Few places in North America are as perfect as Cabo San Lucas for a rewarding holiday. A short flight from most U.S. airports, Cabo San Lucas offers crystal blue water, abundant sunshine, delicious food, luxurious resorts, and a culture that knows hospitality. There is so much to do there I’ve picked my top seven to make it easier for you.
My trip was hosted by Pueblo Bonito Pacifica but all opinions are my own.
1. Whale Watching
Cabo San Lucas is an ideal destination to go whale watching. During the winter months, humpback whales migrate to the warmer southern waters off Baja Sur. In Cabo, you can spot them from almost any beach if you are patient. You’ll see many people with binoculars focused on the ocean doing just that.
Spotting whales frolicking in the open ocean is a thrill beyond compare. If you’ve never seen them before I recommend timing your holiday with the migration. You can also hire a boat to take you out on the water where you can see them up close. We saw them while out on a privately chartered sailboat, which I describe in more detail in the next section. Be sure to take binoculars if you have them and make sure your camera is charged.
One of the best ways to enjoy this paradise kissed by both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean is on the water. A relaxing way to see the sites is to charter a sailboat with one of the local tour operators and let them do the driving. Most companies offer a half-day or full-day sail, with a la carte activities such as whale watching, swimming with dolphins, and snorkeling. Sunset sailing is also popular. Be sure to book that in advance.
We went sailing with Cabo-Adventures. Cabo Adventures is managed by a young and fun group of locals who know their city and the water. Cabo Adventures offers a variety of tours that can be customized to fit your needs. The crew was friendly, kept the energy up, took photos for us, and supplied us with a variety of drinks, along with a light snack of shrimp, guacamole, and chips.
We sailed past Los Arcos, an iconic landmark in Cabo San Lucas, and the pelican and sea lion colonies. Along the way, we were lucky to see a pair of whales breach the water several times. We followed them for a while but turned back as they moved further out to sea. After that, I felt that if I didn’t see anything else… my trip was complete.
3. Swim In The Sea Of Cortez
The most well-known beach in Cabo San Lucas is Medano Beach on the Sea of Cortez. Though you may prefer a lesser-known beach, there are many good reasons to swim at Medano beach… the top two are great views of the famous Los Arcos and calm clear water. It’s probably the safest place to swim in Cabo San Lucas.
If you like more active beach time, I noticed that this beach was also a good place to hire jet skis and go parasailing.
Another popular and well-known beach is Lover’s Beach at Land’s End. You’ll need to take a water taxi to arrive there and you must go when the tide is low. You can also kayak but be sure you go early before the winds pick up. The clear azure waters are perfect for snorkeling.
Pro Tip: Swimming in Cabo San Lucas can be a bit tricky. Though there are miles of beaches, many are red flag beaches, meaning they are not safe for swimming due to dangerous undertows, strong waves, and ocean floor drop-offs. Most of the dangerous beaches are on the Pacific Ocean, so look for blue flag beaches on the calm and beautiful Sea of Cortez.
4. Diving And Snorkeling At Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park
Just an hour north of San Jose del Cabo is Cabo Pulmo, a gorgeous national park and home to one of only three living reefs in North America. Snorkeling here is incredible. It’s the one thing that stood out in my memory of my first trip to the area in the 90s! There are over 800 species of fish and other marine flora and fauna. Needless to say, diving here is amazing too. In 2008, Cabo Pulmo became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cabo San Lucas has many public access courses and all are nice. These are the public courses recommended by the pros at Quivira Los Cabos, a private resort: Palmilla Golf Club, Solmar Golf Links, Club Campestre San Jose, and Puerto Los Cabos. Choose a course and tee up.
Quivira Los Cabos
Golfers of all skill levels visit Cabo for excellent courses. One of the best is Quivira Los Cabos, which has epic views. This is a private course, only accessible if you stay at one of the Pueblo Bonito properties or are a guest of a member, however, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the “top golf courses in the world,” as stated in Golf Digest and featuring a world-class Jack Nicklaus design. Be sure to book your tee times in advance.
