Cabo Pulmo is a dusty little town located on the southeast corner of Baja California Sur, a truly hidden gem as the road in and out rules out most larger RVs. Although we recommend that everyone put Cabo Pulmo on their Baja bucket list, getting in and out of the area is a real challenge – particularly with larger vehicles and RVs.
The small village of Cabo Pulmo, with less than 200 residents, has done a lot to preserve the wildlife of the Sea of Cortez as it is within the Cabo Pulmo National Park.
The town feels a world away from the glitz and glam of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. And even compared to Los Barriles, Cabo Pulmo is but a small village preserved in time.
As Jacques Cousteau once described the Sea of Cortez as the “Aquarium of the World,” due to the abundance of species found in it. And Cabo Pulmo National Park has taken the lead in recent years to preserve the beauty and diversity of marine life, shifting the economic focus from fishing to ecotourism.
Despite being very close to some major cities like La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, the National Reserve is very unspoiled. There are a handful of small restaurants, no ATMs or Wi-Fi, and all roads in and out of the village are unpaved and hardly ever maintained.
The laid-back vibe and stunning natural beauty of the remote region of Cabo Pulmo really attract people looking to see Baja the way it might have been 30 or 40 years ago.
Cabo Pulmo is the home to the only living hard coral reef in the Sea of Cortez. It is estimated to be around 20,000 years old and lies over 50 feet below the water’s surface. The reef provides the perfect environment for a huge variety of tropical fish, sea mammals, seabirds and marine plants.
The Mexican government declared the 70 square km area around Cabo Pulmo to be a federally protected national reserve and UNESCO declared it a world heritage site in 2005.
The nutrient-rich warm waters of the national reserve are a perfect place for scuba diving and snorkeling. Multiple diving spots are wonderful and have the most diverse marine environment in all of Baja.
In addition to marine beauty, the land of Cabo Pulmo is equally beautiful. It has some of the most stunning remote beaches and numerous hikes that allow you to enjoy the bird’s eye view of Cabo Pulmo and the Marine Reserve.
Things to do in Cabo Pulmo
The best activities in Cabo Pulmo involve actually getting into the Sea of Cortez. But there is plenty to discover in the small town as well.
Here are the things to do in Cabo Pulmo.
Go Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Cabo Pulmo is one of the best diving sites in the world. The pristine reef, clear water, and vast wildlife attract divers from all over the world. You can dive year-round. But the best time to enjoy this part of the Sea of Cortez is between September and November as the water is warm and the visibility is at its best.
Several dive shops offer dives for certified divers. Possible sighting includes bull sharks, reef sharks, jackfish, sea turtles, occasional whales and all varieties of tropical fish.
You are also welcome to snorkel virtually anywhere you find suitable. Our favorite activity in Cabo Pulmo is to load up our snorkeling gear on our paddleboards and head out to find a more remote reef away from the crowds. Just be mindful not to disturb the coral or marine life if you go unguided.
Enjoy a Hike
The ocean isn’t the only attraction. There are a few marked trails around the town and numerous others you can find on your own near any of the beaches. Perhaps the most popular hike is to the tower on the top of the hill that overlooks the small village and surrounding areas.
A very rough road takes you to the mountain and a 30-minute hike will provide you with an aerial view of the national park and lush landscape of Cabo Pulmo.
Get a Paddle In – Kayaking and Paddle Boarding
Kayaking and paddle boarding are great activities that you can do without a guide in Cabo Pulmo. If you don’t own your own, both kayaks and paddleboards are readily available at local shops.
Start in the morning and look for mother humpback whales with their calves, Mobula rays jumping out of the water to impress the females and sharks and tropical fish cruising around in the deep waters.
Camping In Cabo Pulmo National Park
There are no formal campgrounds within Cabo Pulmo National Park. However, there are several informal areas to camp and a few private properties that offer overnight parking.
Some of the more popular places include the beaches near the town of Cabo Pulmo and Los Arbolitos and Los Frailes to the south of town.
Do be mindful of soft sand, rocky roads and constant erosion and potholes that can be catastrophic for RVs, trailers and vehicles of all kinds.