The Ultimate Guide to Cabo San Lucas México
When I was looking for a beach vacation from LA that didn’t require a long flight and layovers, I considered Cabo right away. I had been there twice before more than a decade ago but this third time would be a time I’ll never forget. I didn’t remember too much, as I only went for the weekend, but I remembered how beautiful it was, and how easy it was to get to. If you’re looking to plan your next beach vacation for the year, full of sun, activities, and a great social scene, then let me tell you everything there is to know about Cabo San Lucas and why it should top your list.
For those of you travelling to México for the first time, let me assure you that despite all the negative media attention and what Tomi Lahren says, it is a very safe country for tourists. Mexicans are very friendly people and they’re welcoming towards visitors. Tourism is a major factor for the economy.
If you stay in the resorts and touristy areas, then you’ll be fine as the locals don’t really come in those areas and they are closely watched by security and federal police. The violence is mainly gang and cartel related, and they target one another, they don’t target tourists. I felt safe walking around Cabo day and night as honestly, Hollywood Blvd or downtown LA would scare me more. There is crime everywhere, you just must be smart. Anyways, here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting gorgeous Cabo San Lucas.
Firstly, upon arrival you’ll have your passport stamp. Standard procedure I know, but in México you will also be given a small tear off slip from the immigration form you filled out. DO NOT LOSE THIS! When you leave, you’ll be asked for the slip, and if you don’t have it, you’ll be fined. Yikes. I just kept it in my passport, but make sure you leave it somewhere you know is safe and won’t get lost.
When walking through the airport, do not stop for anyone. The timeshare people are on point here and will do anything to get you signed up for a tour, and that means offering you free cabs, breakfasts, and tours. It’s not worth your time and headache unless you are really on the market for a timeshare. Just keep walking until the exit. Trust me.
There is one booth where you pay for transport. Go there and exit. While waiting for your shuttle or cab, you can stop at the cute new bar outside the airport. This will be the start of your amazing vacation.
Secondly, the Mexican currency is pesos, not dollars. For some reason, a lot of tourists think that tourist areas will accept dollars. Some do, and I felt like they liked having dollars more than pesos, but they may jack up the return so be careful and check online what the exchange rate is and then negotiate it. I would for sure have pesos on you as well, as some places just will not take dollars. Your credit card will work at most places as well. We exchanged our dollars for pesos at the airport before coming, but you can also do it at your local bank before leaving for a better rate.
Thirdly, and sort of a funny one, the official language of México is Spanish. (obviously) The Spanish word for women is “mujeres.” So, gents, if you’re looking for the little boys’ room, don’t go into the door marked with an M! It’s the women’s restroom! Instead find the door marked H for hombres or C for caballeros.
Now for those of you that don’t know (I certainly didn’t) Los Cabos is made up of two towns: San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. I decided to go in the middle of the two, but more towards Cabo San Lucas because I was absolutely captivated by the photos of the beaches I saw on Google. Seriously, go look. And that doesn’t even give you the full experience of seeing it in person. Cabo San Lucas is the more touristy area with all the clubs and most of the hotels. It’s a younger crowd. If you are looking to just relax in a resort then San Jose Del Cabo may be better for you.
The Sheraton Grand Los Cabos is where my boyfriend and I stayed for my birthday in April, and I’m so happy we chose this hotel. There are so many to choose from, but I really feel like we hit the jackpot with this one! It’s 30 minutes from the airport, and about 10 minutes from town. We took a shared shuttle from the airport because it’s much cheaper than a cab, and we ended up being the first stop on the shuttle so it’s totally worth it. I think the shuttle was around 27 USD per person, whereas a private was going to charge us 85 USD. So, I would recommend the shared shuttle as you will be the first or second stop. Uber operates in Cabo and we used this for every trip minus from the airport, as Uber is not yet allowed to pick people up from the airport, but they can take you to the airport for much cheaper than a cab will, so download the Uber app beforehand. It’s cheap and safe.
Now, back to The Sheraton Grand Los Cabos. It was such a stunning beach front property. The colors of the buildings are beautiful tones of red, golden, and yellow with the traditional Mexican hacienda architecture. The grounds are superbly maintained with the landscaping looking pristine and well kept. It looks very luxurious. I have been to many Sheratons in my life, but this one was special and really screamed luxury. We had an amazing ocean and pool view room which I highly recommend. The room was very big, as was the bathroom. The maids did a great job and our first day, there was even a sculpture of The Arches made out of chocolate for us. I thought this was a very sweet and thoughtful detail.
