nighttime temperatures around 21°C (70°F). Rain showers become less frequent, and the humidity begins to drop, ranging from 60% to 80%.
November in Cabo Pulmo
November sees further cooling, with daytime temperatures of 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), and nighttime temperatures around 18°C (64°F). The weather is usually dry and sunny, with humidity levels ranging from 50% to 70%.
December in Cabo Pulmo
December in Cabo Pulmo is mild and comfortable, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 21°C to 26°C (70°F to 79°F), and nighttime temperatures around 15°C (59°F). The weather is mostly sunny with a chance of occasional showers. Humidity levels are relatively low, ranging from 45% to 65%, making it a pleasant time to enjoy outdoor activities.
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🏄♀️ Things to do in Cabo Pulmo
- Scuba Diving: Cabo Pulmo Marine Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to the only hard coral reef in the Sea of Cortez. It is a paradise for divers, with numerous dive sites offering the chance to see a myriad of marine life, including colorful reef fish, rays, turtles, and sharks.
- Snorkeling: If you’re not a diver, snorkeling is a great way to explore the vibrant underwater world. Mermaid’s Beach and Los Arbolitos are two popular snorkeling spots teeming with marine life.
- Hiking: The desert landscape surrounding Cabo Pulmo offers several hiking trails. One of the most popular is the walk up to the lighthouse, “El Faro,” which provides panoramic views of the coast and the sea.
- Kayaking and Paddleboarding: The calm and clear waters of the Sea of Cortez make Cabo Pulmo a great place for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. You might even encounter marine creatures like dolphins, sea lions, or rays.
- Whale Watching: From December to April, Cabo Pulmo becomes a hub for whale watching as humpback and gray whales migrate through the Sea of Cortez.
- Bird Watching: The desert and coastal ecosystems in and around Cabo Pulmo attract a wide variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and enjoy some bird watching, especially around sunrise and sunset when activity is highest.
- Yoga: With its tranquil environment, Cabo Pulmo is an ideal place for yoga. Several local businesses offer yoga classes, often in beautiful outdoor settings.
- Mountain Biking: For the more adventurous, there are several mountain biking trails around Cabo Pulmo that offer a fun and challenging way to explore the desert landscape.
- Visit Local Art Galleries: The village is home to a few art galleries where you can view and purchase work by local artists. It’s a great way to support the local community and take home a unique souvenir.
- Stargazing: With minimal light pollution, the night sky in Cabo Pulmo is a spectacle. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way and countless stars. It’s the perfect way to end a day in this natural paradise.
🛏️ Cabo Pulmo Accommodations
- Eco-Lodges: These are environmentally friendly accommodations designed to minimize their impact on the natural surroundings. They often use solar power and employ other sustainable practices. Amenities may be basic, but the focus is on connecting with nature. Prices can range from $70 to $150 per night.
- Vacation Rentals: Vacation rentals, such as private homes or condos, are popular in Cabo Pulmo. They offer a home-like atmosphere with amenities such as kitchens, living areas, and sometimes even private pools. These can be great for families or larger groups. Prices vary greatly depending on size and location, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to over $300 per night.
- Bed and Breakfasts: B&Bs in Cabo Pulmo are typically small and family-run, offering a cozy, intimate experience. You’ll often enjoy a homemade breakfast and personalized service. Rates typically range from $50 to $120 per night.
- Boutique Hotels: There are a few boutique hotels in the area, offering a unique and often luxurious stay. These properties may feature stylish décor, on-site dining, and a range of services. Prices generally start at around $150 per night and can go much higher.
- Campsites: For the truly adventurous, there are a few campgrounds in and around Cabo Pulmo. Some provide basic amenities like bathrooms and picnic tables, while others are more primitive. Camping is the most budget-friendly accommodation type, with fees typically under $20 per night.
Remember that Cabo Pulmo is a small, remote village with a strong focus on conservation. Regardless of where you stay, be prepared for a slower pace, limited services, and a strong connection to the natural environment. It’s also worth noting that prices can vary depending on the season, with rates typically higher during the peak tourist season from June to November.
💵 Cost of travel to Cabo Pulmo
Accommodation prices in Cabo Pulmo can vary greatly depending on the type of lodging and the time of year. Budget options like campsites can cost under $20 per night, while a bed and breakfast or an eco-lodge might range from $50 to $150 per night. Vacation rentals and boutique hotels offer more amenities and can range from $100 to over $300 per night. Keep in mind that prices tend to be higher during the peak tourist season from June to November.
Cabo Pulmo has a handful of restaurants and eateries, with prices that cater to a range of budgets. A meal at a local eatery can cost between $10 and $20 per person, while a dinner at a more upscale restaurant might cost $20 to $40 per person. Groceries for self-catering are typically purchased in nearby larger towns like Los Barriles or San Jose del Cabo before arrival, as Cabo Pulmo has limited shopping options. Expect to pay around $50 to $100 per week for groceries, depending on your diet.
The cost of tours in Cabo Pulmo also varies depending on the type and duration of the activity. A guided snorkeling tour might cost around $50 per person, while a scuba diving trip could be between $80 and $150 per person, depending on the number of dives and whether equipment rental is included. Other activities like kayaking, mountain biking, or yoga classes might range from $20 to $50 per person.
If you’re renting a car to reach Cabo Pulmo, expect to pay around $30 to $60 per day for a standard vehicle, and potentially more for a 4WD vehicle, which is recommended given the rough terrain in the area. Gasoline costs are additional and can add up, especially if you’re exploring more remote areas. A one-way taxi ride from Los Cabos to Cabo Pulmo can cost around $100 to $150. Once you’re in the village, most places are within walking distance, so additional transportation costs are minimal. If you’re planning to take a boat tour, these are typically included in the price of the tour.
🏧 ATMs, credit cards, and more!
Cabo Pulmo is a small village, and as such, it doesn’t have a bank or ATM. The nearest ATMs can be found in the larger towns of Los Barriles or La Ribera, which are about an hour’s drive away. It’s advisable to withdraw cash before you arrive in Cabo Pulmo. Banks such as Bancomer, Banamex, and Santander are common in these towns and generally offer the most reliable service. Remember, when using ATMs in Mexico, you’ll be dispensed Mexican Pesos, not US dollars.
Using credit cards
Credit card acceptance is limited in Cabo Pulmo due to its remote location. Some accommodations and tour operators may accept credit cards, particularly Visa and Mastercard, but many smaller establishments, including local restaurants and shops, are cash-only. It’s recommended to bring enough cash to cover your expenses, particularly for dining, small purchases, and any additional activities not pre-booked.
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN), and this is the currency you’ll receive if you withdraw money from an ATM. US dollars are sometimes accepted in tourist areas, but it’s always better to have pesos. The most efficient way to exchange money is usually to withdraw it from an ATM, as you’ll typically get a better exchange rate than at currency exchange offices. If you do need to exchange US dollars to pesos, it’s best to do this at a bank in one of the larger towns or cities before arriving in Cabo Pulmo.
Tipping is customary in Mexico. In restaurants, a tip of 10% to 15% of the bill is standard, provided service charge isn’t already included. For tour guides or dive instructors, a tip of around $5 to $10 per day is generally appreciated. It’s also customary to tip service staff such as housekeepers or bellboys, usually around $1 to $2 per service. Always try to tip in cash, ideally in Mexican Pesos, as it can be difficult for staff to exchange foreign currency, and tips on credit cards may not always go directly to the service staff.
🤑 Cabo Pulmo Money-Saving Tips
- Plan Ahead: Cabo Pulmo is a small and remote place. Plan your journey and make necessary purchases like groceries, gas, or cash withdrawals in larger towns beforehand to avoid paying a premium for limited services or goods available in the village.
- Off-Season Travel: Visit during the off-peak seasons (typically between April and May or November and early December) to take advantage of lower accommodation and tour prices.
- Self-Catering: Consider booking accommodation with kitchen facilities. Stock up on groceries in a larger town before you arrive and prepare some of your meals to save on dining costs.
- Group Tours: If you plan on participating in activities like diving or snorkelling, consider group tours instead of private ones. They can be significantly cheaper, and you’ll have the chance to meet other travelers.
- Rent a Car: If you’re planning on exploring the wider region, renting a car might be more cost-effective instead of relying on taxis, particularly if you’re a group.
- BYO Gear: If you plan to snorkel or dive and have your gear, bring it to save on rental costs.
- Stay Longer: Many accommodations offer discounts for longer stays, so if your schedule allows, spend an extra couple of days to enjoy a slower pace and save some money.
- Travel Insurance: Always have travel insurance to avoid unexpected costs. Ensure it covers activities you plan to do, like diving or hiking.
- Limit Data Use: Roaming charges can be expensive. Limit your data use or purchase a local SIM card to stay connected. Better yet, enjoy the digital detox!
- Respect the Environment: Cabo Pulmo is a National Marine Park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Respect the rules to avoid fines and ensure the preservation of this unique place for future visitors. This includes not touching or disturbing wildlife, not leaving trash, and not taking any “souvenirs” from nature.
🚫 Cabo Pulmo Safety Tips
- Respect the Sea: The Sea of Cortez can be unpredictable. Always check local conditions before swimming, snorkeling, or diving. Make sure to swim in designated areas and avoid strong currents.
- Stay Hydrated: Baja California Sur is a desert region and it can get very hot, particularly from June through September. Make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Sun Protection: The sun can be very strong in Cabo Pulmo. Use a high SPF sunscreen, wear a hat, and seek shade during peak sunlight hours. Remember that sun reflects off water, so take extra precautions if you’re spending the day in the sea.
- Hiking Safety: If you’re planning to hike in the desert, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat. Always let someone know your plans and estimated return time.
- Road Safety: The roads to Cabo Pulmo can be rough and are not always well-marked. If you’re driving, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, carry a spare tire, and avoid driving at night.
- Marine Life: While encounters with marine life are a highlight of any visit to Cabo Pulmo, it’s important to remember that these are wild animals. Keep a respectful distance and never touch or harass them.
- Travel Insurance: Always have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, including evacuation. The nearest hospital is in La Ribera, about an hour away, so prompt medical attention might be costly without insurance.
- Emergency Numbers: Know the local emergency numbers. In Mexico, 911 is the general emergency number.
- Respect the Environment: Cabo Pulmo is a protected area. Respect the rules to ensure your safety and the preservation of the environment. This includes staying on marked trails when hiking and not touching or standing on coral when diving or snorkeling.
- Stay Connected: Cell phone service can be spotty in Cabo Pulmo. Let someone know your plans for the day, especially if you’re heading out to more remote areas.