The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary and 5 Best Day Trips from Cabo

Known for its beautiful setting between ocean and mountains, whale watching opportunities and summer all year round, Cabo is one of the most famous destinations in Mexico and it is easy to see why!

Cabo San Lucas has undergone a big transformation over the past number of years from a hot-spot party area to a luxury destination. There have been more and more luxury resorts popping up on the famous Tourist Corridor, beckoning you with amazing food and drink options, and more pools than you can count. Whether you are looking for a budget travel destination, a party destination, or a luxurious getaway, Cabo has it all!  The little city at the tip of Baja California Sur has so much to offer that it can easily get overwhelming. We’ve prepared the ultimate Cabo San Lucas itinerary so that you don’t miss out on the best that Cabo has to offer.

If you are planning to spend more time in Mexico, make sure to add Puerto Vallarta and Cancun to your bucket list!

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The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary and Best Day Trips from Cabo

Top Things to Do on the Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary

We’ve complied some of our favorite things to do on the ultimate Cabo San Lucas itinerary to make sure that you make the most out of your trip to Cabo! This guide summarizes the best things to do while you’re in Cabo, the best day trips from Cabo, and where to stay and eat.

Map of the Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary

We put together a map with all the best activities in Cabo that cannot be missing in your ultimate Cabo San Lucas itinerary. This map includes all our favorite places and helps you plan your stay, as well as how to get to and from each of these places.

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a road trip planner

Medano Beach

While Cabo is not known per se for its beaches, it still offers some incredible beaches you can’t miss. Medano Beach is the main swimming beach in Cabo, and as a result is the busiest and most popular. This is the place to see and be seen, and is also a go-to location for vendors selling anything from boat tours to jetski rentals to handicrafts. If you do not end up staying at a beach hotel and resort, then this is the main public access beach.

Medano Beach Cabo San Lucas

It’s a place to enjoy the sun, sea, and have fun with friends, but is not necessarily a tranquil beach setting. If you’re looking for a beach with a slower pace, head out to Santa Maria or Palmilla beaches for a little more space and less noise.

Opening Times: Always open.

Price: Free to enter by public access. There are many tour operators and vendors walking the beach. If you spot something you’d like, don’t forget to haggle on the price! If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, you can also purchase a day-pass at a beach club or rent a cabana.

Location on Google Maps: Medano Beach

What to Bring: A swimsuit and a beach towel!

Beach Vendors on Medano Beach Cabo San Lucas

Boat Tour to the Famous Arch – Los Arcos

Why is Cabo so famous? It’s mostly because of the breathtaking natural beauty of the Cabo Arch, or El Arco. It is also known as Land’s End, and is such a distinctive feature of Cab San Lucas, that we would have to argue if you haven’t seen the Cabo Arch, have you really been to Cabo? The Cabo Arch was formed through natural erosion over thousands of years and today stands as one of the furthest south points of land in Baja California. It’s the perfect place for a boat tour out to see the arch.

Near the arch are also the famous Divorce Beach on the Pacific side, and Lovers Beach on the Sea of Cortez side, which are popular places to relax and less-crowded than Medano Beach, however they can only be accessed by boat.

Land's Ending Cabo San Lucas Los Arcos

Opening Times: Boat tours run practically from sunrise to sunset, and there are countless tour operators, both large and small to choose from.

Price: It depends. The most basic tour could be less than $10.00 USD per person, however if you want extra time, a private boat, or to spend time on the nearby beaches, expect to pay a more. You can opt for a non-negotiable rate with a larger tour operator, or try your haggling skills with the many boat operators in the marina or on Medano Beach.

Location on Google Maps: If you walk anywhere near Medano Beach or the Cabo San Lucas marina, expect to have people selling you tours. You won’t have trouble finding one!

What to Bring: Each tour is different, it depends if you plan on snorkeling, landing on a beach, or going on a standard scenic boat tour. Sunglasses and sunscreen when on the water are always important.

