Down to Cabo, woo!

Come on, get it, get it, ow!

Ah-hah! Woo-hoo! Ow! Come on!"

Other stops - including Uno Mas, Gringo Grill, Love Shack, Desperados, Museo del Tequila, Happy Ending, Slim's Elbow Room and the Giggling Marlin - vie for thirsty vacationers. The centers at night are the relatively self-controlled party crowd of Cabo Wabo and the wilder scene at El Squid Roe, where the upstairs bar is the scene of gulping tequila, spinning on table tops, bump-and-grind dancing and a lot of glazed eyes and staggering walks.

Most of the joints are in downtown Cabo San Lucas, which, to put it charitably, is not the prettiest side of Mexico. Bars are flanked by tumble-down flea market shops, concertina wire around stalled building projects, pharmacies selling every kind of erectile dysfunction medicine known to mankind and massage parlors with aggressive hawkers out front. But there are cool surf shops and high-end sushi bars like the tasty Nick-san.

It takes just 10 American dollars and 10 minutes to get from Medano Beach to one of the most beautiful spots in North America. We hired Manuel Montes and his high-powered skiff to take us across the bay to Land's End, the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez.

Once we were in, the deeply tanned Montes gunned the boat into the middle of the traffic-filled bay, dodging other craft, big and small, slow and speeding. There were life jackets lying on the floor of our boat, which the driver didn't use or tell us to put on. We went with the casual flow, a move I regretted when we got into the swells off the point. Our money got us a narrated tour of the local topography - rocks that looked like the cartoon character Scooby Doo, a witch and a dinosaur. Montes pointed to a hole called the San Andreas Cave.

"They say it's magic because two people go in and three come out," said Montes, with a grin.

As we headed toward the point, we watched as a couple tried to race against the rising tide, only to be slammed up against a rocky shelf. They held on and when the water receded from under their armpits, they hobbled the last 20 feet to safety.

We passed a second cave called Pirates Cave.

"Here, two people go in and only one comes out," Montes said.

We scooted past Lovers' Beach, through the waves, past a seal lion perched on a rocky ledge, and to the Pacific side, where the much rougher Divorce Beach is located. The powerful outboard was able to pull us up and over waves that seemed ready to flip the boat or send it crashing into the rocks. We swung wide out of the turbulence and went back to the first beach to pick up some people who had paid earlier in the day to fetch them off the beach. A Mexican woman waded out to her waist with a young child, lifting him onto the boat. A couple from Boston clambered aboard and we headed back to Medano.

As our boat skidded up against the sand and we flopped out into the knee-slapping waves, I looked over at Mango Deck. The sun was going down and another conga line was forming at the bar.


Gary A. Warner: