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A Side by Side ATV Cabo Adventure
If you want to embrace the wild side of Los Cabos, Mexico, a UTV or ATV Cabo excursion serves it up with bumps, swerves and scenic sand dunes.
Here’s my first-hand experience and info on how to book your own Cabo ATV tour.
UTV and ATV Cabo Tour- A Blast of Adrenalin
I’m staring at a steep rutted trail that leads down to Migrino Beach in Los Cabos. My hands are curled around the steering wheel in a steel-fisted grip, and my leg starts to shake as my foot hovers over the gas.
“I can’t do it,” I say, but my voice is lost in the roar of our side by side RZR UTV.
Outdoor activity in Los Cabos sounded good when I was lying by the pool in my 5-star Mexican resort, and I jumped at the chance to be hosted on this adventure with Cactus Tours, but now I’m having doubts.
Mostly I’m worried I’m going to kill Monica, my partner in crime.
Visions of our bright blue dune buggy tumbling hood over wheels flashes through my mind. My eyes dart around for escape but I’m hemmed in. Alejandro, our guide, is in front of us in a red ATV, and there are two UTVs on my tail.
Unless I want to plough up the side of a cactus-strewn gully, I’ll have to take the plunge.
“Eeeeeeeeeee!” My foots taps the gas in a series of nervous jolts.
Bouncing over rocks, we lurch down the dusty trail, our UTV swerving here and there as my wheel catches ruts.
It doesn’t take long before we’ve tackled the descent. The RZR UTV handled it well, better than my mind did, and, as a bonus, Monica hasn’t been tossed out of the car.
Cactus ATV Tours
Renting an ATV or a UTV is one of the top things to do in Cabo, and a number of outfitters offer off-roading day trips. Cactus is one of the largest ATV Cabo San Lucas tour companies and has a variety of vehicles and tours to choose from.
Different skill levels are also accommodated. Clearly, a Can-Am Maverick RC Turbo Adventure is beyond me, especially with the tagline “Dare to Handle the Beast”.
Our RZR rental is beast enough for me.
What’s the Difference Between an ATV and a UTV?
An ATV is an all terrain vehicle and a UTV is a utility task vehicle, often used for work purposes. An ATV has a seat to straddle and handlebars for steering. It can also be called a quad or a four wheeler.
What are UTVs? Not as quick as ATVs, but more stable, UTVs are shaped a bit like a jeep, with room for a passenger beside the driver. Because of this they’re sometimes called side by sides. They can also be called side-by-side ATVs or SxSs. Yeah, it’s confusing.
ATV Rentals in Los Cabos – A High Octane Activity
At first my mind is laser focused on driving (and surviving) as I swing around turns behind Alejandro, mindful to keep at least two car lengths between us for safety.
(I paid close attention to the safety lesson due to intense fear. You should too.)
Eventually I relax enough to take in the stunning desert scenery around us.
The sky looms large over this arid region of sand dunes, arroyos (dried creek beds) and soaring cardon cacti. Scrub-covered mountains roll off into the distance inland.
It looks inhospitable, but road runners, desert foxes, snakes and scorpions make the desert their home. I keep an eye out for San Quintín Kangaroo Rats and Baja California rock squirrels – endemic to the Baja California Peninsula – but no wildlife springs into view.
What does spring into view is the diamond and sapphire sight of Migrino Beach’s pounding surf.
Migrino Beach, Playa Migriño, is a wild swath of coastline overlooking the Pacific. Located on the west side of the Baja California Peninsula in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, it’s about 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas, and the lack of tourist facilities gives it an untrammelled feel.
Don’t be fooled, however. The long stretch of flat sand on Migrino makes it one of the most popular places for Cabo ATV tours, not to mention camel trains and horseback rides.
Part of a park – a $20 entrance fee is required to enter – this smooth wide beach is primarily used for recreational riding and not safe for beach lounging or swimming. There is too much traffic with ATV rentals and the surf is too rough.
Right now it’s deserted. Waves thunder onto the shoreline, stretching foamy fingers towards us. Limestone cliffs tumble into the sea.
I’m not sure if it’s the roar of the Pacific or the fierce desert energy, but something is boosting my driving mojo.
“Whoohoo!” I shout, my voice reverberating around my helmet as I hit the gas. “Wheeeeee!”
Nothing can stop me now, I think, enjoying the windy freedom of speed.
Alejandro is pointing to the ocean, where a spout of water shoots into the air. The dark arc of a humpback whale curves over the water before disappearing under an indigo-shadowed wave.
Monica and I watch, riveted by this unexpected addition to our dune buggy day.
It feels like a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but whales are common in Los Cabos during winter. They migrate here by the thousands from cold arctic waters up north.
It’s a stunning pause to this active adventure, a chance to breathe it all in, and I appreciate the glimpse of marine life as much as the ride.
After a couple of additional stops, it’s time to head back. This time, as I bounce up the rugged trail towards the Cactus Tours depot, I’m no longer fighting fear of the track, I’m fighting regret the ride is over – and wondering if I should rent a turbo-charged Maverick RC after all.
FAQs about Cabo ATV Tours, UTV Rentals and Other Outdoor Activities
Can You Rent ATVs in Cabo?
Yes. There are several outfitters that provide ATV Cabo rentals and tours. Book at your hotel (we stayed at the adults only Le Blanc Los Cabos Resort) online, or direct through one of the tour companies.
When Is The Best Time To Go?
We went early to beat the heat (and the crowds – ATV tours are a popular group activity in Cabo) then finished with lunch at Cactus Tours’ onsite restaurant.
Cabo Sunset ATV tours are now available as well.
Here’s a complete Cabo itinerary if you’re looking for more fun activities.
Cactus Tours Review
Overall, I thought Cactus tours did a great job. I found the safety lesson helpful, and our guide had the skill level of our group sized up quickly, not easy in a mixed bag of drivers.
The Cactus Tours reception centre is large and shaded with a number of receptionists at the huge check-in counter. There are tables to wait for your tour at, clean washrooms and a casual restaurant upstairs.
Helmets are provided. Bring your own sunglasses.
A photographer accompanies your trip so you can take home memories. There is a cost for photos.
Our group included the 3 UTVs for the 5 people in our party, plus the guide’s ATV and the photographer’s ATV. We were always in single file. Towards the end of our tour we saw a few other ATV tours on Migrino Beach, as well as horseback riders and camel riding tours, and were always careful to slow down during these times.
What’s the Cost for UTV and ATV Riding Cabo San Lucas with Cactus Tours?
- Migrino ATV Tours start at $130 USD. There is also a $20 park fee.
- A 2-hour Side by Side UTV Sport Adventure starts at $205 plus park fee.
- Can-Am Mavericks start at $600 plus park fee.
What Kind of Outdoor Activities Can you Do?
Cactus ATV Tours offers horseback riding, camel rides and electric bike tours. You can also do a combination 2×1 excursion to combine one of the Cabo ATV tours with a slower mode of exploring.
Of course, Cabo ATV rentals aren’t the only activities in Los Cabos. For a slower change of pace, try the restaurant or take a cooking class at Flora Farms, with its organic farm-to-table cuisine.
Where Are Cactus Tours Located?
Highway 19, Migriño, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. GPS is 23.056247, -110.095503.
Do You Need Your Own Transportation?
No. If you’re renting an atv or doing one of the other excursions with Cactus, transportation from your hotel is provided but book at least 12 hours beforehand.
For more Cactus Tours Cabo reviews check out TripAdvisor, or visit the Cactus Tours website for a detailed list of prices and the different activities they offer.