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Los Cabos travel guide: Where to to stay, play and eat!

What are the hot things to do in Los Cabos?

Best airport transfer companies? Is Cabo safe? Where should you stay? Fab restaurants? Is there Uber?

We’re travel writers who’ve visited Cabo dozens of times – we love Cabo!

So carry on reading, because our Los Cabos travel guide shares the inside scoop on how to have a fabulous Cabo holiday!

Los Cabos Travel Guide
The most famous icon of Cabo San Lucas is the natural rock arch known as “El Arco”

Where is Los Cabos, Mexico?

Map of Baja California Peninsula
Do you see Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo at the tip of the Baja Peninsula here?

Los Cabos is located in Mexico at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. See this link to the Google map of Los Cabos.

To the west is the mighty blue Pacific Ocean. To the east is the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) – Jacques Cousteau called it the “world’s aquarium” because of its incredibly rich sea life.

Los Cabos encompasses the town of Cabo San Lucas, the town of San Jose del Cabo and the 20-mile highway “Corridor” fronting beach resorts that stretches between the two towns.

“Cabo” is used to refer to both Cabo San Lucas and the whole area of Los Cabos. (It gets a bit confusing sometimes!)

Comparing Cabo with other Mexico resort destinations:

Are you trying to decide between Cabo and other best beach towns in Mexico?

The three biggies are Cabo, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, and each has their own vibe.

One feature Cabo is known for is its striking desert scenery – it’s known as the place “where the desert meets the sea.”

These two posts of ours can help you pick which Mexican resort area to visit:

Traveling to Cabo: What you need to know

Language:

Spanish (but Cabo is “Mexico light” – so virtually all locals in the hospitality biz speak English).

Currency:

Mexican peso – 20 pesos are equivalent to about $1 USD (double-check the exchange rates before you go). Most places accept US dollars, but your money will go further if you pay in pesos.

Visa:

Citizens of the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries don’t need a visa to go on holiday in Mexico.

Cabo travel restrictions:

You don’t have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative test to enter Mexico (and visit Los Cabos). But of course check the requirements for returning to your home country. See here for more information.

How to get to Los Cabos

Cabo San Lucas travel guide
It’s easy to get to Los Cabos from the U.S. or Canada

If you’re coming from North America, there are direct flights to the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) from a host of cities in Canada and the U.S.

For example, the flight time from Los Angeles to Los Cabos is around 2½ hours. It’s just over 3 hours from San Francisco. (Cabo is a popular destination for west coasters.) From Dallas, flights are just under 3 hours long.

From Canada, flight times are 4 hours 20 minutes from Vancouver and 4 hours 30 minutes from Calgary.

Once you arrive at the Cabo airport, we suggest you take one of these recommended Cabo airport shuttles (book in advance), rather than taking a taxi. For two people, it’s better and cheaper.

Cabo San Lucas travel tips

Happy people jumping on a beach in Los Cabos
Who’s happy to be on vacation in Los Cabos!

Best time to go to Los Cabos?

Most people holiday in Los Cabos in winter, starting just before the Christmas holidays through to April.

The average temperature then is about 68 to 75 F. You can expect dry sunny days – basically, great weather!

But the best times to travel to Los Cabos (in our view) are May (and June), and then again in the fall from October to November.

The weather is warmer in these shoulder-season months than in winter – better for swimming! (And the crowds have gone.) Average temperatures are 24 to 29 F (sometimes climbing into the low 30s). The air is more humid, so it feels more tropical and less desert-like.

The summer months in Cabo are also great for water activities (and lower prices). Maybe just avoid visiting in September, the hottest and stickiest month.

Hurricane season in Los Cabos:

The hurricane season (rainy season) in Los Cabos officially runs from June to November. But August and September are the most risky months.

What to pack for Cabo:

If you’re planning a trip to Cabo for some time in the winter months, pack a sweater or jacket. Evenings can be cool.

We also suggest packing comfortable travel sandals for walking.

Ladies can also check our post on the best beach sandals for women. Guys can check our post on the best flip-flops for men.

Can you drink the water in Cabo?

The southern Baja Peninsula has never really had a problem with its water quality.

Most of the fresh water comes from the tall Sierra de la Laguna mountains, drains into underground aquifers, and is then piped to local towns, with little opportunity to become contaminated.

That said, most hotels and resorts have their own water purification systems. It’s probably ok to drink the tap water, but to be safe, drink bottled water. (We do.)

The good hotels provide bottled water in your room. If you’re staying at a condo-style resort with kitchen facilities, you can stock up on bottled water very cheaply at one of the large grocery stores.

Restaurants will serve you bottled water if you ask for water. Ice is typically made from filtered water, but you can always ask.

Can you eat the fruit and veggies?

Most visitors eat salads, fruit and uncooked vegetables with no problems.

What to do in Los Cabos

A couple riding horses on the beach in Cabo San Lucas
Yes, horseback riding on the beach is one of the things you can do in Cabo!

Do beachy things:

With calm swimming waters and stunning views of the iconic rock arch of Cabo San Lucas, Medano Beach is one of Cabo’s best beaches.

