photo of Cabo San Lucas resort
A poolscape at Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas.

My wife, Diane and I just returned from a five-day trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a place associated with nightlife, sunshine and a world of aquatic experiences.

It was my first time there and Diane’s second. We were there to celebrate a close friend’s 50th birthday along with a dozen lifelong friends. Aside from it being a great time and the fact that Cabo is a place that definitely lives up to its reputation for casual exuberance and indulgence in the warmth of the sun, what struck me is how the region serves as a testament to the power of the aquatic lifestyle — and the economic power of aquatic spaces.

Flying in you can catch the fever from thousands of feet up. The ocean is that most enticing aqua-blue, dotted with fishing boats and yachts. On land, the sprawling resorts and time-share properties are adorned with massive pools and waterfeatures of all shapes and sizes.

We stayed at an amazing condo/resort property call Villa Del Palmar, where I counted more than 50 water features and eight swimming pools, with acres of outdoor space devoted to getting wet and luxuriating under the hot sun. The oceanfront on the Sea of Cortez was a wonderful playground for swimming, scuba and skin diving, wind surfing, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, wave-runners, jets skis, water taxis, yachting and sail boats. On the second day of our visit, a massive cruise ship anchored in the bay like the mother ship in a galaxy of watercraft all dedicated purely to the pursuit of pleasure.

I was impressed mightily by the creativity of the pools, spas and other features that were constantly nearby. It’s obvious that pool designers are not constrained by some of the restrictions that limit U.S. installations. Perhaps the most obvious example was that all the pools were finished in colors other than white. The presence of slides, beach entrances, bathing shelves, massive spas, creative lighting and the constant beat of outdoor sound systems offered a constant and mostly pleasurable assault on the senses.

Clearly, the southern tip of Baja California is a region where the aquatic lifestyle is the lifeblood of the local economy.

I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have spent a considerable amount of time in places like Hawaii, Florida and certainly my home region of Southern California where the aquatic lifestyle are paramount in the culture. In Cabo, the importance of the aquatic experience is amplified above most of the rest. In fact, only Hawaii would rank as its equal, at least in my experience.

My point here isn’t to promote trips to Cabo, others do a much better job of that than I would, but to point out that there are places where pools, spas and aquatic lifestyle are not just an enhancement to the environment, but the very essence of it.