There’s one place we return to, year after year, for our fix of sun, sand and sea – Cabo (aka Los Cabos).
It’s one of our favorite resort destinations in Mexico!
That’s partly because its beaches, whale watching and snorkeling in October and November can’t be beat.
Also, many of the hotels are on beaches where it’s not safe to swim. If dipping your toes in the ocean is a deal-breaker, you’ll be sorely disappointed if all you can do at your hotel is look at the come-hither sea!
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our guide on the seven different areas of Cabo – along with the best places to stay in Los Cabos (including Cabo resorts with swimmable beaches and the best boutique hotels) – depending on your interests and budget.
Best area to stay in Cabo?
So you’re wondering: “Where should I stay in Cabo?” We don’t blame you.
There are a lot of places to choose from.
But first things first. We need to get the vocab of the area straight.
Los Cabos comprises the two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, plus the 20-mile Tourist Corridor between them.
We’ve mentioned there’s a big difference between the two towns.
Cabo San Lucas has lots of bars and restaurants and is the center of activities. San Jose del Cabo is smaller, quieter and has a more authentic Mexican feel to it.
The Los Cabos area itself is in the state of Baja California Sur in Mexico.
It’s at the Baja California Peninsula’s southern tip and sandwiched between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. So, no matter where you look, it’s a feast for the eyes.
Los Cabos International Airport, or SJD, is the international airport for the area. It’s about a 20-minute drive from San Jose del Cabo and a 40- to 45-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas.
With that geography lesson behind us, you’ll better understand the following seven Cabo areas where you can stay.
1) Medano Beach
Medano Beach is the beach if you’re looking for beaches in Cabo where you can swim.
Which definitely can’t be said for all of Cabo’s beaches…
In fact, most of Cabo’s hotels with swimmable beaches are on Medano Beach. So, staying here is a good choice.
And no wonder.
Medano Beach is a two-mile expanse of glorious golden sand, sapphire-blue calm water and all the necessary amenities.
If you’re like us, dining with the sand tickling your toes is the best kind of meal experience.
On Medano, you’ll be spoiled for choices. Think rows of palapa-shaded cantinas and restaurants for your guacamole and margarita fix.
Additionally, it’s the nucleus of all tourist activities. So, if you’re in the mood for adrenaline-pumping water sports, this is the place.
But if you’d rather just chill in a lounger and sip that lime margarita, you’re still in the right place.
Fair warning, though, Medano Beach gets very crowded, especially during high season and spring break.
When planning your Cabo vacation, you’ll want to consider the following Medano Beach hotels:
Best hotels on Medano Beach
1 Homes Preview Cabo
Located close to the Cabo San Lucas Marina, this exciting new resort in Cabo San Lucas (opened 2021) features modern and swank one- to four-bedroom residences. Some of the 1 Homes Preview Cabo suites even have private plunge pools.
Pueblo Bonito Rose
With a prime Medano Beach location, Pueblo Bonito Rose is a pink-hued resort in the mid-upper range category. It features comfortable ocean-view suites with kitchenettes, several dining options and a spa.
Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos
Beside the Pueblo Bonito Rose (above), this white-washed resort has a more traditional Mexican feel. With kitchenettes, Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos is an excellent pick for families.
Club Cascadas de Baja
You won’t find any TVs in the rooms at this small architectural gem of a resort. What you will find at Club Cascadas de Baja is a relaxing ambience, a beach restaurant with tables in the sand and palapa-roofed villas with Mexican-style suites featuring full kitchens.
Several suites have private hot tubs or pools.
It’s hard to get into though. (Like many resorts in Cabo, it’s a time-share property.)
Hacienda Beach Club & Residences
This beautiful luxury resort has huge condo-style apartments, from one-bedroom residences to beachfront villas.
Some units at Hacienda Beach Club & Residences have their own pools.
The main bi-level infinity pool has stunning views of Land’s End, with its dramatic rock formations, at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula.
Corazon Cabo Resort & Spa
Formerly Cabo Villas, the new Corazon Cabo Resort & Spa is a 4-star property with contemporary rooms, outdoor pools (including an adults-only pool) and a rooftop microbrewery.
Many of the suites in the all-new Corazon Tower (one of three towers) have private hot tubs on the balconies.
Bahia Hotel & Beach House
Plus, the Bahia Hotel & Beach House is a great option for a mid-range hotel in high-priced Cabo San Lucas.
Medano Beach bottom line?
If you’re wondering where to stay in Cabo for swimmable beaches, Medano Beach is the first place you should consider.
2) Downtown Cabo San Lucas
If you are going to Cabo for the first time and feel like letting loose, the downtown area is your haven.
What’s nice about downtown is the bevy of food choices on offer.
Downtown Cabo San Lucas is also a more affordable area.
And since you’ve saved some money on your hotel, you can go shopping. Maybe look for traditional arts and crafts to spice up your home décor? Or pick up some silver jewelry?
Or you can blow it all on some fabulous tours, like snorkeling with whale sharks in La Paz or kayaking in Cabo Pulmo.
Best places to stay in Cabo San Lucas (downtown)
Hotel Los Milagros is a delightful little retreat right downtown. Yet, it’s quiet. It’s clean. It has a small pool. And it’s within walking distance of everything.
It’s one of the best budget hotels in Cabo we’ve seen.
Casa Bella is a colonial-style gem with a pool in the heart of Cabo San Lucas.
It’s a family-run property with a lot of charm, a garden and a pool – a sweet oasis at the end of a hectic day.
Downtown bottom line?
If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in Cabo San Lucas on a budget and for nightlife, downtown Cabo is your answer.
3) Cabo San Lucas Marina
The Cabo San Lucas Marina is where a lot of tours depart for all sorts of water activities in Cabo. You won’t need to go far to plan your day.
Whale watching tours? Check. Sunset cruises? Check. Snorkeling and sailing trips? Sportfishing? Check.
We could keep going, but we’re sure you get the point. Staying in the marina area means easy access to all the activities.
Not to mention the million-dollar views of all the million-dollar yachts moored there.
But wait… there’s more.
Go shopping in all the high-end boutiques at the waterfront Luxury Avenue mall.
Eat at all the diverse restaurants serving the freshest catch of the day. Literally. It was probably swimming offshore a few hours ago.
After dinner, head to the hot nightlife spots – from chill lounges and wine bars to places where you can swing wildly from the rafters.
Naturally, several hotels call the marina home.
The marina is the best area of Cabo to stay for a little of everything.
Best Cabo San Lucas Marina hotels
Breathless Cabo San Lucas
Who wants to party? Breathless Cabo San Lucas is for you! Think fun pool parties with DJs and mixology classes at this Los Cabos adults-only all-inclusive resort.
All 169 modern suites have balconies with a view of the marina.
Hotel Tesoro Los Cabos
While staying at the Hotel Tesoro Los Cabos, you can chill in the hot tubs or large pool while gawking at the yachts.
Don’t expect anything too fancy though. This is more a good value hotel with clean rooms. Its central marina location makes it popular with fishing fans, who don’t have far to go to jump on a boat in the early dawn.
Be sure to book a marina-view room with a balcony so you can sip your beer (or bubbly) as the sunset turns the sky pink.
Marina bottom line?
The Marina area is the best location to stay in Cabo San Lucas to be close to lots of activities.
4) Pacific Side
The Pacific Side is a neighborhood that comprises Pedregal, Pedregal Hills and further northwest up the Pacific Coast.
Pedregal is the Beverly Hills of Cabo in Mexico, and you might hobnob with a few celebs here.
Much of the area oozes sophistication from its high-end hotels and resorts to its fine dining restaurants – some of the best in the area. But you can still find family-friendly digs.
Staying here puts you near the action, but definitely not in it.
Even though the area’s beaches are impeccable with thick golden sand, you can’t swim here due to the strong rip currents. Nevertheless, they are pure bliss for walking and lounging on.
Without a beach vendor in sight, this is the place to read a book and dream.
If it’s breezy, the infinity pool (which most Pacific side resorts sport) will provide shelter.
For the most part, the Pacific Side is sedate and luxe – and most resorts aren’t for the budget conscious.
Best Cabo Pacific-Side resorts
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
Carved into the hillside, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal takes the cake for the swankiest hotel in the area and one of the best resorts in Los Cabos.
So, sip champagne and nibble on your floating breakfast in your private pool with a view of the ocean – every room or suite has one. It’s the ultimate in extravagance.
Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort
Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort where you can splurge and get your own butler if you stay in the VIP Towers. One certified by the British Butler Institute. (Did you know that was a thing?)
Even if you don’t go the way of the butler, you’ll love your time here. We did.
It’s very Zen, with a restful feel – not a party place.
Grand Solmar Land’s End
Near the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula is Grand Solmar Land’s End.
It’s where to stay in Cabo if you want an old-school luxury vacation rental at affordable prices. All accommodations come with a kitchen. It has seven pools, but our faves have swim-up bars.
Playa Grande Resort
The Playa Grande Resort has eight acres of private beach, so the views are everything. The suites all have kitchens and there’s a kids’ club, so this is one of the best family resorts in Cabo.
In addition, the Mexican-styled resort has three pools and a hot tub to chill in unless you’re too busy at the spa.
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort
Sister property to the Pacifica Resort above, Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach is a massive beachfront destination with 635 ocean-view suites. The smallest room is 538 square feet of marble floors and private balconies.
With six restaurants and six pools to match every vacation desire you might have, you won’t miss swimming in the ocean.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos
This is one of the top resorts in Cabo.
Nobo Hotel Los Cabos is a a mash-up of understated Japanese elegance and modern design and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World – which means you’ll be immersed in luxury from the moment you arrive.
Its restaurant, Nobu Los Cabos (by celebrated Chef Nobu Matsuhisa), serves Japanese fusion cuisine, including their legendary miso black cod.
Pacific Side bottom line?
This is where to stay in Los Cabos for quiet beaches and sophisticated hotels.
5) Tourist Corridor
Between Cabo and San Jose del Cabo is a 20-mile stretch of coastline lined by lavish resorts and golf courses.
Imagine deluxe amenities, Sea of Cortez hues of blue and each resort more extravagant than its neighbor.
With about 12 championship golf courses, you can hone your swing on a course designed by Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Robert Trent Jones Jr. or Greg Norman. You choose.
While nightlife isn’t the focus here, all the exquisite restaurants will more than make up for it.
Since the Corridor runs along the Sea of Cortez, a few of the beaches on this side are swimmable. And all of them are postcard-worthy.
Best places in Cabo to stay along the Corridor
Grand Velas Los Cabos
The Grand Velas Los Cabos might just be our favorite all-inclusive in Cabo. Its opulent spa treatments, outstanding service, great restaurants, massive suites and pool butlers had us swooning.
The Cape, a Thompson Hotel
The buzzy Cape Cabo is a super-edgy hotel with magnificent views of El Arco (Cabo’s iconic rock formation at Land’s End) from your copper soaking tub. And you get a hand-etched crystal bottle of tequila at check-in – a nice touch.
Plus, it gets bonus points for being pet friendly.
Las Ventanas al Paraiso
You won’t be able to out-dream the staff at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. It’s indulgence beyond your wildest imagination.
Besides 24-hour room service, pool butlers will happily mist you with Evian water. Its spa is one of the best spas in Cabo. And a Romance Director can set up a private movie night on the beach. It’s limitless.
Needless to say, Las Ventanas is one of the finest luxury resorts in Los Cabos.
Mar del Cabo
You want an intimate stylish place to stay on the beach. But you don’t want to blow a bundle on your accommodations.
Enter Mar del Cabo.
This beautiful boutique hotel has 48 one- and two-bedroom suites, some with garden views and others with ocean views.
Colorful Mexican tiles in the kitchens and bathrooms add bright pops of color to the otherwise white-on-white décor.
Its restaurant, Encanto Farm & Sea, gets rave reviews. Which is to be expected, as Mar del Cabo is run by Velas Resorts (the same group that operates the Grand Velas Los Cabos above).
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences
The Chileno Bay Resort is an Insta-worthy hotel for the well-heeled.
It’s also on a swimmable beach but, oh, that pool! Or maybe the exclusive access to the private 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio will woo you instead?
Montage Los Cabos
Even though the super-modern Montage Los Cabos is on a swimmable beach (Santa Maria Bay), you’ll be tempted to stay in the mesmerizing adults-only pool and rent a private cabana. It’s a tough decision.
But as this is one of the top 5-star hotels in Cabo, you win either way.
A sister resort to Chileno Bay, the Esperanza is a Zen-like sanctuary with a traditional Mexican feel. Entry-level rooms are 925-square-foot casitas, many with private infinity-edge hot tubs.
Kick up the luxury factor a notch by opting for a hacienda complete with twice-daily housekeeping, so you don’t have to lift a pampered finger.
Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa
If staying in a work of art is your style, the Marquis Los Cabo has your number. It certainly had ours.
The adults-only, all-inclusive, AAA Four Diamond property has 400 oil paintings from Latin American painters to gaze at throughout your stay.
Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos
Without a doubt, the all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort is all about the finer details.
It manages to tickle all your senses. From the different aromatherapy scents wafting through the air to the all-white hues of the resort, even the smallest detail is tended to.
Even the fitness center is inviting – you won’t be deterred from working out here.
In short, Le Blanc is one of the top luxury all-inclusive resorts in Los Cabos for adults. It rivals the Grand Velas above (except Le Blanc adults-only).
Corridor bottom line?
If you’re looking for an area with plenty of luxury resorts (including luxury all-inclusive resorts), this is probably the best place to stay in Los Cabos.
6) San Jose del Cabo
San Jose del Cabo is a much mellower sister town to Cabo San Lucas.
But what it lacks in mayhem, it makes up for in authenticity and culture.
The cobblestone streets are lined with 19th-century architecture that radiates old-world Mexico.
At the popular Art Walk – held every Thursday evening between November and June – you can mingle with gallery owners and artists and discuss their work over wine and nibbles.
You’ll also find some great farm-to-table restaurants in the San Jose del Cabo area.
These organic culinary experiences are so delectable you’ll want to make another reservation for the next night.
Where to stay in San Jose del Cabo (Best hotels)
Hotel El Ganzo
The trendy adults-only Hotel El Ganzo’s rooms overlook the San Jose del Cabo marina (called Puerto Los Cabos), so you won’t lack good views. But it’s really all about the rooftop bar and its glass-sided infinity pool.
Hotel El Ganzo is also one of the best hotels in San Jose del Cabo for art and music lovers. Artists are invited to paint the walls and record music in their underground recording studio – you as a guest get to enjoy the results.
Just outside San Jose del Cabo is the One&Only Palmilla, which exudes opulence.
We were so pampered we didn’t want to move – see our One&Only Palmilla review.
But if you’re an active vacationer, five clay tennis courts and a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course await.
Cabo Surf Hotel
Also just outside San Jose del Cabo, the uber cool and eco-friendly Cabo Surf Hotel has a surf school on site. Beach-chic rooms have private balconies, some overlooking the beach.
This is the best place to stay in San Jose del Cabo if you’d like to surf (or learn how). The instructors are fabulous. We almost rode a few waves in… almost.
It’s not on the beach, but that means you get a great price cut.
Splurge for one of the suites and you’ll have a hot tub and hammock on your large terrace.
San Jose del Cabo bottom line?
While it offers lots for visitors, San Jose del Cabo still feels like an authentic Mexican town. It’s the best place to stay in Cabo for checking out art galleries and dining at fine restaurants.
7) East Cape
The East Cape is ideal for secluded escapes.
It’s close enough for day trips to places like Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park (a UNESCO site known for snorkeling and diving) and Todos Santos, a picturesque pueblo magico known for its charming artisan shops.
Yet, it’s secluded enough to allow you to recharge those batteries and decompress.
The true East Cape is further up the coastline, but still only 45 minutes north of the airport.
It’s what Los Cabos felt like 30 years ago.
Its rustic beauty hasn’t been overrun by the masses. In fact, few even know the area exists.
And we like it that way.
Take advantage of that and head to these exclusive hotels before the secret gets out.
Where to stay in Cabo on the East Cape
Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Your private plunge pool awaits at Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. It’s an ultra-posh property with personal butlers at the ready via text.
We wouldn’t blame you if you never left the resort. It’s perfection.
But it’s actually close to San Jose del Cabo (a 15-minute drive away), so you should leave the resort, and check out the area. You won’t regret it.
Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas
As you’d expect from the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos, it epitomizes elite chic. It’s tony. It’s private. And it’s the ideal splurge you’ve been needing.
East Cape bottom line?
Home to some of the destination’s most exclusive resorts, this is the best area to stay in Cabo for a secluded splurge, far from the madding crowd.
FAQs about the best areas to stay in Cabo
Which part of Cabo has the best beaches?
If by “best” you mean swimmable, then the beaches on the Sea of Cortez are, without a doubt, the best. Head to Medano Beach (our #1 pick), Santa Maria Beach and Chileno Beach.
Where do celebrities stay in Cabo?
There are a lot of extravagant hotels in Cabo, but the ones they frequent most are:
- Waldorf Astoria Pedregal
- One&Only Palmilla
- Las Ventanas al Paraiso
- Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Where do the Kardashians stay in Cabo?
Usually, they head for Las Ventanas.
Where does Jennifer Aniston stay in Cabo?
She goes for the One&Only Pamilla.
Last words on the best area to stay in Cabo for your trip!
So, where is the best place to stay in Los Cabos?
With this many options, it’s impossible to choose just one. But rest assured, no matter where you decide to lay your head, Los Cabos has something for everyone and for every budget.
We think you should take a leaf from our playbook. Go often and keep trying new hotels and resorts.
What’s your favorite place to stay in Cabo? Let us know in the Comments below. We need to plan another trip!
Photos: 9 © Janice and George Mucalov, Cabo Visitor