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The Best of Baja

The southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula lures vacationers year-round with its incredible cuisine, vibrant culture, stunning natural sights, and endless summer. But given all there is to see and do, where does one start? We've done the legwork and rounded up eight favorite stops (spoiler: there's tequila).

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1

Los Tamarindos

Few places in the world compete with the flavors of Mexico—the singing chilies, the potent tequila, the citrusy mangoes and banana and tamarind. Chef Enrique Silva put his love of agriculture and sustainable farming to work when he bought this 1888 ranch house outside San José and turned it into one of Cabo’s biggest working farms. Today, over a hundred varieties of organic vegetables are grown at Los Tamarindos, which hosts immersive cooking classes for anyone interested in getting their hands dirty. Four-hour sessions begin with a taste of chilled lemongrass tea and a tour of the gardens and end in the open kitchen. As the sun sets, all are invited to sit at a communal table beneath the stone eaves of the open veranda and dine on the fruits of their labor: family-style dishes like mint ceviche, chicken with green mole, and stuffed zucchini blossom with mango ate and ricotta cheese. It's a feast worth flying here just to have.

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Photo courtesy of Santo Cabo

3

The Market by Flora Farms

Everyone knows Flora Farm, a 10-acre organic farm-to-table experience that put Cabo’s culinary chops in the spotlight. Space is hard to come by at Flora’s Field Kitchen restaurant and the 12-seat table for dinner on the grounds, but you can still get a small taste of the hype at their shop in San José, which peddles fresh-picked ingredients like carrots and herbs alongside jars of natural honey, avocado body oils, and handcrafted Santo Cabo soaps in varieties like eucalyptus spearmint and orange clove.

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4

El Arco and Lover's and Divorce Beach

You can't say you've seen Los Cabos without taking a boat out to El Arco, or “the arch”—a rugged limestone formation at the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula and one of the area's most recognized icons, formed by erosion following thousands of years of Pacific Ocean waves crashing into the Sea of Cortez. Taxi boats wait in the marina to take visitors out for a spin. On the way, you’ll pass Playa del Amour, or Lover’s Beach—where many come to sunbathe and swim—and Divorce Beach, on the Pacific side, whose rough currents keep most revelers away. Keep your eyes on the rocks for sightings of lounging sea lions or, on rare occasions, blue-footed boobies.

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Photo on left courtesy of Lindsey Olander

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5

Mi Casa

You won’t have trouble finding this Cabo San Lucas staple—a perennially popular spot downtown for lunch and dinner—thanks to its brilliant cobalt-blue-and-pink façade. Once inside, you’ll pass a dim-lit room overflowing with Day of the Dead figurines and silver crosses before making your way to the back, where an open courtyard pops with color in everything from the hand-painted chairs to the expansive wall murals and rotating mariachi band that serenades diners between bites. The menu is as Mexican as it gets, and you’ll find whatever you’re here to find, be it Mancha manteles, fresh fish tacos, or fruity margaritas the size of your head.

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6

Playa Palmilla Beach

The golden stretch of Playa Médano is the main beach in Cabo San Lucas and undeniably its most popular—owing, perhaps, to the area's notoriously rough surf that makes swimming impossible at most resorts. The outlier: the public beach by One&Only Palmilla, where a rocky outcrop calms the crescent-shaped bay. Those looking to escape Médano’s perpetual tourist throngs come here for quiet sunbathing (or taking shade beneath various palapas on the sand), swimming and snorkeling in the tranquil surf, and the chance to watch local Panga fishermen bring in their daily catch.

RELATED: The 10 Best Hotels in Los Cabos

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7

Sunset da Mona Lisa

Fair warning: don't book reservations at Sunset da Mona Lisa unless you want to be spoiled for all other sunset dinners. The most sought-after tables here are scattered on cliffside tiers overlooking the bay, with dead-on views of Cabo's famous Arch. Just be sure to put your camera down long enough to enjoy chef Paolo della Corte's fine seafood and Italian creations like seared octopus, house-made truffle pasta, and braised Alaskan salmon with broccoli purée and fennel confit.

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Tequila Tasting at the Resort at Pedregal

Even if you're not a serious tequila drinker, it'd be blasphemy not to take at least a taste of Mexico's national spirit. Whether you're still developing your palate or becoming a true aficionado, all are welcome to take a tour of the country's best tequilas during a class (from $45 per person) at the Resort at Pedregal. Learn about the history and tradition of tequila-making while you taste-test Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo—or, for the more advanced, more aged varieties like Agave, the Jimador, and the Barrel. Olé!

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