6. San Jose Del Cabo
San Jose Del Cabo is the quieter, more cultured sister city of Cabo San Lucas. Hundreds of years before Cabo San Lucas developed, San Jose Del Cabo was inhabited by the Pericues Indian tribes. Spanish Jesuits discovered the area and built the church, Misiøn de San José del Cabo Añuití. Today, the church anchors the historic area rich with art galleries and excellent restaurants. I took a tour with a guide arranged by the tourism office. Diane, my guide, lives in San Jose Del Cabo and gave me a good overview of the area in about one hour. I highly recommend taking a guided walk.
For art and culture lovers, the weekly Thursday evening gallery walk is highly recommended. Live music, food and drink, and artist talks make this a local and visitor favorite event.
Other things to do in the historic district include eating a handmade ice cream while you stroll around the square. Be sure to go inside the cathedral, which is much prettier than you might expect from the outside.
For visitors that want a quieter environment with access to great beaches and water activities, San Jose Del Cabo is the perfect spot. Check out Cabo Pulmo for snorkeling, diving, and just hanging out on the beach.
Pro Tip: While in San Jose Del Cabo, check out the interactive gallery of artist Ivan Guaderrama. Guaderrama’s art is colorful, fun, and uplifting, inspired by his Christian faith. He also designed the San Jose Del Cabo sign in front of the cathedral. Scan the QR code with your phone and watch it come to life.
San Jose Del Cabo is 30-40 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas. I took an uber, but if you rent a car, it is safe to drive on your own.
7. Todos Santos
Todos Santos is the second Pueblo Magico I have visited. Pueblo Magico is a designation given by the Mexican government, which means the town or village is a place of beauty, cultural, and historical interest, and you are guaranteed some good photo ops. Todos Santos does not disappoint.
Located about an hour and thirty minutes north of Cabo San Lucas, it’s a good destination for a day trip or a long weekend. Originally a fishing village, Todos Santos is popular with surfers, artists, and expats. The streets are colorful and lined with galleries and privately owned shops, many with high-end home design products and clothing. The town has developed a distinct California vibe, but there are people from all over the world calling it home now. I spent my time there wandering in and out of shops and galleries and taking photos.
If you have a rental car, driving to Todos Santos is easy and safe. You can also hire an uber or other private car service to take you.
Where To Stay In Cabo San Lucas
There are so many options for lodging in Cabo, the best way to narrow it down is to decide what you’d like to see and do, and what kind of environment you prefer. If you want to be a bit out of the fray but still in Cabo San Lucas, stay north of the marina. Around the marina, you’ll be in the thick of it, but you’ll also be right on the Sea of Cortez, perfect if you love to swim and like a high-energy atmosphere.
Pueblo Bonito Resorts
Pueblo Bonito Resorts offers four all-inclusive options in Cabo San Lucas. For a quiet adult environment, stay at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort located on the beach. If you don’t want to be on the beach but like peace and quiet, stay at the Pueblo Bonito Sunset property just a mile or so away with a food hall and one of Cabo’s best restaurants, La Frida. I loved staying at the Towers at Pacifica because you could walk on the beach in the morning and have it almost to yourself. Both properties offer spectacular sunset views.
If you prefer to stay on the Sea Of Cortez, Pueblo Bonito Rosé Spa and Resort, or Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos Beach Resort would be a good choice. Both have ocean views and easy access to the marina.
Guests at any Pueblo Bonito resort have access to the amenities at all of the other properties such as the golf course at Quivira, the restaurants, beaches, spa, and pools. If you’re staying at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica or Sunset you can get a shuttle to take you to the other properties on Medano Beach.
Make sure to have a look at these beautiful Cabo San Lucas rentals.
Pro Tip: Fish for your breakfast. Though I had never fished before, one of the most enjoyable things I did at the hotel was Hook and Cook on the beach at my hotel. You get up early in the morning when the fish are running… it’s a lot of fun casting and reeling the line back. Fishing from shore takes some skill and strength. Don’t worry if you don’t catch a fish, you won’t go hungry; we were served a delicious and fresh ceviche right on the beach after our fishing lesson.
Cabo San Lucas is truly a paradise for outdoor and nature lovers. It’s easily accessible and more flights are being added in 2023. Any time of year is nice but the winter and spring are the coolest with summers being very hot. The city is growing rapidly, so go now, and claim your place in the sun.
For more information on traveling to Cabo San Lucas, check out these articles: