Los Cabos ( “The Capes”) is a dramatic region of mountains, desert, and sea at the tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. It can be split into three areas: busy Cabo San Lucas on the southwest, the quieter, Mission-influenced San José del Cabo on the Gulf of California, and the 20-mile stretch between them called the Corridor.
The area dazzles with much more the beautiful beaches for which Baja is well known. You can browse art galleries, admire historic Spanish-era architecture, and dine on delicious local fare.
When you do get out to the beach, you will also discover the wildlife: the migrating whales, resident sea lions, and abundant tropical and sportfish you’ll see on boat and snorkel outings.
Enjoy this selection of the very best things to do in Cabo San Lucas and the greater Los Cabos region.
See Land’s End and El Arco
El Arco, an arch in a rock formation carved by wind and water erosion, has come to be the symbol of Cabo. The arch marks Land’s End, the southernmost point of land in the Baja peninsula.
The jade-colored Sea of Cortez splashes on one side of El Arco, and the deep blue Pacific on the other. It’s inaccessible from land, so you reach this natural icon by water taxi, boat, or kayak from Cabo San Lucas.
En route to El Arco, you’re likely to pass sea lions sunning, and in whale season, you catch the broad backs or flukes of migrating whales. If kayaking, be certain you can handle the sometimes strong currents, especially on the Pacific side.
Browse the Art District
Galleries bloom in San Jose del Cabo’s burgeoning Art District, tucked behind Plaza Mijares the Town Square. Browsing in this Art District will entertain you for hours if you are looking for imaginative souvenirs or just good local art.
On Obregon, Morelos, Guerrero, and Comonfort streets, you find a range of colorful works by Mexican artists. Arte Gallery displays Julian Garcia’s nature-themed canvases and his bronze, stone, and steel sculptures.
At Frank Arnold Art, the namesake artist showcases his sculpture and paintings. Patricia Mendoza Art Gallery features contemporary creations by up-and-coming Mexican artists, while Corsica Galeria de Arte’s works are by several artists. Ivan Guaderrama, meanwhile, adds technology to enliven his religious-themed works with sound and special effects.
For lunch, consider Habaneros for Mexican fusion cuisine as well as La Lupita for the specially made tacos.
Sample the Local Food in District 23400
Graze your way through San Jose del Cabo’s exciting District 23400, a gastronomy “zone” in and around the Art District. It features some 22 local food trucks and restaurants offering choices from imaginative street food to fusion cuisine.
This is a great place for lunch and snacks. At El Aguamala, sample a variety of ceviches as well as tacos. La Spezia serves rustic pizza, and at Elotes y Esquites Guasave, try hot corn in a cup topped with chili, sauce, or mayonnaise, a traditional Mexican snack.
Stroll Town Square
To get a flavor for the historic heart of San Jose del Cabo, stroll on Plaza Mijares, also known as Town Square, or the Plaza. Locals meet friends and mingle with visitors in this broad plaza dotted with palm trees and benches.
Two historic buildings anchor the spaces. The San Jose del Cabo Church has two bell towers and a vaulted, beamed ceiling. The site’s first church dates to the 1730s but was destroyed in an uprising. Later buildings on the site suffered hurricane damage but the current church is a restoration from 1940.
A prominent clock tower distinguishes the Palacio Municipal de San Jose del Cabo, aka Town Hall, completed in 1930. During festivals, the area thrums with music. Don’t miss San Jose’s nearby Art District.
Photograph Lover’s Beach
One of the best things to do in Cabo is to see Lover’s Beach, a picturesque, café au lait swath of sand at the base of two rock formations, which you’ll pass en route to El Arco. Water taxis and boat outings transport you to this scenic but tiny beach.
As at El Arco, the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific meet at the beach. Swimming and snorkeling are possible in designated areas, but always be mindful of rough surf.
Some say that the “union” of the bodies of water gave rise to the name “Lover’s Beach”. Another legend has it that, in the 18th century, a local woman rescued a Japanese sailor at the beach, and the two fell in love.
The woman’s father vehemently objected to their union, however, and murdered the sailor. The grief-stricken woman killed herself on the beach, hoping to be reunited with her love in the hereafter. It’s practically guaranteed that you will enjoy a much better experience.
Go Whale Watching
You’ll never forget the powerful sight of a whale breaching, especially if it rockets out of the water within yards of your boat. You have the best chance of spying a humpback and her calf between February and mid-March, prime whale season.
The humpbacks leave the icy waters of Alaska and the Bering Sea for Cabo’s relatively shallow, warm waters to birth and nurse their young. The first arrive by mid-December and start their return journey by mid-April.
For your outing, you can choose between a Zodiac-like inflatable boat holding ten people or a larger vessel that seats 25 or more. The inflatables up the thrills by putting you at eyeball level to the behemoths, while maintaining a respectful distance, as these are wild animals.
