Keep reading to discover my list of things to do in Cabo San Lucas, from the best restaurants to places to stay in the area.
My first trip to Cabo San Lucas was in 1986 with my parents, and it was nothing short of magical. I had never seen any place like it before, where the desert–filled with giant cardón cacti–dipped right into an aqua-blue ocean. We stayed at the now-closed Hotel Cabo San Lucas, where I will never forget the evenings filled with the warm ocean breezes, mariachis singing Guadalajara at the cliff-side dining room, and the dry, languid days laying by the surf.
Nowadays, Cabo is unrecognizable to me, an area of such immense development where ultra-luxury hotels and housing developments stretch on for miles. Out with the elegant Hotel Cabo San Lucas and in with Discovery’s flashy El Chileno Bay Resort. However, I can see the allure, especially for those of us on the West Coast. In under a two hour flight, you can find yourselves in a beach front paradise, where–with the exception of the occasional tropical storm–it is sunny and warm 350 days a year.
Even though Cabo is in Mexico and the American Dollar is strong against the Mexican Peso, do not expect any deals. But hopefully the wonderful memories you have visiting Cabo will overshadow the sticker shock. So here I go, and if you have anything to add to my list of things to do in Cabo, please feel free to drop me a line in the comment box below! Andale!! xoM
Where to Sip
Acre: The most innovative cocktail program in Cabo is at Acre, in a cosmopolitan, but relaxed building surrounded by nature. A combination of boutique hotel, bar, and restaurant, Acre is a destination in and on its own. After a drive down a rocky, dusty road, Acre appears like a palm-studded desert oasis. Walking along stone pathways, visitors pass the on-site distillery and shop before reaching the bar and straw-covered patio which serves as the dining area. Enjoy award-winning mixtures like the Acre Martini, a Gin Basil Smash, or an Agave Silvestre.
The Office On The Beach: A Cabo institution, The Office on the Beach, was originally founded in the mid-1970’s with a little palapa on Medano Beach that featured a small kitchen and unpretentious bar. With amazing views of San Lucas Bay and the Land’s End Arch, guests can choose their seating inside or out on the sandy beach under the shade of blue colored umbrellas. The Office margaritas and/or buckets of beer are usually the drinks of choice, and if you get hungry, order the ceviche, coconut shrimp, and tuna tartare.
Nobu Los Cabos: If you are into sipping herbal tea and relaxation is your main objective, then look no further than Nobu Los Cabos. This first-class spa with outdoor hydrotherapy garden, experiential shower, cabana jacuzzis, and a Watsu treatment pool specializes in Asian-inspired traditions like the volcanic stone massage, ocean glow body scrub, and sun relief wrap. A day at the Nobu spa is the perfect way to detox and refresh your energy before returning home.
Where to Savor
Of course, this guide wouldn’t be complete without the food! Check out the following list for some of the best restaurants in Cabo San Lucas (in my opinion, at least!).
Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar: Toro, near the Esperanza resort, is a restaurant by acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval, a Denver-based celebrity chef with over 30 restaurants world wide. At the sunken bar, sip on Latin-inspired cocktails like the Strawberry Basil Caipirinha before moving on to your dinner in the elegant dining room. The menu is meant to be shared so order items like the spicy crab guacamole, Peruvian-style tuna tiraditos, and Mexican street tacos to start, before trying one of the heartier main courses, like the miso-barbecue escolar fish.
Arbol: Located at Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort, Arbol’s elevated coastal cuisine showcases the bounty of the sea with Asian influences. While seafood and shellfish take center stage on the menu, popular dishes include flavorful curries, fine sushi and sashimi, and Wagyu beef prepared in Arbol’s tandoor and charcoal ovens and simmering woks. Guests can also belly up to the sensational raw bar, where delicacies flown in from around the globe include fresh lobster, stone crab, oysters and clams. Like most places on my list, the setting is as wonderful as the food.
Flora Farms: Often coined as one of the best restaurants in the Cabo San Lucas area, Flora’s Field Kitchen serves simple comfort meals like breakfast omelets, wood-fired pizzas, and fried chicken. All ingredients are sourced from their 25-acre organic farm, on which Field Kitchen sits that is located near Acre. Producing more than 100 different types of vegetables and herbs, the farm’s soil is minimally turned and nourished through a top-down method, while the chicken and pork, raised humanely on a 150-acre ranch nearby, are both hormone- and antibiotic-free. Flora Farms is a very popular spot, so book far in advance.
