Best Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas

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Best Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas

Rethink your vision of a Mexico spring-break holiday in Cancun and head to Insta-worthy, more grown-up Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. From excellent whale watching and championship golf to jaw-dropping luxury resorts and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, Cabo is an easily accessible tropical paradise with something for everyone. While the high season is from December through April, the weather is still nice and the prices more budget-friendly in the late spring and summer. No matter when you go, here are the best things to do when you’re fortunate enough to be vacation in Cabo San Lucas:
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1. Take a Photo of Land’s End (El Arco)
Don’t miss perhaps the most iconic image of Cabo San Lucas, the Land’s End (El Arco) arch. Formed by the ocean waves and the rough winds over the centuries, the famous arch is at the southern end of Cabo between Lover’s Beach and Divorce Beach – and marks the line between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. Look for playful sea lions and definitely catch at least one sunset. If you can, head out on the sea by way of a water taxi or boat tour (bonus for a glass-bottom boat) – the best views of the arch, and greatest photo opportunities, are from the water. You’ll see El Arco, Pelican Rock, Neptune’s Finger and The Window to the Pacific. Note: If you’re on the Pacific side of the arch, do not go swimming due to very rough seas.
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2. Take a Stroll Through San Jose del Cabo
Considered a touch more upscale and elegant than Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo is also known as the “Old Town” of the region. It’s here that you’ll find a traditional Mexican ambience, a lovely plaza and church and a variety of luxury resorts. If you’re into the nightlife scene, head to Cabo – but for a quieter atmosphere, San Jose del Cabo is your best bet. What’s not to miss? First, stroll through the town square, Plaza Mijares, with the mission church (Church of Saint Luke), town hall, fantastic restaurants and shops. In fact, the shopping here is legendary, whether you’re in the market for regional art and crafts, resort clothing or souvenirs. Check out the many art galleries along Distrito del Arte or the stalls selling handicrafts at Plaza Artesanos. A weekly farmers’ market offers a delicious array of fresh fish, local meats, organic produce and artisanal cheese.
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3. Party All Night Long
If, on the other hand, the nightlife scene is your style, take advantage of your time in Los Cabos to dance until the wee hours. After all, it was rocker Sammy Hagar (of Van Halen fame) who opened the renowned Cabo Wabo Cantina in 1990, which has since been opened in additional cities like Las Vegas and Hollywood. If you’re lucky, you might see a performance by Hagar himself, or at least another big-name musician during Hagar’s October birthday celebration. Many of the cantinas, music venues and nightclubs are owned by music legends. From Cabo San Lucas, down the Tourist Corridor, to San Jose del Cabo, there are options for every level of nightlife partier. And while San Jose del Cabo does skew quieter, there are a few live-music settings and late-night clubs if you change your mind. Don’t miss out on trying the local beer, craft cocktails and local beverages made with mezcal.
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4. Visit Lover’s Beach & Divorce Beach
No trip to Cabo San Lucas is complete without a day or two at Lover’s Beach on the Sea of Cortez. Combine it with a visit to the famous Land’s End (Al Arco) rock formations, right nearby. Hop on a water taxi (you can’t walk to Lover’s Beach) from the downtown Cabo marina and plan on hours of sun-splashed lounging and playing in the azure water. As for being romantic, that depends on the traveler – given that the beach is quite popular, it’s unlikely you’ll have it even remotely to yourselves. While you’re here, hike to the Pacific Ocean side to Divorce Beach. Here, big swells and rough seas (don’t swim here) – in contrast to the calm waters of Lover’s Beach – illustrate the rockiness or smoothness of marriage!
5. Snorkel at Chileno Beach
Make like a local and head to Chileno Beach, consistently ranked as one of the cleanest beaches in Mexico. It’s also one of the best snorkeling spots in Cabo San Lucas, thanks to its creamy white sands and calm, shallow waters. There are some great tidepools to explore as well, always a hit with kids. It’s also noticeably quieter than other Cabo beaches, where there are noisier restaurants and bars. You can drive to Chileno Beach, or take the bus (easy and affordable) from Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo. Here’s a neat tip: if it’s whale-watching season (mid-December to mid-March), put your head under the water at Chileno Beach and you may hear the singing of a humpback whale.
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6. Go Boogie Boarding at Medano Beach
Sure, it’s Cabo San Lucas’ most crowded beach, but it’s a fantastic place to people watch and play all day in the waves. Soak up the boisterous beach atmosphere and go jet skiing, kayaking, boogie boarding and parasailing. Take a break from the sun in a beachside cantina. Play beach volleyball or rent a paddle board. Or, hop on a boat and take a snorkeling tour at Land’s End. The waters are clean, the sand is soft and despite the restaurants, bars and souvenir vendors, the carefree beach attitude here is addicting.
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7. Enjoy the Seclusion of Santa Maria
A quieter beach option than Medano or Lover’s Beach, Playa Santa Maria is more secluded, thanks in part to its status as a protected marine sanctuary. Rent or bring your own snorkeling equipment to check out the vividly colored marine life below the water’s surface. This is one of the more swimmable beaches in Los Cabos. (Remember, not all beaches in Cabo are swimmable, particularly the rough ones on the Pacific Ocean side.)
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8. Go Whale Watching
