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Plan the perfect trip

Cabo San Lucas has enough to see and do to keep you busy for a day or an entire week.  Check out these itineraries with suggestions for 1 day, 3 days, and 1 week stays.

1 day

Cabo San Lucas is a jewel with many facets, but cruise ship passengers and other short-term visitors will find it is possible to learn a great deal about the city in the course of a single day. The following sample itinerary offers some suggestions for abbreviated visits to our seaside paradise.

Morning

The main square, Plaza Amelia Wilkes, provides a perfect starting point for the day’s activities. Not only is the square bordered by Cabo Coffee Company, a haven for those seeking a little morning caffeination, but also by two of Cabo’s most historically significant landmarks. The Catholic church, Iglesia Catolica de San Lucas, was originally built in 1730, and in addition to being the center of local religious life, is by far the oldest building in the city. The natural history museum, Museo Cabo San Lucas, is one of the cultural centers, and features exhibits focusing on the original inhabitants of the area, the region’s piratical history, and the abundant marine life found in the Sea of Cortez. Both buildings are open to the public, and have no admission fee.


By local acclamation, the best breakfasts in Cabo are found at Mama’s Royal Cafe. Located half a block from the main square, this popular eatery combines a charming courtyard dining area with a menu of Mexican and American favorites, and a huge selection of homemade salsas. Their specialty is a decadent Pan Francaise stuffed with cream cheese, topped with berries, and flambeed in orange liqueur. But don’t worry. You can burn off the calories with a morning constitutional along the Malecon. This broad avenue hugs the Marina, and provides a glimpse into the seagoing history of San Lucas. Stroll past pangas, pirate ships, and private yachts, or enjoy a bit of shopping at Puerto Paraiso Mall and the high-end boutiques of Luxury Avenue.

Afternoon

Cabo’s best known beach is called Playa El Medano. This two mile stretch of golden sand is rimmed by luxury resorts, and is also populated with a succession of palapa-shaded restaurants and cantinas. Medano Beach is ground zero during the Spring Break months, when students from the U.S., Canada, and mainland Mexico congregate there for fun in the Baja sun, but draws crowds year round for its combination of safe swimming conditions and congenial oceanfront atmosphere. Mango Deck and The Office are the most popular restaurants on the beach, and both offer privileged vantage points from which to enjoy a cold cerveza or a lunch platter featuring fresh local seafood selections.

After lunch, head over to JT Water Sports. This water-based rentals company is a great place to pick up a kayak or waver runner for a trip out to Lover’s Beach. If Medano is the bikini-clad center of Cabo’s beach culture, Playa del Amor is a scenic and lightly used outpost. Situated near the rock formations at Land’s End, Lover’s can only be reached by water (unless you’re a rock climber), and is a great place for swimming, snorkeling, or a romantic afternoon picnic.

Evening

El Arco, or the Arch, is the signature landmark of Cabo San Lucas. This unique granite rock formation was used as a navigational aid during the days of the Manila Galleon Trade, but is perhaps better known as the gateway between the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean. The best time to see the Arch is at sunset, when the sky is an explosion of purple and orange, and golden light plays upon the waves as the sun sinks just beyond the horizon.

The luxury catamaran Caborey offers excellent sunset dinner cruises, with photo opportunities of Land’s End and El Arco, a fine dining menu that includes steak and lobster, and a postprandial floor show featuring traditional Latin American singing and dancing. After docking, head to another famous landmark: Cabo Wabo Cantina. Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar‘s bar has been a fixture of the local nightlife scene for over twenty years, and boasts the best live music anywhere in the city. A shot or two of their fine tequila is also recommended, and is an appropriate way to toast your day in paradise.

3 days

Need a long weekend away from the cares and worries of the workaday world? Not only does Cabo San Lucas offer plenty of sun and sand, but a host of relaxing resort activities, from fishing and golf to surfing and soothing spa treatments. Three days is more than enough time to refresh mind, body, and spirit while sampling the playful pursuits and dining delights of this premier Mexican vacation destination.

Day One

One of the oldest hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Mar de Cortez offers a central location within easy walking distance of the Marina and Medano Beach, as well as excellent value accommodation. The property’s charms extend to the superb on-site restaurant, Baja Peppers. Start your weekend in paradise with eggs benedicts and mimosas, then work off any lingering jet lag with a scenic walk along Medano Beach. This two mile stretch is home to seaside restaurants and luxury resorts, and offers water-based activities such as swimming, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, and stand up paddle surfing. Hungry again? Expand your beach horizons with lunch at ME Cabo Hotel’s Nikki Beach. This hip poolside hot spot is a perfect place for an afternoon snack.

The tall ship Sunderland sails near Land’s End. Image: Sunderland

The tall ship Sunderland sails near Land’s End. Image: Sunderland

Later, enjoy spectacular views of Lover’s Beach and Land’s End with a sunset cruise aboard one of the last of the tall ships, the topsail schooner Sunderland. Built in 1885, the boat and her salty crew evoke the piratical history of San Lucas, albeit with tropical cocktails available to forestall any cutlass fencing. Afterwards, visit one of the city’s fine dining fixtures. Edith’s has been a popular dinner destination for decades, with delicious seafood and Mexican-accented menu selections from their mesquite grill. Finish your first evening with a trip to Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina, home of the best live music in Los Cabos. Dance the night away with classic rock and roll, as well as a few samples of the house tequila.

Day Two

If you’re still feeling the effects of that last margarita at Cabo Wabo, chilaquiles at Lolita’s are certainly indicated. This traditional Mexican specialty is renowned as a cure-all, and Lolita’s makes the best in all of Los Cabos. Once you’ve settled your mind, take care of your body at Casa Dorada’s Saltwater Spa. The pampering full-service spa at this Medano Beach resort features curative treatments utilizing the mineral rich waters of the Sea of Cortez. The local waters are also known for yielding an abundance of fresh and delicious seafood, so walk down the beach to Mango Deck for a combination platter. The restaurant is particularly popular during the Spring Break months, but is a great barefoot dining spot year round, and is an wonderful place to people watch and see the waves washing over the sand.

Golfing Legend Jack Nicklaus has designed many of the area’s best courses, but his greatest achievement locally is the spectacular layout at Cabo del Sol. Like Nicklaus’ favorite course, Pebble Beach, Cabo del Sol has holes hugging the sea, but only in Cabo can you see whales breaching as you line up a putt. After signing you scorecard, dress for dinner at Alcaravea Gourmet. Chef Enrique Gerrard’s Mediterranean-themed restaurant has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the city’s top fine dining destinations. Beloved by locals, reservations are a must at this European-style downtown eatery. Follow your delicious dinner with drinks at El Squid Roe, AKA party central. Along with Cabo Wabo, Squid Roe is one of the signature stops on the local nightlife circuit.

Day Three

Begin your final day at Mama’s Royal Cafe, makers of Baja’s best breakfast. Have a second helping of the Pan Francaise, you’ll need the energy for a day on the water with JC’s Sportfishing. Cabo San Lucas owes its rise as a resort destination to many factors, but the first hotels, built in the 1950s, were specifically built to cater to big-game fishermen enamored with the high concentration of marlin and sailfish in the Sea of Cortez. Don’t leave town without trying your luck, and if you hook anything, Chef Brian Solomon will be glad to cook it for dinner. His restaurant Solomon’s Landing specializes in seafood, and boasts an excellent waterfront location near the Wyndham Hotel. Check out the luxury yachts in the Marina as you enjoy a selection of appetizers from their on-site sushi bar, then finish your evening with craft beers at Baja Brewing Company. Baja’s only microbrewery has three locations, but the most impressive is their rooftop aerie at Cabo Villas. Sip a Peyote IPA as you admire the moonlight views of Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas Bay and Land’s End, and try not to think about returning to reality in the morning.

1 week

There is always the danger, when spending a week or more in Cabo San Lucas, that you will become jaded by the seemingly infinite parade of lobster dinners, wine tastings, spa treatments, championship golf courses, and breathtaking sunset views of the Sea of Cortez. That is why it is best to limit all vacations here to five days. It allows for a keener appreciation of the pleasures offered by this unique resort destination.

Day One

Welcome to paradise! The first thing to do is kick off your shoes and enjoy a little barefoot dining on Medano Beach. The Office is one of the most popular restaurants on the beach, not only for their excellent seafood, but because of the intense satisfaction that comes from telling someone you are at the office while sipping a margarita through a straw. After these obligatory calls to friends and family, turn your phone off. You’re in Cabo now. Take a postprandial perambulation over to Amigos del Mar for your snorkel/scuba trip to Pelican Rock, Sand Falls, or other top sites in Cabo San Lucas Bay. The abundance of marine life here is staggering, and whether you swim through schools of manta rays and sea lions, or find yourself staring down a shark or two, this is an unforgettable experience. When you’re breathing fresh air again, head back to your luxury resort, Capella Pedregal, for a quick nap before dinner. Sunset da Mona Lisa is located in the tourist corridor between the Cape cities, and looks back over the bay you’ve just explored, with stunning views of Land’s End and The Arch. Explore the seafood-centric menu, and ask sommelier Sabrina Sanchez to walk you through the wine list while you watch the sun set over the Sea of Cortez.

Day Two

The best breads and pastries in the city are found at The Cabo Bakery. Stop by early morning for fresh cinnamon rolls and coffee, or a salted brezel roll before your tee time at the Country Club. The Cabo San Lucas Country Club features one of the oldest courses in the area, and Roy Dye’s design provides a challenge for golfers of all skill levels. But don’t worry. Your three putts won’t seem as tragic when set against a magnificent Land’s End backdrop. After reliving a few highlights over drinks at the Double Eagle, it’s time for dinner at Maca Restaurante. This outstanding new eatery features a Spanish-influenced menu, an excellent selection of European wines, and a heady old-world atmosphere, from the beautiful old 1950s bullfighting posters to the  gourmet hams and prosciuttos available for purchase.

Day Three

You’re on vacation, so sleep in. You’ve earned the rest. For lunch, walk over to Baja Brewing Company. Baja’s only microbrewery has three locations in Los Cabos, but the most spectacular is on the rooftop terrace at Cabo Villas, overlooking Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas Bay, and Land’s End. Try a flight of their draft beers while sharing one of their delicious gourmet pizzas. Afterwards, head up the coast for an off-road, all-terrain adventure with Baja Buggys. Race across the beach at Migriño, through canyons and arroyos, and visit the traditional village of Candelaria, home of the mountain potters. After returning to San Lucas, dinner is at DOC Wine Bar. Named for an Italian wine appellation classification, this superb restaurant is situated across the main square, Plaza Amelia Wilkes, and features an exquisite selection of Italian food and wine. When you have finished your plates of tiramasu, a moonlit walk along the Malecon is highly recommended.

Day Four

You’re staying at one of the world’s best boutique resorts, so take a little time to enjoy your  luxurious surroundings, from the wow-factor entrance (Mexico’s longest private tunnel), to the stunning ocean vistas. Breakfast is at Capella’s own Don Manuel’s, which features an open kitchen and the richest, most decadent comfort food you’ve ever tasted. Afterwards, explore the on-site Auriga Spa, which offers a full range of massages and therapies, as well as signature treatments based on the phases of the moon. After your hot stone massage, it’s time for the Sunset Jazz and Wine Cruise aboard the luxury catamaran Tropicat. Yes, it’s a tough life. Struggle through more scenic views of Lover’s Beach and Land’s End, and try not to curse your yacht captain when you spill a drop of your chardonnay. Dinner is back at the hotel. It’s al fresco at El Farallon, owner of the most privileged dining location in all of Los Cabos. Enjoy market-style seafood while perched on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean. Somebody has to do it.

Day Five

It’s hard to overdo decadence. Not if you’re doing it right. Sleep in again before lunching at Los Cabos Winery. Make arrangements to have a case of wine shipped home, so you can sip a bit of Cabernet during the evening hours, and pretend it is not six degrees outside. Afterwards, walk over to Cabo Dolphins and tell them you want to get in a pool with a porpoise. The dolphins are a delight, playful and intelligent, and will give you rides around the pool as you hang on to either a dorsal fin or two pectoral fins. They’ll also do a few flips and other tricks, just to show off. Finally, your last supper is at Los Tres Gallos, the finest purveyor of traditional Mexican cuisine in all of Los Cabos. Pair your chicken moles with bottles of Pellegrino. You’ll need to stay fresh for tequila shots and live music at Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina. Dance until dawn. We’re not expecting you back for at least a week.

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