Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

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Cabo San Lucas, or simply called Cabo, is a resort city on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Cabo is rated as one of Mexico's top 5 tourist destinations.

Cabo San Lucas is a smallish town framed on the west by the dramatic Lands' End rock formations. To the north of Cabo lies the arid desert of the Baja Peninsula. The east is populated with mega-hotels that line the Playa El Medano beachfront.

It is important to know that Cabo San Lucas and nearby San Jose del Cabo are collectively known as Los Cabos. These two different towns comprise the Los Cabos Corridor, a heavily trafficked vacation destination for tourists.

Smaller than Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo is the political seat of Los Cabos. San Jose has charm along with cobblestone streets. San Jose is designated as the "Old Town" and is near the airport (SJD). The primary draws to San Jose are its ocean views and sandy beaches.

Cabo San Lucas is designated the "Main Town," which is 20 miles from the airport and is the favorite of tourists who head to Los Cabos. As a larger city, Cabo is easier to access and has its share of ocean views, including Land's End and Arco rock formations. 

"The Corridor" is the highway that connects San Jose and Cabo San Lucas. This highway is lined with golf courses, condos, and resorts.

Check out these excursions in Cabo San Lucas.

Weather:

Summers in Cabo San Lucas are hot, oppressive, and cloudy. Winters are more comfortable, dry, and partly cloudy. Temperatures throughout the year vary from 61 degrees F to 91 degrees F. The temperatures seldom dip below 56 degrees F or get above 96 degrees F. The time from early November to mid-June is the best time to visit Cabo San Lucas to take advantage of outdoor activities when the weather is more pleasant.

Currency:

The Mexican peso is Cabo’s official currency. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. At this writing (January 2022), one U.S. dollar equals 20.4 pesos. It is best to convert your cash to pesos as the return exchange rate can be unfavorable. Even if you pay in U.S. dollars, you will receive change in pesos. Banks in Cabo will have regular banking hours but will only exchange U.S. dollars for pesos between 9 a.m., and 1 p.m. Traveler’s checks will have a lower exchange rate. There is usually no charge for commissions on money exchanges. U.S. dollars can also be exchanged at a Casa de Cambio, a money exchange house, but these establishments have lower exchange rates. Banks, ATMs, or using your credit card are best to get a higher exchange rate in Cabo.

Wireless Internet:

WiFi connections in Cabo are usually stable. The government of Mexico has designated free WiFi spots in Cabo, but those tend to be farther away from the city center. Nearly all hotels and many restaurants and cafes have free Internet. It is mainly offered through the national telephone service provider Telmex. If you see signs with the logo “infinitum,” those are indicators of the service. The speed and bandwidth are comparable to the United States. Check with your provider to make sure you can roam for free on the Telmex networks.

Languages:

Spanish is the national language of Mexico, and it is spoken in Cabo San Lucas. That being said, English is also commonly spoken in Cabo because of its popularity with tourists.

Where You Dock in Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Cabo San Lucas has no cruise pier. All ships must anchor a short distance offshore in Cabo San Lucas Bay and then the ship will tender passengers to the port. The trip ashore can take about 10 minutes, so you will need to factor this into the time you will need to return from shore. 

cruise ship in background with tender boats in foreground

 

Passengers are dropped off at the Tender Pier located at the Cabo Marina. It is about a 15-minute waterfront walk to the heart of Cabo San Lucas, although there are a number of amenities right when at the pier such as restaurants and bars (including Senor Frog’s),  a pharmacy, ATM, washrooms, souvenir shops, including the Marina Mercado, an arts and crafts market.

Getting Around Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Walking: The walk from the pier where passengers are dropped off to the main area of town is about 15 minutes and is an easy walk. The downtown area has a variety of shopping and restaurants. However, it is good to know that you can’t walk between Cabo and San Jose del Cabo because of the distance.

Water Taxi: Water taxis will transport you to Cabo’s top beaches from the marina. Water taxis cluster near the downtown marina. The taxis are not metered, but the rates are usually reasonable and start about $15 (as of January 2022) U.S. one-way.

