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One of the most popular resorts in Mexico, Cabo San Lucas becomes more attractive every year, drawing thousands of beach lovers, partygoers, sightseers, and diving fanatics to southern Baja California.
If you want a vacation filled with hedonistic reveling, the center of Cabo is as lively as anywhere. If you want to see underwater marvels, the sandfalls of the area are legendary. Surfers can spend all day testing themselves against the Pacific waves, while families can paddle in the safe, gentle waters of the Sea of Cortez.
There's plenty to do on land as well, including shopping for unique craft items, touring galleries, and seeing the sights in historic San José del Cabo. It all comes together in a tourist destination that has something for almost everyone.
The coastline of Baja California is stunning. Highlights include the arch of Cabo San Lucas, which has become the resort's signature sight, but nearby beauty spots like Isla Espíritu Santo and Balandra bay are also well worth a visit.
For many people, Cabo San Lucas is really Cabo San "Loco" - a crazy, never-sleeping party center that offers music, dancing, and parties every night of the week. If that sounds like your kind of thing, clubs like El Squid Roe and the Mandala will be your idea of heaven.
The number one attraction at Cabo has to be the beach, where you can enjoy everything from parasailing, sunbathing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, and wave running to chartered fishing trips.
Cabo is one of the most popular scuba diving locations in the Americas. That's partly to do with the clear water, reefs, and high-quality dive schools, but there's another unique factor. The seas around Cabo San Lucas feature what are known as "sandfalls" - beautiful cascades of sand over the cliffs of rocks and reefs. It's an amazing sight.
Cabo also has plenty to offer landlubbers. You can shop for handmade dolls or baskets at Arte de Origen, hike to the peak of Mount Solmar, take a Mexican cookery class, or take ATV tours in the desert canyons with Wild Canyon Adventures.
The best time to visit Cabo San Lucas is probably just out of season, to avoid the peak season crowds. Most winter visitors will have gone home by early May, which is a great time to go. Storms start to be a little more frequent from early July, but October sees wonderful weather return and is also a fine time for a visit.
Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) is located about 40 minutes north of the resort itself. Ruta del Desierto buses run from the arrivals terminal and cost Mex$80. Expect taxis to be much more expensive, at around Mex$1,300 for the journey into town.
Another great way to reach Cabo San Lucas is to drive down the length of the Baja California peninsula. It's a stunning route, and well worth a few extra hours of traveling. Highway 1 runs all the way from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. If you are coming from the east, take I-8 to San Diego, then I-5 across the border, which links up with Highway 1.
Taking the bus from Tijuana is possible, and it can certainly save money on the trip to Cabo, but it does take a long time (over 24 hours). You'll need to take an ABC bus from Tijuana to La Paz, then an Águila bus to Cabo San Lucas.
Cabo San Lucas is full of excellent resort hotels with all-inclusive food and drink, comfortable rooms, and top-class service. Some of the most popular options include Grand Fiesta Americana, which includes access to the resort's golf course, the Resort at Pedregal, which offers villa-style accommodation, and Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, which specializes in spa treatments. If you want somewhere cheaper, check out Cabo Inn, which is a no frills hotel in the center of town.
Cabo San Lucas - where most tourists choose to base themselves, Cabo "proper" is packed with clubs, hotels, and dive schools. Access to the Pacific coast means that the west side delivers fantastic surfing waves, while the eastern beaches are tranquil and sheltered, and ideal for families.
San José del Cabo - Cabo's "Old Town", San José is a relaxed town filled with colonial architecture and sedate cafes. It's a great place to dive and snorkel, thanks to the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park and Playa Palmilla gives Cabo's beaches a run for their money too.
Cabo Bello - situated on the highway between Cabo and San José, Cabo Bello is a neighborhood of luxury villas, upscale hotels, private beaches, and beautifully manicured golf courses. It's the perfect base for high-end vacationers who need respite from the bright lights of downtown Cabo.
Public buses run between Cabo and San José del Cabo, which is handy for sightseeing and accessing the airport (at a cost of Mex$80). In the resort itself, you'll find a network of green and white liveried buses, which run all over town and charge between Mex$20 and Mex$50 per journey.
Taxis are often the only way for partygoers to make their way back to coastal hotels, but try to negotiate a price before you get underway. Taxis in Cabo aren't metered and prices vary wildly, so be clear about the cost from the start.
Car rental agencies at Los Cabos Airport include Fox, BBB, and Cactus, while Budget and National are present in the resort. Having your own car makes sense if you want to explore southern Baja and you can find packages for Mex$500 per day or less. When you rent a car, be sure to include third party insurance, as this is mandated by Mexican law and not all rental companies provide it.
Cabo San Lucas is a wonderful place to find authentic Baja Californian handicrafts like handwoven dolls, baskets, and brightly colored pottery. Some of the best places to hunt for artistic souvenirs include Ida Victoria Gallery and the Mexican Pottery store on Francisco I. Madero Plaza. Have a wander around San José del Cabo Art District as well (just behind the main plaza). You'll find plenty of Mexican and international sculptors and painters selling their works, as well as local craft specialists.
If you choose to self-cater or you need to stock up for beach picnics, there are some excellent places to shop for groceries in Cabo San Lucas. Supermarkets in town include Mega Comercial Mexicana and California Ranch Market, who should stock what you need. Prices are usually low, at Mex$40 for 12 eggs and Mex$23 for two pounds of tomatoes.
Cabo San Lucas won't disappoint lovers of gourmet Mexican food, with some truly exceptional places to eat. Highlights of the local dining scene include El Farallon, which specializes in seafood, the steak experts at Taqueria Marissa, and the Cabo Cantina - which has a wide choice of Mexican delights. Expect to pay between Mex$100 and Mex$200 for a sit down meal.