Located at the End of the World and sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas is a sunshine paradise. The stark desert landscape of the Baja California Sur brilliantly contrasts the deep blue waters that surround it. The sun is out and shining all but one to two days a month on average, and the rainfall totals to less than one inch per month. Cabo San Lucas is an ideal get away for anyone looking for fun in the sun!
Finding accommodations in Cabo San Lucas is simple. There are too many resorts and hotels to count. Check out wonderful all-inclusive resorts like Hotel Riu Palace and Cabo Villa Beach Resort and Spa, and don’t miss the all-inclusive sites that are adult-only such as Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort and also Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort and Spa. For groups, families or people preferring a more private space and the ability to cook rather than dine out, Airbnb has offerings from apartments renting at $30/night to entire villas anywhere from $100 – $500/night. There are also a number of 5 star resorts including The Cape – A Thompson Hotel, The Resort at Pedregal, and for a private beach a few miles outside of town, Esperanza of Auberge Resorts Collection.
Transportation in Cabo is generally via taxi. However, most of the resorts are packed with pools, spas, restaurants, bars, cafes – even their own water activities on the property, so some visitors never leave their hotel. The hotels and resorts all have connections with the area’s recreation companies and restaurants, and most of those companies and/or the hotel will arrange transportation once an activity is booked. The accommodations around the marina are all within walking distance of water activities and downtown attractions.
Besides soaking up the sunshine, Cabo San Lucas has a plethora of recreation available to all. There are in-water attractions and boat/yacht outings; mountain hikes and desert excursions; golf course mornings and day-trips to nearby hotspots. Here are some suggestions:
- El Arco – the famous rock formation arch at the tip of Cabo San Lucas and the Baja Peninsula is known as the End of the World. It is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California – a.k.a. the Sea of Cortez. While out on or in the water enjoying the view, look out for dolphins, gray whales, pelicans, and of course, the friendly sea lions! Getting there is easy. Choose from luxury sailing to the arch with Cabo Sailing, glass bottom kayaking with Cabo San Lucas Tours, glass bottom boat rides by Baja’s Watersports, or a sunset fajita cruise with Wild Cabo Tours.
- Lover’s Beach (and its partner Divorce Beach) – just inland of the arch is Lover’s Beach, located on the Sea of Cortez, and Divorce Beach is adjacent but on the Pacific Ocean. At high tides the sea and the ocean meet like lovers and then as the waters ebb, the beaches reemerge – divorced again. The best way to reach Lover’s Beach is via water taxi (of which there are many) unless booking a boat or kayak tour that also stops at Lover’s Beach.
- Snorkeling – there are many outfitters that provide snorkeling from boats, sailboats, kayaks and more. We used Cabo Expeditions and had an excellent tour of The Arch and did snorkeling between the sea lion colony and Pelican Rock. Only allowing a small number of participants (6-10) and including native guides and on-hand photographers, it’s highly recommended. Other options include Cabo Adventures, or simply check the exhaustive lists on Viator and Trip Advisor. A unique experience is snorkeling with the whale sharks. The season for whale sharks in Los Cabos is December to May, and most places offering snorkeling or scuba diving have specific whale shark swimming excursions. Note: for the safety of the whale sharks, no scuba diving is allowed – only free swimming or snorkeling.
- Scuba Diving – one of the many fun adventures here is the scuba diving. From the Cabo San Lucas marina, many groups go out to dive at Pelican Rock, El Arco and near the sea lion colony. Best diving conditions for temperature, weather and visibility are in the summer and early fall. We dove through Dive Cabo which is a well-known and respected PADI 5 Star dive center. The sea lions were so friendly and swam right up to us. The dive masters are knowledgeable and also take pictures for you while diving. Dive Cabo and other dive shops like Cabo Pulmo Dive Center and Cabo Pulmo Watersports have regular dive options for Cabo Pulmo Marine Park which is the only living coral reef in the Sea of Cortez – teeming with marine life. Cabo Pulmo diving is best in October and November after the hurricane season is done.
- Kayaking – the water in all of Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo) is cold, so we actually enjoyed the kayaking better than the snorkeling and scuba diving. The guides assured us that the water warms, and those activities are best June – September. Many of the same outfitters such as Cabo Expeditions offer kayaking. Also check out Tours By Locals and have a private guide for the day.
- Whale watching – during the whale watching season starting in December/January and ending in March/April, humpback whales and gray whales come in close to the Bay of Cabo San Lucas and its coastline. While we were there in January, we watched a humpback whale swimming alongside our scuba diving boat – two excursions for the price of one that day!
- Swimming with Dolphins – Pacific Bottle Nose Dolphins can be seen on any water adventure as they are native to the area. To learn more about them, swim with them and even become a trainer for the day, check out the Cabo Dolphin Center or Dolphin Discovery Los Cabos.
