Blame it on Van Halen. Actually, blame it on David Lee Roth. If he had never left Van Halen and if 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 when I finally did visit, I wanted to make sure I did all the right things. It’s kind of ironic that I didn’t even make it to Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo bar. Whether you are in Cabo for a week or just day tripping, here’s 10 things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
For everything else you want to know about cabo, like is it safe + how to get around, read:
Visit the Arch + Land’s End
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, the best way to see Cabo and truly appreciate its beauty, is to get out on the water. So number 1 on my 10 things to do in Cabo is visiting the famous Arch, “el Arco” and Land’s End by boat.
There are plenty of locations where you can catch a boat that takes you to the Arch. The most popular spots are from the marina and from right off the beach at Medano Beach. You’ll see all the pangas, or smaller 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. Additionally, some resorts have info and tour guides they use.
Since we aren’t much for organized tours, we just asked the first tour operator we saw on Medano Beach to take us. We did at least opt for a boat with a cover for some shade.
What to Expect on the Boat
Depending on what kind of tour you decide on, most of them take you to see the popular features and then drop you off at Lover’s Beach. Our boat took us by the Arch and the very last rock of Land’s End. If the tide is out, you can see more of it. It’s also common for a tour to include the Reserva de Lobos Marinos or the sea lion reserve. There you’ll see plenty of sea lions laid out sunning 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, it’s possible to walk to Divorce Beach. But if you are in Medano Beach or other areas of Cabo, 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. 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 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
I know this is the last thing you expect to see on my list but hear me out. Cabo 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. They wore us down with all the asking. So since we had some time to kill so why not take them up on their offer? The real reason was because of what they were offering us in exchange. I’ll get to that in a minute.
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. So I personally did not anticipate going deep sea fishing in Cabo. I just wrote it off because we never catch anything anyway and it’s not one of my favorite things to do. At the time, I didn’t know Cabo was one of the best places for deep sea fishing.
Fast forward to the timeshare guy at the marina saying they would take us fishing if we listened to the presentation. My husband was hooked. No pun intended. It must have been a slow day. In exchange for listening to the presentation at the resort, they would give us a deep sea fishing trip for 4, a brunch buffet and whatever we wanted to drink. We didn’t have anything planned, so we went. And we had a good 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 get you to spend that money. We kept our wits about us enough to say no to long term timeshare but ended up buying a couple of future stays at the resort. All in all it was a good day and I’m happy we had the experience,
I realize not everyone wants to go on vacation and listen to a timeshare presentation. 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 a little of your time. And who knows? You may walk away with something great like we did.
- You will be dealing with multiple people on your timeshare presentation deal. Get everything they promise in writing, so if by chance something isn’t right, you have proof of what the original deal was.
Go Deep Sea Fishing
I’m not a deep sea fisherman by any means. I could list so many reasons why but mainly 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 trip, 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 4, we asked them to go. I was a little more excited to go because I would have someone to talk to while the men fished.
Once again, 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 dorado or mahi mahi, since that’s what was mainly in season, the men were surprised to catch not one, but two marlins. One was released and they other kept.
- 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 pick up food in the marina before you go.
- 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 a person that gets seasick, plan accordingly.
Meet Pancho the Sea Lion
When 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. He likes to greet the boats as they return with their catches. 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.
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 stand up paddle or learn to stand up paddle. Even if you’ve never tried before, 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 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 place for road tripping or even just taking a day trip. It’s super easy to rent a car and drive around to explore some of other Baja towns. One of my favorite areas is El Pescadero and Todo Santos. While I suggest more time that a day, you could even do a day trip to La Paz to see some of the gorgeous beaches.
- 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 rent a car when you arrive because you don’t think you’ll need one the entire time, then you can rent at some resorts that have tour agencies onsite. Or you can rent a car 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 are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The only thing better than seeing them from land, are seeing them from a catamaran. A relaxing sunset cruise is THE perfect way to end a day in Cabo San Lucas. There are all kinds of options to choose from but the majority of the sunset cruises are more laid back and less party boat.
We chose Cabo Blue mostly because we wanted the sunset experience on a sailboat instead of a motorized boat. It’s a smaller group and a more intimate encounter. 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 unforgettable evening.
Explore the Desert on an ATV
For those who want a little adrenaline rush when traveling to 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 guides tours in Cabo 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 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. 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!
More Cabo San Lucas Things To Do
Just because I listed 10 things to do in Cabo, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to do. Some other fun things include shopping, tequila tasting, ziplining, camel rides, snorkeling and diving, skydiving and much more. Whenever you are ready to visit, Cabo will be there waiting for you.