So you’re ready for a getaway in paradise and Cabo San Lucas is calling your name? We totally get it!
We’ve heard the call ourselves (many times, in fact!), which is why we keep making our way back there. We just love going to Cabo and we’re excited to share our recommendations with you.
We have some Cabo itinerary options for you that you can adapt to your liking – whether your Cabo trip planning is for a quick 3-day escape, or you’re able to take it slower and soak up the sun for 5 days in Cabo (or even a week).
No matter what you have time for, though, you’re in for an amazing vacation.
So, let’s plunge right in and see what’s in store!
We’ve crafted this as a 5-day Cabo itinerary.
But you can easily shorten it and make it work for a long weekend in Cabo (i.e., 3 days in Cabo San Lucas).
Or, if you have a week or more and want to know what to do in Cabo San Lucas (or Los Cabos) for a longer vacation (i.e., 7 days in Cabo), consider adding some of the additional day trips listed at the end of this Cabo travel guide.
Day 1 – Arriving in Cabo
Upon arriving at the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), we always reserve a Cabo airport shuttle in advance instead of taking a taxi, and we highly recommend you do the same.
It’s less expensive and also offers better service.
The cheapest airport transfers that we’ve found are with Gray Line Los Cabos ($37 per person roundtrip) for shared airport transportation in a mini-van or SUV to and from your hotel in Cabo San Lucas.
The cheapest private airport shuttle for a group of up to 5 passengers in a van is $139 with Legacy Transportation (roundtrip transfers).
Once you’ve settled into your hotel, you’ll probably just want to take it easy and relax by the pool or check out the resort’s amenities. There’s no need to rush on your first day – remember, you’re in paradise now!
Day 2 – Beach and Land’s End
Morning: Take a boat ride to Land’s End
The best way to start your second day is with one of our favorite Cabo activities – an all-clear boat trip to Land’s End. (Or you can just hop on a regular water taxi boat.)
This is a great way to take in the breathtaking natural beauty of the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas.
There’s a colony of raucous sea lions that call the area around the Arch home, so have your camera ready!
The last stop of the boat tour is Lover’s Beach.
It’s the ideal spot to relax on the creamy golden sand, surrounded by stunning rock formations.
If you’ve brought snorkel gear, you can snorkel in the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez – the water is usually calm, especially in the mornings.
Most glass-bottom boat tours and water taxi rides will drop you off at Lover’s Beach for an hour or so, then pick you up later.
Ask your boat captain if you can do this. (There may be a small extra charge.)
Afternoon: Hit the beach!
After exploring Land’s End, head to one of the many beautiful beaches in Cabo.
Finish your day with a memorable sunset cruise.
If you haven’t already taken a boat ride to Land’s End, a cruise is the best way to enjoy the stunning coastal views during this magical time of day.
One of our favorite sunset cruises for a chilled evening is this 5-star-rated sailing tour with Cabo Sailing.
It’s quite classy and intimate. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or a glass of chilled Chardonnay as you witness the kaleidoscopic show of pink, orange and golden colors as the sun dips below the horizon.
We told you this was paradise! The sound of the sails luffing in the breeze just adds to the magic.
Day 3 – Whale watching and/or other Cabo San Lucas activities
Morning: Go whale watching (in season)
Now that you’re relaxed after spending time on the beach yesterday, you’re probably ready for some activities.
This morning, you’re going on a whale watching excursion.
Yep, whale watching is one of the best things to do in Cabo and shouldn’t be missed!
If you’re there in the winter months, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the majestic whales in their natural habitat.
The Cabo whale watching season runs from around mid-December to mid-April, and you can see different types of whales during different times.
For instance, the best time to see humpback whales is between late December and the end of January (although adorable baby humpbacks start appearing in February).
Meanwhile, you have an excellent chance of seeing gray whales between early January and March.
Afternoon: Go camel riding, golfing or ziplining
If you’re feeling energetic and up for more adventure, there are several options to choose from.
They each give you a different take on the best of Cabo and are worth doing. Pick your pleasure.