But there are many more beautiful beaches in Los Cabos – some are awesome for snorkeling, others for walking and dreaming.

Also take a sunset cruise. Learn to surf. Or try sport fishing. Water lovers can discover a host of great water sports and water activities in Cabo!

Checking out the beaches in Cabo San Lucas
Ahhh, the sun, the sky and the sea…

Go whale watching:

December through to mid-April is whale watching season in Cabo.

This is when humpback whales can be spotted after migrating down to the warm waters around Los Cabos to mate and give birth.

Read our post on whale watching in Cabo for details on the best whale watching tours for you (like Zodiacs vs large stable boats and other helpful tips).

Boats with passengers watching humpback whales in Los Cabos
Whale watching is a must-do activity in winter

Get cultured:

On Thursday nights, check out the free Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo. It’s loads of fun!

Meet the artists over a glass of wine handed out at many of the art galleries. And check out eye-catching paintings and sculptures.

Go snorkeling:

There are several good snorkeling spots.

We love snorkeling at Santa Maria Bay. Get there early, before the snorkeling tour boats arrive, and you’ll have the bay almost to yourself!

For more info, see our insider guide to snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas (and the best snorkeling tours and tour operators).

Yellow tropical reef fish
Go snorkeling in Cabo to see tropical reef fish like these!

Golf:

If you can only golf once on your Cabo holiday, the Cabo del Sol Ocean Golf Course is the course to play.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the renowned championship course hugs the Sea of Cortez. The views are so breathtaking, it’s hard to concentrate on your shot – except if you don’t, you’re in the sand or a rocky ravine.

The Golden Bear himself praised the layout for having the “three finest finishing holes in all of golf.” The signature 17th hole – one of the greatest par-3’s in the world – has you teeing off over the water to a postage-stamp size green on a granite rock outcropping.

Stats: 18 holes par 72 7,075 yards from the championship tees

Party!

Cabo San Lucas is a well-known party spot.

You can’t visit Cabo and not go to El Squid Roe. The multi-level dance club is outrageous but loads of fun. Think lots of tequila and jello shots.

Then there’s Cabo Wabo. Originally created by rocker Sammy Hagar, it’s one of the best places to hit for live music.

The Office, located outside on Medano Beach, is also renowned for its wet T-shirt contests and all-day fun. (And it’s a beautiful spot to have breakfast with your toes in the sand.)

Go scuba diving:

Dive Cabo San Lucas! It’s an underwater world of wonders.

Must-do!

You must swim with whale sharks in La Paz! It’s OMG awesome – and it makes for a great day trip.

Day trips:

Speaking of day trips…

Take a dip in natural hot springs in the Sierra de la Laguna reserve. See the kite and wind surfers in Los Barriles. Go sea kayaking and see sea lions in Cabo Pulmo. Hike the Canyon of the Fox. Browse all the art galleries in Todos Santos. And more!

Check out the 9 best day trips from Cabo San Lucas.

Where to stay in Los Cabos

Pink bougainvillea blooming at Grand Velas Los Cabos
Do you fancy a luxury all-inclusive resort with gorgeous suites? (Credit: Grand Velas Los Cabos)

There’s no shortage of luxury hotels in Los Cabos.

When booking, however, you’ll want to know where your resort is located to avoid being disappointed.

Cabo San Lucas is at one end, San Jose del Cabo is at the other end, and the Corridor is a 20-mile stretch connecting the two towns. So we’re talking about a fairly large geographical area.

Most luxury resorts are beachfront, but not all beaches are swimmable. If being able to swim in the ocean at your hotel is a deal-breaker for you, you’ll want to pick accommodations that offer this.

Beautiful, boutique and 5-star hotels?

See what we’ve sussed out!

We’ve stayed at many different resorts in Cabo over the years – and because we love looking at hotels, we’ve inspected several more.

The result?

We’ve written a whole post on the 23+ best resorts in Cabo San Lucas – covering everything from cool boutique hotels to all-inclusive options.

Rooftop swimming pool at Hotel El Ganzo
We love the art – and the rooftop infinity pool – at this boutique Cabo hotel (Credit: Hotel El Ganzo)

Cabo hotel reviews:

We’ve also written separate individual reviews on the following hotels:

Hotel El Ganzo | A cool boutique hotel in San Jose del Cabo, this artist hangout boasts a fab rooftop infinity pool.

Pueblo Bonito Resorts | Find out which one is best!

Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach | Located on the Pacific Coast, it’s the grandest PB resort in Cabo, with the largest suites.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica | This Zen-like, all-inclusive resort on the Pacific side is the only PB resort that’s for adults only.

The Cape, A Thompson Hotel | It’s edgy and offers gob-smacking ocean views all the way out to El Arco. (We love the swinging day-beds on the balconies too.)

Grand Velas Los Cabos | Calling all foodies! This ultra-luxury all-inclusive resort has excellent restaurants.

Bahia Hotel | Looking for a hip hotel right in Cabo San Lucas, with access to a Medano Beach club? You won’t go wrong here.

One & Only Palmilla | With a Spanish colonial feel, this 5-star hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Cabo – and its beach is calm for swimming.

