We’re often asked, “Where is Cabo?”
Cabo is the shortened moniker people often use to refer to the municipality of Los Cabos, Mexico, located in Baja California Sur, one of 31 Mexican states.
Where is Los Cabos located?
Los Cabos is located on a peninsula at the tip of Baja California (Land’s End) on the west coast of Mexico; it is cradled by the aquamarine waters of the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez on its coasts.
Cabo: What’s in a name?
What may account for the confusion is that this popular tourist destination is anchored by two cities, about 18 miles apart, and both have “Cabo” in their name.
What’s the difference between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo?
Cabo San Lucas is located at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.
San Jose Del Cabo sits to the northeast.
These two anchor cities in Los Cabos are connected by a stretch of highway (Highway 1) called the Corridor.
So if you are visiting Los Cabos, you are likely to be staying either in accommodations in one of these two cities or along the corridor. From most places in Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo, you are likely to be within walking distance of local bars, restaurants, shops, and attractions or a short car taxi ride away. (Read some more of the distinctions under #2 below)
However, the Corridor is lined with sprawling luxury resorts (including many all-inclusives) and timeshare properties that usually require renting a car, taking a taxi, or using public transport to go off the grounds.
Visitors come to Los Cabos as vacationers and snowbirds, primarily from the U.S, Canada and other parts of Mexico, with many returning year after year because of the destination’s many allures, which include miles of pristine sandy beaches and natural beauty.
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Reasons to Fall in Love with Los Cabos
The allures of Cabo are different for different travelers. Here are 9 reasons why it remains a perennial favorite for travelers.
1- Wonderful Weather
For those of us who leave home with the hopes of finding 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 the evenings with cool ocean breezes coming off the water. Rainfall is minimal, less than 10 inches per year, primarily between August and September.
2- One destination: Three different ambiances
Cabo San Lucas is a bustling cruise port with restaurants, a contemporary shopping center, clubs, and other nightspots, and a world-class marina that is especially popular with sports fishermen.
San Jose del Cabo is a smaller, older, more traditional Mexican town with colonial architecture, 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 between November and June.
Posh resorts with dramatic beach and ocean views predominate on the Corridor, with picturesque desert terrain across the road.
3- Wide choice of accommodations: Where to stay in Cabo
When a destination has more than ten thousand hotel 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. Many properties offer all-inclusive rates.
Some of the private villas and ultra-luxury properties like Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, One&Only Palmilla, Esperanza, and Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso have consistently drawn A-list Hollywood celebrities whose faces (and bodies) have appeared on the pages of People magazine.
The destination recently achieved the distinction of having 11 of its luxury properties accepted into the Virtuoso portfolio. These properties include:
A magical visit to Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal begins with your arrival through a private tunnel. All the accommodations offer private plunge pools and ocean views.
This luxury beachfront property offers incredible views of Los Arcos, in a unique, contemporary setting with high design and decor.
Esperanza, an Auberge Resort is the only private beach resort in Los Cabos. Guests can choose from a wide range of accommodations including casitas, suites, and oceanfront villas.
This luxury beachfront hotel with a golf course is located near Santa Maria Beach.
The hotel has one of the few swimmable beaches in Cabo.
The award-winning, all-inclusive Grand Velas in Los Cabos offers dramatic ocean views and unique spaces infusing every area of the resort; a great option for families.
At Las Ventanas, guests enjoy the property’s bespoke services (e.g. butlers, villa hosts and concierge service) that deliver both privacy and pampered luxury.
One&Only Palmilla is a storied property that has welcomed the rich and famous for decades. The outdoor spa is incomparable.
This elegant coastal property in the Puerto Los Cabos section of San Jose Del Cabo has its own golf course.
Located on the newly developed East Cape at Costa Palmas, this luxury beachfront property couples outstanding views with bespoke services.
Chileno Bay Resorts & Residences are set on a protected cove with pristine reefs, offering contemporary design and five-star service.