El Farallon: Tucked into the cliffs of The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, El Farallon is aptly named, translating to “a rock that comes out of the ocean”. Champagne aficionados will love The Champagne Terrace with a selection of over 15 different champagnes ranging from Blanc de Blancs to Rose to Vintage Champagnes. The restaurant specializes in fresh local seafood with a fun twist. Diners pick their entrée–artfully displayed on shaved ice–choosing from a selection of sea bass, red snapper, striped bass, shrimp, tuna, dorado, clams and lobster. The fish is then weighed and taken to the chef to be grilled and served with an array of fresh chiles. Soups and salads are included with all entrées and rib-eye steaks are available for those who want the views without the seafood.
Manta at The Cape: Inspired by the views from one of the most desirable and secluded beaches in Cabo San Lucas, chef Enrique Olvera of Pujol fame conceived Manta with an intriguing double meaning: The manta ray symbolizes the kitchen’s focus on seafood, while manta, the Spanish word for blanket, conveys the chef’s emphasis on comfort. Olvera celebrates Pacific coasts traditions—taking inspiration from his native Mexico, as well as Peru, Japan and beyond—while maintaining a distinct and tastefully casual Baja sensibility with a commitment to sourcing local ingredients from the state of Baja Califonia Sur. A curated beverage menu focused on mezcales, tequilas, and sakes.
Where to Sleep
Trying to select the right hotel or resort can be a bit overwhelming due to the large amount of options in this area. To help you get started, I’ve done some research for you! Below are a few of my recommendations on where to stay in Cabo San Lucas.
Chileno Bay Resort and Residences: Chileno Bay is an Auberge resort, consisting of 92 guest rooms and villas on Chileno Beach, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the area (that is also considered a “swimmable” beach). Along with the three zero-edge pools that serve as the centerpiece of the resort, there is a world-class spa, four restaurants (go to TnT for tacos), an H2O cave, and exceptional service for guests of all ages.
The Cape, A Thompson Hotel: The Cape is a boutique hotel where every room and vantage point overlooks El Arco and the Bahia Cabo San Lucas horizon. Clean, contemporary lines of visionary Mexico City architect Javier Sanchez result in a relaxed 1960s Southern California-meets-Baja aesthetic. Two pools and outdoor spa cabanas face the ocean, and the only rooftop lounge in Cabo San Lucas floats six stories above.
Four Seasons Costa Palmas:
The two-year-old Four Seasons Costa Palmas is the first hotel in the community of Costa Palmas, which sits quietly on Baja’s East Cape, about an hour and a half east of Cabo San Lucas. This slice of Mexico offers a remote setting and is definitely where to stay in Cabo San Lucas if you’re looking to escape reality. The beachfront resort overlooking the sparkling Sea of Cortez offers a perfect setting for the unwinding, don’t-lift-a-finger type of trip that has the power to totally recharge your mindset. All 141 rooms, including 23 suites, have views of the stunning 2 mile long sandy beach. With its remote nature, an assortment of excursions–from diving to hiking–can be arranged, and the onsite restaurants are wonderful, especially the open air Limón located in a beautiful lemon grove. Nearby in East Cape, Nancy Silverton just opened an outpost of her famous Mozza pizzeria, which is worth checking out as well.
Where to Dive with Whale Sharks
Baja Adventure Co.: BACo offers private, safe, and fun marine adventures into the incredible beauty of the Sea of Cortez and the wilderness of the South Baja Pacific. Activities include whale shark and sea lion snorkeling, whale-watching, island excursions, sport fishing and spearfishing. Our day spent snorkeling with sea lions, dolphins, and whale sharks was definitely one of the highlights of last year. Boats are large and comfortable, and guides knowledgeable. Plus, they make a mean ceviche if you opt for a beachside picnic along the white sands of Balandra Beach. The drive to La Paz from Cabo is close to 2 hours. NOTE: It will be necessary to hire a car and driver for the day if you are not staying in La Paz.
I hope you found this list of things to do in Cabo San Lucas helpful in your planning! Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out the travel archives to get my recommendations for other vacation-worthy destinations like Santa Barbara, Carmel by the Sea, and the Bahamas!