It’s easy to fall in love with Los Cabos although the reasons vary for different visitors.
Located on a peninsula at the tip of Baja California (Land’s End), Los Cabos, Mexico is cradled by the aquamarine waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez on its coasts. Visitors (primarily from the U.S. and Canada) come as vacationers and snowbirds, many returning year after year because of its many lures, which include miles of pristine sandy beaches.
Here are nine reasons why they fall in love once they get here:
1) The Weather
For those of us who leave home expecting to find reliably sunny skies on vacation, the arid desert climate of Los Cabos rarely disappoints. The average number of sunny days each year is 350. Temperatures hover as high as 90° between May and October but compared to the tropics, humidity is low. The heat of the day usually drops off in evenings with cool ocean breezes coming off the water. Rainfall is minimal, less than 10 inches per year.
2) One Destination: Three difference ambiances
Two towns anchor Los Cabos: Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. In-between is an 18-mile stretch of modern highway that runs adjacent to the Sea of Cortez, called The Corridor. Visitors can find accommodations at each of these three diverse locations.
Cabo San Lucas is a bustling port of call with restaurants, a contemporary shopping center, clubs and other nightspots, and a world-class marina.
San Jose del Cabo is an older, more traditional Mexican town perfect for evening strolls. On Thursday nights, a popular Art Walk draws visitors to the restaurants and galleries located on the small streets off the historic square.
Some of the most posh resorts with dramatic ocean views sit along the Corridor (Corredor Turistico) that links the two towns, with picturesque desert terrain across the road.
3) Range of Accommodations
When a destination has more than 14,000 hotels rooms—in addition to thousands of condo and villa rentals—competition is keen, upping the levels of amenities and service, and providing visitors with a wide array of choices to fit every taste and budget.
Some of the private villas and ultra-luxury properties like Capella Pedregal, One&Only Palmilla, Esperanza and Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso consistently draw A-list Hollywood celebrities whose faces (and bodies) appear on the pages of People Magazine.
In December 2013, Secrets Puerto Los Cabos opened on the water’s edge of a new 2000-acre master-planned community of private homes with a marina and two golf courses. The new property joins AMResort’s other all-inclusives in Cabo: Dreams, Secrets Marquis Los Cabos and the boutique Zoetry Casa del Mar wellness resort. An all-suite, family-friendly Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos also opened recently, minutes from downtown San Jose.
4) Spas for Body, Mind & Spirit
Wherever you stay, you’re likely to find an extraordinary spa on-premises or nearby, offering treatments and products that build upon Mexican traditions. As long as reservations are made in advance, most resort spas are open to the public as well as guests.
A few examples:
- The newly renovated Spa at Las Ventanas blends ancient medicine and holistic therapies.
- The ocean view Auriga Spa at Capella Pedregal bases treatments on the different phases and energies of the lunar cycle. It was named one of the top 270 spas in the world by Condé Nast Traveler magazine with perfect scores for treatments, staff and facilities.
- The One&Only Palmilla Spa offers a unique experience even for spa veterans; it is set in a sybaritic garden where treatments seamlessly flow between indoors and outdoors with birds and butterflies circling overhead.
5) Water Sports
With proximity to both the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean, Los Cabos offers unparalleled opportunities for water activities including snorkeling, swimming with whale sharks, whale-watching, parasailing, or exploring the waters in a glass-bottomed boat. Between mid-December and Mid-April, the migration of thousands of whales can often be seen right from the shore.
Jacques Cousteau called Los Cabos the “the aquarium of the world.” Anglers can rent fishing vessels to snag marlin, swordfish, snappers, dorado and more. The Bisbee’s tournament held in October has been drawing sports fishermen to the area for more than 30 years. Many restaurants offer “catch and cook” service to prepare the fish you catch.
Some complain that the vast majority of beaches in the area (even at resorts) are unswimmable because of rough waters and the strong undertow but several public beaches are safe for swimming, among them Lover’s Beach near Cabo San Lucas and the one at Chileno Bay on the Corridor. In addition, the destination offers a multitude of infinity pools at water’s edge with swim-up bars. Who can beat that?
