Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo are two cities that make up area of Los Cabos. Although they might share a coastline, they are very different places. For such a small city, there are numerous fun things to do in Cabo San Lucas to keep you busy.
Found at the tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas is where the desert meets the ocean. It’s a place that no matter where you are, you’re only a block away from the water. This where you can experience numerous outdoor activities, shop ’til you drop, and drink, dance and party all night long!
I visited Cabo San Lucas in February, as one of the first stops on my honeymoon. It was somewhere I added into our plans at the last minute, but this sleepy little town sure blew my mind. We didn’t want to leave at the end of our visit.
If you’re heading to Cabo for the first time, here are the top 21 things to do in Cabo San Lucas that you won’t want to miss during your holiday. (Don’t miss the traveller’s resources at the end of this post!)
1. Take a Whale Watching Cruise (one of the most exciting things to do in Cabo San Lucas!)
The Sea of Cortez is one of the best places in this part of the world to get up close and personal with a mighty humpback whale, and you can jump on a whale watching tour straight out of Cabo San Lucas. Whale watching season can start as early as November, but generally runs from December to April each year.
The waters the surround Cabo are known to be a hotspot for breeding, and are also a migratory stop for humpback whales, so your chances of spotting one of these majestic animals is very high.
We were lucky enough to spot a pod of 4 whales playing with each other and jumping in and out of the water several times. Seeing these whales in the wild is one of the most incredible things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
Book yourself a spot on one of Cabo Adventure’s Whale Watching Cabo Safaris. Starting from $89 USD for an adult (see below), these guys know how to find the whales from the sounds and vibrations of the ocean. Not for the faint of heart, the boats are tiny to ensure minimal disruption to the whales, so you will get wet! The day also includes round trip transportation from your hotel, light snacks and bottled water throughout the day.
2. Take a Swim On Lover’s Beach (Playa del Amor)
Lover’s Beach and Divorce Beach are connected on their own little island along Land’s End. Lover’s Beach looks into the bay, and is a beautifully calm piece of water – perfect for swimming and trying out water sports. On the other side of the island, Divorce Beach has hectic turbulent waves and you are advised against swimming on this side due to the unsafe conditions.
Two beaches that couldn’t be more aptly named.
Lover’s Beach is the perfect place to take a dip and enjoy the warm water of the Sea of Cortez. It’s a good idea to get there early, as the beach can get incredibly busy and crowded during the middle of the day. Many fisherman and boat operators will offer you a return ride across to Lover’s Beach for a small fee (around $10 return). Make sure to negotiate a time for them to come and pick you up.
3. Grab a Cocktail & Watch The Sunset
There’s nothing better than enjoying a sunset with a cocktail in hand and your bare feet in the sand. I especially love beachfront bars, where the floor is made of sand and there’s no dress code.
There are many different bars and restaurants in Cabo San Lucas that line the beach and offer you a beautiful view of the sunset. To get away from the crowds, choose one of the smaller restaurants for friendly staff and super fast service.
Mangos On The Beach is one of the most popular places to eat on the beach, well-known for its craziness and party atmosphere. We decided instead to skip the party and grab a blue cocktail at Omega Sports Bar next door where everyone sits outside. This place has a sandy floor, and cheerful staff who were kind enough to offer us colourful blankets to keep warm when the sunset and the air got a little cooler.
Our dinner for two, including cocktails cost us just 500 pesos at Omega (less than $25USD). Watching sunset with a cocktail is definitely one of the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
4. Jet Skiing, Parasailing & Kayaking at Medano Beach
Medano Beach is the main beach in Cabo San Lucas. It’s within easy walking distance of the centre of town or the marina, and it also offers just about every water sport you could imagine.
Always wanted to try jet skiing? Want to fly high above the land on a parasail? Feel like taking a leisurely kayak to the archway? These adventurous things to do in Cabo San Lucas can all be done at Medano Beach. The beach is also home to many beachfront bars and restaurants, where you can kick back and relax with a drink after a long day of adrenaline pumping activities.
