Heading to the Baja Peninsula and itching to see the famous arch in a crystal clear boat in Los Cabos? After reading this post, you’ll have everything you need to know about booking a clear boat in Cabo San Lucas!
Cabo is my ultimate Mexican fantasy come to life. There’s crystal-clear waters teeming with wildlife, unlimited pina coladas at the swim up bar, authentic al pastor tacos and coca-colas, a colorful town filled with colonial buildings, and an overall sun-drenched chic desert vibe. But seeing the arch is the number one attraction, easily!
On my latest trip to Cabo (a whirlwind of a few days celebrating a friend’s birthday — hi Mel!), I finally crossed this off my Mexico bucket list. Seeing the arch from a completely clear boat in Los Cabos was easily our favorite activity in all of Cabo, and we definitely crammed it all in! Honestly guys, if you do one thing in Cabo (besides stuffing your face with tacos and sipping frozen cocktails at the swim up bar), make it this. I can’t stop gushing about the experience and looking at all the photos — yes, it was that cool.
I’ve been on plenty of boat tours around the world — from Maui and Milos (Greece) to Komodo (Indonesia) and Koh Phi Phi (Thailand), but taking the clear boat out in Los Cabos was such a unique experience. I mean, the boat is 100% transparent — where else have you seen that before?! And it’s literally not only the one and only crystal clear boat in Los Cabos, but in the world (keep reading to learn why).
While the famous El Arco was easily the main attraction of the activity (and where we took loads and loads of photos), we also saw the Window to the Pacific, Neptune’s Finger, Lover’s Beach, and way more. The crystal clear boat in Los Cabos is definitely not your average Land’s End tour — keep reading for everything you need to know!
About the Clear Boat in Los Cabos
If you haven’t realized just yet, the boat is a COMPLETELY clear vessel → it’s 100% TRANSPARENT (yes, even the seats and sides)! Meaning you can see everything below the boat. There’s absolutely nothing getting in the way from seeing the mesmerizing blue waters of the Sea of Cortez, the colorful tropical fish, and the coral reefs below. We were stunned!
Now, I’m not sure if the boat is made of actual glass — I think it’s more like a plexiglass or something close to that. But whatever it is, it’s completely see-through. The company even patented the clear structure of the boat for 10 years, so you definitely won’t see any other boats like it in the marina (or elsewhere in the world for that matter)!
And no matter where you sit, you’ll get a great view. The sitting areas are both on the outsides of the boat, so there’ll be nothing impeding your view (no bad seats here)! Each crystal clear boat holds about 8-10 people (plus your captain and crew), so thankfully it’ll never feel insanely crowded. And since we had booked ourselves a private tour (more on that later), we had plenty (and plenty!) of space!
Psst: this kinda goes without saying considering how small the boat is, but there’s no bathrooms on board. So make sure you go ahead of time (although you’ll only be on the boat for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, so I think you’ll be ok as long as you didn’t just chug margarita after margarita).
What’s the difference between a glass-bottom boat and this completely crystal clear boat in Los Cabos?
Honestly, they’re completely different experiences! Sure, a glass-bottom boat sounds pretty cool (at least I initially thought it did), but from what we saw, it’s just a regular boat with a small glass panel in the middle in a boxy kinda structure. We saw plenty at the marina and they were kinda underwhelming. I’m sure you can see some wildlife from the boat in them, but I promise you, the 100% clear boat is infinitely more amazing. And it’s only a few bucks more, so I say choose the bucket-list worthy experience of course!
Wanna save some money? You can easily hire a glass-bottom boat from a street vender at the marina (trust me, you won’t miss them — they’re a tad bit pushy), or you can book one in advance (saves you the hassle of waiting around if they’re busy).
But trust me — go with the completely transparent boat, you won’t be disappointed; we had SUCH a good time and the whole experience was absolutely amazing!
What’s so Special about El Arco anyways?!
It’s only the most distinctive landmark in southern Mexico, that’s all! The Arch of Cabo San Lucas was formed by wind, the rough tide, and tons and tons of time (it’s estimated to be between 13 million and 15 million years old..). And plus, it’s located exactly where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, so pretty important stuff! :p
It’s got a pretty interesting history, too. The whole area (including The Arch and other limestone stacks nearby) is also known as Land’s End, because sailors thought it was the last bit of land they’d see until reaching Antarctica! Pretty crazy stuff, right? So yeah, definitely don’t miss El Arco on your next trip to Cabo San Lucas.
