I had the good fortune to spend five days in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico recently and it was magical. I wanted to share with you the beauty of this wonderful little town at the tip of Baja California as well as a few travel tips, of course. If you’re from the U.S. West coast, it’s really quite a short flight there as well (only two hours from San Diego or Tijuana airports and not too much more from Los Angeles). You could be away in the beautiful Mexican state of Baja California Sur quicker than you might think!
It all started because my job is pretty awesome and we had a team building trip to Cabo. Pretty cool, right? I certainly thought so!
We stayed at a couple awesome rental houses in the Pedegral neighborhood, which is a high-end, luxury neighborhood very near the center of town. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Cabo that will make you feel like a fancy pants, you might want to look into renting a spot in Pedegral on a site like VRBO or AIRBNB. Some of the homes can be quite expensive per night, but keep in mind that a lot of them are really big houses that sleep a lot of people, so if you’ve got a big group that will split the cost, this is a luxurious option that can actually be pretty economical when compared to the cost of getting hotel rooms for all those people for the night.
I really liked being in a house. It had a pool, kitchen, and a great view, and was really relaxing, but then again, I’m always a fan of staying at privately owned vacation rentals over hotels. If you go with this option, however, do know that you’ll need a car or at the very least the number of a taxi driver. I made friends with Julio, a Cabo San Lucas taxi driver, while I was there. We exchanged numbers so I could call him for a pickup any time. We did have some cars in the group, but it was good to know I could call Julio whenever if needed.
Of course, there are also tons of resorts, vacation rentals and hotels in Cabo to fit any budget, so whatever your travel style, there’s something for you there. The last time I was in Cabo I stayed at the Sheraton Hacienda Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar. It was also pretty swanky, actually, as I was traveling with my parents on that particular trip and I always travel fancier with them (whereas if I booked the thing myself, my Google search would be something like Cheap Budget Hotels Cabo San Lucas). Anyway, if you’re not on a budget and you’re looking for a swanky resort, I liked the Sheraton apart from how expensive everything was there.
Cabo Wabo – This famous nightclub and restaurant was founded by none other than Sammy Hagar (of Van Halen fame). They are known for their tequilas (they have their own Cabo Wabo brand). The place itself is a great place to sample tequilas, listen to live music, have a delicious dinner, and of course dance the night away!
El Squid Roe – The first time I ever visited El Squid Roe, I was only 20 years old. Since the drinking age is 18 in Mexico and 21 in the United States, the novelty of being in such a crazy nightclub environment made this one of my favorite places…ever. It’s been a decade plus a few more years since then (where DOES the time go??!!) but El Squid Roe still more than delivers when it comes to partying the night away.
Honestly, I just put an ‘and more’ section because I’m old now and I didn’t really go out at night that much this time. Last time I was all about the nightlife…but these days I was content to spend my evenings hanging out in the Jacuzzi at the house and then going to bed. That being said, there’s a lot of nightlife in Cabo. Lots of bars and clubs of all kinds, so if you’re into partying, there is definitely something there for you.
Edith’s – On my work trip, we had a lovely group dinner at Edith’s. With choices like freshly grilled catch of the day fish, lobster, New York steak, and awesome salads and desserts, this place was awesome. The ambiance was amazing here and I truly felt like I was on vacation. This place is definitely pricey and was more like having a nice dinner back in San Diego (with San Diego prices) but it was delicious, charming, delightful, and well worth it.
Things to Do
There are so many different things to see and do in Cabo, it would be hard to write about all of them, but if you’re looking for a few ideas, look no further!
aMAZEin Race Cabo– If you’re looking for a fun group activity for the family, you might want to consider this “Amazing Race” style scavenger hunt. Good for couples, families, birthday parties, and pretty much anybody ages 7 and up. We did this while we were there and it was an absolute blast! Warning though…it’s a lot of exercise. Wear workout clothes, bring water, and prepare for running around town.
Spend the day at Breathless All Inclusive. You can get a day pass to the Breathless all-inclusive resort that includes all your meals, pool time, drinks, activities, and non-motorized water sports. Since we were staying in Airbnb rentals, we of course didn’t have the whole “all inclusive” resort experience, but a day at Breathless took care of that. I won’t really write too much about it because I already wrote about it in my last post 🙂
Go on a Pirate Ship – Cheesy? Yes? Fun Yes! I did this one on my first ever trip to Cabo and had a great time dancing around on deck with a bunch of staff members dressed up as pirates. Touristy? Oh, you bet it was, but sometimes you just have to let go and let yourself enjoy something really cheesy.
Deep sea fishing– This is actually something Cabo is well known for, so if you’re into fishing, you’ll definitely want to look into going out on a fishing excursion while you’re there. As for me, it’s not really my thing, but I can’t dispute the fact that it’s a world-class fishing destination. I prefer to spend the day lounging around or doing something fun, and then just eat the fish that somebody caught. I know, I know…how lame of me…but I highly encourage you to go fishing if that’s your thing (and…uhhh…maybe save me a little fish?).
