Cabo San Lucas is a bustling resort city on the southern part of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. Nearby, San Jose del Cabo is a smaller and more relaxed tourist destination. These two locations are frequently grouped together under the name “Los Cabos”.
The two are not quite the same, but Los Cabos is used interchangeably for both. This part of the country is popular for local and international travelers alike–some sources describe the area as the Los Cabos “tourist corridor”.
It is a popular cruise ship port, famous American rock stars have opened bars in the area, and there is a thriving nightlife scene. No tourist destination truly has “something for everyone” but whether you want laid back and relaxed or plan to hit the nightlife all night, every night, the options are quite plentiful here.
Los Cabos is one of the top five destinations in Mexico and is well-known for picturesque beaches, scuba diving and snorkeling, outdoor attractions such as the sea arch at Cabo San Lucas, and too many resorts to list. Even better for Orange County residents, the Los Cabos area is a great south of the border vacation spot that is under a three hour flight.
Cabo San Lucas is the “busier” tourist destination in Mexico within the Los Cabos region. This area features the sort of “all inclusive” resort options some travelers love to use when traveling to this part of the world. You might try out The Cape, Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort and Spa, or Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, all highly rated resorts in the area.
There is snorkeling, whale spotting, and sunset cruises at El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, which is an outdoor attraction featuring rock formations and beautiful sunsets. El Arco (The Arch) rock formation is at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez and is also known as Land’s End. The Arch is a popular tourist attraction and a popular instagrammable spot in Cabo.
The Arch can be accessed via Playa del Amor or “Lover’s Beach” via water taxi. The other side of Lover’s Beach is called “Divorce Beach”.
Medano beach is another popular destination–there is nearby lodging, a turtle habitat, and glass-bottom-boat tours of the water. Online reviews warn tourists–Sunday is a very busy day for the locals at Medano Beach; it may be smart to plan your visit during the week instead.
Those who want more guided tours can take advantage of Camel Outback Adventure tours (you actually get to ride on a camel) or take a Los Cabos beach adventure tour on top of an all-terrain vehicle.
The entire area in Cabo San Lucas features the sorts of tourist fun you might expect; watersports, city tours, sunset cruises, and more. All the destinations listed above are found quite easily online for planning and pricing purposes. But for some the nightlife is the real draw here.
Clubs, pubs, and bars abound. You may wish to see Uno Mas? Giggling Marlin, or the infamous Cabo Wabo, opened by members of Van Halen ages ago on the heels of their single of the same name.
If you are from certain parts of California this might not have the same appeal as there are Cabo Wabo branded storefronts in select locations there. Some seek alternatives to Cabo Wabo like Happy Endings, Jungle Bar Cabo, or Desperados.
Minutes away from downtown Cabo San Lucas and the famous IGY Marina is the guard-gated community Pedragal known as “The Beverly Hills of Cabo San Lucas.” Pedregal is an upscale, hillside area with sweeping views over the Marina and the Pacific ocean. Pedragal features private luxury villas for rent or to own and the luxurious Waldorf Astoria.
Cabo San Lucas Weather
The Cabo San Lucas climate is tropical desert and known for extremely beautiful weather.
- December to March is a warm winter.
- May to October is warm and sunny weather and temperatures can reach 100°F-102°F.
- June to November is official hurricane season but most likely August to October. Major hurricanes seldom hit land on the Baja Peninsula.
- July to September there may be mild rainy days.
- September is the muggiest time of the year but still mild.
- Summer and fall has warm and sunny weather.
- Winter temperatures average between 68°F-80°F. Nighttime temperatures can drop to 46/50 °F.
- There are warm temperatures year round ranging between 77°F and 34°C (93°F).
- Summer temperatures average 93°F.
- Nights cool down due to the ocean breezes and more so November to May.
- The proximity of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean ensures that the air humidity remains very low.
This is the more relaxed destination of the two. You will still find beachfront resorts such as Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf Spa And Resort, Hacienda del Mar Los Cabos, and the JW Marriott Beach Resort and Spa.
If you are planning a longer stay, there are beachfront condos and apartments for rent in the area, too. Not to mention the usual room sharing options via Air-b-n-b or others.
San Jose del Cabo is full of tours; you can get guided snorkeling tours from East Cape Explorers, you can experience the city on a walking tour hosted by Free Tour Cabo, and if you opted for San Jose del Cabo as the more relaxed option but still want some night life, you are in luck.
That’s thanks in part to operations like Fixer Mexico which can organize nighttime tours of the area. The West Coast Tequila Company, or OMNIA Dayclub Los Cabos are all options for you to experience drinking, dancing, and dining.
But this city is also very proud of its arts and local culture; the local arts districts are important parts of the local economy. You can experience a San Jose gallery district arts walk that takes you on a two and a half hour ride (mostly flat) from the hotel district to downtown San Jose del Cabo including stops at the gallery district, the main square, and a bird sanctuary.
There are many galleries and shops here including Eclectic Array, Baja Blown Glass Factory, Ivan Guaderrama Art Gallery and La Sacristia Art And History.
You can reach Cabo San Lucas by way of the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), some 40 minutes away. San Jose del Cabo is also accessible from the airport, and is roughly 30 minutes away.