The Arch in Cabo San Lucas

Clear Boat Tour with ENVA Tours

If you want to have a truly unique experience that will make your friends jealous, why not visit the Cabo Arch with a clear boat tour. Now, there are quite a few glass-bottom boat tours in Cabo, however there is only one that has a fully transparent clear boat. Instead of trying to look through a small hole in the bottom of a boat, the transparent boat tour from ENVA Tours allows you to see through the whole boat!

The tour starts and stops from the Cabo San Lucas Marina and first heads to some of the famous rock formations near the Cabo Arch. Here the water is also quite shallow and it is a great place to do some fish viewing. If snorkeling or scuba diving isn’t for you, this is the next best thing to get up close and personal with the beautiful fish in this area.

After passing by the interesting rocks you will reach the beautiful Cabo Arch, which will likely be one of the highlights of your Cabo San Lucas itinerary. Keep in mind that you are not the only boat tour out there. There are countless tour operators operating in the area and in order for everyone to get that picture-perfect shot, each boat waits its turn in line before allowing its occupants a few minutes to snap pictures.

ENVA Clear Boat at Los Arcos in Los Cabos, Mexico

Opening Times: The clear boat tours run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, departing every hour.

Price: $35.00 USD. Reserving online is recommended, especially during busy times. Tours are also available which include transportation, if needed.

Location on Google Maps: Enva Tours at Cabo Marina

What to Bring: Your camera! Also note you will be required to take your shoes off or put on booties so that you do not scratch the floor of the clear boat. You will also be provided with a life jacket which has to be worn at all times.

Hike Mount Solar

One of our favorite activities from our Cabo San Lucas itinerary was hiking up to the top of Mount Solar. This is a little-known activity, but it doesn’t take too long and it offers truly stunning sunset views. Besides, there’s no better way to work off the many tacos you will eat in Cabo  than with a steep hike up a mountain!

View of Land's Ending from Mount Solmar

The only thing a little tricky about hiking Mount Solar, is that it crosses private land, and so the only way to complete the hike is on a guided tour. No worries though, as tours are offered daily at 8:15 AM and 4:15 PM, and you will be completing your hike with a group of adorable dogs! The tour guide, Enrique, runs a dog training camp here and some of the dogs will join each of the hikes.

As you get near the top, don’t forget to turn around and look back at the stunning views of Cabo San Lucas. The closer to the top you go, the steeper it gets, and there is also a fair bit of scrambling over loose rocks. Once you’re at the top you are rewarded with fantastic views of Cabo, the beaches, and the ocean. You will have about 30 minutes at the top to catch your breath, relax, and take some pictures. Be careful as the drop offs are steep! This is a great item to add to your Cabo San Lucas itinerary, and something unique that you can do on your visit to Cabo!

Sunset View of Cabo San Lucas from Mount Solmar

Opening Times: Tours are daily at 8:15 AM and 4:15 PM (on Sunday, only at 8:15 AM) and last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes before the start time.

Price: Free, however tipping the guide is recommended.

Location on Google Maps: Mount Solar Hike Meeting Point

What to Bring: The hike is not very long, however there is quite a bit of scrambling over loose rocks, so shoes with good traction are recommended as well as some water on a hot day.

View of Cabo San Lucas from Mount Solmar

Explore the Cabo San Lucas Marina

The marina is the heart of Cabo San Lucas, and here you will find luxury yachts and boats from all over the world. Surrounding the marina are many popular restaurants and bars, as well as shopping areas. The Cabo San Lucas marina and surrounding streets are the main entertainment district, so you’ll most likely be here for at least some part of your Cabo San Lucas itinerary.

Cabo San Lucas Marina

Opening Times: The marina streets are always open. Many restaurants offer breakfast, and the bars and clubs are open to the early hours of the morning. Hours vary from store to store, but follow fairly typical hours.

Price: It’s free to enter, walk around, and explore the marina. If you’re looking for a guided tour of the marina and more, there are plenty of tour options as well.