Taxi: Taxis are plentiful in Cabo, and although it is a short walk to the center of town, the heat may be too oppressive to allow you to do so. Taxis are mainly of the sedan type and line up at the marina. Taxis fares tend to be on the steep side.

Car: You can rent a car in Cabo, and if you plan on being in the area for a while, it might prove less expensive than a taxi. Alamo is one of the car rental companies in Cabo. You will also find Hertz, Avis, and Budget. While the car rental may be reasonable, Mexico’s notorious mandatory insurance can be steep. You will need a driver’s license and passport, and a major credit card. Here are some of the other car rentals in Cabo:

National (877-567-3572 or 624-142-2424), 

Budget (U.S. 800-801-0365 or Mexico 800-002-8343) and

Alamo (U.S. 866-365-3530, Mexico 800-821-6522 or 624-143-6060).

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road in Mexico.

Shopping In Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Puerto Paraiso Shopping Mall
Blvd. Lazaro Cardenas 1501
624.144.3000
http://www.puertoparaiso.mx/index.html

Cabo’s large Marina-based mall is on multiple levels with an excellent variety of shopping. Puerto Paraiso has arts and crafts galleries that offer handmade Mexican goods. There are a large number of clothing boutiques that carry swimwear and resort-style clothing. 

Ruth’s Chris and other marina-facing restaurants are available, along with a food court on the mezzanine level. The mall includes a 10-theater cinema. There is also an onsite bank branch, an ATM, and a money changing station.

Plaza Gali
Marina Boulevard
624.143.1600

This is the closest plaza to the pier where cruise passengers are dropped off. All types of shops that are found in downtown Cabo are also found here. There are jewelry stores, arts and crafts, pharmacies, sunglasses, boutiques, and duty-free shops.

Fiesta Mexicana specializes in touristy items like t-shirts and sombreros. You will find a Starbucks coffee kiosk and Senor Frog’s bar and grill. The Mexican equivalent to 7 – 11 is called OXXO, where you can get cold drinks and snacks. It is also located in Plaza Gali.

J & J Habanos:
Calle Madero
624.143.60160
http://jnjcabo.com.mx/

J & J’s is the most reliable place in Los Cabos to buy Cuban cigars. You will be able to purchase genuine stogies, singly or by the box, from premier Cuban producers. Montecristo, Cohiba, and Romeo y Julieta are among the available cigars. J & J also boasts one of the largest premium 100% blue agave tequilas collections.

Plaza San Lucas:
Carretera Transpeninsular
624.144.7246

You may have left home to get away from these types of stores, but if you need something of the familiar, head to the Plaza San Lucas and the home of Walmart. You will find La Europea, a well-stocked deli and wine and liquor store inside the Walmart. This shopping center has a GNC (General Nutrition Center), numerous clothing stores, and boutiques.

Pepita’s Magic Of The Moon:
Calle Madero
624.143.3161

Many feel that this is Los Cabo’s best designer boutique. Pepitas offer original custom creations. Beachwear and lingerie, along with skirts, slacks, formal dresses, and everything in between, are on offer at Pepitas.

Luxury Avenue:
Cabo San Lucas marina
624.163.4280

Luxury Avenue is a high-end boutique situated on the Cabo Marina. You will find Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, Longchamp, Montblanc, and Victoria’s Secret offerings. You will also find Lacoste, Ultrafemme, and Ultrajewels at Luxury Avenue.

Dining In Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Along Cabos’ main corridor, you will find several stores that offer tequila tastings. Restaurants are numerous in Cabo and serve Mexican food that appeals to American palates, making it easy to find tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. 

Seafood is also plentiful, with ceviche and grilled wahoo being popular items. You will also find smoothies and beach restaurants that serve sushi. Not surprisingly, Margaritas are the Queen of Cabo.

Dress code: Cabo is very casual. You will see shorts and flip-flops everywhere, even at night. A few high-end restaurants like Passions or Mandela have dress codes, so if you are going to one of those, check with the restaurant beforehand.

Tipping: Tipping in Cabo San Lucas is expected, especially when good service is provided. The average tip is 10% – 20% of the total bill.

