The Perfect Week in Los Cabos

A week in and around Los Cabos provides the perfect amount of time for both extreme adventure and extreme relaxation. You’ll experience magical towns and places like Flora Farms, water sports, art galleries, and beaches beaches beaches. Take day trips to go whale watching on the Sea of Cortez. Spend nights out dining on fresh local seafood and listening to live music. So, off you go: Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, the corridor, and the rest of the Baja California Peninsula is waiting for you.

Miguel Hidalgo
The church of the mission of San Jose del Cabo is simple, both inside and out, but one of its charms is a special area where locals tie ribbons with petitions for divine intervention or expressions of thanks written on them. If you’d like to join in on the tradition and express your thanks, choose a white ribbon and write about what you’re grateful for on it. Then, tie it to the rack near St. Charbel Mahklouf, the somewhat obscure Lebanese saint who is believed to work miracles.
San Jose, Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
If spotting Cabo’s Pacific bottlenose or Pacific white-sided dolphins in the wild has made you keen for a closer encounter with the gentle marine mammals, you can sign up for a dolphin swim experience. Though you can’t splash in the sea with Cabo’s wild dolphins, you can choose among several types of dolphin swims, which are facilitated by outfitters who will introduce you to dolphins in specially designed pools. Dolphin swims vary in exposure and intensity, depending upon your level of comfort with both the animals and swimming. All tours, though, feature one-on-one time with dolphins.
El Medano Ejidal, Marina, 23479 Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
If you’ve had a tough time finding authentic souvenirs, you might find something suitable in an unlikely place: Cabo’s biggest shopping mall. Puerto Paraiso may be the last place you’d think about going while in Cabo, but it has several stores, including 100% Mexico Hecho a Mano and Mi Mexico Magico, that sell handcrafted and artisanal goods made in Mexico. Look for pottery, textiles, toys, leatherwork, and small-batch food products like organic chocolate and local honey.
Blvd Lázaro Cárdenas s/n, Centro, Juárez, 23479 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
Baja Brewing Company may have been the first brewery in Los Cabos, and for a long time, it was also the only one. Recently, it was joined by Cervecería Ramurí, a local craft brewer.

