Blame it on Van Halen. Actually, blame it on David Lee Roth. If he had never left Van Halen and Sammy Hagar hadn’t joined the group and sang about Cabo Wabo, would I have been so obsessed with Cabo? I don’t know but my best friend and I spent a lot of high school years planning our trip to Cabo San Lucas. When I finally did get a chance to visit, I wanted to make sure I did all the right things. It’s kind of ironic I never made it to Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo bar. Whether you are in Baja for a week or just day tripping, here’s 10 fun things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
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Visit the Arch + Land’s End
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, the best way to see Cabo San Lucas and truly appreciate its beauty, is to get out on the water. So number one on my things to do in Cabo San Lucas is visiting the famous Arch, or “el Arco” and Land’s End by boat.
There are plenty of locations to catch a boat to take you to the Arch. The most popular locations are from the marina and from right off the beach at Medano Beach. You’ll see plenty of pangas, or small boats waiting to take people over. If you’re looking for something a little more organized, like a glass bottom boat or a snorkel tour, that can be arranged at a tour kiosk on the beach or at the marina.
Since we’re not much for organized tours, we just asked the first person we saw with a boat on Medano Beach. We did at least try to find a boat that was covered for some shade.
What to Expect on the Boat
Depending on what kind of tour you decide on, most guides take you to see the popular spots and then they drop you off at Lover’s Beach. Our boat took us by the Arch and the very last rock of Land’s End. How much you’ll see of it depends on the tide. The same goes for the Arch. There are times when the tide is just right and you can even walk under it. Most of the tours include the Reserva de Lobos Marinos or the sea lion reserve. There, you can plenty of sea lions laying out sunning themselves on the rocks.
The ride across the bay from the beach, or the marina, doesn’t take long and it’s a calm ride. The captain will stop and give everyone on board a chance to get photos. There were only 6 of us in our boat so there was plenty of time to capture the moment. If you need extra time, just ask, Most guides are very accommodating and knowledgeable about the area.
- Make sure there are personal floatation devices on board. Even though it isn’t very far across from Medano Beach, safety first.
- Lastly, don’t forget to tip!
Walk Lover’s Beach + Divorce Beach
If you are staying in a hotel on the Pacific side, you can walk to Divorce Beach. But if you are in Medano Beach or other areas of Cabo San Lucas, like we were, then a boat is necessary to get there. Most of the tours to Land’s End and the Arch include dropping you off at the famous Lover’s Beach. The boat will then return and pick you up at a designated time. Seeing these two beaches should be on your list of things to do in Cabo San Lucas. In my opinion they are some of the prettiest beaches I’ve EVER seen.
Lover’s Beach is on the north side of Land’s End and enjoys water from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. Because of the way the Baja peninsula is shaped, it faces the beaches of Cabo San Lucas so it’s protected from the rough waves of the Pacific Ocean. Divorce Beach on the south side of the peninsula, however, faces open water and is very rough. The names of the beaches come from the fact that one, Lover’s Beach is very calm and gentle and then you have Divorce Beach, turbulent, rolling and dangerous.
- don’t swim on the Divorce Beach side. Save your swimming for Lover’s Beach.
- the sun in Baja is strong. Take sunscreen. If you are staying awhile, you can find a few shady places around the rocks.
- take a towel or something to sit on if you don’t want to get sand all over you.
- there are no vendors so if you want food or water, you will need to take it with you as well.
Listen to a Time Share Presentation
Wasting your vacation time listening to a presentation is probably the last thing you expect to see on my list but hear me out. Cabo San Lucas may just be the time share capital of the world. Never in my life have I had so many people approach me to do a time share presentation. Honestly, they wore us down with all the asking. So since we had some time to kill, why not take them up on their offer? The real reason we finally decided to say yes was because they offered us deep sea fishing.
Living in northwest Georgia, the closest beach and deep sea fishing is at least 6 hours away. Multiple trips, time and money, have been spent on fishing for, if we are lucky, a bowl of ceviche. In planning our trip to Cabo San Lucas, I didn’t anticipate going deep sea fishing. Since I wasn’t aware that Cabo, and all of Baja really, was one of the premier places for deep sea fishing, I just didn’t plan it.
Fast forward to the timeshare guy at the marina saying they would take us fishing if we went to the presentation. My husband was hooked. No pun intended. It must have been a slow day for time shares sales that day because in exchange for listening to the presentation at the resort, they would give us a deep sea fishing trip for four, a brunch buffet and all we could drink. We didn’t have anything planned, so we went. And we had a great time!
The property was gorgeous with some of the best views of the Pacific. They drove us around in golf carts. We looked at the rooms. We ate delicious food and they served us some of the best margaritas we had on the entire trip. No doubt to loosen you up to spend your money. But we kept our wits about us long enough to say no to a long term timeshare deal. We did end up buying a couple of future stays at the resort. All in all, it was a good day and I’m happy we had this experience,
I know listening to a time share presentation on your all too short vacation is not everyone. But if you have the time, are someone that likes looking at real estate and property or are considering living in Mexico at some point, then give it a try. All you have to lose is some time. And who knows? You may walk away with something great like we did. Or a timeshare.
- When negotiating the offer, you will be dealing with multiple people before the presentation and during the presentation. Get everything they promise in writing. Write down names and even take a picture of the badge of the person you are dealing with. All of the timeshare people are supposed to be licensed. So, if don’t get what you were promised you know who to contact.
Go Deep Sea Fishing
I could list so many reasons why I’m not a fan of deep sea fishing but the main one is because it usually means getting up before the sun to get to your fishing spot. Not my idea of fun on a vacation. Honestly, even after the timeshare offer of the free deep sea fishing, I wasn’t going to go. But we had met a couple the very first day when we went to the Arch. Since the fishing trip was for four, we asked them to go. I was a little more excited to go because I at least would have someone to talk to while the men fished.
Once again, to my surprise, it turned out to be one of the most memorable things we did. The captain only took us out into the Pacific a few miles. That meant, we could always see land. For that I’m grateful. That’s another reason I don’t like deep sea fishing. It was early in the season for whales, but we were lucky enough to spot a couple. The men fished and we hung out, watching for whales, turtles and manta rays.
The best part of the experience was the catch. Expecting only to snag some mahi mahi, since that’s what was in season, the men were surprised to catch not one, but two marlins. What an experience. If you are even slightly interested in deep sea fishing, then go while you are in Baja. It needs to be on your things to do in Cabo San Lucas list.
- Make sure you have the correct permits and licenses. The tour company should handle that the morning you arrive at the marina.
- Our tour included ceviche for lunch, water and domestic beer. You can also take you own food. There are stores in the marina to buy supplies.
- If you aren’t taking your fish home to the states with you or having it prepared as a meal locally, you can donate the fish to certain organizations that feed the needy.
- The water on the Pacific side is definitely rougher. If you are susceptible to getting seasick, plan accordingly.
Meet Pancho the Sea Lion
As you return to the marina from deep sea fishing, tell your captain you’d like to meet Pancho the sea lion. Pancho has become quite a celebrity in Cabo San Lucas. He likes to greet the boats as they return with their catches because he knows they are good for a quick easy meal. Pancho jumps on the back of the boat for his handout. I suspect there is more than one Pancho but it’s still a fun thing to do in Cabo San Lucas.
Learn to Stand Up Paddle
If taking a large boat isn’t your thing, then you can hop in the water on a stand up paddle board. The calm clear water of Medano Beach is the perfect place to paddle or learn to stand up paddle. Even if this is your first time, you’ll feel extra safe in this protected area. Some of the areas of in front of the beach resorts even have a marine rope that keeps you from straying too far.
There are plenty of rental companies to rent from right on the beach. Many of the resorts even have their own rentals. You can rent by the day or by the hour. If you have never tried it before, I suggest starting with an hour. If you like it, you can always extend your time or do it another day.
Take a Road Trip
The Baja Peninsula is a great region for road tripping or even just taking a day trip. Especially Baja Sur. It’s super easy to rent a car and drive around to explore some of other Baja towns. One of my favorite areas is Todo Santos. I suggest spending more than a day there but if that’s all you then at least check out something totally different than Cabo San Lucas. Even La Paz is not too far to day trip if you leave early. Get to know some of the gorgeous beaches there or swim with whale sharks in season.
Here’s the distances to some of the best places for a day trip in Baja Sur.
- San Jose de Cabo – 20 miles
- El Pescadero – 39 miles
- Todos Santos – 47 miles
- Los Barriles – 70 miles
- La Paz – 98 miles
If you don’t plan on renting a car when you arrive to the airport, you can rent one in town. Some resorts have car rental agencies or tour agencies onsite that will help you. Or take a taxi or Uber to downtown Cabo San Lucas. There are plenty of rental agencies on Calle Lazaro Cardenas in front of the Puerto Paraiso Shopping Center.
Relax on a Sunset Cruise
The sunsets in Cabo San Lucas are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The only thing better than seeing them from land, is seeing them from a catamaran. A relaxing sunset cruise is THE perfect way to end a day in Cabo San Lucas or celebrate a special occasion. There are plenty of boat options too.
For our sunset cruise, we chose Cabo Blue. Mainly because we wanted to experience it on a sailboat instead of a motorized boat. It’s a smaller group and less party part. Since it wasn’t a dinner cruise, they served appetizers, ceviche and some other snacks. The tour also included all the domestic beer you want. Which in this part of Baja usually means Pacifico. It was a memorable evening.
Explore the Desert on an ATV
For those who want a little adrenaline rush when visiting Cabo San Lucas, plan an ATV trip to the desert. Most tours include riding desert trails and along the beach with time to stop and take a dip. You can choose tours from 2 or 5 hours and the longer tours include lunch.
The first time I went to La Paz, BCS, I went swimming with whale sharks with Julio from Chilango Store Tours. Now, Julio offers tours in Cabo San Lucas too. In addition to ATV tours, Chilango Stores offers biking, snorkeling, diving and glass boat tours to the Arch.
Hang Out at a Beach Club
If you came to Cabo San Lucas to relax, there’s no better way to do that than by spending a day lounging beachside, having someone wait on you. Medano Beach is full of trendy beach clubs where the only thing you have to do is pick out your chair and let someone else do the rest. Some of the resorts have their own clubs in private areas on the beach. Then there are the stand alone beach clubs like Mango Deck.
Depending on the season, some beach clubs will give you a lounge chair for free as long as you eat and drink there. Understandably, they want to make sure it’s worth their while for you to take up space in their club. At times, there’s a minimum you need to spend. Just ask and many times, it’s even negotiable. Extras, such as umbrellas and private or group areas, might require an additional fee. Bottle service and buckets are usually the way to go at a beach club. Especially with a group.
- For a large group, many places require reservations
- You can arrange special events like bachelor and bachelorette parties at many beach clubs
- Don’t forget to tip your server!
Even More Things To Do in Cabo San Lucas
Just because I only listed 10 things to do in Cabo San Lucas, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to do there. Some other fun things include whale watching, shopping, tequila tasting, ziplining, camel rides, yes camel rides, snorkeling, diving, skydiving and much more. Whenever you are ready to visit, Cabo San Lucas will be there waiting for you.