Location on Google Maps: Cabo San Lucas Marina

What to Bring: Your wallet! There’s lots of places to eat and shop as well as other entertainment options.

Bright Orange Sunset in Cabo San Lucas Marina

Where to Eat on your Cabo San Lucas Itinerary

Cabo San Lucas has a large number of highly touristy, low-quality food restaurants, but it also has a lot of great taco stands and hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are worth your time. If you’re looking for more high-end dining, the best options are right at the Cabo San Lucas marina, or at a nearby resort. While we didn’t dine at them, we were told that some of the best high-end restaurants in Cabo are El Farallon at the Waldorf Astoria Pedregal for amazing seafood and an unmatched seaside location and SEARED at the One&Only Palmilla Resort for an elegant steakhouse experience.

If you’re looking for some good home-cooked Mexican food, look no further than La Ranita. It’s not big and not fancy, but you will be rewarded with some excellent home-cooked local Mexican food and very reasonable prices. We tried both the red and green enchiladas, and loved them both! Note that La Ranita is very local and the owners don’t speak fluent English. They are extremely friendly and are happy to help you decide on what to order as much as they can. And when in doubt, there is always Google Translate for those who don’t speak Spanish.

La Ranita, Cabo San Lucas Itinerary
Enchiladas at La Ranita, Cabo San Lucas Itinerary

Of course, tacos are also highly recommended and there is no shortage of places to try on your Cabo San Lucas itinerary. Some of the places that we tried and were recommended to us were Tacos Guss, Tacos Gardenias, and 1 & Only Taco. We are sure that there are countless other hidden gems in Cabo for some amazing tacos, but you’ll have a great baseline by starting at one of these places.

Where to Stay for your Cabo San Lucas Itinerary

As we mentioned above, most of the big hotel resorts are located along the Tourist Corridor, so not necessarily in Cabo San Lucas. The resorts are great for enjoying your time by the pool, beach, and indulging in all-inclusive bliss. If we had a week for a Cabo San Lucas itinerary we would probably divide our time with three days at an all-inclusive resort and the rest at a hotel near town where we could walk to all of the Cabo San Lucas attractions and also take some day-trips.

If you ask us, there’s no point in paying the high costs of the all-inclusive resorts to spend your time out on excursions and in-town. Enjoy the resorts 100% for what they are, and then transfer to a city hotel for the adventurous days.

Best Luxury Stay: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

If you are looking for the ultimate luxurious stay for your Cabo San Lucas itinerary, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is hands down the best place to stay at. The resort is located on the very southern tip of Baja California, situated between the ocean and the hills. The resort is only accessible through Mexico’s only privately-owned tunnel. Once you drive through the tunnel, you are greeted with an open lobby area and incredible ocean views.

Pool Reflection at Waldorf Astoria Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas

Due to its location, the Waldorf Astoria is the perfect place for whale watching in the winter months as whales mate, give birth, and raise calves nearby. Every room at the Waldorf is outfitted with binoculars so you can watch the whales from the comfort of your room.

Read our full review of our stay at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal!

If you are a sunrise and sunset lover, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal does not disappoint. Its unique location allows you to watch the sunrise and the sunset and these were some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets we have seen in all of Mexico.

Sunrise at Waldorf Astoria Pedregal

Even better than the location and the beautiful resort area is the service. The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal went above and beyond with their service. After you book your stay, your butler will be in contact with you prior to your arrival to see if there is anything you need arranged during your stay. They can organize dinner reservations, or schedule one of the many tastings and experiences offered at the hotel. Book your luxury stay here!

Best Adults Only All-Inclusive: Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos

Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos is located on the Tourist Corridor, alongside many other hotels, and dazzles with its beautiful modern design, white marble, and impeccable layout to make sure every guest has the perfect ocean view.

Le Blanc Resort & Spa Los Cabos Pool

Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos knows how to make a great first impression. Upon arrival you are guided through the impressive lobby made of white marble with stunning ocean views. You are greeted with a welcome drink, a flower, and a warm neck pillow to help you relax after a long journey.

