Jutting out between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, the string of towns that make up Los Cabos at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula are surrounded by dazzling beaches, desert and tropical waters. The region is rightfully known for its drinking culture, but there’s much more to it than spring break and cheap tequila.
Couples will find farm-to-table dining and tucked away beaches, families can spend days on soft sands with safe swimming and culture vultures will adore the art and ambiance of colonial San José Del Cabo. The muted hues of the landscapes, cacti-covered shores and fish-filled waters will entrance all who venture here. The following sights and activities are our favorite ways to make the most of a trip to magical Los Cabos.
Swim and snorkel clear blue waters, right from shore
The Los Cabos coastline is scalloped with half-moon-shaped bays fringed by white beaches, most of which have clear-water swimming and snorkeling steps from your beach towel. Dusty Route 1 connects these alabaster beauties, each with their own personalities, so you can explore to find a favorite. Throw a few towels and a picnic in your car and arrive early if you want to nab a shady palapa.
Medano Beach, which looks out to Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, is the busiest, with a party vibe, while families will love quiet and safe Palmilla Beach, backed by fancy resorts. For the best snorkeling, head to locals' haunt Chileno Beach for underwater rock and coral formations and plentiful marine life.
Paddle to iconic Land’s End and Lover's Beach
Rent a stand-up paddleboard or book a tour, then be prepared to work up a sweat. El Arco, the stunning Cabo San Lucas arch-shaped rock formation, provides the dangling carrot to keep you going.
Glide up to the surreal rocky textures of Land’s End and soft sands at Lover’s Beach, pop in the water for a cool swim, then paddle back before most visitors have slept off the previous night’s partying. You’ll want to have some previous paddleboarding experience and/or start early, while the wind and currents are calm.
Or skip the workout entirely, pack a picnic and take a water taxi to the same spot – you can arrange a pick up for whenever you want to return. It’s a blissful way to spend the day and especially great for a couples getaway.
Margaritas on the beach, sunset cruises and wild nights
Los Cabos – and Cabo San Lucas in particular – is a drinking destination, and even the most serious folks will have a hard time resisting the fun. Snag a beach lounger or pitch your towel on the sand, then order away. If you’re drinking and eating at a hotel beach bar or restaurant, they’ll let you stay as long as you pay. Otherwise there are bars all along the beach where you can grab drinks to bring back to the sand.
The revelry is on all day long. For a boozy start to the evening, book a sunset cruise, from upscale options with dining to cheap, raucous and messy. Beach bonfires illuminate the passage on your return at night, as you head to notorious bars in town like Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo (try the signature multi-alcohol Can’t Drive cocktail if you’re feeling brave) and El Squid Roe for dirty dancing.
Farm-to-table splurges and cheap taco joints
Fresh, delicious food is a southern Baja highlight, and some of the healthiest and most eco-friendly dining in Los Cabos can be found at an increasing selection of farm-to-table restaurants.
Flora’s Field Kitchen was one of the first, and you can combine oohing and ahhing over the lemon-roasted chicken and rustic-chic decor with garden tours, a cooking class or a spa treatment. Tamarindos is another stylish gem, with more Mexican specialties and local seafood, while El Heurto, surrounded by its own beautiful farmlands in downtown Cabo San Lucas, has Mediterranean and Asian influences.
On a budget? Make it your mission to find a favorite local taqueria. We love the selection and laid-back ambiance of Tacos Gardenias in Cabo San Lucas (the salsas are incredible) and the modern twists on traditional offerings at La Lupita in San José del Cabo.
Go deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and whale watching
Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez “The World’s Aquarium,” and the most action is here, where it meets the Pacific Ocean. From December to April, whale-watching tours are available, and sometimes you’ll even hear humpbacks singing underwater at the beach.
Cabo Pulmo, about a two-hour drive from Cabo San Lucas, has the most incredible diving in the area, with common whale-shark sightings (October to February) and tornadoes of jack fish. Meanwhile, the Pacific end of the peninsula is known for some of the best sportfishing in the world, with marlin, wahoo, mahi-mahi, snapper and tuna regularly hitting the lines. The Marina at Cabo San Lucas is jam packed with fishing boats, so you’re spoiled for choice.
Explore the gallery district and shop historic San José del Cabo
Colonial San José del Cabo, centered around spacious Plaza Mijares and the buttery, sand-colored 1730 Iglesia San José, is the arty and milder sister to better-known Cabo San Lucas.
Even if you’re not staying here, don’t miss the Thursday evening Art Walks, held between November and June, that meander through the cobblestone backstreet gallery district. You’ll find modern to ancient-inspired works, artist presentations, special openings and more. Downtown restaurants open their doors, street vendors liven up the scene, children play in the plaza and you’ll feel really and truly in Mexico.
Galleries are open during regular business hours too if you prefer quieter visits, and the town is chock-full of shops selling artisanal homewares, fancy bath products and more to pack into your suitcase.
Hike, zip-line or hop on a burro for a desert adventure
It looks stark from a distance, but the desert of southern Baja is filled with life and beauty. The cheapest way to get a taste of this landscape is by hiking up Mt Solmar in Cabo San Lucas for views over Land’s End and town. It’s under an hour uphill, and at its most magnificent at sunset.
To venture further, hop on a Mexican donkey safari to bump along coastal trails, the same way generations of Mexicans did before cars took over. You’ll get to know your burro, who will help lull you into the slow pace of the desert. Older kids and adults will find more thrills zip-lining over desert canyons for a bird’s-eye view of rock formations and desert flora.
Wherever you go, watch for cacti at your feet, keep an eye out for alligator lizards under rocks and enjoy desert birds flitting around seasonal blooms.
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