The pool area hosts a great infinity pool, and multiple other side pools that are nice to lounge at. There are 5 pools in total. There is a huge bar in the middle by the pool you can order food and drinks from for cheap, as well as a fine dining restaurant called De Cortez, which was amazing. We also had some awesome and fresh sushi at the sushi bar one night. The Sheraton also does themed dinner nights which is really cool. We did the Mexican fiesta night and had a blast. I must also note the breakfast, because it was the best one I’ve had in ages. It literally had everything you could ever want. I’m all about big buffet breakfasts. I would get it included in your room price to save a little bit as you won’t regret it. It includes Mimosas and bloody Mary’s. One day it even had a fresh oyster bar! Yum! Did I mention it was Easter Sunday while we were there? We had an amazing Easter brunch, there was an egg hunt, and they brought a bunch of the cutest little baby bunnies to play with. I wanted to take one home with me but my boyfriend wasn’t keen on the idea!
Billy and I also went out on the beach in front of the hotel to relax, and it was about as perfect as you could ever imagine. While on the sand, we ordered drinks from the hotel staff and had them set us up with chairs and umbrellas. We relaxed and had some Coronas and got a nice tan. It was quieter there than the pool, and more relaxing, but you will get people walking around selling things. You can buy something cheap and haggle with them or you can pass and tell them “maybe later”. I bought 2 hats and a shark tooth necklace because I like to support the locals, as they do work hard in the heat, walking up and down the beaches with all their stuff. They are all so sweet as well. The property has everything you need, and honestly you wouldn’t have to leave it if you didn’t want to, but we chose to go into town and visit other restaurants nearby which I’ll list later. We did have dinner at De Cortez in the resort, and it was amazing. The oysters were so wonderful and fresh and the scallops were also a perfect choice. So glad we went there. I really was so happy with our stay at The Sheraton Grand. The staff was so lovely and so attentive in customer service.
There is the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas, a rock formation that I’m sure you would recognize from any other travel blog or Instagram feed. Then there is Lovers Beach with it’s beautiful blue waters and soft sands. You can even go snorkeling and have a look at México’s stunning sea life! Playa El Medano is the main beach in Cabo San Lucas and features many different outdoor restaurants and bars. It’s very touristy but there is loads to do there. If you need a boat to The Arch’s then I would just walk around the marina and find someone and haggle a price with them. There are men all over looking for people to take in their boats. You can get them cheap out there.
And speaking of the restaurants, let me just tell you how unreal authentic Mexican cuisine is. Because of its proximity to the ocean, most of Cabo San Lucas traditional fair features a variety of seafood. If you’ve ever heard of Baja fish tacos, those come from the same region! Cabo is in the Baja California peninsula, so that is where the name comes from. You must try the fish tacos. They are to die for. Another favorite local dish is Chocolate Clams or almejas chocolatas in Spanish. Might sound a bit strange, but those clams were probably the best I’ve ever had. Locals cook them on hot stone beds and cover them in romerito, an herb that grows all over the Baja region. Delicioso! Solomon’s Landing is one of my favorite spots, we ate in the marina for Baja fish tacos so try to go there, it’s also inexpensive and has cheap margaritas that are huge! Captain Tony’s is also an iconic spot right next to Solomon’s, but it’s more for the seafood lover. They also have a thing where you can literally bring in a fish you caught, and have them cook it for you! Also have the Class Azul Tequila. It’s one of the best in Mexico and the bottles are so cool looking.
The nightlife in Cabo San Lucas is incredible. You could party in the beach bars or cantinas by the sea, but the dance clubs in the downtown district are where it’s really at. The Nowhere Bar and El Squid Roe have become landmark icons of Cabo San Lucas, and it was some of the most vibrant, contagious, and just downright outrageous party scene I had ever been to in the area, but it was so much fun. The club has not one, not two, but three stories of dance floors and tequila filled spray tanks. It’s very young and college spring break vibes, but honestly, it’s still a good time and fun for at least one night.
If you want a more sophisticated vibe for dinner and drinks then I would highly recommend El Fallaron. It’s a stunning venue with even more stunning views. It’s a great spot to go and be seen by the Cabo Elite and get great photos for the gram. It’s pricier but very good. If you are looking for another place with amazing views to share a romantic meal then Sunset Mona Lisa is perfect. It has views of the arches and is just downright beautiful! Mi Casa is a bit cheaper on the tab and fun and offers a real authentic Mexican vibe. The Office is a must visit spot for a nice lunch on the beach. It’s a cute and casual spot to sip on a few Modelos and enjoy listening to the waves from the sea. Sur beach lounge is also a cool spot for younger people to have cocktails on the beach and some food. If you are looking for a charming place and a great colorful IG photo then Edith’s is the place to visit! You will get amazing seafood with all sorts of flavors from the Baja region. Flora Farms is another must visit that we missed and I’m still gutted about it. It has local farmed foods and there is so much land with many different culinary options. You can also take a cooking class here or shop at the very cute rustic market on the property. This is the perfect rustic chic get away. I would absolutely stop here. My boyfriend and I went to Toro and it was so good. The decor and fountains outside are stunning! The food and drinks were amazing and highly recommended.
