Chileno Bay Resort and Residences, Mexico

Chileno Bay Resort and Residences.  An Auberge Resort.

Carretera Transpeninsular San Jose-San Lucas Km15, Playa Chileno Bay, 2341 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S. Mexico.

Coordinates in degrees decimal:  22.947898 N, -109.807314 E.

Visited in November 2019.  Photographer: Nigel Thomas.  Cameras: Olympus Tough T5 and Nikon Coolpix W300.



Chileno Bay Resort and Residences is situated close to the most southerly location on the Baja California peninsula, half way between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The seafront of the resort faces the Sea of Cortez in an East South East direction and benefits from a spur of intertidal rock that projects almost 600m into the sea. This spur of rock provides considerable shelter from the occasionally adverse wind and wave conditions, providing good snorkelling conditions most of the time.

The rocky outcrops to the south of the beach at Chileno Bay, and in front of the resort, create some spectacular underwater scenery, with many sand gullies between vertical rock walls, very large boulders and overhangs. Extensive areas are covered in corals, although not generally in brilliant colours. The fish life is varied and often abundant with one of the special features of the area being the easily observed porcupine, balloon and box fish. During the course of the 10 day visit 100 species were recorded of which 50 were fish.

Climate and sea conditions

Prevailing winds are from the southwest quadrant, with winds mostly between 8 and 15 knots. North and northeasterly winds are generally infrequent. Water temperatures are in the low 20s Celsius between late December and late May, thereafter temperatures are in the mid to upper 20s, with best temps between August and October. Tidal conditions are a factor for entry and exit, with some areas only accessible at the top of the tide. Max tidal range is in the order of 1.5m. Visibility is strongly influenced by periods of rain, with some considerable land run-off in streams both north and south of the resort. Heaviest rainfall period is between August and October.

Completed without the support of the resort.

Four entry/exit points are suggested, listed 1 to 4 on the map. Each gives access to slightly different habitats.


Location 1 is to the north of the resort, on Chileno Bay beach. The best point to enter is just to the left of the rocky outcrop (image is from the top of the outcrop). The sandy beach slopes quite steeply on certain states of the tide but it is otherwise easy to enter and exit here. Swim out a short distance and then turn right on to mixed bedrock, coral, boulders and sand patches. The fish are evidently fed in this area as they swarm around you on entry.

Entry point 2 is the main resort beach, directly in front of the pool. Image is taken from the top of the beach, facing east. Access is restricted at this location, to periods between mid and high tide, with many small cobbles, present at low water, making entry difficult.  Swimming to the right of this area will bring you into a series of, often narrow, gullies, with lots of shallow water coral outcrops. This area can also be easily accessed, with a short swim, from entry point 1.

The beach at location 3 is wide and, for the most part, gently sloping, making it the easiest to enter the water from. It requires a short walk/clamber over some rocks, from entry point 2, to get to the beach. The right hand side of the area has some of the most impressive coral cover.

Extensive areas of coral cover found to the right of entry point 3. Following the boundary between the sand and rock is the most interesting. Take care when snorkelling further out as the swell can make swimming over the shallow water corals potentially risky.

Location 4 is the most difficult to access. You can take a kayak or paddle board from H2O or walk around the outside of the adjacent property, currently (2019-20) under development. Image is looking south over the beach.  Walking along the beach and over the rock headlands between areas 3 and 4, is not possible. This area has some of the most spectacular rock and gully formations, with corals, sea fans and, reportedly, white tip reef sharks.

This image indicates the influence of rainfall on local water visibility in the area.  Rainfall increased to the point no further image (land based) could be recorded. Despite these conditions, water visibility had returned to something like normal within 2 days.

Resort Sealife Photos

click on image to open and view text

Cortez Angelfish.  Pomacanthidae. Pomacanthus zonipectus.  Noted over all locations over rocks and coral.  Usually solitary.

Pair of King Angelfish.  Pomacanthidae.  Holacanthus passer.  Found over most seabeds, noted in areas 1 and 2.

Closer view of the male King Angelfish.  Pomacanthidae.  Holacanthus passer.   

Closer view of the female King Angelfish.  Pomacanthidae.  Holacanthus passer.