Yes, you read that right!
Camel riding is one of those unique things to do in Cabo that probably never crossed your mind. But it doesn’t get more fun than riding one of these woolly creatures while exploring some of the Baja Peninsula’s natural beauty.
Golfing in Cabo
Calling all golf enthusiasts!
If you’re looking for the perfect golfing experience in Cabo San Lucas, you’re in luck.
With over a dozen championship golf courses to choose from, Cabo is a golfer’s paradise.
Many of these courses are consistently ranked among the top 100 in the world by esteemed publications like Golf Digest and Golf Magazine and have been designed by golf legends like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf and Tiger Woods.
You can bet that teeing off at any of these will be an experience to remember!
Here’s a list of 5 top Cabo golf courses that are open to the public:
- Puerto Los Cabos: Located on the East Cape near San Jose del Cabo, Puerto Los Cabos is a golf resort that features three distinct 9-hole courses designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus. Each course boasts its own delightful “culinary palapa” complete with a chef and bartender.
- Cabo Real Golf Club: This course, expertly designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., has become a must-play for every golfer visiting Cabo. The front nine holes of the Cabo Real Golf Club offer sweeping ocean views and forgiving fairways, while holes on the challenging back nine wind through desert terrain, testing your skills. Keep an eye out for the elevated green on the 14th hole, perched at a 500-foot rise above sea level.
- Diamante’s Dunes: This beauty is a private golf course designed by Davis Love III. With its towering sand dunes, coastal winds, ocean vistas, and split fairways, this course is an absolute gem. Although Diamante’s Dunes is primarily exclusive to Diamante hotel guests, some tee times are available for non-guests.
- Cabo Del Sol Cove Club Golf Course: Nestled along the stunning Sea of Cortez, the Cabo Del Sol Cove Club Golf Course, previously known as the Cabo Del Sol Ocean Course, offers a remarkable golfing experience. The 3-hole finish guarantees jaw-dropping views.
- Palmilla Golf Club: Designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, Palmilla Golf Cub has wide fairways, over 80 bunkers and tees situated on their own grassy islands surrounded by desert vegetation. The service at Palmilla Golf Club is outstanding, and there are plenty of opps to capture stunning photos amidst the scenic surroundings.
Another exhilarating option is to go ziplining at Canopy Costa Azul.
There are actually three ziplining operators in Los Cabos. But Costa Azul Ziplines is a good choice for a 3-hour tour that you can easily squeeze into your itinerary for Cabo San Lucas.
On this tour, you’ll soar through the air on a series of seven thrilling ziplines. Bonus: You cross a wobbly suspension bridge and get to rappel down a 200-foot mountain wall too.
Afternoon alternative: Wander the Cabo San Lucas Marina
If you’d prefer a more leisurely afternoon, hang around the Cabo San Lucas Marina after your whale watching tour and enjoy a nice stroll.
Ogle the striking white pleasure boats and mega-yachts, check out the pelicans that snooze on the docks and soak up the maritime ambience.
Also go souvenir shopping at the many shops and stalls that offer a variety of unique gifts, artwork and local crafts.
Evening: Dine at one of Cabo’s many great restaurants
Have you worked up an appetite?
After your adventures today, you’ll be ready to indulge in some great dining at one of Cabo’s many excellent restaurants.
If you’re in the mood for high-end seafood, you can’t go wrong with El Farallon.
For breathtaking sunset views and a romantic setting, Sunset Monalisa is the perfect choice.
If you want something more casual, you’ll love tasting the best tacos in Cabo San Lucas.
Fresh shrimp tacos don’t get much better than the ones you find in Cabo!
After dinner, if you’re up for some nightlife, Cabo San Lucas has an electric bar and clubbing scene (especially in the winter high season).
Day 4 – San Jose del Cabo
Morning: Explore San Jose del Cabo
We really love San Jose del Cabo – it’s quaint and very different from Cabo San Lucas.
While both towns make up the municipality of Los Cabos in the state of Baja California Sur – and are just a short drive away from each other – they’re not alike in look and feel.
For one, San Jose del Cabo does not have the bustling energy of Cabo San Lucas (it’s not a Spring Break mecca, for example).
San Jose del Cabo is also a much smaller city and 250 years older. Cobblestone streets and colonial architecture give the city center a much more traditional, small-town Mexican feel.
Take some time to explore the historic downtown area, visit the Mission San José del Cabo Church and browse the art galleries showcasing works by local and international artists.
If you’ve rented a car in Cabo, there’s also the Tourist Corridor that you may want to explore on your way from Cabo San Lucas.
It’s a 20-mile stretch between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, lined with gorgeous beaches, luxury resorts and world-class golf courses.
Lunch: Savor a farm-to-table experience
Beyond the fancy resorts and fun activities, Cabo offers unique farm-to-table experiences that celebrate the region’s rich agricultural heritage.
Cabo is developing a well-deserved reputation for its organic farms, local markets and innovative restaurants, making it somewhat of a foodie’s paradise.
One of our favorite farm-to-table restaurants in Cabo is Flora Farms.
The first in the farm-to-table biz, this 25-acre organic farm is home to a magical outdoor restaurant called Flora Fields Restaurant. It’s one of the best restaurants in Los Cabos!
It serves up mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas, farm-fresh salads, home-cooked comfort food like grilled pork chops and fried chicken (organic, of course!) and amazing cocktails.
We also love Acre, nestled in the foothills of San Jose del Cabo (very close to Flora Farms), featuring towering palm trees and twinkling lights.
More sophisticated than Flora Farms, their menu is awesome and features dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
Be sure to order one or more of their signature craft cocktails, also made with ingredients sourced from their own garden. Their ginger mezcalitas are especially yummy. (We know, we’ve sipped a few of these!)
Evening: Join the Art Walk
If your trip sees you in Cabo on a Thursday night between November and June, we highly recommend you join the Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo.
During this popular cultural event, art galleries open their doors to visitors (often serving complimentary wine) and there are wandering musicians and performers.
It’s a magical evening of strolling the streets (which are closed to traffic), admiring unique artwork and immersing yourself in the local art scene.
Day 4 – Water activities and spa
Morning: Go snorkeling, scuba diving or kayaking
One thing’s for sure, there’s no shortage of water activities in Cabo.
Kick-start your morning with a kayaking and snorkeling tour to Santa Maria Bay and Chileno Bay.
These two pristine bays are known for their stunning underwater ecosystems.
If you prefer a luxurious sailing and snorkeling trip, we recommend this Los Cabos luxury snorkel and lunch cruise.
On this small-group tour (for up to 16 people), you first cruise by the iconic Arch, then sail to either Santa Maria or Chileno Bay for snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding.
Lounge on cushions on the sailboat deck, while sipping on specialty cocktails and sparkling wine from the open bar.
Also savor a delicious lunch featuring fresh grilled shrimp and seafood ceviche.
Towels, snorkeling gear and SUP boards are included, and during winter, you may see whales and playful manta rays.
If you’re traveling with a group of family or friends, you might like a private yacht charter.
For scuba diving enthusiasts, explore the depths of Cabo’s underwater wonderland at some of the best scuba diving sites around.
Beginners will love the easy dive sites just a short boat ride away from town – there’s actually some excellent easy diving at Land’s End.
More advanced divers can take advantage of some of the best marine life by exploring some offshore walls.
Afternoon: Get pampered at a spa
After an adventurous morning, it’s time to treat yourself to some resort-style pampering.
Cabo has some of the finest spas around.
Not surprisingly, the most luxurious ones are found in the high-end resorts – and the best part is you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy their services.
Here are three of our favorites:
- Waldorf Astoria Spa: Immerse yourself in a world of relaxation and tranquility at this exquisite 12,000-square-foot spa, where all treatments start with an herb-and-lime foot scrub.
- Jasha Spa (at the JW Marriott Los Cabos): This sophisticated spa features 12 treatment rooms, indoor vitality pools and an outdoor co-ed hydrotherapy circuit and garden. The couples massages are excellent.