Prices for watersports differ along the beach, so it’s always a good idea to see if you’re able to haggle the prices down a little bit! Kayak and paddleboard rental start from between $25-$30USD for the hour, while jetski hire and parasailing start from around $70USD.
5. Eat Your Weight in Tacos & Guacamole
Eating tacos is definitely on this list of best things to do in Cabo San Lucas. You won’t find tacos or guacamole more fresh or delicious than those in Mexico, and I’ll be honest – Cabo San Lucas is where my love of Mexican food really took off. There are numerous taco fillings, but since Cabo is on the sea, it’s best to choose the fresh seafood tacos. They are tasty!
Just about every place in Cabo San Lucas serves tacos and guacamole, so you’re never far away from your next snack. Pair your tacos with a tequila, and you’ll feel like a local.
We found the best guacamole at Omega Sports Bar on the beach, I definitely think that is where my guacamole addiction began. If you’re around the main town, head straight for Las Guacamayas for some delicious tacos (pictured below). Tacos in Cabo are often around the $1.50-$2USD price mark, so cheap and so delicious.
6. Dance The Night Away at El Squid Roe
Get out of your comfort zone and grab dinner and a drink at El Squid Roe. It’s a crazy combination of a restaurant, bar and live entertainment venue. With cocktails in glasses that reach a metre off the table, throwback music and a sparkly disco ball, this eclectic bar keeps everyone smiling and dancing all night long (even if you’re just dancing in your seat).
El Squid Roe can be found on Lázaro Cárdenas in the centre of Cabo San Lucas. They’re open every night, serving dinner from about 6pm, with regular live entertainment and themed nights. Meal prices are probably a little bit more than you would expect in Mexico – around $9-$20USD for a main meal, depending on your order, and around $4USD for a cocktail – but the portions are very large and the atmosphere can’t be beat.
7. Take a Cruise Around Land’s End
Visiting Land’s End is one of the most popular things to do in Cabo San Lucas. Land’s End (El Arco de Cabo San Lucas) is a famous landmark in Cabo. These natural formations are located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean becomes the Gulf of California. This is one of the top things to do in Cabo San Lucas, and for good reason.
Take a leisurely cruise around Lands End to check out some of the incredible rock forms, including El Arco and Scooby Do Rock.
You will find many companies in the marina selling their tours. They are all around the same price, but some of them will be open to some negotiations. One thing to be aware of though – while you might be chatting and negotiating with someone on the docks who speaks English, they will put you onto a cruise with a helper that does not.
If you’re looking for more of a guided tour and want someone who speaks English make sure you’re clear about this in your negotiations. We paid around $25USD for our tour which cruised us around the bay for about an hour and a half. Each boat operator offers something a little bit different though, so it’s a good idea to compare prices and tour options. For a longer day tour around Los Cabos, click here, or see below.
8. Watch Fisherman In The Marina
One of the most interesting ways to spend the evening is by watching the fisherman come back to the marina after a long day of fishing in the ocean. It actually kind of made me feel like I was a local, and if you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Cabo San Lucas, watching the fisherman is a good start.
At the end of each day, just before the sun sets, the fisherman return to the marina from their day on the water. They then clean and gut their fish on one of the metal benches around the docks. It’s not the easiest task due to the thieving pelicans from above, and the sneaky seals next to them!
9. Take a Day Trip to San Jose del Cabo
The quiet sister to Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo offers a more laid back, authentic vibe to its wild neighbour. This cute little town is about half an hour from Cabo San Lucas, halfway back towards the airport.
As well as its own stunning white sand beaches, San Jose del Cabo offers more of a quiet shopping strip, a beautiful church, delicious restaurant and dining options, and an excellent historic centre. Take a day trip to experience a little more of the Baja Peninsula and the local way of life.
To embark on this day trip you have a couple of options:
- Rent a car from the town centre (or online with Expedia) for a day (approx. $25USD for a one day car rental) and then drive down the Transpeninsular Highway (Hwy 1) which connects Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Consider renting a car as one of the things to do in Cabo San Lucas, the freedom to explore at your own pace is incredible.
- Catch the Subercabos bus service, that runs between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo along the Tourist Corridor. The bus runs every 20 minutes all day, starting at 5:20am in Cabo San Lucas until about 9:30pm, and costs just 25 pesos ($1.20) a ticket.
10. Take a Sunset Sailing Cruise
For an even more incredible sunset experience, take a luxury 50-foot sailboat from the marina. These cruises take you out to the sea, where you can enjoy sparkling wine, specialty cocktails, ice-cold beer and canapés while you watch the sun sink into the horizon.
These cruises last for around two and a half hours, and also offer you a beautiful sunset view of Land’s End – The Los Cabos Arch and Lover’s Beach. Tours start from around $100 USD depending on the company, and can be booked either in advance, or down by the marina in Cabo San Lucas. This is one of the most luxurious things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
11. Swim With Whale Sharks (one of the most memorable things to do in Cabo San Lucas)
There are few things as incredible as swimming with whale sharks! Although these sharks are humongous (18-33 feet or 5.5-10m), these gentle giants are herbivores and will calmly swim around you, before continuing on their journey.
In Cabo San Lucas, whale shark season is between September and April as they make their way through the Sea of Cortez. Swimming with whale sharks is an experience you’ll never forget. It does come at a price though – day trips to La Paz to snorkel with whale sharks start from about $190USD but it’s worth every penny if you ask me. Click here to learn more about ethical whale shark experiences, and click here to book a whale shark tour.
12. Head Out On a Fishing Charter
Cabo San Lucas is one of the most famous places for fishing charters, and if you’re into fishing, this is one of the things to do in Cabo that you won’t want to miss. You can catch many big game fish – marlin, sailfish, tuna, swordfish – just a short way out of the marina.
You’ll need to beat the sun and be up as early as the local fisherman, but they know all the best spots and have no trouble locating the deep-sea fish you’re looking for.
In the marina, each of the boats display different flags with colours and fish pictures, and from these images you can figure out what fish each particular boat fishes for. If you’re hoping to catch a specific species make sure you chat to the fisherman about what types of fish they search for each day.
13. Take an Outback Camel Safari (& Get a Free Tequila Tasting)
For a completely different experience, away from the ocean and sea adventures, explore the Baja Desert from the back of a camel! It’s a side of Cabo San Lucas that not many people think to experience, but an epic voyage nonetheless. Expert guides on your safari will show you the best of the unique Baja Californian culture and the beautiful natural wonders of the Baja desert.
To make it even more of an experience to remember, when you book with Cabo Adventures your day also includes a tequila tasting lesson and a tortilla making lesson – what more could you ask for?! Tours start from $109USD per person and include tequila and beer. Click here to book this Cabo Adventures tour.
14. Take a Shopping Trip to Luxury Avenue
Although Cabo is a sleepy desert town, there’s an epic luxury shopping centre, presumably for their regular celebrity visitors. The main mall is Puerto Paraiso Mall, where you can find souvenirs, trinkets, gifts, beach fashion and accessories. This mall leads right into Luxury Avenue, where you can find high-end designer brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and YSL.
We’re not big shoppers when we’re travelling, but Cabo San Lucas definitely had the best shopping of anywhere we visited in Mexico and is one of the best things to do in Cabo if you’re into that sort of thing.
15. Go Scuba Diving or Snorkelling at Cabo Pulmo
If you prefer to live life a little more under the sea than on land, head to Cabo Pulmo for the ultimate scuba diving or snorkelling experience. Nicknamed the Aquarium of the World, Cabo Pulmo is home to over 300 different species of fish, and is an incredible place to try your hand at playing mermaid for a day and exploring the beautiful sea life. Getting under the water is one of the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas for sure.
Cabo Adventures offers a large variety of snorkelling and scuba diving tours to Cabo Pulmo, and after our amazing whale watching experience with them, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for other tours. Their Cabo Pulmo Snorkelling Expedition starts from $199USD, while their Cabo Pulmo Diving Tour starts from $229USD.
They also offer several other snorkelling and scuba diving adventures at different places around Cabo, starting from $89USD and hitting all different price points. You can check out all of their tours and adventures here.
16. See The Ocean While Helmet Diving
This new trend is sweeping the world, and if you haven’t tried it yet you definitely need to add it to your to-do list. For those of you who aren’t scuba certified, you can still experience the underwater world by walking on the ocean floor. It’s called helmet diving and is a great experience for non-divers.
17. Watch the Seals Jump Around The Marina
There are seals all over Marina Cabo San Lucas. They spend the whole day swimming amongst the parked boats and playing with the birds that are sitting on the water. The best time to see them at their liveliest is at the end of the day when the sun is setting and the fishing boats are returning to the marina. They follow close behind the boats, hoping to grab some easy dinner.
18. Experience The Night Life
Apart from El Squid Roe, we didn’t have heaps of time to explore the night life of Cabo and to be honest, we were on our honeymoon so we weren’t that interested in partying. However, no matter who you chat to they all say the same thing – you can find the best night life at Cabo Wabo Cantina, El Squid Roe, Nowhere Bar and the Giggling Marlin.
19. Learn to Stand Up Paddle Board
Find your strength and learn how to stand up paddle board on a one hour paddle board rental. It’s the ideal activity for a beach holiday, and one you can easily learn with little training – although you do need some upper body strength to get going! If you’re looking to get some exercise, this is one of the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas. You can rent a paddle board from around $25 USD for one hour along the beach.
20. Take Your Own Walking Tour Around Cabo San Lucas
You probably won’t find an organized walking tour around Cabo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take yourself on one! Everything in Cabo is within an easy walking distance of each other. From the beachfront to the marina, the main shopping mall and the side streets, you’re never far away from a new part of town.
Looking for chilled-out things to do in Cabo San Lucas? Take yourself on a walking tour through the main streets and see where you end up. Make sure you take a lot of breaks to try the local food, shop in the markets and Mexican boutiques, and grab a drink out of the sun. It’s always a good idea to avoid the extreme heat of the middle of the day, so I would recommend taking a walk in the morning or late afternoon when the sun has set a little.
21. Stock Up On Tequila
You’re in Mexico – how could you not?! You will find tequila absolutely everywhere in Cabo San Lucas. It’s cheap, it’s good, and most of the time you can get a free tequila tasting. Enjoy the drinks while you’re in Cabo, and take a bottle of tequila home with you.
We loved Cabo San Lucas because it was a world away from everywhere else we visited in Mexico. Where else does the desert lead you right to an ocean with such an abundance of wildlife? If you’re planning to travel Cabo, you won’t be disappointed. And the best part is – so many of things to do in Cabo San Lucas are FREE! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Goats On The Road Recommended Resources
For Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
✓ There are so many adventurous things to do in Cabo San Lucas, and its surroundings. It’s important to make sure you have adequate travel insurance before embarking on any trip, but especially one where you’ll be partaking in outdoor activities. World Nomads covers almost all adventurous activities that you can think of. Click here to get a free quote and learn more about this popular travel insurance.
✓ Renting a car and exploring the Los Cabos coastline, and taking day trips is what backpacking Mexico is all about. Having your own wheels gives you an incredible amount of freedom…you never know what hidden gems you’ll discover. This is one of the top recommended things to do in Cabo San Lucas (and Mexico in general).
We always book our rental cars through Expedia.com as they have great deals and search through numerous companies. But, please note that in Mexico you’ll be charged an additional $15-25/day for mandatory insurance. Click here to check out the latest rental prices on cars in Cabo San Lucas.
✓ If you’re looking to book tours in and around Cabo San Lucas, click here to have a look at the wide variety of trips on offer with Get Your Guide. You can also compare reviews and ratings of various tours on TripAdvisor.
✓ We recommend purchasing eco-friendly products for your stay in Cabo San Lucas. We’re personally trying to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that we use, and encourage you to do the same during your travels.
To avoid purchasing plastic water bottles while in Cabo, consider buying a water bottle with a built-in filter such as LifeStraw or GrayL, or get yourself a Steri-Pen. In terms of utensils, this bamboo set is great for picnics on the beach, while these glass or metal straws are perfect for cocktails, fruit juices or a glass of water. Say no to straws and plastic utensils, bring your own.
✓ There are numerous affordable places to stay in Cabo San Lucas. Goats On The Road uses and recommends Booking.com due to their excellent prices, and cancellation options. We also frequently use Airbnb when we want to book a short-term apartment. Click here to search for accommodation in Cabo on Booking.com, and click here to sign up with Airbnb (you’ll receive a free $35 credit!).
Top Hotels, Hostels & B&B’s in Cabo San Lucas
Ocean Tigers Dive House – rated “Superb” 9.3/10. If you’re looking for a hostel vibe in Cabo, this is a great bet. This accommodation offers dorm beds with 6 beds to a room. There’s a few cool chill-out areas with hammocks and couches, plus a shared communal kitchen. There’s a pool and a BBQ available for guest’s use and breakfast is included. Dorm beds go for around $22/night in the high season. Click here to learn more and book this hostel.
Seven Crown Express & Suites – rated “Very Good” 8.5/10. This property is in an excellent location – a 5 minute walk to the center of Cabo and 1 km from Playa del Amor beach. The rooms here are clean and stylish, plus there’s an outdoor pool and an indoor fitness center. Guests can enjoy free continental breakfast as well. Double rooms go for around $45 in the high season. Click here to learn more and book this hotel.
San Angel Suites – rated “Superb” 9.2/10. The suites here offer incredible value! Each unit is equipped with its own kitchen, which can save you some money on food during your trip to Cabo. Rooms are beautifully designed and beds are comfortable – they’re euro top mattresses. There’s a common area with loungers and a rooftop hot tub. Double occupancy in a studio suite starts at $70 in the high season. Click here to learn more and book this suite.
Cabo Vista Hotel – rated “Superb” 9.3/10. These tastefully decorated suites are another great option in Cabo San Lucas. Suites offer guests a kitchen with fridge and electric hob, air-conditioning and more. Breakfast is included in the room rate. The suites are located in a quieter area, a 20 minute walk to the beach and 5 minute drive to downtown Cabo. The architecture of the building is lovely, and the vines climbing up the building are a nice touch. Suites start at around $70 in the high season. Click here to learn more and book this accommodation.
Villa La Estancia Beach Resort and Spa – rated “Superb” 9.2/10. If you’re after a little luxury during your trip to Cabo San Lucas, then you’ll want to stay here. The suites are exquisite and the grounds are well manicured. In just a 3 minute walk, you’re at a gorgeous beach, while a 10 minute drive will bring you to the center of Cabo. There are numerous styles of rooms here, with some villas having full kitchens. There’s an onsite restaurant, grocery store and a pool for guest’s use. They offer all-inclusive plans, as well as room only. All-inclusive plans start at $300, while just the room is around $200/night. Click here to learn more and book this accommodation.
Breathless Cabo San Lucas All-Inclusive (Adults Only) – rated “Superb” 9.1/10. The location of this place can’t be beat! Set in front of El Medano beach, this adults only resort has a stunning infinity pool and modern, luxury suites. Here you’re just steps from downtown Cabo, including the nightlife and numerous restaurants. One person all-inclusive is around $200/night, while 2 people costs $400. Click here to learn more and book this resort.