Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas and the Cabo Corridor usually attract beach enthusiasts, golfers, divers and surfers to sample the wide variety of excellent offerings. Once those visitors sample the delights Cabo offers, they commonly return again and again. Careful planning and research will pay big dividends.

This jewel at the extreme Southern edge of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur is one of Mexico’s premier tourist destinations. Great weather guarantees nearly every day will be ideal for beachcombing, surfing, wind sailing, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing.

A true Tropical Desert, Cabo only receives about 7 inches of rainfall each year, and nearly every day is a sunny one. Low humidity and cool ocean breezes complete the picture of a perfect holiday spot.

The Spanish name Cabo San Lucas is translated into English as Cape Saint Luke, and is familiarly called Cabo in both languages. Along with the town of San José del Cabo, the two are known as Los Cabos.

Cabo’s History

The tranquil bay that is now called Cabo was discovered by Herman Cortes in 1535. Although the area had been inhabited by native peoples for time out of mind, Cortes promptly named it Santa Cruz and claimed it for Spain.

The area was a favorite bolt hole for English and Dutch pirates preying on the Spanish shipping lanes from Luzon in the Philippines to Acapulco, Mexico. Cabo played host to these buccaneers, providing probably the first vacationer hostels, restaurants and bars that foretold its future as a tourist mecca.

It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that Cabo became the hot spot it is now. When the transpeninsular highway was finished in 1974, the Peninsula to Middle America became an easy way for visitors to find the delights of Cabo. Los Cabos International Airport expanded in 1986, the world found its way to the fabled beaches.

Beach in Cabo San Lucas

© Kirt Edblom - Beach in Cabo San Lucas

Attractions

Outdoor sports and leisure activities define Cabo. Sunshine, pristine beaches and crystalline water greet the visitor each day. The rugged cliffs and nearby mountains are perfect foils for photographers, hikers, bikers and high divers. For those who prefer to enjoy the sea, there is world-class sportfishing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Ocean swimmers need to avoid the Pacific side as it is too dangerous.

Cabo San Lucas Fishing Boats

© Clifton Beard - Fishing Boats in Cabo San Lucas

There are private sailing cruises, snorkeling adventures and up-close interactions with marine life for the entire family. Cabo is home to a sports fishing fleet and huge cruise ships as well as smaller specialty yacht tours. Whale watching adventures and dolphin training activities are always popular.

Not that other sports enthusiasts are left out of the fun. Golfers will find some of the best golf courses anywhere. There are five Nicklaus courses, two Norman-Fazio courses, and others from Palmer, Trent-ones, Weiskopf and Dye. Jack Nicklaus named Los Cabos as “the best piece of golf real estate in the world”.

Cabo San Lucas Golf Course

© Jeff Shewan - Cabo San Lucas, Palmilla Golf Course

There are first-class art, history and natural museums to tour. The Wild Canyon Adventure theme park will delight children and parents alike. Off-road ATV tours give riders a thrilling trip through the surrounding hills and mountains.

Shopping is an athletic event in Cabo with shops curving around the harbor side. There is a lively nightlife scene in Cabo for the young and young-at-heart. No matter what their interest, Cabo will probably have dozens of amazing and unforgettable offerings for any visitor.

Bar in Cabo San Lucas

© Philip Bouchard - Bar in Cabo San Lucas

Traveling to and Around the Cape

Cabo is served by the Aeropuerto Internacional de San José del Cabo (SJD). There are nonstop flights to Cabo from many American cities, providing quick and easy access to this hot vacation spot.

Flights are about two hours from Southern California and Arizona. Those who are flying from New York City must change planes in Mexico City to continue to Cabo. The airport has facilities for car rentals and offers shuttles to area hotels and resorts.

 

Cabo San Lucas Airport

© Ricreig - Cabo San Lucas Airport

 

Cabo’s Beaches

No beach on the Pacific side of Cabo is swimmable. The Bay side of the area is the safest and most pleasant for dipping into the water. Some beaches can only be accessed by boat; others require hikes and climbing through the hills.

Lover's Beach

© Rémy DUGOUA - Lover's Beach, Cabo San Lucas

The popular Médano Beach is the most swimmable and has many hotels and resorts. Visitors can reach the secluded Lover’s Beach by water taxi, kayak or hiking. Just across the water from Lover’s Beach is Divorce Beach. Las Playitas is a series of small beaches nearby.

Chileno Beach is the favorite spot for swimmers and snorkelers. The waters surrounding it are teeming with tropical fish and the area offers snorkel and diving tours. Sunset Beach is on the Pacific side and is the best place to watch the stunning sunsets.

Cabo San Lucas, Land's End

© David Schroeder - Cabo San Lucas, Land's End

Where to Stay

The bayside of Cabo has many resorts and hotels that cater to those who want a relaxed vacation with plenty of activities. The Pacific side, while offering fewer activities due to the dangerous surf, has in its favor the sounds of the crashing Pacific waves and unmatched sunset views.

No matter what kind of vacation the visitor chooses, there will be a resort or hotel that will be most suitable. Many have all-inclusive packages that include sports, tours and activities for one price. Planning is left to the local experts which makes it easy, fun and less expensive to have an enjoyable trip.

Resort in Cabo San Lucas

© Brent - Resort in Cabo San Lucas

Know Before You Go: Interesting Facts About Cabo

  • The time zone in Cabo is Mountain Time, one hour earlier than Central Time and an hour later than Pacific Time.
  • The legal age for drinking is 18.
  • Contrary to much of Mexico, the crime rate in Cabo is low.
  • Dollars can be changed into Pesos at an ATM, bank or at your hotel. Changing money at a hotel may cost 5 to 10 percent of the exchange. Check the rates of exchange before leaving home. American dollars are welcome nearly anywhere, including for tips for service personnel.
  • MasterCard and Visa credit cards are those most commonly accepted at more than 90 percent of the stores, clubs, restaurants and hotels.
  • Tipping is commonly 10 percent at restaurants. Hotel bellboys are usually tipped from $2 to $5. The daily hotel maid should get at least $5 per day.
  • Taxi cabs are usually a bargain, but they aren’t equipped with meters. Be sure that you reach an agreement with the driver before you get into the cab. Most hotels have their own taxi base.
  • Renting umbrellas and other beach equipment is expensive. Bring your own to save money.
  • Rental cars are readily available from Avis, Hertz and Budget. Taxi trips are more affordable and easier than trying to find one’s way around an unfamiliar place.
  • There are internet hotspots all around the area. Most hotels and many restaurants have this service available for free or for a nominal fee. No matter where they are, people must always be careful not to use a mobile hotspot for financial transactions. Crooks can easily hack into the accounts and access information while sitting nearby.
  • Cellphone use is usually allowed by most American carriers, but the rate per minute may be higher. Those from Canada or elsewhere should check with their carriers for rates.