What are the best things to do in Los Cabos?

Amanda Arnold

Soaking up the sun by your hotel’s infinity-edge pool is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your time in Los Cabos. But if you need a break from utter relaxation and gorgeous seaside views, enjoy one of the following activities:

1. Ride a camel on the beach. Cabo Adventures offers a unique Baja Outback excursion that includes a brief camel ride on the beach, a guided nature walk through the desert (you’ll learn that a cactus is 80 percent water and that the area is populated with roadrunners) and a delicious authentic Mexican picnic lunch (rice, beans, chicken, hand-made tortillas and salsa) with a tequila tasting. You won’t soon forget the views from your perch on that camel, by the way — lovely blue sea waves crashing to your right and desert cacti to your left.

2. Go whale watching. Between December and April, you can board an inflatable speedboat with Cabo Expeditions to search out zodiac whales in the Sea of Cortez. Trust us — the whales are often so close to the boat, you can almost reach out and touch them. If you’re lucky, the beautiful creatures will put on a show by catapulting themselves out of the water.

3. Swim with whale sharks. Whale sharks are the 30-foot, gentle-giant sharks of the sea — filter-feeders who survive by eating plankton (and not creatures like you). Cabo Expeditions will pick you up from your hotel and take you out on the water, where you’ll hop in and swim alongside these amazing animals.

4. Visit a sculpture garden. A new peaceful green oasis in the Puerto Los Cabos development features the artwork of three Mexican sculptors, Jose Luis Cuevas, Manual Felguerez and Gabriel Macotel. In fact, Macotel’s work was actually carved from the boulders that were excavated when the Puerto Los Cabos marina was built. The garden is a truly Zen spot where you can relax and take in the uncommonly (for Los Cabos) lush surroundings. 

5. Stroll the Art Walk. Every Thursday night between the months of October and June, the burgeoning San Jose del Cabo Art District hosts an art walk. Galleries open their doors between 5 and 9 p.m., welcoming in guests for a glass of wine and a peek at the work on display — everything from abstract art to photography by artists from Mexico and beyond.

  • On May 16
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What are the best Los Cabos food experiences?

    At some point during your stay in Los Cabos, you’re sure to be served fresh salsa, guacamole and ceviche with tortilla chips (most likely at your hotel), so take advantage of the delicious Mexican spoils and dig in. Watermelon juice and chilaquiles are also common Los Cabos breakfast treats that you might not find at home.

    My favorite meal in Los Cabos, though, was the one served at a picnic table in the Baja desert by Cabo Adventures, during its guided Outback & Camel Safari. After taking a nature walk among stately desert cactus plants and riding a camel down a windy, undeveloped beach, we were fed a savory outdoor Mexican meal of rice, beans, chicken, salsa and tortillas — all made the old-fashioned way. While we ate, our guide engaged us in a Tequila tasting, explaining just how to put that salt and lime to proper use.

    Eating fresh fish in Los Cabos it also a good way to experience local flavor — after all, the resort destination is set at the tip of a peninsula surrounded by ocean. When Hotel El Ganzo, which sits directly on a local fishing marina in Puerto Los Cabos, was built, free slips and cutting stations were also constructed to accommodate the area’s local fisherman (rather than drive them away). You can take a trip out to sea with local fishermen to gather your own catch, or simply visit the organic market at the marina on Thursday to buy fresh fish and other fare. Either way, the chef at the hotel is happy to prepare the catch. Or, you can take it to the nearby The Container Restaurant & Bar, a hip spot offering organic food and marina views, which will also prepare fresh catch, we’re told.
  • On May 13
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What are the best things to do in Los Cabos?

    Soaking up the sun by your hotel’s infinity-edge pool is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your time in Los Cabos. But if you need a break from utter relaxation and gorgeous seaside views, enjoy one of the following activities:

    1. Ride a camel on the beach. Cabo Adventures offers a unique Baja Outback excursion that includes a brief camel ride on the beach, a guided nature walk through the desert (you’ll learn that a cactus is 80 percent water and that the area is populated with roadrunners) and a delicious authentic Mexican picnic lunch (rice, beans, chicken, hand-made tortillas and salsa) with a tequila tasting. You won’t soon forget the views from your perch on that camel, by the way — lovely blue sea waves crashing to your right and desert cacti to your left.

    2. Go whale watching. Between December and April, you can board an inflatable speedboat with Cabo Expeditions to search out zodiac whales in the Sea of Cortez. Trust us — the whales are often so close to the boat, you can almost reach out and touch them. If you’re lucky, the beautiful creatures will put on a show by catapulting themselves out of the water.

    3. Swim with whale sharks. Whale sharks are the 30-foot, gentle-giant sharks of the sea — filter-feeders who survive by eating plankton (and not creatures like you). Cabo Expeditions will pick you up from your hotel and take you out on the water, where you’ll hop in and swim alongside these amazing animals.

    4. Visit a sculpture garden. A new peaceful green oasis in the Puerto Los Cabos development features the artwork of three Mexican sculptors, Jose Luis Cuevas, Manual Felguerez and Gabriel Macotel. In fact, Macotel’s work was actually carved from the boulders that were excavated when the Puerto Los Cabos marina was built. The garden is a truly Zen spot where you can relax and take in the uncommonly (for Los Cabos) lush surroundings. 

    5. Stroll the Art Walk. Every Thursday night between the months of October and June, the burgeoning San Jose del Cabo Art District hosts an art walk. Galleries open their doors between 5 and 9 p.m., welcoming in guests for a glass of wine and a peek at the work on display — everything from abstract art to photography by artists from Mexico and beyond.
  • On May 13
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What are the best things to do in Los Cabos?

    Soaking up the sun by your hotel’s infinity-edge pool is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your time in Los Cabos. But if you bore of utter relaxation and gorgeous seaside views, enjoy one of the following activities:

    1. Ride a camel on the beach. Cabo Adventures offers a unique Baja Outback excursion that includes a brief camel ride on the beach, a guided nature walk through the desert (you’ll learn that a cactus is 80 percent water and that the area is populated by roadrunners) and a delicious authentic Mexican picnic lunch (rice, beans, chicken, hand-made tortillas and salsa) with a tequila tasting. You won’t soon forget the views from your perch on that camel, by the way — lovely blue sea waves crashing to your right and desert cacti to your left.

    2. Go whale watching. Between December and April, you can board an inflatable speedboat with Cabo Expeditions to search out zodiac whales in the Sea of Cortez. Trust us — the whales are often so close to the boat, you can almost reach out and touch them. If you’re lucky, the beautiful creatures will put on a show by catapulting themselves out of the water.

    3. Swim with whale sharks. Whale sharks are the 30-foot, gentle-giant sharks of the sea — filter-feeders who survive by eating plankton (and not creatures like you). Cabo Expeditions will pick you up from your hotel and take you out on the water, where you’ll hop in and swim alongside these amazing animals.

    4. Visit a sculpture garden. A new peaceful green oasis in the Puerto Los Cabos development features the artwork of three Mexican sculptors, Jose Luis Cuevas, Manual Felguerez and Gabriel Macotel. In fact, Macotel’s work was actually carved from the boulders that were excavated when the Puerto Los Cabos marina was built. The garden is a truly Zen spot where you can relax and take in the uncommonly (for Los Cabos) lush surroundings. 

    5. Stroll the Art Walk. Every Thursday night between the months of October and June, the burgeoning San Jose del Cabo Art District hosts an art walk. Galleries open their doors between 5 and 9 p.m., welcoming in guests for a glass of wine and a peek at the work on display — everything from abstract art to photography by artists from Mexico and beyond.
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  • On May 10
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What are the best things to do in Los Cabos?

    Soaking up the sun by your hotel’s infinity-edge pool is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your time in Los Cabos. But if you bore of utter relaxation and gorgeous seaside views, enjoy one of the following activities:

    1. Ride a camel on the beach. Cabo Adventures offers a unique Baja Outback excursion that includes a brief camel ride on the beach, a guided nature walk through the desert (you’ll learn that a cactus is 80 percent water and that the area is populated by roadrunners) and a delicious authentic Mexican picnic lunch (rice, beans, chicken, hand-made tortillas and salsa) with a tequila tasting. You won’t soon forget the views from your perch on that camel, by the way — lovely blue sea waves crashing to your right and desert cacti to your left.

    2. Go whale watching. Between December and April, you can board an inflatable speedboat with Cabo Expeditions to search out zodiac whales in the Sea of Cortez. Trust us — the whales are often so close to the boat, you can almost reach out and touch them. If you’re lucky, the beautiful creatures will put on a show by catapulting themselves out of the water.

    3. Swim with whale sharks. Whale sharks are the 30-foot, gentle-giant sharks of the sea — filter-feeders who survive by eating plankton (and not creatures like you). Cabo Expeditions will pick you up from your hotel and take you out on the water, where you’ll hop in and swim alongside these amazing animals.

    4. Visit a sculpture garden. A new peaceful green oasis in the Puerto Los Cabos development features the artwork of three Mexican sculptors, Jose Luis Cuevas, Manual Felguerez and Gabriel Macotel. In fact, Macotel’s work was actually carved from the boulders that were excavated when the Puerto Los Cabos marina was built. The garden is a truly Zen spot to relax and take in the uncommonly (for Los Cabos) lush surroundings. 

    5. Stroll the Art Walk. Every Thursday night between the months of October and June, the burgeoning San Jose del Cabo Art District hosts an art walk. Galleries open their doors between 5 and 9 p.m., welcoming in guests for a glass of wine and a peek at the work on display — everything from abstract art to photography by artists from Mexico and beyond.
  • On May 7
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    Where are the best places to stay in Los Cabos?

    Los Cabos is spilling over with luxury accommodations and jovial customer service, so you’re sure to enjoy your stay in this Baja Peninsula paradise no matter where you bunk. But here are four hotels that should definitely make your short list:

    1. Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort. Even the beach cabanas at pristine Las Ventanas al Paraiso are the epitome of pampering — each one with its own private plunge pool and Jacuzzi, and an attentive butler to supply you with Evian spray, sunscreen, cocktails and delicious snacks. The property’s one- and two-bedroom spacious spa suites, with exquisite limestone floors, plush white furnishings and marble bathrooms, offer a spa treatment room with a terrace, a steam room and a sauna. One- and three-bedroom villas step things up with private infinity-edge pools, patios, walk-in closets and adobe fireplaces. And to make matters even more thoughtful, this luxe resort has a dedicated Department of Romance. (Need a love message-in-a-bottle delivered to your companion on the beach? The Department of Romance can help.) When it comes to dining, the hotel’s outdoor Tequila, Ceviche & Sushi Bar looks like a delicious spot for a more casual meal — I’d love to devour a Mexican Roll, made with lobster, avocado, onion and grilled corn.

    2. One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos Resort. Widely known as one of the most exclusive hotels in Los Cabos, One&Only Palmilla offers oceanfront and beachfront guest rooms with 24-hour butler service and verandas that feature daybeds and telescopes for whale watching. The toniest of guests, however, will reserve Villa Cortez, a lavish, four-bedroom, hacienda-style abode with its own private beach and 10,000 square feet of living space. The private infinity-edge pool, private screening room and poolside fire pit certainly don’t hurt the villa, either.

    3. Esperanza, An Auberge Resort. Besides the gorgeously landscaped property, awe-inspiring ocean views and spacious casitas with infinity-edge hot tubs, Esperanza pleases its guests with a plethora of activities sure to keep them well fed and entertained. Each night of the week brings a themed dining event — a Mexican fiesta featuring regional foods on the oceanfront patio on Thursday; burgers and milkshakes at La Palapa, the hotel grill, on Saturday; Argentinean barbecue on Wednesday. Try candlelit yoga on Thursday night or sunrise yoga on Saturday, take a morning painting class with a local artist and professor, or enjoy an educational tequila tasting. There’s something for everyone to do at this luxury Los Cabos resort. 

    4. Hotel El Ganzo. Los Cabos accommodations are largely of the vast-resort variety, but the new Hotel El Ganzo, set on a local fishing marina in the Puerto Los Cabos development, offers an art- and music-focused boutique atmosphere you likely won’t find anywhere else. The airy lobby features one-of-a-kind art by the hotel’s artists-in-residence, long communal dining tables that invite guests to mingle over meals, and a small stage for intimate performances by the hotel’s musicians-in-residence and other special guests. Dialing up the hip factor, there’s a door in the lobby floor that leads to a “secret” sound studio where visiting musicians record “El Ganzo Sessions” for Internet consumption. Don’t miss the hotel’s rooftop infinity-edge pool and sushi restaurant/bar with uniquely beautiful views of the fishing marina and the desert coast.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Derrik Chinn answered the question: Derrik Chinn

    What are the best things to see and do with kids in Los Cabos?

    Los Cabos can be a dream destination for kids; there are many fascinating things for them to see and do, most of which involve nature they’re not likely to experience at home. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors are here to help by narrowing down the five best kid-friendly activities in this outdoor paradise:
     
    1. Go whale watching. The winter months send the gray whales packing on a transcoastal commute from Alaska to give birth in the warm waters off the coast of Baja California. January through March yield prime spottings, and tour outfits like Cabo Sailing get you nearly close enough to touch without harming the peaceful giants; group tours run $65 for adults and $30 for kids.
     
    2. See some wildlife. Eagles, orioles and egrets are just some of the nearly 300 species of winged wildlife that call San Jose's Estuary and Bird Sanctuary (located on Paseo San Jose) home. A marshy oasis that spans 2,000 acres, it's the largest body of freshwater in Baja California Sur and definitely deserving of a sunrise stroll or kayak tour.
     
    3. Head to the sand. Beach time is an obvious given for any visit to Baja. The catch with a place like Cabo, however, is that many of its ocean currents are too strong for swimming, which means at many beaches the fun, unfortunately, goes only as far as the dry sand. Of the few that are considered safe for water play, centrally located Playa El Médano (Dune Beach) is the most popular among families and spring breakers alike. Wander in either direction if you're looking to escape the noise, or rent a car and head out to Playa Palmilla at kilometer 27 or Playa Chileno at kilometer 11 on the San Jose-San Lucas corridor.
     
    4. Stop by a street festival. Religion isn't all Roman Catholic fire and brimstone south of the border. The patron saints of both Cabos receive weeklong celebrations in honor of their respective feast days: San Jose's happens on March 19 followed by San Lucas' on October 18. The family-friendly street festivals make for multi-block parties starring plenty of food, live music, carnival rides and local folklore galore.
     
    5. Watch sea life from the water. Take a glass-bottom boat ride out to El Arco, the famous arched rock formation that marks the aqui-border between the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. En route scenery includes sea lions napping in the sun and fish viewed through the floor window. Hour-long treks depart Playa Medano and run $10 to $15 per person.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Derrik Chinn answered the question: Derrik Chinn

    What’s the best way to see the Baja Peninsula?

    The best way to get the real Baja experience is to drive it from tip to tip. It's a legendary odyssey that illustrates just how majestic and rugged the Baja terrain really is. The journey is doable in as few as three days but can easily consume an entire week if traveled at a leisurely pace. But contrary to what the monster-tired Baja 1000 racers would have you think, the well-maintained Transpeninsular Highway makes it doable in any rental car.
     
    We suggest the following route: From San Diego, cross the border early into Tijuana and head to Ensenada, Baja California's northernmost port city about 80 miles south on the Pacific Coast. Do fish tacos by the docks at the Mercado Negro seafood market followed by a round of pint-size yet extremely potent margaritas at Hussong's, a Wild West cantina that claims to be the birthplace of Mexico's cocktail ambassador. Stop for the night just south of the Baja California Sur state line in Guerrero Negro and soak up the surreal vistas at the abandoned lighthouse and salt refinery south of town the next morning.
     