Just remember the little tip I told you above about the bathroom signs as my boyfriend went into the “M” posted bathroom in this restaurant and was shocked when there were ladies in there. Poor thing had a real embarrassing moment, he was lucky the older ladies thought he was very handsome and so they just laughed.
There are so many cool activities to do in Cabo. The main thing you should do, is visit the Arches like I said before. There are cool beaches there and the rocks make a great backdrop for a photo.
My Boyfriend and I chose to go shark diving with Cabo Shark Dives and it was cool. It was a bit pricey at 200 USD per person but he enjoyed it. I couldn’t get in the water because the waves were insane and I’m not a strong swimmer so I felt the price was a bit steep, as I thought because they told me not to go in for safety reasons, I should at least get some type of discount, but apparently, they don’t offer discounts. They also don’t offer you a refund if you don’t see sharks so I’m not sure how I feel about this tour. I hate being negative, but I also value the trust of my readers and will never recommend something if I didn’t mean it. I suppose if you are ok with spending the money and taking the risk of not seeing sharks then go for it. My boyfriend did see two Mako sharks and got some cool photos so for him it was well worth it. We did have a sea lion jump on our boat a few times, so that was cool! We even got to feed him while he straggled along on the boat for a few mins.
Other activities that are fun include a sunset cruise, but opt for a smaller one and not the huge yachts that they cram as many people as possibly on, as these are just not fun. Horseback riding can be a romantic activity if your man is into it and you aren’t afraid of horses. You can go parasailing, although I’ve heard horror stories of the safety doing this in Mexico so I wouldn’t do it unless you find a company that has great reviews and no incidents. I did this in Hawaii where I felt much safer, and so I had no desire to do it in Mexico, but again, I’ve also had friends do it and have an amazing time! The Sea of Cortez has some of the most amazing sea creatures, so snorkeling is fantastic here, and if you come from December to April when the whales are migrating you may very well see some whales swimming.
The next time I visit Cabo, I think I will go to La Paz and do the swimming with Whale Shark tour, as I’ve heard great things about it and the photos look so awesome! I know whale shark sounds scary, but don’t worry, they don’t eat meat. Haha. Now back to snorkeling, if you do snorkel or any other activity that requires you to get in the water then I very much recommend you bring sunscreen that is biodegradable so you don’t jeopardize the sea life. The Sea of Cortez is really protected by the Mexican government and it really boasts so much beauty and so many creatures, some endangered, so let’s protect them as much as possible.
If you’re looking to get out of the beach areas and want to explore other parts of Baja then there are cool activities like 4x4s, jeeps, ATVs in the desert, a camel and outback safari that makes you feel like you’re in Dubai or Morocco, and a city tour of the charming and historic La Paz, which I mentioned earlier is where you can do the whale shark diving. There is also a beautiful Santo Island expedition. Again, there is so much good diving here all around the area in the Sea of Cortez. The sea life is so vibrant and unique.
One HUGE thing that I didn’t mention above. There are MAJOR rip currents in Cabo and most of the hotel beaches are there for relaxing, not swimming. You can swim at your own risk, but I would not recommend. There are signs posted at most beaches saying to not swim and they warn you of the risks and how dangerous it is even for very strong swimmers. My boyfriend is a very strong swimmer and he even was knocked down a few times. There are more drownings in Mexico than many other parts of the world, so let this be a warning. I won’t even tell you the statistics. Just please take my advice. Medano beach is the one beach you can safely enter the water without much risk, but it is very crowded, especially when cruise ships come in. forget about it. It becomes a zoo and is not at all pleasurable. So, I would avoid Medano beach when cruise ships come in, or take hiding in the beach bars like Billy and I did. That being said, the hotel pools are made to be exquisite for that very reason. Enjoy them. The infinity at The Sheraton was epic. I got such dope photos from their pools.
The last tip I will give you that you may already know, is do not drink the tap water. Always drink bottled water in Mexico and opt out of ice in your drinks unless the ice is made from filtered water. I recommend also using bottled water to brush your teeth. You can get an upset stomach from drinking tap water so I wouldn’t advise it.
I hope this helps you plan your next visit to Cabo! I really can’t say enough great things about Mexico and Cabo! It’s so beautiful and so convenient from LA, but even the rest of the US. Cabo and Tulum are just gorgeous and truly destinations I will always return to. When you make your visit, you will see why!
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the amazing Piña Coladas and Margaritas!