Medano Beach and the Arch from the hotel ME Cabo, Cabo San Lucas Baja Mexico

Traveling to Cabo San Lucas | Where to Stay + What to Eat

Are you traveling to Cabo San Lucas and need help planning your trip? No worries! I’ve got you covered in this Cabo Guide with info that answers questions about how to get around and where to stay in Cabo San Lucas. Not to mention my favorite restaurants. Whether you are traveling to Cabo San Lucas for a week or simply a day stop on your cruise, this guide will help you do it better.

Where is Cabo San Lucas?

Cabo San Lucas is one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico so you probably already know where it is but just you in case you need a visual, Cabo is located at the southernmost tip of Baja California, the peninsula across the border from California. It’s where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean with some of the prettiest golden sand beaches and blue-green water you’ll ever see.

When people say “I’m going to Cabo”, they could be referring to Cabo San Lucas or San Jose de Cabo. But these two very different cities, more or less 20 miles apart, are two entirely different areas and make up Los Cabos. Between the two, there’s a strip of coastline full of hotels and resorts that’s commonly referred to as the Corridor.

When is the Best Time to Visit Cabo San Lucas?

Baja is a desert climate, so Cabo San Lucas is warm all year long. Of course, some months are going to be hotter and busier. Many snowbirds from the U.S. and Canada spend their winters in Baja so December through April is high season and the busiest time in Cabo San Lucas.

Also keep in mind that March and April brings the the spring breakers. If you are traveling to see the whales that migrate to the area, then January through March is the best time to do that.

For me, I like May and June. The weather is perfect. Daytime temps are warm but the nights are cooler and breezy. You also don’t usually have to worry about hurricanes during this time of the year. Hurricane season officially runs June through October.

Even if the area doesn’t experience any tropical storms or hurricanes, expect some rain and pop up showers late in the summer and early fall season. Temperatures are hot, with highs in the 90’s but the advantage is since it’s low season, you might save money on lodging during this time of the year.

Traveling to Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a easy direct flight from many U.S. and Canadian cities. Delta, United, American, Spirit, Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest, Sun Country, West Jet and Air Canada all fly to Los Cabos. Here’s a few things to expect when traveling to Cabo San Lucas.

Arriving at the Airport

Southern Baja is serviced by San Jose de Cabo International Airport (SJD), approximately 30 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas. The airport has two terminals – Terminal 1 is for domestic flights within Mexico and Terminal 2 for international flights to the U.S. and Canada.

A passport is needed for traveling to Mexico but there’s no visa requirement for United States and Canadian citizens. Instead, a tourist card or what’s called a FMM, a Forma Migratoria Multiple, is required for all tourists. A FMM is valid for up to 180 days in a 12 month period and the $37 USD fee is included in your airplane ticket.

If you’ve traveled to Mexico before, you might remember that travelers in the past were asked to fill out a FMM form on the airplane. Then upon arrival at immigration, after stamping passports, officials retained a portion of that form and visitors were asked to hold onto their half until departing the country.

You’ll be happy to know there are no more papers to keep up with now. It’s all part of a much more simple electronic system the Mexican government has implemented.

Next, after exiting immigration and gathering your luggage from baggage claim, it’s time for customs. Most airports in Mexico operate on a red light, green light system, which is a little different from what you might be used to. As you pass through customs everyone is asked to push a button. If the button lights up green, you’re good to go but red means you’ve been selected for an extra search.

Mexico is in the process of simplifying this procedure as well. Many Mexican airports have added an additional x-ray machine in customs that requires all bags to be scanned before leaving the airport.

However, as some airports make the switch, and struggle with growing pains, you might still encounter the red light, green light system as they change over. This recently happened to me when I was traveling to Puerto Vallarta.

Finally, after exiting customs, there’s one more room to pass through – the timeshare and tour room, aka the shark room. Be warned, you will be made to feel that it’s necessary to stop and schedule something but unless you’re interested in a timeshare presentation or a tour, just pass through the room and exit the airport.

How to Get to Cabo From the Airport

The Los Cabos airport is actually closer to San Jose de Cabo so unless you plan on renting a vehicle, you need transportation to Cabo San Lucas from the airport. Depending on where your hotel is, the trip takes about 45 minutes. Here are some of the best ways to get from the airport to Cabo San Lucas.

Shuttle Van

Shuttle vans are a convenient way to get to your hotel from the Los Cabos airport. You can book a private shuttle or a shared shuttle. However, before you book something on your own dime, definitely check with your hotel to see if they offer this service. Some do, although, it’s generally not free because of the distance. Still, it’s a good idea to ask before you pay someone else.

A shared shuttle does mean you’ll probably be riding with other travelers that may not be staying at your hotel. So, the ride could be a bit longer depending on how many stops the driver has to make. If you’re visiting for a honeymoon or a special occasion then a private shuttle is the way to go.

I personally have always used Transcabo and have had excellent service with them. Of course, there are plenty of other companies and car options if you don’t want to ride in a van. My experience was with about 8 other people who were traveling together so they all went to another hotel and we didn’t have to make multiple stops.


Authorized taxi stands are located outside the airport after you exit the tour timeshare room. By using an authorized taxi, there’s no haggling over the price. The price is a fixed rate based on what zone you are traveling to. Just confirm the price ahead of time and you should be good to go.


Cabo San Lucas has Uber but just like in many other Mexican cities they aren’t allowed on federal property. Since the airport is a federal property, they cannot pick you up there. However, they can drop you off. Uber in Mexico is the same as the United States minus a couple of differences like less advertising. You simply use the app to request a ride.

Rental Cars

Renting a car in Cabo San Lucas is easy and, again, very similar to renting in the U.S. All you need is a valid driver’s license and a credit card. I find that rentals in Mexico are a little more expensive because of the required Mexican liability insurance. Car rental agencies don’t always quote that price up front so if you haven’t factored that into your budget, you might be in for quite a surprise.

You also might consider using your credit card rental coverage, however, that coverage isn’t liability coverage and in some cases, Mexican rental companies will not accept it. If you insist, they will require you to sign a waiver and leave a rather hefty deposit. I personally would rather just pay the extra and know that I’m covered in any scenario.

If you decide not to rent a vehicle at the airport but later decide you want to day trip around the area, rentals are available throughout Cabo San Lucas and can even be arranged and picked up at some of the bigger resorts and hotels.


If you don’t mind public transportation, buses in Mexico are great options for getting around. Subur Cabos is the public bus system that travels from the airport in San Jose de Cabo and along the corridor to Cabo San Lucas. The buses run every day from 5 am to around 10 pm and you’ll find marked bus stops along the route.

This bus is one of the most budget-friendly options, costing around 30 pesos ($1.80 USD) one way from San Jose de Cabo to Cabo San Lucas. You will need pesos for the bus and exact change is highly suggested as well. The buses are colored differently depending on the route and the destination will be displayed on the windshield but if you have any doubts about where the bus is headed just ask the driver before you get on.

Note: If you arrive to the Los Cabos airport on an international flight, you will have to transfer to Terminal 1 to catch the bus.

Getting Around Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a very pedestrian-friendly town, particularly for those staying near Medano Beach, the Marina, or downtown. Taxis and Ubers are plentiful and the public Subur Cabo buses, mentioned previously, are another option.

Where to Stay in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas offers a diverse range of accommodations, catering to every preference and budget, from classic Mexican hotels downtown to luxurious 5-star beachfront resorts. Opt for prime waterfront locales like Medano Beach, Land’s End, and Pedregal for an unforgettable seaside stay.

Medano Beach

My first choice of where to stay in Cabo San Lucas is Medano Beach. The beach is so pretty and this area is more swimmable since it’s better protected than the open water on the Land’s End Pacific side. But just to be safe, always check conditions before you enter the water. Cabo’s beaches are known for strong undertows and sneaky waves.

Staying on Medano Beach, you’ll also get direct view of the Arch at Land’s End. Restaurants and beach clubs are plentiful and it’s very easy to hop on a boat or a tour to out to Land’s End. Paddle boards and even jet-skis, can be rented directly on the beach.

ME Cabo is the perfect choice for hotels on Medano Beach. It’s a large resort but not as big and spread out as some of the others so it feels a bit more intimate. I also appreciate the small touches like robes and beach bags that make you feel more comfortable and at home.

The property offers many choices of rooms from simple king and doubles to rooms with a swim deck and their own Jacuzzi. But even the most simple rooms have have balconies with views and the bed is placed to take advantage of the view and the amazing sunrises over el Arco.

The resort has a huge pool with a swim up bar, hot tubs, a lounging beds near the pool and as well as several restaurants onsite. On the beach you’ll find covered lounges and chairs available in a private area. The hotel also rents paddle boards and other water activities.

Also near Medano Beach is Bahia Hotel, the perfect property for those who prefer a quiet getaway but want to be near the action. Like the ME, Bahia Hotel has an plenty of amenities like an inviting pool with a swim-up bar, a fitness center and the popular onsite restaurant Bar Esquina. Bonus points for having a cute take-away coffee and juice bar too.

Since the hotel is a couple of blocks from the beach, guests will have access to the hotel’s beach club and restaurant, SUR, located directly on the beach. They even have golf carts to take you there. Guests receive signing privileges which makes it easy to charge everything to the room. That way you don’t have to carry a bunch of money around.