- Fishing – opportunities for fishing are abundant in Cabo San Lucas, and there are numerous types of fishing: light tackle fishing, bottom fishing, deep sea fishing, and even fly fishing. The waters are laden with fish including marlins, grouper, mahimahi, snapper, saltfish, wahoo and yellowfin tuna. Generally, the best fishing is from May to November, but it does vary with the types of fish. Chartered boats are common, but be wary of the hawkers along the marina – often part of a timeshare operation. Instead book ahead with experienced charter operations like RedRum Sportfishing, Cabo Fishing, Blue Sky Cabo Fishing and Tours or Seashine Adventures (which features an outstanding yacht.) Shared charters to reduce costs are also available with outfits like Share a Fishing Charter.
- Surfing – wicked waves make the entire Baja Peninsula a haven for surfers. Many surfers flock to the Sea of Cortez side – mostly around San Jose del Cabo – at sites like Zippers, La Bocana and Shipwrecks. Back towards Cabo San Lucas, beginners surf Acalpulquito and La Roca while experienced surfers can be found at the tricky Monuments surf spot. For Pacific Ocean surfing, drive north from Cabo San Lucas and spend a couple of days in the artsy town of Todos Santos and stay at the Hotel California. Cerritos Beach, Pescadero and La Pastora offer great breaks nearby. In June, surf lovers descend on world famous Zippers for the annual Los Cabos Open. If new to surfing – or never even tried it – choose from a number of surf schools including Surf School Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas and Mario Surf School at Cerritos Beach. For even more surfing details, check out this comprehensive guide from Wave Tribe.
- Sea Turtles – while visiting Cabo from September to mid-December, experience the hatching of hundreds of Olive Ridley and Black Turtles. Visitors can catch the turtles making a run from the beaches to the oceans at numerous beachfront hotels like Pueblo Bonito Golf and Spa Resorts or participate in the release with Cabo Turtles Hatchery through Cabo Trek.
- Mt Solmar – as an alternative to water adventures, opt for desert and mountain trips. A unique hike is to the top of Mt Solmar with views of all of Cabo San Lucas – and side hikes down to Divorce Beach. The trip only costs a tip to Enrique who owns the property used to access the hike, and most days he serves as the guide sharing local knowledge of history and plant life of the region.
- Cabo Pulmo and La Sirenita – an excellent day trip is to Cabo Pulmo, home of one of North America’s three living coral reefs. Scuba diving and/or snorkeling there provides some of the most incredible sites the underwater world has to offer. Then for a relaxing afternoon, take an easy 30 minute hike to the southernmost point of Cabo Pulmo Bay to La Sirenita beach, a hidden gem with gorgeous views, rock formations and more snorkeling!
- Santiago waterfalls – another worthwhile day trip starts in nearby Santiago. Hike into the desert to its hidden oasis: Sol de Mayo. Take on the hike solo or hire a local guide. Tours that include food, drink and a guide are also available. Stop in at the Palomar Restaurant for an exquisite meal.
- Outback and Camel Ride Safari – this excursion is operated by Cabo Adventures and includes not only the camel ride along the beach, but also tequila and tortilla making demonstrations. Of course, they need to be tasted! The price covers the safari, lunch and tequila tasting. If riding a camel doesn’t sound appealing, similar safaris can be found while riding ATVs or jeeps.
- Ziplining – the Baja California Sur environment is ideally suited for ziplining, and there are numerous outfitters happy to provide the service. One of the friendliest tours is through Costa Azul, but be prepared: this tour involves some good hiking, too. Wild Canyon is an alternative group that also has options for ATV tours, animal sanctuary tours, sailing and bungee jumping, and they have discount packages when booking more than one attraction.
- Golf – the entire peninsula is filled with golf courses. If golfing is key, consider choosing accommodations (and there are many) that have their own golf courses.
- Iglesia de San Lucas – just a fifteen-minute walk from the marina is Cabo San Lucas’ town square with shops, restaurants and a gazebo. Stop in to see the historic 1730 Catholic Church, Iglesia de San Lucas, and to learn more about local traditions.
- San Jose del Cabo – this next-door town deserves its own day – but make it a Thursday. Start out exploring the main square with art galleries, shops, historic architecture and authentic Mexican restaurants dominating the day. Bike tours and free walking tours are available for in depth history lessons. Reserve the evening for the Gallery District where every Thursday from 5-9pm, Obregon street hosts an Art Walk.
- Todos Santos – for another artsy day trip, travel just 45-60 minutes up the road to the art village of Todos Santos, home of Hotel California. Enjoy art galleries and small artist colonies, as well as, fresh, local seafood cuisine and gorgeous beaches.
- Live music – Cabo Wabo is a must for live music in Cabo San Lucas. Started by Sammy Hagar, this cantina features live music, great food and plenty of drinks.
Cabo San Lucas and the entire Baja California Sur are phenomenal with boundless beauty and endless possibilities. The area is certainly worth the travel. There are no regrets when booking a weekend getaway, spending a long vacation or buying a home there!