BUT there are known cracks inside the structure of the Arch, so this could (over time) cause the Arch to collapse. Get there sooner than later!
Our Clear Boat Experience in Los Cabos
Location: The clear boats depart from the marina in Cabo San Lucas (the party side of Cabo). If you’re not familiar with the area, just know there’s two very different sides to Los Cabos, and those staying in San Jose (the quieter, more cultural side) will need to get to Cabo San Lucas. Many tours offer pick up, so don’t worry! Plus, there’s always Uber if you need it! Read about lots more logistical information in Los Cabos here!
The Company and Pre-boarding: The amazing company that facilitates all these completely crystal clear boats in Los Cabos? Enva Tours! They’ve got Cabo’s only clear boat.
You’ll need to check in and fill out paperwork/sign waivers at the Enva Tours office located at Marina Sn Local 50 y 51 EE, Centro, Marina Colonia, Centro, 23450 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S. Pop that baby into your GPS; it’s not that hard to find. 🙂
While we waited for our names to be called (there was definitely a decent amount of people heading out on the clear boats — it’s a popular activity here in Cabo), we did a little browsing at the shops nearby.
Once we were checked in and all that jazz, we made our way to the marina and onto the boat we went! We took off our shoes to protect the boat (to eliminate any potential scratches on the clear surface!), secured our life vests, and whipped out our cameras.
During the boat ride: As soon as we stepped onto the crystal clear boat, we were in awe. I swear, it was such a fun experience!
On our way out to sea, our guide pointed out all the beaches and points of interest along the way. And then we made it to El Arco — easily the most iconic (and distinctive) landmark in all of Los Cabos — I’m sure you’ve seen it on postcards and all over IG. We took alllll the photos we could ever imagine, and the photographer snapped away as well (more on that later).
While the main attraction was definitely El Arco (the famous Arch of Cabo!), we also got a glimpse of the Cannery Beaches (beaches closest to the marina), Window to the Pacific, Playa Amor (Lover’s Beach), Neptune’s Finger, and everything else at Land’s End. We also stopped by Pelican Rock, to, you guessed it, watch the pelicans for a bit, as well as sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks for a few minutes.
Throughout the ride, we saw all the fish right under the boat (one of the guides was throwing food into the water for max effect, but there were still lots whenever he wasn’t throwing food in). And OMG there were so many! Just look at that photo! I definitely didn’t expect to see puffer fish and schools of hundreds of fish (no exaggeration).
After we docked: After about an hour, unfortunately the tour was over, and we docked right back at the marina where we started. We then went back to the office to see our professional photos (every boat tour has a photographer join)! We decided to buy the whole package (~$80 for over 300 photos) and our guide promptly put them right onto our phones. Just make sure you’ve got enough space!
Additional Info on the Clear Boats in Cabo San Lucas
What to Bring
You honestly don’t need much (as the whole clear boat ride in Cabo is just about an hour), but you wanna make sure you’re comfortable! A few things to bring:
- A camera, of course! The whole boat ride was so stunning I couldn’t put my camera down! I kinda wish I also brought along my GoPro to stick in the water to get some footage of all the fish (although you can easily get some video with your regular camera straight through the boat without getting anything wet — remember, it’s clear!)
- A flowy beach coverup or sarong/kimono, especially if you wanna attempt to hide the bright orange life jacket in photos.
- Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed beach hat, as the sun is super strong over here (and plus, hats look super cute in photos).
- Slather on that sunscreen — gotta protect that skin!
Other things to keep in mind
- Life jackets are required. You need to keep your life jacket on AT ALL TIMES. No matter what. And yes, that means for photos. While we wanted to take them off for a quick photo, I completely understand — safety first! You can disguise your life jacket under your cover up for photos though, and desaturate the orange when you’re editing your photos later on to hide it even more.
- Shoes are a no-no. You’ll be required to take your shoes off or put on blue booties over your shoes so that you don’t scratch the floor of the clear boat. I say just take your sandals off — who wants ugly blue booties in all your photos?!
- Photos are offered. The tour guide takes photos of you on his camera (one of those chunky DSLRs) — available for purchase after the fact ($80 for all photos, we got that package and got around 300 photos total). I think it really depends on the photographer, but he did a pretty good job, although all his photos were pretty heavily saturated and very warm in tone. Definitely take at least some of your own photos if you don’t wanna buy them or don’t like how they turned out.
