If you’re anything like us, the idea of flying south for the winter is very appealing.
One of the popular places to do just that is Cabo San Lucas.
This chilled-out Mexican beach destination sits at the bottom of the Baja California Peninsula. Thanks to its southern location, it enjoys much warmer winter weather than most of the U.S. and Canada.
But what is the best time to visit Cabo? Is January a good time to go to Cabo?
Cabo is our second home, and we’ve visited many times over December and January. So, if you’re planning a trip to Cabo San Lucas in January, let this be your ultimate guide!
By the way, if you’re at all confused about the difference between Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, just remember that Los Cabos (often called just “Cabo”) is the whole resort area.
It includes the two main towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, plus the 20-mile Tourist Corridor between the towns.
Weather in Cabo San Lucas in January
You’re in luck with a January vacation in Cabo because the weather is almost perfect! Depending on what kind of winter vacation you want…
If you don’t like really hot tropical vacays – where your hair frizzes up and you’re always melting under the sun, dashing from one air-conditioned place to another – then the pleasant weather of Los Cabos in January will make it your happy place.
In a nutshell: January weather in Cabo is warm to hot. But it’s not humid. Rather it’s very dry.
Temperatures in Cabo in January:
So, what is the average temperature in Cabo in January?
The average high during the day ranges between 75 F (24 C) and 80 F (27 C). The average low (at night) dips to 55 F (13 C).
January is the coldest month in Cabo.
There’s a definite chill in the air in the early mornings.
We throw on a sweater when taking our coffee to the beach very early to reserve a beach chair. But by 9:00 am or so, the sun has warmed up the air enough, and it’s time to swap out the sweater for the swimsuit!
If you compare the Los Cabos weather in January to the weather, say, in San Diego for the same month, Cabo is hotter. But if comparing Los Cabos vs. Puerto Vallarta further down the Pacific Coast, PV is hotter in January.
Of course, we all know that the weather is more unpredictable than it used to be.
When is the rainy season in Cabo?
Cabo’s rainy season is typically from August to September.
The official Cabo hurricane season runs from mid-May through November. But pretty well all tropical storms occur in September (the wettest month).
Number of sunny days in January:
Don’t worry about rainy days. The weather in Cabo in January is crazy sunny!
The winter months are the driest months in Los Cabos. January is the driest of them all, with less than half an inch of rain dribbling down the whole month on average.
The chance of rain is almost nil in January. You’re pretty well guaranteed clear skies, bluebird days and many hours of sunshine.
Muggy? No. The climate is desert-like in January.
There’s simply no humidity in Cabo in January.
(So ladies, your locks won’t frizz. You can style your hair to go out at night without worrying that it’s all for nothing. Your hair will still look great hours later.)
Sunrise and sunset:
The sun rises about 7:00 am in January in Cabo San Lucas. It sets between 5:50 pm and 6:10 pm.
Generally, you get about 11 hours of daylight per day in January, with a little more daylight toward the end of the month (a later sunset).
Cabo water temperature in January
Facts first: The average water temperature in Cabo in January is 72.5 F (22.5 C).
So, can you swim in Cabo in January?
There’s nothing stopping you.
But the ideal zone for comfortable sea temperatures for swimming is said to be between 77 F (25 C) and 82 F (28 C). This is the official Olympic water temperature range for swimming competitions.
With an average January water temp in the low 70s F (low 20s C) in Cabo, we find the water cold (Janice more so than George).
Don’t get us wrong.
We still go swimming in the ocean and try to make a point of going for a dip every day. But unless it’s a hot day (or the hottest time of day), it’s usually a pretty quick swim.
So if we’re being totally honest, January isn’t the best time to visit Cabo if you mainly want to swim in warm water in the ocean and go snorkeling and scuba diving.
Is Cabo crowded in January?
January is very much high season in Cabo.
The peak period runs from December to March/ April.
Largely, this is because of the fact that everyone has the same smart idea to escape the U.S. and Canada in the freezing winter months and head somewhere warmer!
It’s also because of Christmas, March school break and Easter vacations.
This means it’ll be more expensive in January than in the (wetter) summer season. And you’ll need to book your hotel accommodations in advance.
We also advise making restaurant recommendations for popular restaurants, booking tours in advance and getting to the beach early each day to secure a beach chair.
However, in early January – when people go back to work and school right after the Christmas and New Year vacation – you might find a bit of a sweet spot of great weather with fewer crowds (and more hotel availability).
Then it starts to get busy again later in the month, and it stays busy until mid-April or so.
New Year’s Eve, Cabo
Do you plan to be in Cabo for New Year’s Eve? It’s a fantastic place to ring in the New Year!
New Year’s Eve events:
There are plenty of options for those looking to party or enjoy a festive dinner in Cabo on New Year’s Eve.
Restaurants put on special multi-course dinners, such as the Silver Night New Year’s Eve dream event at Sunset Monalisa – a 7-course dinner with drink pairings, live music and dancing.
Cabo Wabo Cantina, the nightclub and restaurant founded by rocker Sammy Hagar, also usually offers a special 5-course menu. Or enjoy the farm-to-table food at Flora Farms (near San Jose del Cabo) at their New Year’s event.
Whatever you do, make sure that you dress up fancy and book your tickets in advance!
When vacationing in Cabo in January, why not ring in the New Year by partaking in some Mexican traditions?
Here are some of the most interesting.
Wanderlusters apparently walk down the streets on New Year’s Eve with their luggage. This is meant to bring prosperity in the New Year. However, we’ve never actually seen this happen in Cabo.
12 Grapes of luck
One tradition that’s commonplace in both Mexico (and Spain) is eating 12 grapes at midnight on December 31 – one grape with each of the 12 clock chimes.
As you eat each grape, you make a wish for each month of the year. It’s known as las doce uvas de la suerte (which means “12 grapes of luck”).
Pick your underpants wisely on New Year’s.
In Mexico, many people wear a particular color of underwear, depending on their wishes for the New Year. For example, green underwear represents health, red represents love and yellow represents abundance.
There are plenty of large fireworks displays in the town on New Year’s Eve, with dazzling illuminations brightening up the sky.
We love to sit on Medano Beach, wrapped in blankets (remember the temperature drops in the evening), oohing and aahing as the sky overhead lights up in bursts of brilliant color.
The Mexicans go all out in Cabo when it comes to fireworks on New Year’s!
Best things to do in Cabo in January
So, you’ve got over your New Year’s hangover, and now you’re looking for the best January activities in Los Cabos.
Here are some of the great activities you can do all month long.
We’ve got good news. It’s whale watching season in Cabo!
January is the ideal time to board a boat and go off to see whales and other sea life, like dolphins.
Humpback whales are the ones most commonly sighted. But there’s a chance of seeing blue, sperm and gray whales too.
Typically, you also pass by some of Cabo’s most scenic spots like Lover’s Beach and Land’s End, which is a cluster of soaring rocks at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula.
Here are some of the best excursions:
This whale and dolphin watching tour uses an agile Zodiac-style boat to get close to the best spots to spot the sea creatures!
PezGato offers two-hour tours on a comfortable catamaran to see whales.
The tour rate includes hotel pick-up and drop-off (which is unusual for Cabo) and snacks and drinks when onboard the boat.
Cabo Trek’s fun 2.5 hour small-group whale watching tour is one with a difference.
You can hear the whales singing underwater through their hydrophones. And you can take a look at their underwater cameras to see them from another perspective.
Ideal for larger groups or if you prefer a large stable boat, SunRider 100 has a massive two-deck vessel for comfortable whale viewing.
A Mexican buffet meal is prepared fresh onboard for your enjoyment. Drinks from the open bar are included too.
Enjoying the beach:
Cabo can be action-packed in January if you want it to be.
But we wouldn’t blame you at all for just enjoying the wonderful beaches.
Not all of them are swimmable though. Medano Beach is one of the best beaches in Los Cabos for swimming.
Most places to stay in Los Cabos have pools, so just sitting around in the sunshine with a good book at your hotel pool is also very pleasant.
Swimming with whale sharks:
If there’s just one thing you do when in Cabo San Lucas in January, make it snorkeling with whale sharks.
They’re the largest fish in the ocean.
These gentle giants are only in the waters around Cabo from October through May, with the highest concentration of them in November through April.
So January is one of the best times of the year to see these amazing creatures!
We’ve been twice now.
ATV rides in the desert:
Because it’s not too hot, winter is also the best time of year to go to Cabo for outdoor land-based adventures.
In particular, January’s a great time for ATV desert rides.
This guided ATV adventure takes place about 25-minutes away from Cabo San Lucas. You’ll ride over dirt roads in the desert and to undeveloped Migrino Beach, where you get to travel along the water’s edge.
It includes pick-up from your hotel.
Don’t go driving your ATV like a maniac, though. Ride safely – you don’t want to have an accident.
Do you want to see Cabo from another perspective?
There are some great ziplining courses in Los Cabos, where you can whizz high above the trees and feel the adrenaline buzz for the rest of the day.
January is the perfect month to go ziplining.
You won’t be wiping sweat from your brow like you will if visiting Cabo in the summer months or shoulder seasons.
Cabo Adventures offers a super fun ziplining and UTV adventure combo in the Boca de la Sierra Natural Reserve.
And we mean super fun. (We’ve done this!) It’s actually one of the top-rated outdoor activities in Cabo.
You’ll zipline over a series of canyons – including flying down the longest and fastest line in Mexico!
As well, you get to rappel down rock walls, wobble across a commando bridge, swing over a canyon in a pendulum and weave around a specially designed course in your own UTV.
Wild Canyon Adventures
Get a Wild Canyon Adventures Park pass for a day of extreme thrills at Wild Canyon’s park.
The day pass (which includes round-trip hotel transfers) gives you unlimited ziplining, camel rides, horseback riding, riding UTVs and swinging in a glass-bottom gondola.
You can also choose to just do a two-hour ziplining tour with Wild Canyon if you prefer.
Canopy Costa Azul
Another place for family-friendly ziplining is Canopy Costa Azul, near San Jose del Cabo.
Golfing is another one of the best things to do in Cabo in January, thanks to the cooler temperatures and lack of humidity,
Plus, Cabo is a world-class golfing destination, with more than a dozen championship golf courses. Golf legends like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have designed some of the courses here.
Top-notch courses include:
- Puerto Los Cabos – Near San Jose del Cabo
- Cabo Real Golf Club – For a memorable challenge!
- Diamante’s Dunes – A private course with some tee times for non-guests
- Cabo Del Sol Cove Club Golf Course – Some of the most epic ocean views in Cabo
- Palmilla Golf Club – The “Grand Dame of Los Cabos golf” with 27 holes
If you like water activities, check out this kayaking tour of Santa Maria and Chileno Bays.
It also includes some snorkeling if you’re brave enough to dive into the January waters. (Actually, you get hot paddling, so you’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the water!)
We have done this tour a couple of times and loved kayaking past Cabo’s rocky shoreline between the two bays.
There’s also a glass bottom kayak snorkeling adventure that takes you to Cabo’s arch (El Arco) and Lover’s Beach – definitely one of the best things to do in Los Cabos in January if you love spotting marine life!
The waters around Cabo in the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean are one of the most dynamic places for fishing in the world.
In fact, Cabo San Lucas is home to the world’s richest sportfishing tournament, Bisbee’s Black & Blue (held annually in October).
For sportfishing, January is the high season for striped marlin.
You’ll find plenty of yellowfin and mackerel in the waters too.
Water taxi to Land’s End:
Did you know that you can take a water taxi to the end of the world in Cabo?
Well, not quite.
But legend goes that early European explorers believed Land’s End was the last point of land before hitting Antarctica!
You can see this natural phenomenon by picking up a water taxi at the Cabo San Lucas Marina or jumping on one from Medano Beach. The cost is about $10 USD each way for the boat ride.
For something different, this glass bottom boat tour to Land’s End is part of a day tour, which includes a tequila tasting and a visit to a glass blowing factory.
There’s also this clear boat tour, where the entire boat is made of clear plastic. You can really see the fish underneath and around you!
You might notice a theme throughout this list of attractions in Cabo – boats!
The Sea of Cortez offers so many wonderful things to do. And a sunset cruise in Cabo San Lucas is the perfect way to finish off any day before the starry night arrives.
Go on a taco tasting food tour:
When in Mexico… eat as many tacos as possible!
You can find some of the best tacos in Cabo at places like Tacos Gardenias, Taco Loco and La Lupita Taco & Mezcal.
The only January blues in Cabo? The bright blue sea!
It’s peak season – that means the partying never stops in Cabo this month.
We’ve mentioned El Squid Roe and Cabo Wabo.
Shopping and browsing art galleries:
San Jose del Cabo is full of art galleries and a very arty place, .
We highly recommend taking in the Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo. This free cultural event takes place every Thursday evening between November and June.
You might also want to visit Todos Santos.
This authentic Mexican town is about an hour’s drive from Cabo San Lucas. It also has plenty of art galleries and traditional shops to buy Mexican souvenirs.
With the January weather in Cabo San Lucas (and area) being so pleasant, it’s a good month for strolling outside and doing day trips and activities like these ones.
Packing for Cabo in January
Are you wondering what to pack for Cabo San Lucas in January? Take layers.
While you’ll probably be in your swimsuit or summer wear in the daytime, it does get nippy at night.
This is the desert, after all.
We recommend a light sweater or jacket and long pants. (But don’t worry, you won’t need your winter woolies.)
And don’t forget a rash guard to protect yourself from sunburn, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
We always find running shoes useful for exploring during the daytimes, along with flip-flops for the beach.
Final thoughts: Visiting Cabo San Lucas in January
So, is January a good time to visit Cabo San Lucas?
If you want a warm-weather vacation with plenty of attractions and activities, Cabo San Lucas in January is calling you!
While it’s a tad chillier this month than others, it’s still way warmer than most places in the United States, Canada and Europe.
In fact, we think the weather in Los Cabos in January is pretty perfect.
It’s one of the best months to visit Cabo to see whales and to snorkel with whale sharks. And it’s also a great time of year for outdoorsy activities on land like golf, thanks to the virtually non-existent humidity.
You just have to be aware that January is also one of the most popular high season months.
But if you visit after the Christmas and New Year’s rush is over and before the end of the month, you might luck out with fewer crowds and cheaper prices.