SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT & ECOTOURISM IN LOS CABOS
Los Cabos is located at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, where the rich waters of the Pacific Ocean meet the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California. The Los Cabos area includes state parks and federal reserves that protect the unique habitat for rare plants and animals from the negative impacts of unsustainable ecotourism. 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, cultural diversity, and awareness of the environmental impacts that protect endemic species and promote ecological preservation. For this, and Los Cabos’ incredible beaches, it has been dubbed the "Jewel of Mexico."
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!
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. This endemic species to the Baja Peninsula, is one of the most distinguishing features of the Los Cabos landscape.
Damiana, Turnera diffusa. Traditionally used for its aphrodisiac effects, it is another distinctive plant that grows wild on the cape.
Los Cabos has incredible biological diversity with many 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.
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!
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.
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 rich biodiversity of captivating marine life, travelers wonder at the beauty and spectacle of this marine paradise. Cabo Pulmo National Park, on the Baja Sur peninsula's east coast, is the heart of marine conservation initiatives in the area. Tour operators offer day trips and excursions to snorkel or dive with marine animals. Historically, people have been drawn to the area for the sport fishing of marlin, dorado, and tuna species, but sharks and rays share the water with many species of colorful tropical fish as well. Manta and mobula rays, California sea lions, the occasional 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 runs one of the largest sea turtle conservation organizations in the area. Their conservation efforts include monitoring turtle populations and spreading environmental conservation information along the peninsula.
Known as the Marlin Capital of the World, sport fishing enthusiasts converge on Cabo San Lucas 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!
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 cages for turtle protection until the baby turtles hatch and make it to the sea safely. The Palmilla Beach area is a vital turtle spawning ground.
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 excellent weather in the fall and winter months make Los Cabos a prime ecotourism destination with 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 on the cuisine of the area, but the sea also holds many exciting opportunities to experience the biological diversity firsthand. Diving, snorkeling, and watching excursions, as well as biking and hiking trails, and horseback riding for those who prefer to stay dry, allow those adventurous souls a first-hand experience of the cape’s ecological beauty.
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.
Just north of Los Cabos in the capital city of La Paz, Whale Sharks frequent the bay from October through May. The biggest 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!
This destination’s rigorous commitment to environmental conservation and green travel initiatives allows the Los Cabos nature-based tourism industry to offer pristine seas, untouched deserts, and forest-covered mountain ecosystems nearby to tempt the spirit of eco-tourists.
The economic benefits of the success of ecotourism in the area are evident. Considered the northernmost point of the world's tropical zone, Los Cabos has rich 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 will enjoy beautiful ocean views and can use our concierge services to reserve space and set up transportation for these activities.
As Los Cabos real estate increases in value and the economic development of the peninsula increases, the host communities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo have begun to address sustainability and cultural 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 ecological resources. 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 awareness, educational, safety-related, and access-related criteria that must be met and continually maintained. The result is invitingly clean beaches, like Playa Palmilla, perfect for exploring and making lasting memories. 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 revolution, establishing a community site with a positive impact on diversity, sustainability development, and ecological consciousness of natural resources. Del Mar Los Cabos real estate continues to be a popular destination for all concerned with these issues.
Del Mar Development, the signature builders of Villas Del Mar, Espiritu Del Mar, and currently in development, Palmilla Del Mar, 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 to avoid any negative impact on the community:
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 ecological health and integrity of the natural environment and uphold the standards of the community like Del Mar Development. The cultural diversity and sustainable tourism industry is also a big part of the economic benefit to the local community. People worldwide flock to Los Cabos to see its beautiful beaches, mountains, coral reefs, and marine life. Protecting this area and maintaining a pollution-free environment is essential 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 kingdoms surrounding the cape for future generations.
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