The Jewel of Mexico - Los Cabos Ecology

LOS CABOS ECOLOGY

Mexico's Leader in Sustainable Travel

Los Cabos is located at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, where the rich waters of the Pacific ocean meet the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California. The Los Cabos area includes two state parks and one federal reserve that protect the unique habitat for rare plants and animals. World class luxury comforts at well known resorts have become a popular destination draw for celebrities, golfers, honeymooners, scuba divers, and those looking for a bit of extraordinary in their beach vacations. Los Cabos is also a significant ecotourism destination that promotes sustainable tourism initiatives, diversity, and environmental awareness that protect endemic life and promote ecological preservation. For this, and Los Cabos’ incredible beaches, it has been dubbed the "jewel of Mexico." 

The Flora & Fauna of Baja California Sur 

Big, Green, and Majestic

Los Cabos, is home to some amazing land and sea life. Palm trees are the signature identifier of a tropical paradise, but one of the first things Cabo visitors notice is the unique array of cacti. Pitayah, cholla, and prickly pear are abundant and some are edible. Additional succulent species that pepper the Cabo desert countryside are the agaves, better known as the base ingredient of mezcal and tequila, the national liquor of Mexico.  

While many species of herb thrive in the hot climate, the most well known is the damiana plant. It has beautiful yellow flowers, but it is the leaves that are regularly made into a tea for their ‘medicinal’ effects. A sweet liqueur is also available commercially and is a wonderful margarita enhanncement! Try our favorite margarita recipe!

Cardon cactus

Cardon cactus

Most striking is the great cardon cactus (Pachycereus pringlei), among the largest species on Earth growing up to sixty feet tall and living for hundreds of years. Endemic to the Baja Peninsula, it is one of the most distinguishing features of the Los Cabos landscape.

damiana

damiana

Damiana, Turnera diffusa. Traditionally used for its aphrodisiac effects, it is another distinctive plant that grows wild on the cape.

Creatures of the Land

Los Cabos has numerous reptile and desert-dwelling creatures including tarantulas, lizards, and 18 rattlesnake species; mammalian carnivores like coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions and the elusive ringtail. While deer and rabbits are plentiful, bighorn sheep and pronghorn are only rarely seen in preserve areas having barely survived the excessive big-game hunting of the early 20th century. The bird species that frequent the region are a diverse group of niche inhabitants. The microclimates and natural diversity of the peninsula geography attract many distinct species of coastal birds, but the contrasting landscape offers homes to many freshwater, mountain and desert birds including several endangered species, most notably the California condor. 

 

ringtail

ringtail

Ringtails, Bassariscus astutus, are nocturnal cat-like mammals that are related to raccoons. While designated as omnivores, most of their diet consists of animals rather than plants. Their primary prey includes mice, rats, rabbits, ground squirrels, insects, and other small mammals that are all plentiful in the Los Cabos area. Quite elusive, count yourself lucky if you get to see one!

Birds

Birds

The nearly 200 species of birds that frequent or call Baja California Sur home occupy diverse habitats. The geographical diversity and temperature range offers so many niche environments and allows for many species to live in the area. Desert, coastal, mountain, and estuary areas are all represented in the Los Cabos landscape.

Creatures of the Sea

Los Cabos is part of a large ecosystem that includes the Sea of Cortez. Dubbed “the world’s aquarium” by famed oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Due to the incredible diversity of captivating marine life, travelers wonder at the beauty and spectacle of this marine paradise. Cabo Pulmo, on the baja peninsula’s east coast, in the heart of a marine reserve, tour operators offer daily excursions to snorkel or dive with the marine life. Historically, people have been drawn to the area for the sport fishing of marlin, dorado, and tuna species, but shark and rays share the water with many species of colorful tropical fish as well. Manta and mobula rays, California sea lions, the occassional pod of orca, whale sharks, and sea turtles are common in the waters of the Baja California Sur peninsula. Five species of endangered sea turtles travel thousands of miles to return to their home beaches to lay eggs and Groupo tortuguero, one of the largest sea turtle conservation organizations, monitors, and spreads conservation information along the peninsula.  

Marlin

Marlin

Known as the Marlin Capital of the World, sport fishing enthusiasts converge on Los Cabos seasonally for the annual tournaments, marlin being the biggest jackpot of them all.  This large billfish from the family Istiophoridae, put Los Cabos on the map as a top fishing destination, and is good eating!

sea turtles

sea turtles

Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback, and Olive Ridley sea turtles all call Los Cabos home. At Villas Del Mar, we annually host nesting turtles and dedicate staff to surround the nests with protective cages until the young turtles hatch and make it to the sea safely. The Palmilla beach area is vital turtle spawning ground. 

Big, Blue, and Majestic

Not to be overshadowed, over twenty whale and dolphin species frequent the waters of the Gulf of California for feeding, mating, and birthing including the Humpback and Gray whale migrations that entice thousands of visitors to the Pacific coast lagoons and bays of the Baja every year. The fall and winter months in Los Cabos present many opportunities to see and experience the grandeur of the sea including turtle releases, whale courtship and calving, acrobatic mobula ray migration, as well as the congregation of giant whale sharks feeding. 