    From there the road cuts across the peninsula to Santa Rosalia, a storybook mining town on the Sea of Cortez that was originally colonized by the French in the 1800s. Its mix of Mexican and European architecture — which includes a metal church supposedly designed by Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) — make it one of 56 historic preservation sites in Mexico and the only in Baja California Sur. Get a good night's sleep before moving on to spend an afternoon on the vacant beaches of Mulege, whose turquoise waters serve as the go-to spring break spot for Baja Californians looking to escape the annual migration of gringos gone wild that once roared into Tijuana and Rosarito. From there, it's another six hours to La Paz, the state capital, and just two more to Los Cabos.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Derrik Chinn answered the question: Derrik Chinn

    What is the best thing to bring home from Los Cabos?

    It may not be the easiest souvenir to transport home from Los Cabos, but it's one less kitschy knickknack that'll wind up in the basement, and chances are it'll be a hit back home: a case of Baja Brewing Co. beer. Not only is it the first and only cerveza to be produced in Baja California Sur, it's nearly impossible to find outside of Mexico. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend boxing up an assortment of the Baja Black (a medium-body, lightly bitter brew with hints of roasted coffee); the Baja Razz (a sweet berry beer, a popular champagne substitute, according to the Baja Brewing folk); the Baja Red (an amber ale that's high on the hops); the Baja Blond (the light Goldilocks of the family); and the Baja Stout (which, at 7 percent ABV, is the strongest of the bunch), as a tasty souvenir of your visit to Baja.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Derrik Chinn answered the question: Derrik Chinn

    What are the best Los Cabos food experiences?

    Beyond the tourist-trap Mexican restaurants, you can find authentic food experiences from street food to farm-fresh produce — and even craft beers — in Los Cabos if you know where to look. Try these top five Los Cabos food experiences handpicked by our Forbes Travel Guide editors for a taste of Mexico that’s off the beaten path for many visitors:
     
    1. Street eats. March's Feria de San Jose in Plaza Mijares is a smorgasbord of huaraches (the true Mexican pizza, despite the claims of any and all big-name Mexican fast food chains), tacos, taquitos, sopes, tortas, nopales (cactus), elote (corn), churros and other Mexican street eats that, unless you live in east L.A., you would never find back home.
     
    2. Mexican microbrews. Craft brew culture is on the rise south of the border, and Baja is quickly earning its rep as the star of the scene thanks in part to its proximity to San Diego, America's unofficial craft beer capital. Taking the movement all the way to the end of the peninsula, Baja Brewing Company in San Jose — run by four Coloradan expats — produces a blond, black, red and stout and a raspberry brew. Sip your way through samples of all five at their brewery tasting room and work in a tour if time permits.
     
    3. The wine and food festival. Capella Pedregal hosts its annual wine and food fest in mid-July, a four-day stretch of cooking demonstrations with star chefs, wine and cheese tastings, a five-course dinner and cocktail mixers in the sand.
     
    4. Fresh food at the farmers market. Hit up the Cabo farmers market — open Wednesdays and Saturdays until noon at the Mar Adentro Spa — for organic produce, bread, pastas, pastries, chicken, spices and sauces.
     
    5. Eat something you hooked yourself. Local fishermen will clean your catch for a small fee — some will even cook it for you — and nothing tastes nearly the same as fresh Baja Sur seafood slightly marinated with a little congratulatory pat on the back.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Derrik Chinn answered the question: Derrik Chinn

    Where is the best nightlife in Los Cabos?

    For the best nightlife in Los Cabos, if it happens to be a Thursday between November and June, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors recommend heading into San Jose del Cabo early for its weekly Art Walk at the 15 galleries housed in colonial homes west of Plaza Mijares. But if you’re looking for a full-fledged party, base yourself in Cabo San Lucas, where places like Pink Kitty, El Squid Roe, The Giggling Marlin, Mandala, Passion Club and Cabo Wabo fall somewhere in between the spectrum of Vegas-style bottle service clubs and the sort of bars where one's life goal of winning a tabletop wet T-shirt contest can easily become a reality. Whenever you're ready for a change of pace, pop into Mambo for more of a Latin beat or Two for the Road for live jazz and Manhattans.
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