As of 7/28/22, the resort was closed for infrastructure repairs.
Timeshares are popular, too, many with shared amenities attached to nearby hotels and resorts. In 2020, Hilton announced the opening of the Hilton Grand Vacations Club La Pacifica Los Cabos. The 74 new studios, and one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites are located within the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, between the towns of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.
Hotel and residence construction in Los Cabos continues to grow, even amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic.
- Sales of The Residences at The St. Regis Los Cabos first launched in January 2021 with a projected opening date of Fall 2022. This boutique collection of 74 units will be sited on a secluded 2.5-mile white beach, within the award-winning Quivira Los Cabos at the Southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. The community has a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.
- The Amanvari, an Aman resort is also slated to open in October 2022 in the East Cape region, several miles east of San Jose del Cabo. The resort promises multiple dining venues and an Aman Spa.
- Four Seasons Resorts and Residence Los Cabos at Cabo del Sol is projecting a 2023 opening of a beach village with a 96-room resort and branded residences.
4- Sumptuous 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 updated Spa at Las Ventanas blends ancient medicine and holistic therapies.
- The ocean view Spa at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos 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.
- Treatments at the Spa at Esperanza take place in private suites with the door left open discreetly to the elements, using products that harness the healing powers of local plants.
5- Wealth of Watersports
With proximity to both the Sea of Cortez and the 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 or even your hotel room.
Jacques Cousteau called Los Cabos 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 the water’s edge with swim-up bars. What can beat that?
6- Great Gastronomy
Regional cuisine, Baja wines, and tequila take top billing at many hotels and resort dining rooms and bars (which are usually open to the public) but food lovers shouldn’t miss 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 a 19th-century farmhouse, 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 got married there.
Some of my other favorites:
- For an elegant night out, El Farallon, the restaurant at Waldorf Astoria 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 With Smashing Views
Known as the golf mecca of Latin America, Los Cabos has 18 championship golf courses (public and private) currently open (with more to come) that include ones designed by Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and Peter Dye.
The greens fees are high but the settings are unique. The one at Cabo del Sol, for example, has both ocean and desert courses.
More new courses are expected to open in the next few years.
8- Ease and Accessibility
Los Cabos is an easy place to land, both literally and figuratively. Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) is located about 8 miles north of San Jose del Cabo and 23 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas. A small private airport is located about 10 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas.
According to the Los Cabos Tourism Board, the airport receives more than 200 flights each week. Aeroméxico, Air Canada, AirTran, AirTransat, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, Delta, Frontier, Interjet, Spirit, Sun Country, Sunwing, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin America, VivaAerobus, Volaris, and WestJet all offer flights to Los Cabos.
Nonstop flights or convenient connections to Los Cabos are available from many cities in the U.S., including Atlanta; Charlotte; Chicago; Dallas/ Fort Worth; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis; Newark; Phoenix; Salt Lake City and Seattle.
From California, flights and connections are available from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. From Canada, flights are available from Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
Some distance is involved in getting to and from the airport or from one side of town to the other, so visitors can rent a car or use taxis—or simply ride a horse along the beach. Many resorts offer transportation to and from the airport.
For those who want to explore more of the region, new and improved roads have halved the time it takes to get to the arty town of Todos Santos and to La Paz (capital of the state).
Once you hit the ground, although Spanish is the official language of Baja California Sur, English is spoken almost universally. Also making it easy: The dollar (as well as plastic) is accepted as currency in most places so American visitors don’t need to worry about converting money. The legal drinking age in Baja California Sur and every other state in Mexico is 18 years of age.
9- The People
Quite likely the biggest draw that makes people 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. They’ve been hurt by hurricanes and the pandemic, and appreciate having guests more than ever.
IF YOU GO
Where is Cabo? Follow the map from Cabo San Lucas along the Corridor to San Jose del Cabo
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