We’ve stayed here! (Credit: Las Ventanas al Paraiso)

Can you swim at your hotel’s beach?

Most Medano Beach hotels have beaches where you can swim safely in the ocean.

See our post on the best Cabo beaches for the Cabo resorts with swimmable beaches (scroll to the end).

Shopping in Cabo San Lucas

Woman wearing a silver necklace
You can pick up some lovely silver jewelry in Cabo

Silver, tequila and Mexican crafts – don’t go home without them!

Whether you’re looking to pick up inexpensive souvenirs or museum-quality art, Cabo has a shop for you.

What to buy in Cabo?

Silver is big in Cabo, from bargain-priced bracelets hawked by beach vendors to unique fine jewelry sold in stores.

Cuban cigars are also popular (but don’t take them back to the U.S.), as are Mexican blankets, Talavera pottery and even over-the-counter prescription meds.

For decorative housewares (silver, Mexican glass, etc.), try Artesano’s (at Km 4.1 on the Corridor, just outside of Cabo town.)

Bargaining?

It’s part of the shopping fun!

Here’s how to haggle and bargain in Mexico like a pro.

Where the shops are:

In Cabo San Lucas, many shops are found on Marina Blvd and side-streets.

Open-air and outdoor flea markets abound too – be sure to bargain when shopping for your Mexican souvenirs!

And you can’t miss the Puerto Paraiso or Luxury Avenue shopping malls right on the Cabo San Lucas Marina.

What to buy in Los Cabos? Jewelry?
Bring your credit card if you want to shop the luxury malls!

Where to buy groceries?

As soon as we arrive in Cabo, we like to make a stop at La Comer supermarket in San Jose del Cabo. It’s on the highway as you drive from the airport to Cabo San Lucas (and convenient too if you’re staying in San Jose del Cabo).

Good fresh produce can be hard to find in Cabo – at La Comer, you can usually get crisp red apples (not bruised ones), along with fresh Mexican fruit and lettuce that isn’t limp.

Best restaurants in Los Cabos

Japanese sushi
Restaurants in Cabo serve everything from gourmet tacos to spaghetti and the freshest sushi

You’ll find plenty of superb restaurants in Los Cabos, both in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Of course, seafood is often on the menu.

Here are some of our favorite places to eat:

For tacos:

Get the best seafood tacos in Cabo and mean lime margaritas at Gardenias. We also love that it’s casual and cheap.

For Japanese:

NickSan has creative fresh sushi. (It’s expensive though.)

For toes-in-the-sand dining:

Cascadas Beach Grill (at Club Cascadas de Baja) is very romantic at night, with the perfect beachfront atmosphere. Bonus: Friendly service, 2-for-1 drinks until 6:00 pm, moderately-priced.

For pasta:

See the 3 best Italian restaurants in Cabo San Lucas. (You’ll find the most mouth-watering lasagne at Salvatore G’s.)

For creative farm-to-table food:

Don’t miss beautiful Flora Farms for made-fresh-from-the-garden cocktails and farm-to-table dining!

Watermelon and rum cocktail at Flora Farms
Who’s up for watermelon-and-rum cocktails at Flora Farms?

Getting around Los Cabos

The local bus in Los Cabos:

Any good Cabo San Lucas travel guide will tell you not to be afraid of taking the public bus from Cabo to San Jose del Cabo, or anywhere along the Corridor.

Local buses operate every 20 to 30 minutes between the two towns.

They’re fairly modern and clean, and you’ll see many American residents and tourists using them.

Some are express buses, but they often let passengers off anyway at non-designated stops.

There are bus stops, where you can wait for the bus, with seats and roof protection (the main stop in Cabo is in front of the Puerto Paraiso shopping mall).

But the buses also usually stop if you wave one down, and they’ll let you off where you want.

Tell the driver your beach or destination along the Corridor when you board.

Uber:

Within the main towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, there’s also Uber.

Is Los Cabos safe?

We’ve holidayed in Los Cabos at least 20 times over the years, and we’ve never felt unsafe. Many Americans and Canadians have vacation homes and time-shares there.

If you stick to the main tourist areas, your risk of being mugged or getting your purse snatched is very low.

Most of the violent crimes you hear about in Mexico occur closer to the Mexican border in cities like Juarez.

Still, you should exercise the same caution in Cabo that you’d exercise wherever you travel.

And it’s always a good idea to check government travel advisories before going.

That wraps up our Cabo travel guide!

Additional Los Cabos travel information can be found in the guide to Cabo on the official Visit Los Cabos tourism website.

Planning your next trip?

See the following helpful services:

Our Travel Resources Guide | Get airline booking tips. Discover great travel, tour and car rental companies. And find crazy useful trip planning info!

Booking.com | Score a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one.

GetYourGuide | Check out the best local guided tours and book skip-the-line tickets to attractions.

World Nomads | Never travel without insurance! World Nomads offers great coverage for adventurous travelers under 70 (including for surfing, scuba diving and bungee jumping).

Our Travel Shop | Find the best travel gear. We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.

CDC | We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccinations are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!


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The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Travel Guide

About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!