From the bigger boats, which are steadier in the water, you look down at the whales. Either way, seeing the 40-foot humpbacks while whale-watching in Mexico will amaze you. Many boats place hydrophones in the water so you can hear the whales click and sing.
Swim at Chileno Beach
In a prime setting on the Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, Chileno’s calm blue waters invite swimmers. Its Blue Flag award makes swimming here one of the best things to do in Cabo.
Attaining the international eco-certification means that the water and the sand meet high standards for cleanliness, safety, and other criteria. Take your snorkel and mask; the underwater life here is dazzling, with parrotfish feeding on the coral and angelfish gliding gracefully around the rocks.
For lunch, go local by trying the seafood at Pata Saladain in El Tezal, a nearby neighborhood 100 feet above sea level. At the restaurant, savor the food while taking in the wonderful views of Land’s End.
Swim, Tan & Eat at Medano Beach
Playa El Medano begins east of Los Cabos Harbor and stretches two miles along the Bahia San Lucas. The crescent beach’s calm bay waters and easy access from downtown make it one of the best beaches in Cabo San Lucas, popular with both locals and tourists.
There’s plenty of water fun available. Rent boogie boards, jet skis, kayaks, and other water toys. You can’t miss the vendors selling banana boat rides and parasailing.
Arrive early to secure a table at The Office on the Beach, known for its lobster omelets at breakfast, and for chicken, shrimp, and steak tacos and burritos at lunch. Mango Deck attracts a lively crowd for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Cruise the Coast
Cruising along the coast is certainly one of the best things to do while you’re in the Cabo area. From a boat, the gnarled rock formations and scenic beaches that Mexico is known for unfold before you.
With the wind in your hair, sail past pretty Lover’s Beach, and Divorce Beach, on the rocks on the other side of Lover’s Beach.
You will also spot the sea through the distinctive El Arco, and the spire of Pelican Rock, among other shapes that fire the imagination. The rocks and sands turn coral in the sun, and the blue waves send plumes of white spray crashing against the shore.
Keep an eye out for pelicans and pods of dolphins. From mid-December through March you might also see humpback and gray whales, here to give birth in the warm winter waters.
Hooking a really big fish is certainly one of the best things to do in Los Cabos, known as the “marlin capital of the world”. The nutrient-rich waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California attract an abundance of striped, blue, and black marlin, as well as tuna, wahoo, and sailfish.
In October, Los Cabos hosts Bisbee’s Black and Blue Tournament, a marlin competition with the most prize money in the world.
A variety of outfitters offer half and full-day trips for enthusiasts and novices. Crews teach you how to pitch bait to lure your fish and help you win the forceful tug of war to hopefully land the really big one. It’s certainly one of the most fun things you can do in Cabo.
Take a Cooking & Dance Class
It’s no wonder that “salsa”, the piquant condiment, and “salsa”, the dance, are related. Dip into both by learning about their hot sauciness at a cooking and dance class.
You’ll be entertained by a pair of salsa-dancing chefs who will show you how to make different salsas. These range from spicy red to tangy green, as well as guacamole, the delicious, avocado-based dip.
All these can be enjoyed with taquitos, fresh chips, and cheese quesadillas. Fresh strawberry and lime margaritas get the party mood going as you segue from cooking to perfecting your moves on the dance floor.
Explore Todos Santos
With a spectacular desert-meets-the-mountains locale and a village feel, Todos Santos is charming; so much so that Mexico officially designated it a Pueblo Magico (“Magic Town”) in 2006. A day here is one of the top things to do in Cabo.
Sitting at the base of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, about 50 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, its Spanish-era architecture is the base of a decades-old attraction as a laid-back place for artists and artisans. Every February, Todos Santos hosts an arts festival.
Some Todos Santos shops sell typical, fun Mexican souvenirs. You will find painted pottery, punched tin mirrors, hammocks, and woven bags. However, that’s not why you come here; you’re better off exploring the galleries and boutiques offering more imaginative choices.
Browse Mangos for colorful shawls, table linens, and other textiles from Mexico and South America. At Galeria Logan, Jill Logan presents her vivid landscapes and abstract paintings, while Galeria de Todos Santos showcases works by Mexican and American artists.
Allow time for lunch at Jazamango, a farm-to-table, open-air restaurant by noted Mexican chef Javier Plascencia. The restaurant serves salads, pizza, including a pie with spicy shrimp, fish, and octopus, plus a range of entrees from braised beef ribs to smoked catch of the day.
Explore the Desert on a UTV
Explore Cabos’ deserts and mountains by going off-road in a utility terrain vehicle (UTV). You drive through the striking Baja California landscape of dry river beds, cacti and scrub brush desert to a beach overlook where the mountains plunge into the metallic blue sea.
Before you set off, complete your motorized cowboy look with a bandana across your mouth and nose. It’s dusty in the desert. You can salute yourself and fellow riders with a tequila tasting at the end of the outing.
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