- You’ll need good weather. Going out in the crystal clear boat in Los Cabos requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a ride on a different date or a full refund, your choice. On that note, we went in the morning (the 10am slot), and the water was relatively calm compared to later on in the day when we took a water taxi to Lover’s Beach.
- The seas can be kinda rough. If you’re prone to seasickness and are going in the afternoon or on a slightly windy day, definitely pop some Dramamine beforehand just in case.
The Tour Options: Private vs Public vs Extras
A few options are offered, depending on who you book with.
Public Tours: We saw a few clear boats that were clearly public tours, and everyone had space on the boat to move around a bit. It didn’t look like anyone was crammed in, which I appreciate. Public tours are easy to book, and you can book directly with the company or through a tour operator like Viator and GetYourGuide. Read reviews and book your clear boat tour here!
If you’d rather book your crystal clear boat tour to the Arch with a few extras (did someone say tequila tasting?!), check out this tour that includes a tequila tasting tour, bottled water, time at Medano Beach, and free time at the Marina for strolling or shopping. Oh! And it also includes pick-up and drop-off at almost all hotels, so definitely worth the extra cost! Read reviews and book here!
Private Tours: This is what my friends and I chose, and we couldn’t have been happier. Not only did we have so much space on the boat (it was just us 4 plus the photographer/guide and captain), but we were given all the time in the world for photos! Private tours are obviously more expensive at around ~$200USD per hour, but since there were 4 of us splitting the fare, we only paid a bit extra than we would have on the public tour.
If you’ve got a group of 4 or 5, I say go for the private tour — it’s definitely worth it (albeit a tad more expensive). You’ll need to book directly with the company as it looks like they’re the only ones who actually offer private tours.
Other Things to do in Cabo San Lucas
If you’re already in the area for the clear boat tour, why not stick around a bit longer and explore?! Besides walking along the marina (and picking out your next yacht purchase, haha), there’s tons of bars and restaurants to check out, as well as lots of fun activities! My favorites below:
Snorkeling Tour: If seeing the fish through the crystal clear boat in Los Cabos wasn’t enough for ya, book yourself on a snorkeling tour. Cabo has one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world afterall! On this tour, you’ll swim in the azure waters of Santa Maria Bay (near the arch!) with tons of colorful tropical fish and such a fun crew. They even serve icy margaritas and cold cervezas afterwards! Read reviews and book your snorkeling tour here!
Swim at Playa del Amor: Stunning, soft white sands. Amazing rock formations. Beautiful clear water. It is Baja’s most famous beach afterall. Playa del Amor, or Lover’s Beach, is easily one of Cabo’s most famous stretches of shoreline — and definitely one of the most stunning. And yes, this is one of the beaches you can actually safely swim in (although the currents were still kinda strong).
But do note it can get kinda crowded, so don’t expect a romantic rendezvous with your significant other (despite the beach’s name). Plus, the sand was incredibly hot when we visited, so we had to literally run back and forth from our towels/bags and the ocean.
Walk Along Divorce Beach: Right on the other side of Playa del Amor you’ll find Divorce Beach. You can walk between the two beaches, but note that you can only swim on the Cabo San Lucas/Sea of Cortez side at Lover’s Beach, NOT over here at Divorce Beach. It’s just way too dangerous to swim in — the water is turbulent and there’s powerful rip currents.
Eat and Drink: There’s tons of beach bars after your day of adventuring and some chic spots for dinner. We had mojitos and margs at The Porch (the best on a humid and scorching hot day), and then mole and churros afterwards at Hacienda Cocina y Cantina!
ATV Tour on the beach: Strap on your helmet, fasten your googles, and pull up your bandana/mask — we’re going ATVing! If you’ve never ridden an ATV before, Cabo’s the place to do it (if you aren’t going to Santorini anytime soon!). You’ll be driving through a wide variety of terrain: trailed and slightly mountainous, arid desert landscapes dotted with cacti, sandy beaches with ocean views….the works!!
You can choose a single or double ATV depending on who in your party wants to drive (I always let my husband drive as I don’t trust myself, haha). Definitely one of the most adventurous things to do in San Jose del Cabo, and a great way to see some local beaches! Read reviews and book your own ATV tour here!
I hope this helps you decide if a crystal clear boat in Los Cabos is for you! We absolutely loved it and it was easily one of our favorite things to do in Cabo San Lucas!