Cabo San Lucas Events Video Source: Sabor a Cabo
In the old days there was fishing. Commercial fishing in the form of a tuna cannery was the industry in Cabo San Lucas for most of 20th century, and once the Land’s End community dedicated itself to tourism in earnest, it was Bisbee’s Black & Blue marlin fishing tournament which served as the signature annual event.
Fishing, Movies and Comedy
Bisbee’s is still big – so much so that it now sponsors two major fishing tournaments in San Lucas each year, as well as one on Baja California Sur’s beautiful East Cape – but it is no longer the obvious marquee attraction. Cabo San Lucas and sister city San José del Cabo now host a wide array of festivals, fiestas, celebrations and sporting competitions; and in 2012 even hosted a G20 summit of world leaders.
2012 also marked the first edition of what is now the municipality’s highest profile event, the Los Cabos International Film Festival, which each November welcomes México and the world’s brightest entertainment stars to walk the red carpet at the Pabellón Cultural de la República in Cabo San Lucas. San Lucas is also home to the annual Cabo Comedy Festival, which brings big-name stand-up comics to perform at bars and clubs throughout the downtown area.
Concerts, Guest Appearances and Music
Music too is showcased, thanks to several regional festivals. No one is more synonymous with Cabo than The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, who opened the first Cabo Wabo nightclub with his Van Halen bandmates in 1990. Hagar celebrates his birthday each October with a series of concerts at the club, often featuring high-profile cameos. Todos Santos, a pueblo mágico (literally, “magic town”) about an hour north of San Lucas by car, also claims a music festival with rock star credentials. The Todos Santos Music Festival was originally founded by former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, although due to political reasons, Buck did not return in January 2017 and the event was renamed the Tropic of Cancer Concert Series.
Toby Keith famously penned an ode to Cabo San Lucas called…well, Cabo San Lucas; and Kenny Chesney wrote Beer in Mexico after a visit to Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina. The ongoing infatuation of country music stars with Cabo ultimately led to the Country in Cabo songwriting festival, held each May or thereabouts at Bar Esquina in the Bahia Hotel & Beach Club. Enthusiasts of Latin rhythms, meanwhile, will want to attend the Jazz Weekend and Fiesta de la Música in San José del Cabo, held annually in February and June, respectively.
Art and Food
Other cultural attractions of note include the Art Walk, observed seasonally on Thursday evenings in San José del Cabo’s historic, gallery-filled Distrito del Arte; the art, film and writing workshops which follow relatively hard on the heels of the music festival in Todos Santos: and yearly arts and crafts festivals in small regional communities like Los Barriles and El Triunfo.
Foodies and winos…okay, oenophiles…will find there are also a variety of palate pleasing festivals in the area. The biggest by far is Sabor a Cabo (Taste of Cabo), which each November/December features a series of tastings which conclude with a giant food and wine gala in San José del Cabo. The event regularly features over 50 area chefs, dozens of Baja based wineries, a giant musical guest – last year it was Maná, the U2 of Spanish language rock n’ roll – plus thousands of local and visiting gourmands.
The owners of Todos Santos’ finest wine and olive oil shop, La Bodega de Todos Santos, throw their own gastronomic to-do, called Gastrovino. It’s held each April or May in the plaza principal in Todos Santos, and also includes live music and affiliated dinners at sites like the famed Hotel California. The most charming regional culinary events, however, are undoubtedly the traditional fruit festivals which celebrate the harvest season. The Feria de la Pitahaya is a July standby in the organic farming community of Miraflores, and revolves around the antioxidant rich cactus fruit once prized by the Pericúes, the region’s original inhabitants. Todos Santos celebrates its own Mango Festival around three weeks later.
Water Activities and the Ironman!
Sporting competitions have likewise proliferated. Bisbee’s Black & Blue still lives up to its reputation as the “world’s richest fishing tournament.” The 2006 cash payout of over $4.1 million dollars remains, in fact, the largest in sport fishing history. Bisbee’s now leads up to the Black & Blue now with a smaller, more charity focused event, dubbed the Los Cabos Offshore, or…more affectionately, “Little Bisbee’s.”
Other big-time athletic events include the Los Cabos Open of Surf, a WSL (World Surf League) sponsored event held each June at Zippers point break in San José del Cabo; and the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) sanctioned Mexican Open, which premiered in 2016 and drew over a dozen of the world’s best male players to Cabo San Lucas.
Golf has been a major draw in Los Cabos since the 1990s, when legendary champion Jack Nicklaus designed his first trio of world-class layouts (he has since designed three more courses in Los Cabos). The Los Cabos Pro-Am is currently the highest profile yearly event, and is hosted each January at Nicklaus’ magnificent Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol. Charity focused tournaments like the Stars and Stripes (which benefits local children) and Paws n’ Claws (funding the Los Cabos Humane Society) also attract significant interest from destination golfers.
Each winter, like clockwork, powerful El Norte winds blow down the Sea of Cortés, creating ideal windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions on the nearby East Cape, a 70-mile stretch of pristine coastline that rises north from San José del Cabo to the Bay of Palms. The Lord (and Lady) of the Wind Showdown in Los Barriles is the most famous of the region’s wind sports competitions, but La Ventana is making waves of its own with its recently introduced La Ventana Classic.
Runners, bikers and swimmers are also welcome, and can test their overall fitness at the November scheduled Ironman Los Cabos, a strenuous test that begins at Playa Palmilla, and…140.6 miles later…concludes in front of City Hall in San José del Cabo.
New events also continue to be introduced, of course, the most recent of which is the Extreme Sailing Series. The waters off the coast of Cabo San Lucas will be the stage upon which the grand finale is performed in December 2017, the first time an event of this sort – featuring high-performance racing yachts – has ever been held in Los Cabos.