Santa Maria Beach is the prime snorkeling destination in Cabo San Lucas and is one of the most well-known Cabo beaches for its exotic scenery and vibrant marine life. The horseshoe outline of this beautiful aquamarine bay is lined by unique rock formations, and the curved bay shelters a reef filled with different types of tropical fish. This is one of the best spots for a family holiday, as Santa Maria Beach is an excellent destination for children who want to see the local sea life in a safe environment with calm waters.
A protected marine sanctuary, Santa Maria Beach’s lagoon shape creates a secluded cove that attracts many colorful fish and creates the perfect setting for a scuba diving or snorkeling trip. The best time to catch a glimpse of the marine wildlife is during between about 9 and 10 am, when the underwater visibility is at its best. You can take a camera to capture some beautiful pictures of tropical marine life, but as Santa Maria Beach is a protected marine sanctuary, fishing is illegal here. However, if you’re interested in catching fish during your Baja vacation, there are other destinations such as East Cape where you can take advantage of the sport fishing opportunities.
With beautiful pink-colored sand and calm waters, Santa Maria beach is good for families and a wonderful place for kids who would like to learn more about different species of fish and marine life native to the area. The sight of gorgonians (sea fans) and tropical reef fish makes Santa Maria Beach a perfect spot for swimming, and unlike other beaches in Cabo that might have rough waters, the bay here is a safe swimming spot. The best time to swim with young children is in the morning, when the waves are the most gentle; the water does get rougher around mid-afternoon. Although the higher waves aren't necessarily dangerous, it is best to be careful and only take older children who are experienced swimmers out to the water at this time of day.
Santa Maria Beach is also a dream destination for divers and snorkelers. This marine preserve is the top spot for availing the benefits of snorkel tours via charter boats, and there are several tour companies in Cabo San Lucas that provide exclusive snorkel and diving excursions to this beach, as well as charter boats for hire. The snorkel cruises are usually available around mid-afternoon, and they will take guests to spectacular snorkeling spots at El Arco and Land's End on the way to Santa Maria. It is best to rent snorkel and diving equipment at downtown Cabo, unless you’re also planning to stop at Chileno Beach, where diving gear is available to rent.
While other Cabo beaches are easily accessible, getting to Santa Maria beach can be a bit tricky, as it is not within walking distance of the downtown. Located 7½ miles from downtown Cabo, the beach is accessible from the highway, so if you have a rental car you can travel there on your own. However, once you reach the beach at Santa Maria Beach, it may take a few moments to find the beach access signs, but once you do, just drive to the parking area via a dirt road to reach the beach area.