Read our full review of our stay at the LeBlanc Los Cabos Resort!

The resort is adults only and is a great place to go if you are looking for some quiet days to relax. The design of the resort has guests best interests at heart and offers ocean views from every angle. The pool area features 3 different pools, one of which is an infinity pool, and 2 large hot tubs. The design of each is very well thought through and each pool has cabanas which you can reserve for the day as well as countless lounge chairs to make sure everyone has a chance to enjoy the sun.

Turkish Coffee at Le Blanc Resort & Spa Los Cabos

If you like international cuisine, Le Blanc has you covered. There are several different restaurants on the resort including a standard buffet breakfast, a Lebanese restaurant open for breakfast and dinner, a pizza place for lunch, an Italian restaurant for dinner, a Mexican restaurant for breakfast and dinner, as well as an Asian fusion restaurant for dinner. If you can’t decide which one to try, we highly recommend the Lebanese restaurant for breakfast, pizza by the pool for lunch, and the Asian restaurant for dinner. Book your stay here!

Best Culinary All-Inclusive: Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos

Also located along the Tourist Corridor, Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos impresses with a stunning modern design, beautiful ocean views, a family friendly resort, and a culinary experience you won’t forget.

Sunrise at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos

The suites at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos are everything you would be looking for in a luxurious getaway and are perfect when traveling with children. Suites include a fully outfitted kitchen, in-room laundry, a gorgeous living room, and a lot of attention to detail. It is the little things that make this resort standout, such as automated curtains, a Japanese toilet, battery-operated candles by the bath tub, and a private hammock on every balcony.

Best Resorts in Cabo San Lucas - Hammock at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos

The resort features 8 swimming pools, including a rooftop infinity pool and multiple hot tubs which make for a great place to relax.

The highlight of Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos is their culinary experience. Chef Carlos impresses with the fusion of Mexican cuisine and modern western cuisine, offering everything from French toast, to delicious spaghetti al pesto, and an incredible steak with table-made Caesar salad. The resort also includes a gourmet Japanese restaurant with amazing Japanese fusion creations. Book your stay here!

For more information on the resort, make sure to read the full Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos review.

Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive: Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

Located near the town of San Jose del Cabo, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is the perfect all-inclusive resort for affordable family fun. The resort area is large with numerous pools, a taco truck, and tons of dining options.

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Resort Pool

At the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, you are located right on the beach, but you are also walking distance into town, which is a unique feature that most other resorts don’t offer. Not that you’ll have any reason to leave the resort with all of the amenities. There are a number of different rooms and suites on offer from those with stunning ocean views, to resort pool views, to swim-up pool suites. For families there is a kids zone as well as an adults-only zone.

Read our full review of the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos to see whether this is the right resort for you!

Cabo San Lucas Itinerary Daytrips

There are so many great daytrips from Cabo, that also make for a great circle route to explore more of Baja California Sur. You could easily rent a car and take a couple days to see all of the below places for an amazing short road trip.

Sunset view from Mount Solmar

The Magical Town of Todos Santos

The town of Todos Santos has had a rich history since its founding in 1723 as Misión Santa Rosa de las Palmas. Today the town has experienced rapid growth and renewal over the past decade as new hotels, cafes, and restaurants have made Todos Santos a must-visit town for tourists in the area. The town will win you over within minutes of walking through the cobblestone streets past colorful houses.

The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary and 5 Best Day Trips from Cabo 1

It is conveniently located just off the main Highway 19 that runs between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. It’s almost halfway in the middle, making it the perfect rest stop for a bite to eat as you drive between the two cities. However, you will want to stay more than just an hour to eat! Todos Santos has a fairly small core area, but it is filled with brightly painted buildings, unique stores, as well as many great cafes and restaurants. During our visit we had amazing coffee and pastries at Taller 17.

