Perhaps best known for its rowdy nightlife, Cabo San Lucas is also home to a host of family-friendly activities and adventures. Luckily for cruise ship visitors, who rarely have more than a half a day to explore the area, the better tour companies are grouped around the city's Marina, within easy walking distance of the cruise ship terminal. So whether you're shepherding tykes, tots or teens, there should be time enough to please everyone.
Cabo Dolphins' encounters and swims are probably the most popular family-friendly activities in Los Cabos. Even the youngest children can take part, as the encounters take place on a shallow water platform, where the little ones can receive their first dolphin hugs and kisses. Dolphin swims include a lap around the pool. Just grab the dorsal fin of your cetacean guide and hang on! The choice between encounters and swims really isn't so much about age as fearlessness. Six-year-old kids who don't mind a little excitement can handle a high-speed trip around the tank. Professional photographers are on hand to document the adventure. Cabo Dolphin's is opening a second location in San Jose del Cabo, but for cruisers, the San Lucas site is the most convenient.
Dolphin swims are one of the area's most popular family-friendly activities. — Photo courtesy of Cabo Dolphins
Cabo Submarine tours are recommended for several reasons. Firstly, this is one of the best activities in town for young children. The 60' yellow semi-submersible chums the water on its trip out to Land's End, and the resulting feeding frenzy provides excellent up-close-and-personal views of colorful fish from the underwater viewing cabin. Secondly, the tours are relatively short. At one hour, there is enough time for sightseeing, but not so much that you don't have time for other activities. And lastly, this is a comfortable ride. No one is likely to get seasick, and while the kids try to identify the fish, the adults can wax nostalgic and sing along to "Yellow Submarine. "
Like Cabo Dolphins and Cabo Submarine, Cabo Expeditions is located right on the Marina, so if the slate of water-based tours keeps you busy all day, it's a short jaunt back to the cruise ship terminal. There won't be time for a day trip to the uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo off the coast of La Paz, but cruising families can certainly spare a few hours for eco-adventures like parasailing, whale watching (seasonal), Sea Trek helmet diving, snorkeling trips to pristine sites in Bahia Chileno, as well as Snuba (a cross between snorkeling and Scuba). City tours of Cabo San Lucas are also an excellent choice, particularly for those that have never visited the area before.
Cabo Expedtions offers Snuba diving adventures in the Sea of Cortez. — Photo courtesy of Cabo Expeditions
Wild Canyon is located in the Tourist Corridor that connects the cape cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, so any trips to Baja's biggest theme park are apt to eat up the better part of your afternoon. Nonetheless, the park is a family favorite, especially with teenagers, who tend to appreciate Wild Canyon's superb collection of adrenaline-pumping activities. The roster of extreme adventures include zip-lining, bungee jumping, rappelling, off-road racing, and hair-raising glass-bottom gondola rides 300 feet above a rock-strewn canyon. Younger kids may prefer the camel rides.