Where the desert meets the sea

There is a certain thrill that comes from being at a point of geographical extreme. When looking at a map of the world, some places arouse wanderlust purely because they sit at the edge- the southernmost point in Africa, the western tip of Spain. For me, Los Cabos has always held this kind of romantic appeal. The municipality sits at the extreme edge of the Baja Peninsula, where the desert meets the sea.

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The Arco in Cabo San Lucas divides the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Cortez.

Los Cabos is one of Mexico’s most popular travel destinations. Over two million people visit every year. Once a remote outpost, the area has developed rapidly over the last few decades. Negative stereotypes about the “Americanization” of Los Cabos abound. Luckily, you don’t have to travel far to get a feel for the San José of old. The region still has huge tracts of undeveloped beaches, where you can camp and surf without issue.

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Pit stop on route to 9 Palms beach.

There are two main routes out of the city the Carretera Transpeninsular and the Camino Cabo Este. Either one is a good choice, and both will eventually send you north. To picture Baja’s highways, imagine open roads with the ocean to one side and desert scrubland on the other, basically, a road tripper’s dream. Sometimes (read: all the time) I find it hard to concentrate on anything else because all I want to do is plan weekend adventures. Thank goodness for our Google calendar. With it, no weekend is wasted.

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Looking south along the highway from the Tropic of Cancer monument.

I promise I am working though! I actually think about work a lot. The urban planning challenges in Los Cabos are unique and different than those I have seen in Canadian municipalities. I have never thought about shade more in my life. Every day, I plan out my walking route based on how I can best maintain access to the shade. In terms of urban planning, Los Cabos offers a lot to think about. How can you design cities that work for all seasons and times of the day? Is it through a better urban tree canopy, street connectivity, water use, or climate change resilience? Los Cabos is definitely an exciting place to be as a young urban planner. I’m looking forward to exploring this topic over the next few months through my work with IMPLAN and in my daily life as a pedestrian.

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Evening view from our apartment in the centre of San José del Cabo.

Los Cabos, Mexico

By: Caroline Morrow  insta

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