- The Spa at Esperanza: Find serenity and well-being at this lovely indoor-outdoor spa, complete with a steam cave, beach cabanas for massages and outdoor showers. Skilled therapists pamper you with indigenous treatments that use local botanical plants and seaweed.
Day 5 – Todos Santos day trip
Like many people, we love this charming town, known for its thriving arts scene, cultural heritage and wild secluded beaches.
Getting to Todos Santos
The easiest and best way to reach Todos Santos is by renting a car, giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace.
We’ve used and recommend using Discover Cars, a price comparison and booking website that searches top car rental agencies like Avis, Hertz, Budget, and Alamo to find the best prices.
Morning: Explore Todos Santos
There’s a lot to explore here, from its vibrant streets adorned with colorful murals to upscale art galleries showcasing local talent.
Pop into the Profesor Nestor Agundez Martinez Cultural Center (a local history museum) and check out the Hotel California.
Take your time to wander and discover its hidden gems.
Lunch in Todos Santos
Our favorite is The Green Room, a lovely beachfront spot that offers delicious dishes while you enjoy panoramic ocean views.
Another favorite is Oystera. For fresh seafood lovers, this place can’t be beat!
More things to do if you have one week in Cabo
There are many great day trips from Cabo that you can do.
If you have plenty of time on your vacay, consider the following day trip options, all of which we’ve greatly enjoyed.
It’s well worth adding a Cabo Pulmo day trip to your Cabo San Lucas vacation itinerary if you have more time.
Cabo Pulmo is located about 60 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas and takes you out of the bustling resort town vibe and into the serene East Cape region.
The natural beauty of Cabo Pulmo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is really quite special. Snorkel or dive in the crystal-clear waters, home to colorful coral reefs and marine life galore.
The drive to get there involves a stretch of dirt road at the end. So you may prefer to go on a tour, rather than drive there yourself.
Here’s a 5-star-rated private jeep tour from Cabo San Lucas. It includes snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo and lunch.
Hike to the Sol de Mayo Waterfall
Another option if you’re spending one week in Cabo San Lucas is to take a hike in the Canyon of the Fox to the Sol de Mayo Waterfall, located just beyond the village of Santiago.
It’s set in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains, and the mountain scenery is gorgeous. Pine woods are intersected by canyons, through which riverbeds and streams meander.
It’s a stark contrast to Los Cabos’ typical ocean and desert vistas!
And a swim in the cool waters of the idyllic swimming hole at the base of the waterfall is always a treat after working up a sweat on the trail.
The hike to the waterfall is moderately difficult. It’s not long but there are some steep sections and you need to be comfortable with hiking on a rocky and uneven trail.
We recommend going on a guided hiking day tour.
Snorkel with whale sharks at La Paz (in season)
Take a day trip to La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur to discover stunning beaches and do one of our most memorable activities of all time – swimming with the La Paz whale sharks!
The Bay of La Paz in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez is one of the few places left in the world where you can swim with these gentle giants, so we highly recommend taking advantage of this surreal opportunity.
Where to stay in Cabo
When figuring out where to stay in Cabo, there are plenty of options.
The following are our hand-picked suggestions. We’ve stayed at all of these hotels (except Chileno Bay and Mar del Cabo, which we’ve inspected on media hotel visits).
We especially love the One&Only Palmilla for their incredible service (hello, private butlers!), gorgeous Mexican colonial architecture and swimmable beach.
It’s really one-of-a-kind. (See our One&Only Palmilla review.)
Then again, we also love the five-star Chileno Bay Resort & Residences with their three-tiered pool, luxurious contemporary rooms and snorkeling beach right out front.
Another plus: Their location makes it easy to get around in Cabo. They’re walking distance to the Cabo San Lucas Marina (and boat tours that leave from there), as well as restaurants, shops and the movie theater in town.
This makes these two resorts especially great for families with teenagers, as the teens can have some independence going into town.
Psst! You don’t need to get the all-inclusive option if you stay here, as you have so many eateries in town at your fingertips!