Relax in La Paz

La Paz is the largest city in Baja California Sur, and is an important port city. It has a distinctively different feel from Cabo San Lucas as it is significantly more relaxed with a slow-pace, care-free way of doing things. There are less tourists here, but also a large number of American and Canadian expats, due to its status as an extremely safe city in Mexico with high standards of living. You can find lots of restaurants here, especially along the waterfront and Malecon. The Malecon has a large pedestrian path and bike lanes that stretch over 3 miles (5 km).

One of the other main draws of La Paz is its location near the famous Isla Espiritu Santo and Balandra Beach.

Sunrise at Balandra Beach

Boat Tour to Isla Espiritu Santo

Isla Espiritu Santo is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site due to its incredible natural beauty and biodiversity. The island is home to nearly 100 species of birds, sea turtles, as well as many reptiles and other flora and fauna. Due to its location and status, you can only reach Isla Espiritu Santo through a tour operator. There are a few options, however one of the best is to hire your very own sailboat for an epic day-long adventure to Isla Espiritu Santo and the nearby Balandra Beach.

You can book a sailboat with Dream Chaser Charters for one day, or multiple! For the standard one-day sailboat tour you will start your day at the La Paz marina, where you will meet your crew for the day and get settled on board. Heading out into ocean will give you a sense of freedom, that is hard to achieve without heading out on a boat! The first stop is a very small island that is covered with sea lions. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even jump out and do some snorkeling amongst the sea lions!

After this break you will head out to the beautiful bays of Isla Espiritu Santo, stopping by bird nesting grounds you might even spot some sea turtles. The best part is that the captain will anchor the sailboat here and you can get out and enjoy the water in kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to take it all in. Once back on the boat, enjoy some fresh ceviche and your favorite beer waiting for you!

Sea Turtle on Espiritu Santo Island

Heading back towards La Paz you will also have the opportunity to stop by Balandra Beach for some swimming and walking out on the extensive sand backs. It’s a truly beautiful location we have also covered in more depth, below.

Finally, as La Paz has some great sunsets, you’ll end you sailboat charter anchored near the La Paz marina watching the sun go down. If you’re looking for an amazing day and trip out to Isla Espiritu Santo, be sure to check out Dream Chaser Charters for your adventure!

Balandra Beach

Balandra is the most famous beach in the area, and rightly so. It’s a huge bay filled with clear blue water. The bay is extremely shallow and protected from the strong ocean waves, making it a beautifully relaxing area. You can easily walk out to nearly every corner of Balandra in the shallow waters.

Balandra Beach Viewpoint

It’s an amazing place to swim and relax, but also perfect for kayaking and paddle-boarding. One of the main draws, is ‘El Hongo’ the mushroom shaped rock, that is for some reason or another a popular place for everyone to take photos. It’s certainly an interesting rock formation, but I’m not sure it counts as beautiful!

El Hongo at Balandra Beach

The easiest way to get to Balandra Beach is by rental car, though you can also take a taxi from La Paz. As we visited during COVID-19 restrictions, they only allow 70 people into Balandra Beach each day, which means that if you want a spot you need to arrive very early, usually between 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM. If you have managed to get a spot, you can then enjoy the whole day here. There are a few beaches to relax on, lots of water to wade and swim in, as well as a few short hikes to go on. If you only have one day available, you can go on a private tour that combines Todos Santos, La Paz, and Balandra Beach in one action-packed day of adventure!

Bettina and Kyle at Sunrise at Balandra Beach

Waterfalls of Santiago – Cascada Sol Del Mayo

The small town of Santiago is located an hour and a half from Cabo San Lucas, but towards the east, making it a perfect last stop on a Cabo San Lucas itinerary that loops north from Cabo past Todos Santos to La Paz, and then down to San Jose del Cabo, before returning to Cabo San Lucas.

