What’s in a Name? The Story of Cabo San Lucas’s Least Publicized Beach

Los Cabos is home to many beautiful beaches, a few of which, like Lover’s and Médano, are endlessly extolled by travel and guidebook writers. But there is one beach that never seems to be mentioned, despite the fact that its location is so central to Cabo San Lucas that it borders the entrance to the Cabo San Lucas Marina, and it is mere steps from the building that housed the town’s primary commercial enterprise prior to widespread, government-sponsored tourism.


Playa Coral Negro is one of the most historically important yet least publicized beaches in Cabo San Lucas.

It has always seemed rather curious to me that a beach of such geographic and historical importance gets so little coverage, but to be fair to travel and guidebook writers, many locals appear somewhat confused about the actual name of the beach. Playa Coral Negro seems to be the most commonly used moniker, but I have also heard this beach and its neighbors referred to as Cannery Beach and Old Peoples’ Beach. To further complicate things, Coral Negro and two neighboring beaches are collectively referred to as the Cannery Beaches.

Cannery Beach and El Balcón, its nearby neighbor, seem the most apt descriptors for this seaside stretch. Playa Coral Negro skirts in front of the old cannery—at one time the most productive cannery in all of Latin America—and serves as a sort of natural balcony-like observation post from which interested parties can monitor all the variously sized vessels moving in and out of the Marina. But Playa Escondida, or Hidden Beach, the other sandy shore between the Marina and Playa del Amor, feels most appropriate in terms of the area’s stature, or rather lack thereof relative to other beaches in Los Cabos.


The beach is a popular debarkation point for kayak and stand up paddle tours, and a favorite weekend haunt of locals.

Why is Coral Negro omitted from most guides to area beaches? Maybe because it’s the “Mexican beach,” the stretch of sand that has been given over to locals. During the week, Playa Coral Negro is virtually deserted, save for tour companies launching kayak and stand up paddle board tours to Land’s End, or photographers who’ve grasped the beach’s strategic location. But on weekends, particularly on Sunday’s—the locals’ day off— this is the people who serve the tourists come to sun themselves, and spend time with their families.

Tourists taking Land’s End tours on Sundays may be mildly surprised to see older kids scrambling around the rocky outcropping at the far end of Playa Coral Negro as they make their way to the other Cannery Beaches en route to Playa del Amor. It’s surprising because most guidebooks say Lover’s Beach is only accessible by water-based transportation. Then again, these are the same guidebooks that ignore the existence of Playa Coral Negro in the first place.


This abandoned cannery was once the commercial heart of Cabo San Lucas.

It’s rather a shame more people don’t visit Playa Coral Negro, since its location is so central to the history of Cabo San Lucas. More than 50 years ago, what is now often referred to as a city was little more than a small fishing village with a few hundred inhabitants. The cannery, which is now abandoned and in disrepair—Mexican officials moved the lucrative fishing industry to Magdalena Bay when Los Cabos was earmarked as a tourist area—was once the center of commerce.

The days of the cannery’s relevance now seem as ancient as the days of the Pericúes, or the heyday of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade, when Spanish mariners used Land’s End as a navigational aid…and pirates used it as useful cover. For those that are interested in local history, however, there are still plenty of old-timers around who delight in telling tales about Playa Coral Negro and the Cabo San Lucas of yesteryear.

Maybe you’ll even find out why Lover’s Beach used to be called Doña Chepita. That’s another good story too rarely told.

More photos of Playa Coral Negro, Cannery Beach, El Balcón or El Balcónita at CaboSanLucasBeaches.com