No visit to Los Cabos is complete without seeing El Arco (the arch), a rocky formation at the tip of Land’s End. But given El Arco’s location around other rocks where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, a boat is needed to see it well.
To make a unique experience even more memorable, taking a glass bottom boat tour in Cabo is an excellent way to see the arch.
I took this boat ride with Envatours Cabo and had a fantastic experience. And this is my genuine opinion—I paid in full for my ticket, and Envatours had no idea I was going to write this article.
So, you’ll be receiving my uninfluenced opinion.
There were many takeaways I had after embarking on the glass bottom boat tour. I’ll share them with you here in hopes that they’ll help you have a smooth experience.
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Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Cabo: A Run-Down on What You’ll See
Before I talk about tips for booking and taking the glass bottom boat in Los Cabos, below are the places you’ll pass during the tour. Keep in mind that you’ll stay on the boat for the full 45-minute ride.
- Lover’s Beach
- Divorce Beach
- Neptune’s Finger
- Pelican Rock
- Pirate’s Cove
- Land’s End
- El Arco
Furthermore, your boat will make two stops in the Sea of Cortez to feed tropical fish that’ll swarm around the glass beneath your feet. You’ll also get to see Medano Beach from afar, as well as the open Pacific Ocean.
Due to strong currents in the Pacific Ocean, your glass bottom boat won’t venture far—just enough to see El Arco and turn around towards the relatively calmer Sea of Cortez.
Tip #1: Book the Full Glass Boat
Taking a glass bottom boat in Los Cabos is popular, but not all boats are created equal.
Most boats look like standard boats from the outside, with a strip of see-through material at the bottom to view fish.
In contrast, Envatours Cabo offers 100% transparent boats. That means you can see the fish directly at your feet and those swarming around passengers a few seats away.
That said, riding in a full glass bottom boat can feel a little dizzying, especially if you have a fear of water.
But overall, I highly recommend booking a glass bottom boat with Envatours or another 100% transparent boat company to enhance your experience.
Tip #2: Don’t Book Online
Booking a Los Cabos boat tour online involves shoveling out more money than you should.
As of May 2022, Envatours’ online glass bottom boat price was $37 USD for a group tour.
In contrast, I booked my tour with a vendor at the Marina in Cabo San Lucas for $20 USD, catching my ride 45 minutes later.
If you’re traveling with children four years old and up, they’ll need to pay the full adult price.
Tip #3: Barter the Price
Since you now know to book your glass bottom boat tour in Cabo instead of online, you’re going to want to put your bartering sombrero on.
The Marina is the best place to do so, as vendors from many companies compete for tourists’ business. You don’t have to worry about encountering the vendors—simply stand on the Marina’s boardwalk, and you’ll attract more vendors than you wish to communicate with.
As a solo female traveler, they started out by offering me the tour for $35 USD, pointing to the paper they had to show it was legit. But before I even had time to say yes or no, they told me that “for me” they’d lower it to $30.
I had already heard I could get it for $20, so that’s the price I told the first vendor I talked to that I was willing to pay. To my surprise, he paused for a second and then said sure.
But if you’re traveling with a group or you’re an assertive barterer, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could snag this tour for even lower.
Tip #4: Arrive Early
If you purchase your Envatours ticket at the Marina, you’ll pay on the spot and they’ll give you a confirmation slip. However, this isn’t enough to get on the boat.
Instead, you’ll need to arrive at Envatours’ office before your tour, which is located in Plaza Bonita at this address:
Marina Sn Local 15 y 16 A, Centro, Centro, Marina, 23450 Cabo San Lucas
Once you arrive at the office, they’ll give you some paperwork to sign and a wrist bracelet. Then, you’ll need to wait for them to call your name, as they divvy out people in groups among their several glass bottom boats that run on the hour every hour throughout the day.
It can get chaotic at the Envatours’ office if you’re traveling during the high tourist season. So, I recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before your boat departs.
Tip #5: Get Ready to Play Musical Seats
As cool as 100% glass bottom boats are, they come with a major downfall—they’re more finicky than many traditional boats in regards to weight distribution.
Therefore, once everyone gets on the boat, your guide and boat driver will advise you if you need to move forward, backward, or to a different seat altogether.
They may also ask you to do some moving during the ride, depending on the intensity of ocean waves and shifting happening from people inching their bodies around to take photos.
Tip #6: Be Aware That It’s a Bumpy Ride
Although taking a boat tour to the arch is a must-do thing in Cabo, it can make people with motion sickness feel queasy.
The swells of water can get massive as you depart the Marina and head toward Cabo’s Land’s End, where the open Pacific Ocean awaits. Couple that with lots of boat traffic, and you have yourself a potentially very bumpy ride.