The waterfall here is beautiful, and perfect for a refreshing swim! There are even a number of small shallow pools along the river both above and below the waterfall to relax in and spend a few hours. The hike from the parking lot is not far, but fairly steep, and the waterfall does require an entry fee of $150 MXN ($7.30 USD). Make sure to bring shoes with good traction for the hike and a swimsuit and towels if you intent to go for a dip in the refreshing water.

River Near Santiago, Baja California

Popular Cabo San Lucas Itinerary Questions

Here you can find some answers to the most popular questions about visiting Cabo San Lucas.

How Many Days Do You Need in Cabo San Lucas?

There is no perfect amount of days for a Cabo San Lucas itinerary, as the best is simply what you have available! You could have an amazing three-day weekend at a resort or in downtown Cabo, or spend a couple of weeks hopping between resorts and taking a large road trip through Baja California Sur. Our ideal timing would be around 10 days, allowing for a 3 day resort stay, 3 days in Cabo San Lucas, and the remainder to explore the nearby towns of Todos Santos and La Paz.

What is the Best Month to Visit Cabo San Lucas?

Cabo is most popular during the winter months, as Americans and Canadians from further north flock to the sun and sea of Cabo. The shoulder months are the best time to visit Cabo for the combination of fewer other tourists, great weather, and affordable prices. If you have the flexibility, aim for May and June or October and November.

How Dangerous is Cabo San Lucas?

Cabo San Lucas is an extremely safe city, with crimes against tourists no more frequent than any major American city. There is an extremely large number of American and Canadian expats living in Cabo and surrounding areas, and with that brings a lot of the comforts of home for Americans (ie. popular stores, products, etc. are all widely available). If you exercise common sense such as not wandering alone at night down dark alleys, you will be just fine. At no point in our 4 weeks spent in Baja California Sur did we ever feel unsafe, including driving through much of the state.

Have You Been to Cabo San Lucas?

A Cabo San Lucas itinerary is great for a long-weekend getaway, or a two-week adventure filled trip. Cabo has so much to see and explore, and is a great place to explore natural Mexico if you haven’t ventured too far from the resorts before. Baja California Sur is one of the safest places in Mexico, and if you follow all the precautions that you do in the United States, you should have no problems during your Cabo San Lucas itinerary.

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13 Comments:

  1. Want to visit Cabos since I saw your stories! This itinerary is perfect and I will definitely use it when I plan my Cabos trip!

  2. What gorgeous photos you have! Especially want to go on the boat tour to Los Arcos!

  3. We discovered Cabo back in 1996. What a find. Family loves it’s close proximity to home. We built a house too. You missed some of our favorite things fishing some World class experiences in the Sea of Cortez. The best whale watching on earth but also 3 of the top Golf courses in the top 100 in the world.
    Go Cabo!!!!

    • We’re glad you love Cabo so much as we have had quite the similar experience! Having a house there sounds wonderful! Cheers to many more memories in Cabo!

  4. This is one of my favorite of your blog posts! I feel like I could live in Mexico after reading all of your recommendations!!! Love this so much B.

  5. Very informative, in cabo right now but didn’t know what to do but after reading your itinerary am out of the room. Are u by any chance on YouTube?

    • I am so glad to hear you’ve found what you’re looking for! We had such an amazing time doing the sunset hike – the views are incredible. We’re not on YouTube yet as we mostly focus on short-form video on Instagram Reels and TikTok. Thanks for your comment!

  6. What wonderful pictures. We are visiting Cabo in December first week. Was looking at envo tours per your recommendation, but I don’t see an option to take off life jacket. Wondering how you got your pictures without the life jacket? And which tour you booked with Envo?

    • Hi Richa, Thank you for your comment! December is a great time to visit Cabo and we’re sure you’ll have an amazing time. We were on the Clearboat to the Arch Tour, which fortunately didn’t have any other guests on during our scheduled time. We also had to wear our life jackets the full time. For the photo Bettina was able to use the boat captains life jacket as it was smaller in profile and black and she wore the coverup overtop of the life jacket. Due to regulations they do not let anyone take photos without life jacket.

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