Downtown Cabo San Lucas

If being on the beach isn’t top priority or if you are looking to save a few buck, downtown Cabo San Lucas offers some good alternative options within walking of the marina and the beach.

Los Milagros Hotel is a charming boutique hotel in downtown featuring a picturesque courtyard and an inviting blue swimming pool and stunning common areas. In addition to beautiful rooms, they offer Wi-Fi and free parking, which comes in handy in the downtown area.

Collection O Casa Bella Hotel Boutique has rave reviews online and is listed as exceptional. The hotel offers breakfast, an outdoor pool and terrace and free Wi-Fi in the public areas, as well as safes and minibars in the rooms.

Where to Stay in Cabo San Lucas Marina

Marina Cabo San Lucas is a more centrally located option for convenient accommodations. With a huge selection of restaurants, shopping and nightlife, the marina is a hive of activity around the clock but still within walking distance of the beach and downtown.

Most tours and deep sea fishing charters depart from marina so if that’s something you are planning on doing while in Cabo then staying close might be a good option for you. Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa is a property right in the marina and offers an all-inclusive option.

All-Inclusive Stays in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas has a wide variety of all-inclusive resorts. Even if it’s not advertised as such most properties with restaurants will offer some kind of meal plan. Just ask if that’s something you are interested in.

For a honeymoon, babymoon or any special occasion, Casa Dorada Los Cabos or Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa are good choices. Or if you prefer an all-inclusive out of town and a little more laid back, then Hacienda Encantada, has an all-inclusive option. The resort is stunning and they have some of the best views in all of Cabo San Lucas.

Homestays in Cabo San Lucas

Renting a home in Cabo San Lucas gives you the best of both worlds with accommodations, a kitchen and other useful amenities. Even if you don’t like cooking on vacation, it’s very convenient to have a access to a refrigerator and microwave.

VRBO – Vacation Rentals by Owner, has the best selection of properties to choose from and they operate the same in Mexico as in the U.S. You can use the map below to see some home options as well as other accommodations.

Where to Eat in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas offers a diverse culinary scene with many more options beyond just Mexican cuisine. Seafood lovers can indulge in Baja’s fresh fish and succulent warm water lobster, while taco aficionados will enjoy some of the most mouthwatering fish and shrimp tacos found in Baja Sur.

Tacos Gardenias are the tacos by which I judge all other tacos now. The fish tacos and the breaded shrimp tacos are the absolute best tacos I’ve had in Baja Sur. Served with lots of of salsas and fresh toppings, you can taste the love put The restaurant also has other Mexican dishes, ceviche and a ginormous shrimp cocktail.

The Crazy Lobster is another solid choice for seafood and Mexican food in Cabo San Lucas. It’s not fancy but has good prices and a darn good michelada. They are open all day and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

La Galeria, in the marina is a casual dining dining experience but at the same time nice enough for a special occasion. Like many other restaurants in Cabo San Lucas, the specialty is their seafood dishes. The outdoor seating along the waterfront and live mariachi music makes it an unforgettable Baja experience.

Pan de Bacco serves Italian food and homemade pasta in Cabo San Lucas. It’s perfect when you’re not in the mood for seafood or Mexican food. Their lasagna and homemade bread and the wood fire pizzas are delicious.

Bar Esquina is located in the Bahia Cabo Hotel. It’s an inviting restaurant space featuring a lively bar area offering Mezcal and Tequila tastings and dinner menus including everything from charcuterie boards to fresh seafood. There’s also a pool side menu that includes fresh sushi and pizza.

The Office is a nice, but pricey, open air palapa style restaurant right on the Medano Beach, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of course, fresh seafood dominates the menu but they do have a few steak and land options as well. The patio even has outdoor heaters if you visit in the winter.

Baja Brewing Company is one of the first breweries in Cabo San Lucas. When you have a hankering for a burger of pub food, this is the place. They have are a couple of locations but by far the restaurant on the roof of Cabo Villas Beach Resort on Medano Beach is the prime location, with epic views, misters for the hot days and fire pits when it’s chilly.

Beach Clubs in Cabo San Lucas

Beach clubs in Cabo San Lucas are a great way do nothing but to relax, drink some cocktails and have someone wait on you hand and foot. Most clubs have tables or lounge chairs, right on the sand. Fair warning though, depending on the type of entertainment and contests they have going on, things can get a bit rowdy.

One of the most lively Cabo San Lucas beach clubs is Mango Deck on Medano Beach. The club is open seven days a week, bright and early at 8am. They actually have a really great breakfast during the week and on Sunday, from 8am to 1pm, they offer an all you can eat brunch menu.