Not only does it provide a substantial influence to the cuisine of the area, the sea holds many exciting opportunities to experience the ecological diversity first hand. Diving, snorkeling, and watching excursions, as well as biking and hiking trails for those who prefer to stay dry, allow those adventurous souls a first-hand experience of the cape’s ecological beauty. 

humpback whales

humpback whales

Every winter the humpback whales of the North Pacific find their way down to the tropical waters of Los Cabos for mating and giving birth. You can see these acrobatic giants with their newborn calfs from late November through April as they prepare for the long trip back to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska. 

Whale Sharks

Whale Sharks

Just north of Los Cabos in the capital city of La Paz, Whale Sharks frequent the bay from October through May. The largest fish in the sea, whale sharks grow to lengths of nearly 40 feet (12 meters), but are filter feeders eating tiny plankton, like mammalian whales. Often times you can see these behemoths feeding vertically, inhaling water into their gaping mouths! 

Los Cabos Ecotuourism: Going Green

This destination’s rigorous commitment to conservation and green travel initiatives allows the Los Cabos tourism industry to offer pristine seas, untouched deserts, and forest-covered mountains nearby to tempt the spirit of ecotourists. Considered the northernmost point of the world's tropical zone, Los Cabos has high biodiversity and provides habitats for 400 migratory species such as whales, hummingbirds, and monarch butterflies. San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas offer a variety of wildlife/marine life experiences for its visitors through kayak tours, fishing excursions, bird watching tours, and more. From the beaches of La Paz, to close encounters at Cabo Pulmo, to sunsets at Land’s End, Los Cabos is a great vacation spot that offers a natural adventure for anyone interested in the diverse geography and animal life. Cabo luxury real estate rentals or luxury home purchases offer more than festive entertainment, but a chance to immerse yourself in nature just steps from your villa rental or estate. Del Mar homeowners and guests can use our concierge services to reserve space and set up transportation for these activities.

Becoming Environmentally Friendly Is Refreshing

As Los Cabos real estate increases in value, the communities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo have begun to address sustainability and awareness by implementing rigorous environmental codes. New Cabo real estate developments have been designed to incorporate water conservation, clean energy resources, and minimal impact on surrounding areas. Los Cabos was even named Mexico's first Blue Flag destination by the Foundation for Environmental Education. This designation was earned for its adherence to rigorous environmental, educational, safety-related, and access-related criteria that must be met and continually maintained. The result is invitingly clean beaches, like Palmilla, perfect for exploring and making lasting memories. Additionally, Los Cabos is surrounded by five protected areas that protect over 200 plant and animal species, including the symbolic Cardon cactus.  

Del Mar Development has set the standard while being at the forefront of this environmental evolution establishing a community site with diversity, sustainability, and environmental consciousness. Villas Del Mar real estate continues to be a popular destination for all who are concerned with these issues.  

Del Mar Development, the signature builders of Villas Del Mar and Espiritu, not only implement the best practices for architectural design, construction, and finishes, Del Mar takes its role as an environmental steward and community pillar very seriously. They go above and beyond: 

  • The fabulous weather affords Los Cabos with the best sustainable resource – the sun. All new homes are designed to include solar renewable energy and older homes are being retrofitted to integrate solar into the architecture and preserve the views of the terraced homes above. 
  • One of the most precious commodities of desert living is water. By revisiting the original tropical landscaping and implementing a new plant palette including enhanced dessert and Mediterranean flora, the landscape team has reduced water usage by nearly 70% while still preserving the feeling of lushness. By becoming more water-wise, Del Mar is additionally able to reduce noise pollution from weekly mowing and avoid the use of harsh herbicides and fertilizers. 
  • Plant life is removed and relocated to other areas during construction and renovation. Many will return to their original location as part of the tropical desert landscaping. 
  • The homes themselves are constructed with the environment playing an integral role. Every property is surveyed for the path of the sun and cross ventilation. Cooling is facilitated by zoned central air systems that can be run on an as-needed basis. The sombrero-styled roof is specifically designed to allow large pocket patio doors to be open and shaded so the house does not get overheated in the direct sun. Solid concrete block walls retain coolness as well. 
  • Electricity is the most expensive utility in the Baja. In addition to solar installation, Del Mar homes are equipped with LED lighting, Lutron light dimming systems, and energy-wise appliances to further reduce their carbon footprint.  
  • The picturesque pools are also environmentally friendly. Many are saltwater which negates the use of harmful chlorine while being easy on skin, hair, and fabrics; and all of them use variable speed pumps to decrease energy usage. 
  • As many products as possible are sourced locally, cutting down on high transportation costs as well as environmental costs. 

While many large resorts and housing developments now share the prime ocean-front real estate of the cape, no one is taking extreme care to preserve the integrity of the natural environment and uphold the standards of the community like Del Mar Development. The sustainable tourism industry is also a big part of the local economy. People worldwide flock to Los Cabos to see its beautiful beaches, mountains, coral reefs, and marine life. It is essential to protect this area and maintain a pollution-free environment because it is the basis of sustainable tourism and community commerce that will allow travelers and residents to connect with the diverse plant and animal kingdom surrounding the cape for years to come. 

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