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Riding an ATV across the desert is a thrill, but it is one of the more dangerous things you can do in this area. As fun as these tours may be, it is worth thinking about the destruction these vehicles cause to the fragile desert terrain. Additionally, many of the companies do not have insurance, and will make you sign explicit release-of-liability forms before going. They do issue helmets, goggles, and handkerchiefs to protect you from the sand and dust.
When ATV trips are properly conducted, they can be safe and fun. The most popular trip passes first through Cabo San Lucas, continues through desert cactus fields, and arrives at a big play area of large sand dunes with open expanses and specially carved trails, at the foot of El Faro Viejo, the old lighthouse. You can reach frighteningly high speeds as you descend the tall dunes. Navigating the narrow trails in the cactus fields is exciting but not for the fainthearted or steering-impaired. Another favorite trek travels past interesting rock formations, little creeks, and the beach on the way to a small mountain village called La Candelaria.
A three-hour trip costs about $80 for a single or $100 for a double (two people sharing an ATV) and includes boxed lunches and drinks. Six-hour trips to La Candelaria include lunch and cost about $105 for a single and $130 for a double. Wear tennis shoes, clothes you don't mind getting dirty, and a long-sleeve shirt or sweatshirt for afternoon tours in winter.
Baja Buggy's. These eco-friendly, extreme buggy tours are a bit pricey, but nontheless a phenomenal thrill ride. Travel from desert to ocean through mountains and across canyons at Migrino Sandy River bed and then onto La Candelaria, a 300-year old aboriginal village. Aquiles Serdán #4, Centro, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, 23450. 624/105–9331 or 624/105–9318. www.bajabuggys.com. $220, transportation included.
Cactus ATV's. Tours are almost always full at Cactus ATVs, so reserve a day in advance. A Candelaria trip leaves at 9 am, 12 pm and 3 pm daily, as well as a host of desert and beach tours. Boxed lunch and drinks included. Hwy. 19, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, 23410. 624/130–6864 or 915/288–8687. www.cactusatvtours.com. From $100 per rider.
Cabo's Moto Rent. Cabo's Moto Rent offers a desert tour and a beach tour at Playa Migriño on the Pacific, along with the lighthouse and Candelaria tours. Av. Cárdenas, in front of Puerto Paraíso, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, 23410. 624/143–0808. ATV tours, $100 per person or $130 per couple.