John Wayne (SNA), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Diego (SAN) all have direct flights to the Los Cabos airport. John Wayne can be the easiest option since it’s located in Orange County and Customs is often easier to clear.
Flying out of Tijuana Airport (TIJ) is another great way to save money on tickets to Cabo. Tijuana airport is easily accessible from the US side of the border via the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) terminal. You can park at the Otay Mesa (US-Mexico border) parking lot and walk across a 390-foot sky bridge that connects the US side parking lot to the Tijuana Airport
If you are traveling from the United States, come prepared for this trip the way you would any international destination by getting your shot records updated, ensure your photo IDs are unexpired and won’t expire during your trip, and make sure your passport is up to date.
Just because California and Mexico share a border does not mean you will be given a pass for not carrying required documentation such as a current passport or having your shots where applicable. Many tourists have discovered this the hard way. Don’t be one of them.
Los Cabos Hotels, Resorts & Private Residences
The Los Cabos area features a wide variety of hotels from luxury resorts to modest, you can find the right space for your needs. Options include:
- Hotels & Resorts
- Adults Only
- All-Inclusive Resorts
- Camping & Glamping
- European Plan (accommodations only are included)
- Family Resorts
- Golf Resorts
- Group Resorts & Hotels
- Luxury Hotels & Resorts
- Pet Friendly
- Private Residences
- Resorts & Hotels With Swimmable Beaches
Where the Celebrities Stay
Since the 40s and 50s Cabo has been an attraction for for A-list celebrities. With quick (private plane) access from the Los Angeles area celebrities often stay at the many high end luxury resorts and private villas throughout the Los Cabos areas. Some of the resorts where celebrities can often be spotted lounging by the pool or walking through the lobby include One&Only Palmilla, Esperanza, Chileno Bay, Waldorf Astoria, Zadun, a Ritz Carlton Reserve, El Dorado Golf & Beach Club, The Spa at Las Ventanas, Casa Dorada, Hotel El Ganzo, Grand Velas Los Cabos.
The Real Housewives Of Orange County stayed at the Casa Dorado Resort and Spa where their visit was featured during an RHOC episode in January 2022.
Things to Do in Los Cabos
Los Cabos is filled with activities for everybody. Activities include:
- Water Activities & Tours
- Catamaran & Boat Tours
- Hydrofoil ebikes
- Jet Ski
- Kayak & Paddleboarding
- Scuba Diving
- Sport Fishing
- Sunset Cruise
- Surfing/Surf Lessons
- Swim with Dolphins or Whale Sharks
- Whale Watching
- Arts & Culture
- AV Tequila Experience & Art Gallery
- Ave Fenix Gallery
- Galeria de Arte Bascón
- Gabinete del Barco Exhibition
- Ginocchio Gallery
- Mission San Jose del Cabo
- Muvezi Galeria de Esculturas
- San Jose del Cabo Art District
- Cabo Pulmo
- Rancho la Trinidad
- San Jose del Cabo
- The Arch of Cabo San Lucas
- Todos Santos
- Acapulquito Beach
- Chileno Beach
- El Corsario Beach
- El Surgidero Beach
- Hacienda Beach
- La Gaviota Beach
- La Ribera Beach
- Las Viudas Beach
- Medano Breathless Beach
- Medano Casa Dorada beach
- Medano Club Cascadas de Baja Beach
- Medano ME Cabo Beach
- Fishing & Charters
- Golf & Tennis
- Nightlife & Clubs
- Outdoor Adventures
- ATV & Offroading
- Bungee Jumping
- Camel Ride Tours
- Horseback Riding
- Mountain Biking
- Luxury Avenue
- El Merkado
- Koral Center
- Plaza Amelia Wilkes
- Plaza Artesanos
- Plaze del Pescador
- Plaza Novva
- Plaza Pioneros
- Plaza Puerto Paraíso
- Santa Terra
- The Shoppes at Palmilla
- Spas & Wellness
- Things to do with Kids
It is easy to assume that a vacation resort area so close to the United States would have similar features, but that is never a safe assumption to make about overseas travel, even so close to home. You may find the water coming out of the tap is not something the locals drink; it is smart to ask about such issues before traveling. When you arrive at the airport as an international traveler to any overseas location, you may be a target for scammers who prey upon those coming out of customs.
Do not accept a ride or gifts from a stranger you meet at the airport, on the beach, or anywhere else at your final destination. You may find an offer of “free drinks” to be a bait and switch, for example with a demand to pay just as you are trying to leave.
An offer of a discounted or unmarked “taxi” ride from the airport could result in you being taken to the middle of nowhere until you pay a bribe. These are not travel scams unique to any one destination, but common among many tourist destinations abroad.
Always deny the free offer, and do not accept rides from random strangers in the airport. Instead, ask a customs agent or a uniformed employee of the airport where the taxi stand is and how to navigate it. It is true that Uber functions in Los Cabos, but until you are comfortable navigating the local area it may be best to avoid ride sharing. Travelers who do not speak the local language are often targets for scammers. It is a very good idea to learn how to get around without relying on English only.
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Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.