Needless to say, if you tend to get motion sickness, I highly recommend taking medication before embarking on your Los Cabos boat tour.
Personally, I’m not one to suffer from motion sickness. However, I had a mild bout of it while staring down at the stunning tropical fish during our two fish-specific stops.
Tip #7: You Can Take Your Own Photos
This may seem like an odd tip to include, but hear me out. Envatours, and I imagine many other boat companies that offer rides to El Arco, have an English-speaking guide on board who also serves as a photographer.
My guide encouraged us to put our phones away when we weren’t filming the fish so that we could more thoroughly enjoy our Cabo arch boat tour, assuring us that he would do the photo-taking for us.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s an additional price to purchase the photos.
Some people put their phones away, but I’m glad I didn’t. Even when it came time to take individual photos at the front of the boat in front of El Arco, my guide allowed me to take my own photos—but only with my initiation.
Everyone else on my boat up to that point didn’t pull out their cameras to take what ended up being the best angle to photograph El Arco.
As a tip within a tip, your guide will encourage you to take photos when they do the two stops to see tropical fish. To take the clearest, glare-free photos possible, place your cameras directly on the boat’s floor. You’ll see an example of this in the next photo.
Tip #8: Take Off Your Slippers for Photos
Before getting on the boat, your guide will give you slippers to put over your feet.
That way, it’ll help keep the glass clean, offering you a dirt-free view of fish.
However, once the time comes for each person, couple, or group to take photos at the front of the boat with the arch, make sure to take these slippers off.
I watched several people forget about them on my boat, and they detract from the otherwise picture-perfect image.
Tip #9: Expect Lots of People in the Photos
Even though not everyone takes a glass boat in Cabo San Lucas, most tourists take some sort of water transportation (I’m looking at you, yachts) to see El Arco.
Therefore, it can be frustrating trying to take a photo of the arch without other boats in the way.
I was impressed by both our boat driver and guide’s commitment to getting us situated in the best places possible for viewing the arch.
However, between so many boats, managing the waves, and staying clear of the massive rocks, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a view of El Arco without people in it during your Los Cabos boat tour.
Tip #10: One Drink Per Person Is Permitted
Every person is allowed to bring one drink on board the glass bottom boat in Los Cabos. However, it can’t be in a glass container.
I highly recommend packing a drink. Although the boat has a roof for shade, it can still get hot, and you might feel queasy from the waves.
No snacks are allowed onboard. However, the boat ride only lasts about 45 minutes.
Tip #11: There’s No Age Limit
Even though children four and up have to pay adult prices, you can bring children of any age on the glass bottom boat tour in Cabo San Lucas.
If your children are under four years old, they’ll ride for free.
Tip #12: Life Jackets Are Required
Of the many aspects of Envatours I was impressed with, their commitment to safety stood out to me the most.
When you board the boat, a lifejacket will be waiting for you on each seat.
Your guide will go through checking to ensure you put your life jacket on correctly and that it fits well.
You must keep your life jacket on at all times, with one exception—when you take your photo with the arch at the front of the boat.
If you don’t want to wear a life jacket, this statistic might change your mind—because of the San Andreas fault line that cuts through the Sea of Cortez, you’ll be cruising over water that’s thousands of feet deep even though you’ll be a short distance from the shore.
Tip #13: Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Sea Lions
As if the sites you’re guaranteed to see aren’t exciting enough, taking a glass bottom boat tour in Cabo San Lucas offers the opportunity to spot sea lions.
These cuties love hanging out on the rocks along Land’s End.
That said, I admittedly didn’t spot any sea lions during my tour. However, I saw several of them swimming around the Marina during my one-month stay in Cabo.
Tip #14: Tips Are Expected
Mexican tourist spots have a big tipping culture, and your Cabo San Lucas glass bottom boat tour is no exception.
As long as you were happy with the service you received, I recommend tipping 10 – 20%.
Personally, I was more than happy to leave a tip when our guide pulled out a tip jar as we docked in the Marina.
Our driver did a phenomenal job trying to give us all equal views of the arch, and our guide was personable and knowledgeable with the information he shared.
Do You Have Questions About the Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Cabo?
Envatours offers one of the best glass bottom boat tours in Cabo San Lucas because they’re among the few that offer 100% transparent boats.
Based on my experience, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again, and I’m thankful I got to take a glass bottom and glass-sided boat.
If you’re debating among the many Los Cabos boat tours available and have questions about the glass bottom experience with Envatours, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.
P.S.—Are you looking for another unique experience while in Cabo? If so, don’t miss the Mt. Solmar hike with dogs.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She's an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she's befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on solo female travel and wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister.