The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Travel Guide
What do you get when you combine picture-perfect coastal beauty, add in gorgeous high-end beachfront resorts, fuse them with all-night fiestas, and top it all off with definitive Mexican charm?
Bienvenidos to your new favorite margarita-filled getaway, Cabo San Lucas.
Nestled at the southernmost tip of Baja California del Sur is Mexico’s notorious party paradise, Cabo San Lucas. I’ve been traveling to Mexico at least once every year or two since as far back I can remember, and many of my favorite memories as a kid were spent traveling the western shores of Baja California. Since the Mexican Riviera is an easy 2 hour flight away from my hometown of California, we explored everything that Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, Acapulco, East Cape, and Cabo San Lucas had to offer… often traveling with other families and friends and doing everything from deep sea fishing to snorkeling to sailing to sunning to shopping the Mexican markets. I’m pretty sure I learned how to barter in Spanish before I even learned how to read in English… haggling with Mexican shopkeepers in broken six-year-old-kid Spanglish over the price of everything from fireworks and poppers (that we would light up on the beach at night), to a woven bracelet with my name on it (that I’d unabashedly show off to all my friends at recess while they complained about their family’s fifth spring break road trip to the Grand Canyon). I’m so grateful that my parents not only showed us the beauty of Mexico from such a young age, but that they taught us Spanish the way I think everybody should learn any language, by speaking it with the locals, everywhere we went. I am pretty proud that I still speak Spanish like a Mexican local, and even more proud that I can still haggle with the best of them. $20 for a cab downtown? Ay ay ay. Try $5, senor. Not the blonde gringo you thought I was, amigo.
Anyways, these days I’m more likely going to Cabo on a bachelorette party, or with a group of friends, and I still consider it one of my favorite places to travel. Cabo has something for everyone and a fun-loving culture all it’s own, which is why it continues to reign as a global hot spot, year after year!
The Best things to see in Cabo San Lucas
The bustling main strip of Medano Beach creates the epicenter of this party paradise, filled with excited vacationers, margaritas firmly in hand, taking “that” quintessential photo of Cabo with the Land’s End arch, and searching for their next beach activity. At Medano Beach, you can chill out and relax or choose from infinite water activities like parasailing, jetskiing or even taking a sunset cruise. This is definitely where the action is.
Land’s End arch & Lover’s Beach
I definitely recommend taking a water taxi from Medano Beach to see the arch, which is a stunning rock formation where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Nearby the arch, ask the taxi to drop you off at Lover’s Beach, which opens out to a different ocean on each side. It is a great place to spend a couple hours and play in the waves.
Sail & Snorkel
The best way to see the sea is by sea!! I love Cabo Sails for a great sail & snorkel trip. They’ll take you everywhere (the arch, lover’s beach, and pelican rock to snorkel) and it even includes lunch and a premium open bar.
Santa maria bay
I love this little beautiful bay for snorkeling. Take a cab or your rental car and drive 15 minutes north of downtown and this hidden gem provides some of the best snorkeling in Cabo. Go there on a calm day and get there early! All of the sail boat trips will come later in the day and you’ll want to beat them to having the beach (and the tortugas) to yourself!
|My new favorite restaurant view in the world @ Sunset Da Mona Lisa|
The Best Places to Eat in Cabo San Lucas
The food in Cabo is outstanding. And this is coming from the girl who pretty much has guacamole for every meal in America. When I got to Cabo, you know all hell broke loose. I think I tried every chips & guac & marg the town had to offer, and I was not disappointed. Here were some of my favorite places:
Sunset da Mona Lisa – I cannot say enough incredible things about this restaurant, as it was easily the most picturesque (and delicious) meal I’ve ever eaten in my life. It’s ranked as one of the top 5 coolest restaurants in the world by the NYTimes, and there’s no question why. With breathtaking views spanning the entire coast of Cabo, there is literally nowhere I would rather be. The service, food, atmosphere and overall experience were all top notch and we had the most memorable night here. Of course had to bring my favorite Napa Valley merlot (pictured to the right).
Acre Baja – Cabo’s newest and trendiest boutique hotel and farm-to-table restaurant. Definitely worth going to for a dinner in Cabo. The cocktails are AMAZING, and the vibe is super hip and modern-chic.
Hacienda Cocina y Cantina – Nestled right above Medano beach, I loved this place for dinner. Great resort-ey ambiance and great Mexican food! Get the carnitas and a spot outside where you can watch the sunset.
Mi Casa – Is this place is touristy? Yes. But is it also exactly what you want when you think of a dinner in Mexico? Absolutely. Mi Casa is a beautiful hacienda-like candlelit patio restaurant with colorful mexican decor everywhere you look. Enjoy the DELICIOUS queso (the best I’ve ever had), and take in the awesome atmosphere, complete with balloon hats and lots of fun mariachi music, of course.
Flora Farms – it’s not easy getting out to Flora Farms, a 17-acre farm tucked into the mountains of San Jose del Cabo, but the bumpy ride is worth it once you arrive to the stunning farm-to-table restaurant (Flora’s Field Kitchen) set on a farm and a luxe private cottage community equipped with a spa, and yoga studio. The diverse daily menu uses ingredients literally grown on the farm next to your table, and features everything from colorful salads and woodfired pizzas to roasted meats raised ethically on their 150-acre ranch. Bite into foodie heaven as you sip on their vibrant cocktails (think Carrot Margaritas, Lavender Maritnis, and Grilled Citrus Sangria).
Los Tres Gallos – For a charming and delicious Mexican restaurant downtown, look no further than Los Tres Gallos – a romantic courtyard restaurant shaded by gorgeous willowing tangerine, mango, and other fruit trees. The food is delicious, the courtyard is beautiful, and the service, like the food and atmosphere, is fabulous. Best of all, Tres Gallos is pretty affordable, with pretty much everything on the menu priced at under $25.
For LUXURY – Maison Mantea Villas –
You can read more about this place here, but it is hands down the most beautiful place I’ve been in Mexico. This villa is 7 star.
One&Only Palmilla has long been a chic Mexican playground for the rich & famous. It’s constantly ranked as one of the best resorts south of the border, and boasts one of the most relaxing atmospheres anywhere in Mexico. There are 2 beaches, and a world-class spa. If you’re feeling a little adventure, Los Cabos is renowned for its deep-sea fishing, and the resort can set you up with a day trip out to sea, or you can explore the nearby coral reefs and go scuba diving and snorkeling, with visibility more than 100 feet down (!!!).
Set on the dreamy bluffs of the Baja Peninsula, this ultra-chic, five-star, oceanfront resort in Cabo features spacious private terraces, infinity hot tubs, six on-site restaurants, two private beaches, a full-service spa, four swimming pools, and AMAZING restaurants. If you’re looking for the perfect resort for an anniversary trip to Cabo, a romantic getaway, or even a honeymoon, Esperanza is your spot.
Pueblo Bonito – This luxury all-inclusive hotel has a GORGEOUS setting right on Medano Beach and beautiful white architecture that makes you wonder if you’re in Mexico or Greece. But, my favorite part about this hotel isn’t the architecture or the location, it’s the pool. During our vacation in Cabo, you could find us every day at 2pm “Tequila Volleyball” in the pool, which was an absolute blast. If you’re in Cabo for a Bachelor Party or Bachelorette Party, this is your spot. Fun activities, sunshine, and poolside drinks at the drop of a (sun)hat…This place is paradise.
Casa Dorada – I loved this hotel. Perfectly positioned next to the Mango Deck on the prime real estate of Medano Beach, Casa Dorada is the perfect place to spend your vacation in Cabo. The service was impeccable (think, blended punches upon arrival) and they even complimentarily upgraded us to a GORGEOUS lands-end-view suite steps from the beach.
Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar – The Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar is the ideal oasis away from the hustle & bustle of downtown, if that’s more your style. I loved getting to experience both Medano Beach and Los Cabos (about 20 minutes outside of town) because they are so different but both great. The I loved the Sheraton’s beautiful hacienda architecture and, of course, the infinity pools 🙂
Best Places to Drink & Party in Cabo San Lucas
The Office– this bar and grill, located in the sand of Medano Beach, is a rite of passage for cabo tourists. Decked out in beach umbrellas, tiki torches and colorful tablecloths, this is the spot during the day. The food is good and the margs are even better.
El Squid Roe – this outrageously iconic Cabo night club and restaurant is a one-of-a-kind. With four stories of open air dance floor, countless throngs of partygoers and waiters armed with jello shots, Squid Roe is loud, wild, and full of energy. I had so much fun dancing the night away here.
Mango Deck – If you’re heading to Cabo for a bachelor or bachelorette party weekend, this is going to be your go-to spot. With a prime view of Land’s End, live music and entertainment, and non-stop margaritas, Mango Deck is party central. During the high season, this makes Mango Deck Spring Break Cabo home base, but it’s a great place to grab a drink and laugh at some ridiculous drunken contests any time of year.
OMNIA Cabo – This beachfront day club features luxurious private cabanas and plunge pools, plus two-story VIP bungalows. The dance scene at OMNIA warms up as the afternoon goes on, and gets rowdy when the latest celebrity DJ takes the stage.
spanish phrases for gringos 101
|Mango Deck @ Medano Beach
“Soy Christina, soy de los Estados Unidos” – I’m Christina, I’m from the USA
“Me gustaría la guacamole” – I would like the guacamole
“Me encanta la playa!” – I love the beach!
“¿Cuanto Cuesta?” – How much is it?
“Adiós, amigos!” – Bye, friends!
“Hasta la vista, baby” – See you later! *See Arnold Schwarzenegger for pronunciation*
and the most important one of all….
“Mas cerveza, por favor” – Another beer, please.
Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a longer oasis, there’s absolutely no place like Cabo for a little R&R on the beach with a margarita in hand. Ah, la vida es gran.