Best all-inclusive resort in Cabo
For a first time visit to Cabo San Lucas, you may want to stay at an all-inclusive resort which takes care of everything.
It doesn’t get much better than the Grand Velas Los Cabos. Think luxurious accommodations (minimum 1,200 square feet), gourmet dining, pool butlers, top-shelf drinks and a divine spa.
There’s no reason to leave here. And we didn’t.
Step into the picturesque paradise of Mar del Cabo!
It’s the perfect spot to immerse yourself in Instagrammable beauty (fuchsia bougainvillea abounds!) and have a beach break without breaking the bank. (Note: Its beach isn’t swimmable, however.)
Best all-inclusive resorts for adults
You’ll find some amazing all-inclusive Cabo resorts for adults only.
We really liked staying at Pueblo Bonito Pacifico. It’s got you covered with its all-inclusive perks, stunning ocean views and a lively vibe. Here it’s all about relaxation, luxury and a whole lot of “adulting” done right!
It’s not as high-end as the Grand Velas Los Cabos, listed above. But it has a very Zen feel – and pretty well all guests are couples.
A brand new all-inclusive just for adults is the Grand Velas Boutique Hotel. If it’s anything like the neighboring Grand Velas Los Cabos (which is for everyone), the adults-only boutique Grand Velas should be pretty swank.
Best boutique hotel in San Jose del Cabo
Overlooking the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, Hotel El Ganzo has rooms with views of dive-bombing pelicans and fishing boats coming and going.
And it features an underground recording studio and a rooftop infinity pool with glorious views. What’s not to love?
Oh, and it’s adults-only too.
Frequently asked Cabo San Lucas itinerary questions
How many days do you need in Cabo?
The ideal time frame is at least 4 days in Cabo.
This gives you enough time to explore some popular tourist highlights, try some of the many available activities and also have enough time to just relax on the beach.
If you can spend 5 days in Los Cabos, that’s even better. You can then devote of couple of days to exploring beyond the immediate Cabo San Lucas surroundings.
When is the best time to go to Cabo?
Cabo San Lucas is great to visit any time of the year.
The one exception is maybe August and September, which is very hot and humid. (Mind you, if you love sportfishing, September is one of the best months to visit Los Cabos.)
Keep in mind that peak tourist season is from December to April when the weather is at its best – warm and dry.
Cabo’s rainy season is technically in the summer, with the most rainfall happening in August and September (which is in the “official” hurricane season). The low season is July to September.
Personally, we love Cabo San Lucas in November because the ocean water is warm for all water sports.
But we tend to go more often to Cabo San Lucas in January (and late December), as we join other family members then.
These months also happen to be the least rainy months of the year and the weather is pretty much perfect (not too hot).
A lot of other people also think December and January are great months to visit Los Cabo, so be sure to book your hotel accommodations in advance.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds and even cash in some great deals, the shoulder season months of May to June or October are your best bet.
Is it safe to visit Cabo San Lucas?
Yes, Cabo San Lucas is generally safe for tourists.
It’s a popular vacation spot that gets many visitors every year, and Mexican officials have done a good job of keeping it monitored and relatively crime free.
But, like you would with any place you travel, always use common sense and be aware of your surroundings.
Stick to well-traveled areas, use legit transportation options and keep an eye on your belongings.
The local authorities and resorts in Cabo take safety seriously and work hard to make sure visitors have a great time without any worries.
That’s a wrap for the ultimate Los Cabos itinerary!
There you have it… Your ultimate 3-, 5- or 7-day Cabo itinerary!
You’re all set now for embarking on a wonderful getaway in one of Mexico’s most popular sand-and-sea destinations. All that’s left is to pack your bags, slip into vacation mode and let the fun begin!
If you’re like us, your first trip to Cabo certainly won’t be your last. It always finds a way to lure us back in, and we have no doubt you’ll easily see why.
Cheers to your unforgettable Cabo vacation – salud!
Photos: 8, 14, 18, 20, 21, 23, 28 to 33 © Janice and George Mucalov, Cabo Visitor