6) Great Dining
Regional cuisine, Baja wines and tequila take top billing at many hotel and resort dining rooms and bars (which are usually open to the public) as well as at the informal taquerias, snack bars and restaurants in the two towns and along the Corridor. Because the weather is temperate, many are open-air without roofs, offering dining under the stars or even on the beach.
While the desert may seem antithetical to organic farming, farm-to-table dining has taken off in Los Cabos. For example, Chef Enrique Silva operates a charming farm-to-table restaurant at Huerta Los Tamarindos that offers roll-up-your-sleeves cooking classes for individuals or groups. His tamarind margaritas are to die for. Not too far away is Flora Farms, another lovely setting for an authentic organic experience. Singer-songwriter Adam Levine of The Voice recently got married here.
Some of my other favorites:
- For an elegant night out, El Farallon, the restaurant at Capella Pedregal is perched on a high cliff above the ocean. Diners choose their dinner from a stand that looks like a fish market (featuring fresh fish from local waters) and then the fish is prepared and served tableside.
- Edith’s restaurant, located in downtown Cabo San Lucas near Medano Beach, serves prime cuts of grilled meats and fish along with more traditional Mexican specialties. The vibrant decor and linens, homemade tortillas, oversized Margaritas and lively music combine for a fun evening with a splash of local color .
- A more economical choice: For gargantuan size shrimp-cocktails served in goblets or fresh fish tacos, try Taqueria Rossy in San Jose del Cabo. (Local legend has it that George Clooney eats here). Pork lovers will swoon over the carnitas at Los Michoacanas, with locations in both San Jose and Cabo San Lucas.
The destination’s growing number of culinary offerings is showcased each December at Sabor a Cabo, a weeklong wine and food festival.
7) Golf Courses
Known as a golf mecca, Los Cabos has 12 championship golf courses (public and private) that include ones designed by Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Peter Dye. The greens fees are high but the settings unique. The one at Cabo del Sol, for example, has both Ocean and Desert courses. Two new courses are scheduled to open this fall including the first designed by Tiger Woods outside the U.S.
8) Ease and Accessibility
Los Cabos is an easy place to land, both literally and figuratively There are currently flights from 24 cities in the U.S. and Canada and several airlines (United, Delta and Alaska) will be launching new direct flights this December from Atlanta, Detroit, New York City, Minneapolis, San Diego, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., Seattle and Portland. Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) recently added a second terminal as well. New and improved roads have halved the time it takes to get to the arty town of Todos Santos and La Paz (capital of the state).
Once you hit the ground, English is spoken almost universally and distances aren’t great getting to and from the airport or from one side of town to the other, so you can rent a car or use taxis–or simply ride a horse along the beach. The dollar (as well as plastic) is accepted as currency in most places so American visitors don’t need to worry about converting money. Although there has been drug-related violence in some parts of Mexico, no such State Department travel advisory is in effect for Baja California Sur or Los Cabos.
9) The People
However, the biggest draw that makes me and others return year after year and fall in love with Los Cabos is the warmth and hospitality of the Mexican people, evident in their smiles and eagerness to welcome and engage with visitors.
Some prior posts about Los Cabos on More Time To Travel:
- Villa Delfines: A luxury weekend in Los Cabos, Mexico
- Secrets Puerto: The newest luxury resort in Cabo
- Girlfriend Getaways: Sun, sand and sisterhood
- George Clooney ate here: A food snob goes local
- Farm-to-table Baja: Just beyond the beach
- A Baja feast down on the farm
- El Farallon: Baja’s finest seafood just steps from the shore
- The art of tequila tasting
- One of a kind: El Matador restaurant in San Jose del Cabo
- Getting pampered at the One&Only Spa
- Shopping in Cabo San Lucas: La Coyota
For additional information: Los Cabos Tourism Board
[Update 9/27/16: Secrets Marquis Los Cabos and the boutique Zoetry Casa del Mar wellness resort are no longer AMR properties; they are under changed ownership.]