Holidays to Los Cabos – or Cabo – are like an every-flavour cocktail. Sofa-soft beaches, buzzy cocktail bars and glitzy yachts are chucked in the shaker and served with a Hollywood flourish.
Los Cabos plays host to more A-listers than a Hollywood film premiere, thanks to its swanky shops, cut-above beaches and don’t-lift-a-finger hotels. The so-called ‘tourist corridor’, which shadows the shoreline between its two main towns – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo – is pebble-dashed with luxe hideaways and hotels. Blockbuster names like Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney and Cameron Diaz have all been spotted sunning themselves here, and even the golf courses were designed by the greatest golfer of all time – Jack Nicklaus.
The two main towns both bury their feet in chunky belts of milky-white sand. That’s where the similarities end, though. Cabo San Lucas is the noisier of the pair, and cuts its teeth as a party town with a bit of extra flair. The marina’s packed with six-figure yachts, and there’s a casino where you can rub shoulders with the high-rollers. Trace a trail along the coastline, and you’ll reach the more restrained town of San Jose del Cabo. Culture vultures come for the weekly art walk and to nose around the tucked-away galleries, followed by tipples at classy cocktail bars.
The rocky hem that hugs Los Cabos’ beaches is just a canape-sized sample of the natural scenery that’s in store. Cabo Pulmo, which faces up to the Gulf of California on the east coast, has North America’s oldest coral reef in its back pocket. Then there are the Sierra de la Laguna mountains, which form the backbone of the Baja Peninsula. Hike through them, and you’ll come face-to-face with prickly cacti, secret lagoons and Insta-worthy beauty spots.
Things to See and Do in Los Cabos
When you clock Los Cabos’ beaches, it’s easy to see why the Premier League of celebs is drawn here. Floury scoops of sand are closer to white than yellow, and they’re backed by a mix of swanky hotels, rocky outcrops and sea-view golf courses.
The big beach
Playa Hotelera – AKA Hotel Beach – is up there with the longest ribbons of sand in Los Cabos. It stretches its legs out for more than a mile along the shores of San Jose del Cabo, with its namesake string of hotels keeping it company from start to finish. It’s great for scenic strolls, and the sunsets are really something.
The secret beach
This horseshoe-shaped bay’s a much snoozier customer – it’s squirrelled away from Cabo San Lucas, and has a pair of headlands bookending a scenic shoreline. The marshmallow-soft sands are spot-on for sunbathing, too.
The Mercado Organico, in San Jose del Cabo, is one of the best places to get a taste of local culture. It’s more market than mega mall, with stalls peddling organic produce, crafts, artisan snacks and clothes. Live bands and dance troupes often put on a bit of entertainment in the gardens, too, so it feels more like a fair than a straight-up shopping trip.
Head to the Plaza Bonita Mall for Mexico’s take on high street shopping. Fashion labels, jewellery stores and souvenir shops are scattered around a pretty square. Bars, restaurants and big-name coffee shops gather around, too, and Cabo San Lucas’ pretty marina’s just around the corner.
Make a beeline for the waterfront in Cabo San Lucas for the crème de la crème of shopping. The Luxury Avenue boutique mall lives up to its name, with brands like Pandora, Swarovski and Carolina Herrera in the line-up. Puerto Paraiso’s right next-door, too, which means an extra dose of retail therapy, topped up with a casino, a cinema and a string of gourmet eateries.
For laidback drinks – where relaxing takes precedence over raving – head to the streets that criss-cross around San Jose del Cabo’s marina. Wine bars and swanky cocktail joints are the main contenders, though the club scene’s starting to pick up as the resort grows in popularity.
From bars founded by rock and roll legends to a three-storey club where revellers dance on the tables, Cabo San Lucas has the party brief nailed. It’s the beating heart of Los Cabos’ nightlife scene, and a must-visit if you value DJ sets above duvet time.
Despite the name, there’s absolutely nothing chocolatey about these fishy snacks. They’re actually clams, which get their name from the distinctive cocoa-coloured shell that encases them. As clams go, they’re absolute whoppers. You’ll usually find them served simply, with a squeeze of lemon, but cheese, chilli and garlic are sometimes thrown into the mix, too.
Mexico and tacos go together like Italy and pizza. Practically every café and restaurant menu will feature these quick and easy snacks, where fried tortillas are stuffed with fillings like shrimp, braised beef or battered fish. If you need to grab one on the go, little pop-up places called taquerias are a good bet.
This drink does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a mix of tomato juice and clam broth. Now it might not sound that appetising, but bear with us. It’s mostly used in cocktails, and was the brainchild of a New Yorker in the 1960s who wanted to turn New England’s iconic clam chowder into an alcoholic bevvy. The clams in Los Cabos are such high quality, though, that it’s often served here without any of the bells and whistles.
Tamales are another Mexican must-try, and these ones take spicy stewed chicken and stuff it in banana leaves or corn husks. The wrapping’s used to bake the filling, and you can chuck it aside when it’s time to eat. Empty the punchy contents onto a plate with a dollop of fiery salsa, and you’re in business.
Spiky-nosed marlin are something of a seafood special in Los Cabos. The raw fillets look like super-sized hunks of salmon, and you’ll see them stacked up like bricks on fish counters along the streets. They’re smoked for a distinctive flavour, and most commonly served in small heaps on soft tacos.
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Cabo San Lucas
It was once a timid fishing village, but Cabo San Lucas has grown up into a bit of a party animal. And it wants you to let your hair down, too. This resort’s a pro when it comes to big nights out, and is chockfull of famous nightclubs owned by mega rockstars.
San Jose Del Cabo
San Jose del Cabo tiptoes between stylish beach resort and charming old town territory. Colonial, Spanish-inspired architecture crops up in the centre, near Plaza Mijares, with open-air cafés, the pretty Mission San Jose del Cabo church, and market stalls dotted around. Turn your attention to the marina, and you’ll see a more modern get-up. The main beach, Playa Hotelera, gets its moniker from the fairy light-style string of hotels that dangle behind the sand.
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