There’s an inevitable elitism that comes with discussing any destination in terms of tourist versus non-tourist itineraries. But, with all the great things to do in Cabo San Lucas, it draws its fair share of tourists, plain and simple. If slugging 3-for-1 happy hour coladas at Cabo Wabo hoping to catch a glimpse of owner Sammy Hagar on the live stage isn’t your cup of horchata though, have a look at our favorite places to play, eat, and sleep in Baja California’s most well-known waterfront playground.
While the western tip of Cabo is situated on the Pacific Ocean, the eastern edge lies on the Sea of Cortez. It’s a unique place that Jacques Cousteau once dubbed “The Aquarium of the World” because of its immense biodiversity. There are literally more species of marine life here than anywhere else on earth. On a single boat trip, visitors can see giant manta rays, sea lions, humpback whales breaching, massive schools of endemic reef fish (found nowhere else on earth), and flying mobulas (rays that actually leap out of the water). Translation: some of the best diving and snorkeling in North America.
If you’re not keen to get in the water, getting on it is the next best way to experience the Sea’s beauty. Check out Cabo Outfitters for everything from half-day to three-day tours of Chileno Bay and Santa Maria Bay. The shallow waters of Los Chopitos are another great launch point. Here, the glass-like surface all but guarantees up-close fish encounters that’ll make you feel like you’re snorkeling.
EAT + DRINK
It surprises most Americans to learn that sushi is tightly woven into the fabric of Cabo San Lucas. Tiki Sushi Bar is a unique, if curious, blend of waterfront tiki hut and legit sushi joint. The Californian/Mexican owner duo have injected equal doses of inspiration from their respective hometowns and the result is much cooler than the sum of its parts. The relaxed vibe, great sushi selection (the Thai Mango Roll is out of this world), cool marina breezes, and top-notch people-watching along the boardwalk make it an ideal spot to while away an afternoon with a bucket of Pacificos.
If you’re more interested in saison than sashimi, Baja Brewing Company offers the area’s only brewpub. It’s situated on the rooftop deck of Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa with a ridiculous view of Land’s End and El Arco. Of course, Happy Ending Cantina is always a solid bet if only to score a kitschy T-shirt. It’s inevitable you’ll end up here at some point anyway, whether you plan to or not.
Lodging options in Cabo typically range from “decent resorts” to “pretty nice resorts”. If you want to sidestep the resort experience altogether – and we’ll assume you do – check out the simply named The Cape. This sleek, boutique hotel is your antidote to the area’s 700-room, all-inclusive behemoths. Designed by Mexican architect Javier Sanchez of JSa Arquitectura and interior designer Marisabel Gómez Vázquez, it deftly blends industrial elements with teak, leather, and other warm naturals to create a unique feel that’s two parts NYC and one part Mexico City. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s situated near one of Cabo’s most well-known surfer beaches. The purpose-built Surfer Villa is one of the hotel’s chicest offerings with two floors, a sauna, a plunge pool, and a private beach entrance where staff will lay out your day’s surf gear for you.