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On the Road with Nancy Brown: Seeing Stars in Los Cabos

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown sees the moon and stars, sparkling over celebrities and nature in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Peering through the high powered telescope, I hope to see some stars. George Clooney and Cindy Crawford own houses next door to the beachfront casita where I’m staying, after all. But I prefer to tilt the lens toward the heavens to get an up-close-and-personal view of the moon and Saturn. Stargazing is one of the many activities to fill your time on a vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico. For those wanting a little more action, the resort town also offers horseback riding on the beach and in the mountains, Mexican cooking classes, and sailboat sightseeing tours. From whale watching to turtle releases and Marlin fishing, Mother Nature will make your star-studded adventure exciting.

Golden sunset over Los Cabos, Mexico. Photos by Nancy D. Brown.Is Los Cabos Safe?

I’m often asked if Mexico is a safe place to travel. While there are some places in Mexico that are not safe to visit, upscale resort areas such as Los Cabos, located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, are some of the safest places around. You’ll more likely be bothered by street vendors than bandits in Los Cabos and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

Stargazing in Los Cabos

Los Cabos is one of the 20 best places to see the stars, the moon, and the constellations, according to Mexican Astronomer Maria Elena Muriel. “360 days a year, there are no clouds here,” says Muriel. “There is no light pollution. It is clear. It is wonderful.” The astronomer shares her telescope with Marquis Los Cabos resort guests, along with her enthusiasm for Mayan and Aztec astronomy.

Hollywood Stars on Horseback

Cuadra San Francisco's Valente Barrena with the hawk.A hawk circles overhead as Valente Barrena, 37, approaches on his white Lusitano horse. He reaches out his gloved hand for the hawk to land, while reining his noble steed. With 20 years of horseback riding experience, Barrena is following in his father’s footsteps as a master horseman. He and his father, Francisco J. Barrena, have taken celebrities, such as Cindy Crawford, Brittany Spears, and Justin Timberlake on horseback rides. Francisco has owned Cuadra San Francisco for 17 years and has 53 horses, ranging from the Lusitano sport horse to the Andalusian, Lipizzaner and Quarter horse. In addition to trail rides, the ranch offers carriage rides—perfect for a wedding entrance or departure— horseback riding lessons, and dancing horses (see the video at the bottom).

Insider Tip: Beginning riders may prefer to ride along the Pacific Ocean, while advanced riders should opt for the mountains, where equestrians might share the cactus-lined trail with coyotes, deer, rabbits, or even of a bobcat. The vaquero leading my ride brought along his rope for a little Floreo de Soga (rope trick) show.

Cooking at Five-Star Marquis Los Cabos

Yucatan ceviche at Marquis Los Cabos.I have a fond connection with tortillas that traces back to my childhood. When my grandparents owned a walnut orchard in Brentwood, Senor Ibarra ran the ranch while Senora Ibarra made hot, fresh flour tortillas. To this day, I grade restaurant fajita dishes by the quality of their tortillas.

With that in mind, I signed up for a cooking class at the five-star resort, Marquis Los Cabos. Our group of six paired off in teams of two and created guacamole, Yucatan ceviche Mexican sauce, and chicken fried tacos.

Insider Tip: If you prefer Michelin-star dining over making your own guacamole, consider advance reservations at the 20-seat gourmet Canto del Mar, featuring French cuisine.

Sunset Sailing under the Stars

Is your private yacht dry-docked? Charter a sailboat from the Cabo San Lucas harbor to the famous rock formation, El Arco, where the Pacific Ocean collides with the Sea of Cortes. For 2–20 guests, the three-hour tours feature sailing, diving, snorkeling, sightseeing, and El Arco from a sailboat tour with Cabo Sails.sunset cruises, along with Mexican cuisine and a premium open bar. Don’t forget your camera!

Insider Tip: Winter months offer whale watching, where you could see Blue, Fin, Pilot, Humpback, or Gray whales.

Swim with Whale Sharks and protect Sea Turtles

Whale sharks, known as the “Gentle Giants of the Sea,” are the largest fish in the world. Traveling from Los Cabos to La Paz Bay, the recently launched Cabo Expeditions tour takes a maximum of 10 people to experience swimming with whale sharks from January to June.

Insider Tip: In November, Marquis Los Cabos hotel guests have the opportunity to assist in releasing baby Olive Ridley sea turtles into the ocean. Certified by the state-sponsored PROFEPA agency as a sea turtle watch and rescue site, the resort protects five species of turtle eggs as early as June and during hatching as early as October.

Watch to learn more about what Los Cabos has to offer:


What are your favorite places and things to do in Baja, Mexico?

If You Go:

Virgin America offers new non-stop service from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to San Jose del Cabo International Airport (SJD) virginamerica.com, (877) 359-8474.

Marquis Los Cabos: marquisloscabos.com, (877) 238-9399

Cuadra San Francisco: loscaboshorses.com, (011) 52-1-624-144-0160

Cabo Sails: cabosails.com, (011) 52-1-624-111-3900

Cabo Expeditions: caboexpeditions.com, (214) 774-4844


A lifelong resident of Contra Costa County, Nancy D. Brown grew up in Moraga. When she’s not traveling, she lives in Lafayette with her husband and teens. Nancy is the Uptake.com Travel Editor, writes the What a Trip blog and is a Contra Costa Times Lamorinda Sun columnist. Horse lovers will find her at writinghorseback.com. Follow Nancy on Twitter at twitter.com/Nancydbrown.