A little distant but characteristic shape of the Forcepsfish.  Chaetodontidae.  Forcipiger flavissimus.  Noted area 1.

Threebanded  Butterflyfish.  Chaetodontidae.  Chaetodon humeralis.  Small shoal, noted over shallow water sands in area 3.

A little fuzzy but characteristic bar pattern indicates a Barberfish.  Chaetodontidae.  Johnrandallia nigrirostris.  Fast swimmer, amongst rocks around areas 1 and 2.

Yellowtail Surgeonfish.  Acanthuridae.  Prionurus punctatus.  Form shoals over the rocky areas in locations 1, 2 and 4.

Goldrim Surgeonfish.  Acanthuridae.  Acanthurus nigricans.  Noted swimming rapidly through reef all reef areas.

Moorish Idol.  Zanclidae.  Zanclus cornutus.  Noted rarely, area 3.

Convict Surgeonfish.  Acanthuridae.  Acanthurus triostegus.  Often noted feeding in shoals, over rocks in all areas.

Golden Trevally.  Carangidae.  Gnathanodon speciosus.  Noted in area 1.  Usually found in small schools over sediment seabeds.

Graybar Grunt.  Haemulidae.  Haemulon sexfasciatum.  Noted in small groups over the sand in the centre of the bay, area 3.

Small shoal of Wavyline Grunts.  Haemulidae. Microlepidotus inornatus.  Noted over the sandy seabed of area 3.

Mobbed by a shoal of Blue-and-Gold-Snapper.  Lutjanidae.  Lutjanus viridis.  Areas 1 and 2.

Probably a Barred Pargo.  Lutjanidae.  Hoplopagrus guentherii.  Soltary amongst rocks and reef, between areas 2 and 3.

Distinctive blue dots distinguish the juvenile of the Giant Damselfish.  Pomacentridae.  Microspathodon dorsalis.  All areas.

Adult of the Giant Damselfish.  Pomacentridae.  Microspathodon dorsalis.  Specifically noted in area 4.

Anterior view of the Giant Damselfish.  Pomacentridae.  Microspathodon dorsalis. May be aggressive in protection of their territory.

Acapulco Damselfish.  Pomacentridae.  Stegastres acapulcoensis.  Noted in area 4.

Slightly different colour variant of Acapulco Damselfish.  Pomacentridae.  Stegastes acapulcoensis. 

Very small, juvenile Cortez Damselfish.  Pomacentridae.  Segastes rectifraenum.  Noted over rocks in areas 1 and 2.

Panamic Sergeant Major.  Pomacentridae.  Abudefduf troschelii.  One of the more common species in the area, particularly evident in shoals around area 1.

Shoal of Scissortail Chromis.  Pomacentridae.  Chromis atrilobata.  Could equally be included in the open water species, as noted well above the reef in areas 1 and 2.

Flag Cabrilla.  Serranidae.  Epinephelus labriformis.  Solitary.  Found close to the seabed in rocky boulder areas, 1 and 2.  

Alternative coloured form of the Flag Cabrilla.  Serranidae.  Epinephelus labriformis.

Probably a Bluechin Parrotfish.  Scaridae.  Scarus ghobban.  Noted over rocks and corals where they feed.  Areas 1 and 2.

Initial phase of the Bicolor Parrotfish.  Scaridae.  Scarus rubroviolaceus.  Noted over the mixed boulder, cobble, sand area between locations 1 and 2.

Cortez Rainbow Wrasse.  Labridae.  Thalassoma lucasanum.  Examples of juvenile and initial phase individuals.  Frequently form shoals over corals in all areas.  Juveniles often clean other fish.

Terminal Phase Sunset Wrasse.  Labridae.  Thalassoma grammaticum.  Solitary.  Noted over mixed seabed and rocks, area 1 and 2.

Alternative colour form of Sunset Wrasse.  Labridae.  Thalassoma grammaticum.

Terminal Phase of the Mexican Hogfish.  Labridae.  Bodianus diplotaenia.  Noted all areas but particularly areas 2 and 3.

A pair of Terminal Phase Mexican Hogfish.  Labridae.  Bodianus diplotaenia.  Feeding over coral in area 3.

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