This sleepy fishing village turned celebrity vacation haven is known for its snorkeling, coral reefs galore, and a nightlife that rivals the biggest party destinations in the world. Located at the southern end of California’s Baja Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is growing in popularity, attracting everyone from Hollywood stars to nature lovers with its tropical ease and natural beauty. Fishing enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their catch of the day to local restaurants, who will grill your fish onsite for you. On a Panama Canal cruise, a stop in Cabo San Lucas isn’t complete without a margarita or a wildly-popular local tequila tasting.
While on your Cabo cruise, don’t miss iconic sites like El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, where tourists flock to catch the sunset glittering off the massive arch-shaped rock formation. Snorkel and see the coral reefs along the Sea of Cortez, or do nothing but sunbathe at Lover’s Beach. When you need a slower day away from the incredible beaches and nightlife of Cabo San Lucas, head north for a day trip to the Todos Santos for art galleries, sleepy cafes, and a relaxed vibe.
On your cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, put $10 up for a water taxi from the marina to El Arco—it’s worth it. As one of the town’s most recognizable sights, this rock formation at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula provides unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean unfolding for miles before you. Look out for sea lions and other wildlife at El Arco.
While you’re sightseeing El Arco, tell your boatman to drop you at nearby Lover’s Beach. It’s not as secluded and romantic as the name implies, but it offers beautiful swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Come earlier in the day to beat the crowds, and bring sunscreen, as the beach is mostly unshaded.
Take a five minute walk from Lover’s Beach to Divorce Beach, but don’t worry—there’s no symbolism here. Divorce Beach is known for much more turbulent waters and a strong rip tide, so it’s not recommended for swimming. However, it’s a little less crowded as a result. Come to Divorce Beach for more space to sprawl out on your beach towel and get some sun.
See incredible coral reefs at this Mexican National Marine Park, perfect for travelers staying for a little extra time in Cabo San Lucas. It’s about a two and a half hour trip from the town’s main stretch, or just sixty miles north. Cabo Pulmo was vulnerable to intense overfishing, and was only declared a protected site in 1995. Today, it’s a beautiful place to windsurf, swim, or dive alongside manta rays, eels and other natural sea-life.
Kids and adults alike will find that a tour of Cabo San Lucas atop a camel is a pretty magical way to experience the tropical California Baja region. Most tours include round-trip transportation and even tequila tastings or tortilla making classes for a full day of can’t-miss experiences.
Cabo San Lucas isn’t called “the marlin capital of the world” for nothing. The area is famous for sportfishing. Whether you’re solo or in a group, sportfishing operations are widely available to take you on an excursion to the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortez for a great catch. Research which restaurants will cook whatever you’ve caught, and you’ve got lunch or dinner already set.
Whale-watching in Cabo is a big deal—from December to April, gray whales and humpback whales migrate along the Baja Coast. This is the perfect excursion for wildlife lovers and kids. You’ll also learn a lot about how the environment of Cabo San Lucas is perfectly tailored to welcome these creatures to its shores.
If you happen to have extra time while on your Cabo cruise, take a road trip to Todos Santos, only about an hour from downtown Cabo San Lucas. Todos Santos is slowly waking up to tourism. Once a quiet fishing village, it’s now home to boutiques, art galleries, and colonial cobble-stoned streets. Good for a day trip, but head back to Cabo San Lucas for nightlife.
Address: past the El Tesoro Hotel Lobby, Cabo San Lucas 23456, Mexico
This spot was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. While you’re exploring the Cabo San Lucas marina, stop in at Solomon’s Landing for fish tacos, tuna, or the catch of the day. You can’t go wrong with a margarita, either.
Address: Calle Libertad 806, Col. Lienzo Charro, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
For local seafood at a moderate price range, try Neptuno’s, whose menu boasts fresh ceviche, stuffed clams, sea bass, coconut shrimp, red snapper, and more. This small, shack-style atmosphere is unpretentious and casual.
Pancho’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar
Address: Hidalgo & Emiliano Zapata S/N | Colonia Centro, Cabo San Lucas 23450, Mexico
Pancho’s red building and glowing neon sign is instantly recognizable as you arrive. Book a tequila tasting at Pancho’s to learn the history and tricks of the tequila trade. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the menu at Pancho’s has everything from chips and fresh guacamole to grilled lobster tail or filet mignon.
Address: Carretera Transpeninsular KM 6, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
If you’re looking for a romantic, upscale dinner for date night in Cabo San Lucas, head to Sunset Point. Highly rated for its gourmet pizzas and its sunset views of the water, Sunset Point also offers a spin on classic Italian, from Italian “tapas” to dessert-inspired cocktails.
There is evidence of humans living in Cabo San Lucas and the surrounding areas for at least 10,000 years, beginning with a group called the Pericu, who were hunter gatherers relying on the marine life. The Baja California peninsula Cabo San Lucas grew as a fishing village, and the early 20th century saw unprecedented tourism growth as the destination was discovered for its beautiful geography, marine life, and scuba diving, among other activities.
There isn’t a terminal on your cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, so cruise ships bring their passengers into the port in smaller boats. Make sure to allot extra time when you’re headed back to your cruise ship so you can be safely brought back to your ship. It’s about a ten minute boat ride from your cruise ship to the marina, and from there you can walk to downtown Cabo San Lucas along the waterfront. You’ll find ATMS nearby, a flea market along the waterfront to quickly pop in for whatever you need, and vendors lining the streets eager to talk with passing tourists.
A walk from the pier to the center of Cabo is only about 15 minutes, but plenty of transportation options exist for you if your legs are tired. Try a water taxi from the cruise pier to Medano Beach or to Pelican Bay. Glass bottom boats are often available too. This is a good way for a small group to get to El Arco or the beach with little trouble. You can also hail a taxi from the marina to get to the center of town, or any destination in town you need. If you have a while in port and want to explore beyond the town proper of Cabo San Lucas, you can rent a car with Budget, Alamo, or National car rental services.
After taking a boat from your cruise ship into the pier, haggle with vendors at the flea market near the boardwalk for souvenirs and memorable trinkets. You’ll find jewelry ships and leather wares, Mexican pottery, and boutiques along Boulevard Paseo de la Marina, just one street over from many of the docks. You’ll find more shopping available in downtown Cabo San Lucas as well.
Carry a little bit of cash to cover tips, small purchases, or taxis while you’re in Cabo San Lucas. You’ll find ATMs all over, and credit cards are recommended for purchases at boutiques or more expensive places. Pesos are the official currency of Cabos San Lucas, but U.S. dollars (USD) is accepted in many establishments throughout the town too.