Here are some of the restaurants that you will find in Cabo:

The Crazy Lobster: The menu features lobster tacos, shrimp, ribs, burgers, and more. Located a 10 minute walk from the pier.

Panchos Restaurant & Tequila Bar: This bar is owned by ex-pats from California. A mesquite grill in the center of the restaurant provides dishes such as chicken mole, carne asada, and fresh seafood. Located a short 10 minute walk from the pier.

El Coral: The oldest restaurant in Cabo, they serve Mexican dishes and seafood. Located a 9 minute walk from the pier.

La Casa Country: Mexican food is served, along with the best fajitas in town with a line dancing show thrown in to boot. Located 1.2 kms from the pier (15-20 minute walk)

Nicksan: The sushi bar has some of the freshest sushi in the area. Ask the chef what is best on the night you visit. Located a quick 8 minute walk from the pier.

 

Things To Do in Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Scuba diving, snorkeling, and watersports are popular in Cabo, as are the beaches. See the natural beauty of Los Cabos by hiking up to Mount Solmar or zip-lining through the jungle. If you want to stay on dry land, you can take a camel ride through the Mexican desert.

El Medano Beach is a quick water taxi ride from the marina. Here you will find plenty of activities like swimming, jet-ski rentals, kayaking, and water skiing. Parasailing, banana boating, and volleyball are also available.

El Medano beach with people, boats and jet skis
El Medano Beach

Chileno Beach, also called Playa Chileno, is located about a 20 minute drive from the pier, and offers calm waters that are perfect for snorkeling. You will also find restrooms here, and shade palapas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

calm water of Chileno Beach with a few people laying in the sand

Playa del Amor (Lovers Beach) fronts both the bay and the Seas of Cortez and is tucked between rock formations. You will need a water taxi to take you to this area. There are no facilities, so you will need to bring your own provisions. Wear water shoes as this area has some sharp stretches of rock.

Large rock formations at Lovers Beach in the background with white sand in the foreground

Whale Watching: From mid-December until mid-April, there are a variety of whales, grays, blues, and humpbacks that visit the waters off Cabo. Many tour operators will offer several-hour tours that are simply amazing.

people in boat off coast of Cabo with a large whale jumping out of the water

El Arco: This is a big rock with a wide arch that has been cut in the rock by centuries of tide and water. A glass-bottom boat tour will get you closer, and sea lions may visit you.

El arco rock formation cabo san lucas

Fishing: Cabo San Lucas considers itself the “marlin capital of the world.” You will be able to take full or half-day excursions and try your luck.

3 men on a boat holding a large marlin off the coast of Cabo San Lucas

Golf: Golf is very popular in Cabo and there are at least a half-dozen courses that welcome day visitors. The most famous course is the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol which was designed by famed golfer Jack Nicklaus . This course will give you both ocean and desert views. It has been rated one of the world’s top 100 by Golf Magazine. 

golf hole at Ocean Course at Cabo Del Sol

Top Tours & Excursions In Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

Off Road Quad Runners Your professional guide will lead you by ATV through 100 acres of Cabo coast line and desert, including up mountains, canyons, riverbeds and to the beach along the Sea of Cortez. Ride single or double....

Duration: 4 hours Activity Level: Medium Note: Must have valid driver's licence to drive.

Surfing Lessons at Costa Azul Only a 5 minute walk from the pier, experience surfing at one of the best spots in Mexico - the Costa Azul. Begin your lesson on the beach learning surfing basics, then your expert trainer will help you in the water to put your learning into practice....

Duration: 4 hours Activity Level: High Food: Snack and beverage included

Cabo Gold Coast Cruise & Snorkel This half day guided tour starts with a  cruise along the Golden Coast of the Sea of Cortez which takes you to the Chileno Reef, known for its excellent snorkeling. Enjoy Cabo sights like the famous Arch,  all while sipping on a cold drink from the spacious boat....

Duration: 4 Hours Activity Level: Medium Food: Lunch and open bar included Tour Includes: Snorkel gear and life vests