Go Whale Watching – In late January, the whales were really active and the whale watching is incredible. We didn’t go on an official whale watching tour, but we did see some whales breaching (an incredible sight!) while we were out on our boat taxi. There are whale watching tours around Cabo, and if you’re into whale watching, this is a great place to do it.
Go Kayaking – I went kayaking as part of my Breathless day pass and it was awesome to get out on the water, get some exercise, and enjoy the beautiful day. We got a visit from a curious seal (sea lion?) while we were out on the water as well. I had a great time and it was definitely one of the trip highlights! There are plenty of places that rent kayaks all around Cabo if you don’t get them as part of a resort offering. Definitely take some time to get out on the water!
Just chill on the beach – Cabo is a beach town so get out and enjoy the beach! The main beach in town, however, does have a lot of people selling things on it. If you want something a little more secluded, I recommend taking a boat taxi to Lover’s Beach (see next section).
Take a boat taxi to Lover’s Beach- On the beach in Cabo San Lucas, you’ll see a lot of boat taxi captains. Negotiate a price with one of them and they will take you out on the water, explore some of the landscape, get a good view of the arch, and drop you off to hang out on Lover’s Beach (and Divorce Beach) which is an absolutely pristine, amazing place that I highly recommend. Bring cash to pay the taxi.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cabo.
Is Cabo Safe?
YES. Cabo is absolutely safe! It’s beautiful, clean, friendly, and safe. Honestly, you’ll feel a lot like you’re still in the United States, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. As always when traveling, don’t do anything stupid like get drunk and go home with a rando, or wave large amounts of cash around in a dark alley at night while yelling, “Rob me!!!” but if you’re reasonably aware of your surroundings, you’ll have no problems.
Do I need to know how to speak Spanish?
NO. Cabo, and all of the frequently-touristed areas of Mexico, for that matter, are extremely easy for English speaking travelers to get around in. After all, English speaking tourists from the United States bring in a lot of money to the area every year! I promise you that you’ll have absolutely no issues with language barriers. That being said, I’ll say what I say when somebody is going to travel to any foreign country with a different language than their own, and that is that while you don’t need to speak Spanish while you’re there, it’s always nice to know a few words and phrases because the locals will appreciate you using a little of their language. It’s always nice when somebody makes the effort to learn how to say hello or thank you in your native language.
I studied Spanish for four years, so I love to practice when I go to Mexico or whenever I’m around people who speak Spanish.
If you’re a complete newbie to Español, here are a few words and phrases that will go a long way when traveling through Mexico or anywhere in the Spanish speaking world…
- Gracias – (Grah-see-ah-ssss) – Thank you.
- De Nada –(Day Nah-Dah) – You’re welcome.
- Por Favor – (Poor-fah-voor) – Please.
- Donde está el baño? – (Doh-n-day Ess-tah El Bah-nyo) – Where is the bathroom/toilet? (In my humble opinion, one of the most important things to know how to say.) You can also use Donde está for anything you’re looking for as it just means “where is”.
- Donde está el restaurante? (Where is the restaurant?)
- Donde está el bar? (Where is the bar?)
- Dónde esta la piscina? (Where is the pool?)
- ….you get the picture…You can also use Spanglish if you don’t know the word for what you’re looking for, such as Dónde esta….the boat??? People will likely understand and you’ll probably get a little smile. Try it. Mexican people are a friendly bunch.
- Hola – (Oh-la) – Hello
- Como Estás? – (Coh-moh Ess-Tahs) – How are you?
- Bien, y tú? – (Bee-in Eee Too) – Good, and you?
- Con permiso – (Cone Pear-miso) – Excuse Me.
These phrases will get you a wink and a smile from locals you encounter, but you’ll also have no issues getting around if you don’t know Spanish.
Do I need to bring my passport?
YES. Unless you’re already living in Mexico and/or are a Mexican citizen, you’ll need your passport. Until recently (2007 I believe), U.S. visitors could visit Mexico with only a driver’s license, but that law changed and you DO need your passport. However, you can also travel to Mexico on the U.S. Passport card if that’s all you have, which allows entry into Canada, Mexico, and some Caribbean nations. You do not, however, need to apply for a visa beforehand. Mexico offers U.S. citizens visas upon arrival. All other foreign nationals will of course need their passports, but should check the rules on their individual country of origin’s requirements for entry. I’m not sure…citizens of some countries may be required to get visas to enter Mexico and it’s always best to check ahead of time.
Do I need cash?
A lot of places in Cabo do accept credit cards, but I highly recommend you bring some pesos with you wherever you go in case you want to buy something from a vendor, take a taxi or boat taxi, and a variety of other reasons.
Should I rent a car?
This is a personal decision, of course, but I will say that our group had three rental cars and zero problems. Driving in Cabo is easy.
Have you been to Cabo San Lucas? Any tips to add to the list?