One of the most thrilling activities in Cabo San Lucas is the chance to see some of the estimated five to ten thousand whales who migrate from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to the warmer breeding grounds around Baja California Sur. While it’s typical to see humpbacks and gray whales, you may also glimpse blue whales, sperm whales and orcas on your whale-watching tour. The best viewing season is from mid-December to mid-March (also the high season in Cabo) and you’ll find a seemingly endless supply of available whale-watching tours from various operators. Some amenities to look for when you’re choosing who to whale watch with: a marine biologist guide, who can help educate you about the whales and their migration patterns, and a hydrophone, which allows you to listen to the whales’ songs.
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9. Golf, Golf and Golf Some More
If you’re a golfer, don’t miss the many excellent fairways in Cabo San Lucas, some of the best in the world. Among the most popular are the Palmilla Golf Club, with three nine-hole courses, Club Campestre San Jose, the Cabo del Sol Desert Course and Ocean Course, Diamante Cabo San Luca and El Dorado Golf Club. Course designers include legendary golf celebrities Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Davis Love III and Tom Weiskopf. Not only will you face challenges on the links, but you’ll have amazing ocean views as you play.
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10. Reel in a Big Fish
And, we mean big! When you’re headed out to the ocean for a deep-sea fishing trip, imagine hauling in a 1,213-pound blue marlin. That’s what a vacationer from Michigan did in 2011, after fighting for it for 28 hours – it is still the largest blue marlin ever caught in Cabo San Lucas. This is one of the world’s sport-fishing capitals, and for good reason. There is fantastic fishing for black, blue and striped marlin, tuna, sailfish, maui maui, mackerel and snapper. For all-around fishing success, visit in the fall and winter. If it’s marlin you’re after, aim for July through October, and for yellowfin tuna, visit between September and January.
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11. Go Scuba Diving
Dive under the sea at Cabo Pulmo, a national marine sanctuary that is home to the highest concentration of marine life in the Sea of Cortez. You’ll see one of the oldest living coral reefs in North America and the reef’s many inhabitants, from dolphins to manta rays to sea turtles. You can also dive at Land’s End – perhaps one of the most unique dive sites in Mexico – and be in two bodies of water at the same time (the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez). Look for barracuda, tuna and frolicking sea lions. Nearby, try diving at Neptune’s Finger, a dramatic rock formation with the largest sand falls of the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park. And finally, divers love the North Wall, which ranges in depth from 20 to 100 feet, accommodating beginner divers all the way to advanced. Keep an eye out for pufferfish, porcupine fish, moray eels and, if you’re very fortunate, seahorses.
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12. Try Surfing
Cabo’s great surf conditions are due to the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, creating an exciting blend of water movement and weather patterns. You can watch professional surfers doing what they do best during the Los Cabos Open of Surf each June off Playa Costa Azul, or try it for yourself. In addition to San Jose del Cabo’s Playa Costa Azul and its Zippers surf break, there are fantastic breaks at Playa Monumentos, Nine Palms and Shipwrecks. During the winter, surfers in the know head to the Pacific Coast to hit the beaches of Los Cerritos (great for beginners), San Pedrito and La Pastora.
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13. Walk the Marina Boardwalk
Take a walk on this pedestrian promenade along the Cabo San Lucas Marina and marvel at the luxury yachts moored here. Watch as the local fishermen weigh the day’s biggest catch. The boardwalk, close to downtown Cabo San Lucas, runs from the cruise ship terminal to Playa El Medano. There are several shopping malls along the way, as well as a number of popular restaurants offering just about any cuisine you can imagine. The more budget-friendly Puerto Paraiso Mall has all the essentials you need, while the aptly named Luxury Avenue is the place to go for a splurge. Catch a movie, go bowling or swim with dolphins. It’s easy to wile away a day at the lively marina.
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14. Take a Trip to Todos Santos
Break away from the beach for a bit and venture to Todos Santos – particularly if you’re an art lover. Not only will you get to experience the beauty of the interior Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, but you’ll get to visit the town for the original Hotel California (of Eagles song fame) and have the opportunity to browse countless art galleries. Originally founded as a mission in 1724, the vibrant village is home to a popular annual art festival, as well as an array of restaurants offering organic produce from local farms and fresh seafood. To learn about local history and culture, don’t miss the Professor Nestor Agundez Martinez Cultural Center. This is a nice chance to press “pause” on the lively beach scene and get a feel for authentic Cabo San Lucas without as many tourists around.
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15. Hit the Spa
Cabo San Lucas is home to some of the world’s most luxurious spas – a favorite of the many celebrities who vacation here. Avail yourself of their limitless pampering options, including one of Mexico’s oldest spa traditions, Temazcal. You’ll be immersed in an aromatic steam bath in a dark chamber (akin to an ancient steam lodge) – a method said to use the healing powers of earth, fire, water and air to promote relaxation and improve circulation. There are spas focused on specialty therapies, holistic wellness, healthy nutrition, personal training and more – and all of them in absolutely stunning locations throughout Los Cabos. Alfresco massages with the sound of the crashing surf in your ears and a gentle breeze blowing? Blissful.

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