You can count on great snacks, like guacamole and buckets of beer. Besides contests and trivia, Mango Deck has live music nightly, can arrange tours and is, in general, just a good place to hang out and meet people.

Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a great place to relax, but if you prefer a more active vacation you can do that too. There are plenty of activities suitable for the most energetic person down to the least motivated. At the very top of the list is visiting the Arch or El Arco de Cabo. The best way to see it is by booking a boat tour. And If you have the time, do it twice. Sunset at the Arch is amazing!

Another experience that shouldn’t be missed when in Cabo is deep sea fishing. Even if that’s not something you typical love, this area of Baja is known as one of the top places in the world for fishing. It’s so good, Baja hosts a variety or events and tournaments throughout the year. At best you get to enjoy a beautiful day out on the water.

For even more Cabo San Lucas activities, a day trip to Todos Santos, snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo National Park or swimming with the whale sharks near La Paz are just a few of the other fun things you can do when visiting.

Cabo San Lucas Money Tips

Mexico’s currency is the peso so when it comes to money and paying for things in Cabo San Lucas, it’s best to use them. Yes, some places accept dollars but when you pay with dollars, the change you get in return is pesos and the exchange rate is not good.

With the dollar already falling against the peso, you probably want to save every penny, or peso, you can. If you don’t have pesos when you arrive, you can always get a few at the airport to get you started on tips and whatnot. Then later, use an ATM for a better exchange rate. Just remember to decline the conversion for less fees.

The next best option for exchanging money if you already have cash is a casa de cambio or change house. Changing money at a bank, in my opinion, is the last resort for someone vacationing. For one, it’s time consuming. Secondly, they ask for copies of this and that and unless you already have your copies with you, they will not change your money.

This is not standard for all banks and I know there is someone out there reading this saying I’ve never had that happen at my bank. Well, that’s good. I’ve had some positive encounters at banks too but I’ve also had enough negative, that I don’t want to stand in line for 30 minutes only to be told I don’t have what they need because there’s no standard in the country.

Credit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard, are widely accepted in Cabo San Lucas. From my experience, a few places like hotels and rental car agencies accept American Express but most small businesses do not and it’s rare to find a place that takes Discover.

Cabo San Lucas FAQs

What if I don’t speak Spanish?

Spanish is the most common language spoken is Mexico but if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll have no problem communicating in Cabo San Lucas. Most hotel personnel and tourism people speak English.

However, I think it’s considerate and very much appreciated, if you at least learn the big 5. In Spanish they are super simple and you probably already know them.

Will My Phone Work in Cabo San Lucas?

Visitors from the U.S. that have service with Verizon or AT&T should be able to use their phones with an international plan.

If you are a frequent traveler to Mexico, consider buying a Mexican pay by the minute phone at a local Telcel store. Additionally you can purchase a local SIM card if your phone has one that you can swap out.

Many places have free Wi-Fi so it’s possible to use a messaging app such as WhatsApp – which by the way is one of my 5 essential apps for traveling in Mexico – for free to communicate.

Can You Drink the Water in Cabo?

Just like almost everywhere in Mexico, you probably don’t want to drink the water in Cabo San Lucas. You can easily find bottled water all over town and your hotel will probably even supply some.

Related: Drinking Water in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know.

Ice cubes, washed vegetables and fruit at resorts should be okay since many of them have their own filtration systems, but there’s no guarantee. If you have a sensitive stomach you may want to avoid these foods all together.

Do I need Travel Insurance in Cabo San Lucas?

Mexico has good healthcare with reliable hospitals and urgent care but in the last few years, there are more and more reports of tourists being charged huge amounts up front just to be treated. If you don’t have a credit cards to cover or cash on hand you might not be allowed to leave the hospital.

One way to avoid this kind of scenario is by purchasing travel insurance. You might still be required to pay something up front but many of the reputable travel insurance companies are well versed in dealing with foreign healthcare and they will make arrangements and help you get the best care available.

Many travel insurance policies will also provide emergency evacuation back to the states. This is something that can cost thousands of dollars so make sure you pay the little extra to include this on your policy. Search and compare travel insurance plans at to find the perfect one for you.

Final Thoughts on Traveling to Cabo San Lucas

For me, Cabo San Lucas is one of the best and most reliable vacations there is. For one, you can just about always count on sun, sand, seafood and fun. I love it too because you can do a lot or do nothing at all but lay around the pool or beach. And the scenery? There aren’t too many places with the amazing scenery Cabo has. It’s so beautiful you can’t help but fall in love. So what if it’s touristy? Aren’t we all tourists?

See you on the road!

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