Stouts, porters, pale ales, and even a hefeweizen are on tap here, and can be served with one of the appetizers or entrees turned out by the kitchen, including handmade lobster ravioli.
Transpeninsular Highway, 5 Cabo Real Km. 19, Tourist Corridor, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
Las Ventanas al Paraíso represents the epitome of luxury, with gorgeous, gigantic rooms featuring traditional crafts, handmade mosaic headboards, and classy furniture and accents. Balcony railings are awash in pink blossoms of bougainvillea. Some rooms take amenities further still, with private kitchens and wine cellars, as well as personal butler service. The property is set between the desert and the sea, and common areas, such as pools, have exceptional ocean views. Service is ultra-attentive, as one would expect at this price point, and guests rave about on-site restaurants and dining, especially in La Cava, the resort’s private wine cellar. Concierges can assist with planning a host of excursions and experiences, from cooking classes to whale-watching trips.
local 2, Blvd. Paseo de la Marina lote 10, Centro, 23450 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
Few cuisines marry as well as Japanese and Mexican, a fusion that’s masterfully explored at Nick-San in Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Founding chefs Ángel Carabajal and Masayuri Niikura blend centuries-old Japanese recipes (including but not limited to sushi) with locally sourced ingredients to create exceptional bursts of flavor and a menu that has inspired additional locations around Mexico. The black and white tuna sashimi and tuna tostada are two of the most popular dishes, especially when paired with Nick-San’s own label of wines and sake. The original location is in downtown Cabo San Lucas, near the marina. A second Nick-San, in the Shoppes at Palmilla at the southern border of San José del Cabo, is a slightly more elegant space (gilding the lily, you might say) and includes a champagne bar.
Avenida del Pescador, Medano s/n, El Medano Ejidal, 23453 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
In recent years, one restaurant has set the bar for cool in Cabo San Lucas. Bar Esquina, the Bahia Hotel & Beach House’s on-site bar and grill, features a chic casbah-like design aesthetic, a menu built on Mexican and Mediterranean flavors, and a commitment to organic, locally and responsibly sourced ingredients you taste in every bite. The menu is ever-evolving, but there are standouts you can always expect to find. The tuna tartare is a tiered, artistic creation, featuring tempura and an avocado-yuzu mousse. The Caesar is the signature Bar Esquina salad, here wrapped in a long, flat crouton and served with poached egg and prosciutto. Entrée selections include a generous filet mignon with potatoes au gratin and the short-rib pizza with blue cheese and arugula.
Cormoranes s/n entre pelícanos y acuario El, Medano, 23453 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
SUR Beach House is everything a beach retreat ought to be. This chic Medano Beach property offers a relaxed, almost private-residence feel. Breakfasts range from healthy, green, and juicy to the indulgent croque madame. Pair any meal with a handcrafted cocktail; the SUR Caesar is a nice play on the classic Canadian cocktail and comes with crispy rib eye tips and roasted habanero sauce. The raw bar is like a love letter to the sea. Not least of all, the kitchen turns out delightful oyster preparations, but don’t leave Cabo without trying the raw chocolata clams. Named for their color, not their flavor, these meaty mollusks are best with just a little lime and hot sauce. (Come early for stand-up paddleboarding; Cabo SUP is located on-site and offers rentals as well as lessons.)
Ignacio Zaragoza 20, Centro, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
One-hundred-fifty-year-old walls and tropical foliage frame the courtyard dining area at La Panga Antigua, an enchanting restaurant in downtown San José del Cabo. Walking through the unassuming front door is like taking a step back in time; there’s an old-world charm that envelops La Panga Antigua (and the whole arts district, for that matter). The menu, however, demonstrates a distinctly contemporary sensibility, blending ancient Mexican recipes with a 21st-century commitment to locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Seafood comes from regional fishermen, vegetables from an organic farm in nearby Pescadero. The menu changes regularly, but you can expect items like scallop carpaccio, grilled rib eye, or the catch of the day, grilled with a pumpkin seed crust.
Salvatierra s/n entre Lopez Mateos y Camino al Faro, Mariano Matamoros, Ampliación Mariano Matamoros, 23460 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
This local favorite breakfast spot has quickly become Los Cabos’ worst-kept secret. Far removed from the main tourist zone, Restaurant Bar Campestre has for years catered to local businesspeople, families, and in-the-know visitors. Even after a renovation that upped seating capacity, it remains a no-frills flavor palace well worth the wait for a table and the effort to find it. Come early for a heaping serving of chilaquiles (strips of fried corn tortillas). They’re available with red or green sauce, and topped with chicken or steak. All the breakfasts pair perfectly with just-squeezed orange juice and cup after cup of fresh-brewed coffee.
Ignacio Zaragoza s/n, Centro, Ildefonso Green, 23450 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
La Casa de Don Juan knows how to do breakfast. An instant hit when it opened, the restaurant initially focused entirely on the most important meal of the day with dishes like pancakes, huevos divorciados (two fried eggs, separated on the plate by refried beans), chilaquiles (eggs, scrambled or fried with crisp strips of tortilla and topped with salsa), and several other Mexican favorites. Its café de olla—a traditional cinnamon-sugar coffee—might be the best in all Los Cabos. Everything tastes like the most incredible home cooking, and the space itself more resembles a two-story residence than a traditional restaurant. The menu and hours have now extended to include lunch. Opt for the prix fixe menu or à la carte on taquitos (rolled tacos), cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork), or chile relleno (a poblano chile stuffed with cheese and then batter fried).
Mariscos El Torito may be the most popular Los Cabos restaurant you’ve never heard of. The cavernous seafood spot is a favorite among locals, and it does appear as a lunch stop in some city tours. But by and large, it flies under the tourism radar. Seek it out and you’ll find heaping portions of affordably priced ceviche, stuffed clams, fish tacos, and pescado zarandeado, a pre-Columbian recipe of butterflied whole fish that’s grilled over holm-oak coals for a marvelously smoky flavor. The almejas especiales are a souped-up preparation of raw chocolate clams with octopus, fresh salsa, and more. You’ll spot families celebrating special occasions here, and it’s so kid-friendly there’s even a play area, complete with a miniature merry-go-round.
Av. del Pescador, El Medano Ejidal, 23453 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
While much attention is paid to the Japanese and Italian influences on Los Cabos cuisine, one of the very best spots in town is an Argentine entry. The low-key, low-lit courtyard restaurant Chamuyo features a dozen or so tables, a long bar, and a traditional Argentine grill. The steak-house menu sends you on a culinary adventure through Buenos Aires dance halls and the verdant pampas. Meat-stuffed Argentine empanadas (markedly different from the Mexican variety) are served oven-baked or fried, and make excellent starters. For your main course, try chef Marcelo Romby’s 22-ounce beef ribs, which he slow-cooks for more than four hours. Pair it with a bottle of Baja red and, if you can, save room for some first-rate alfajor cookies.
3 Paseo de La Marina
You can’t come to Mexico without eating at least one, or 20, tacos. The Mexican staple has an addictive quality, especially with its many preparations at the legendary Tacos Gardenias in downtown Cabo San Lucas. This no-nonsense, frills-free taqueria has been around for more than three decades, perfecting family recipes that go beyond what you might expect. This being Baja, of course there are fish and shrimp varieties. Moving along, you’ll find shredded chicken, beef, carnitas (braised pork), cactus, chicharrón (fried pork rinds), and cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) iterations. There’s no wrong time to eat a taco, of course, so Gardenias opens early, at 8 a.m., with all the toppings on hand to get you eating.
km 6, México 1 1, Misiones del, 23455 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
Sunset Monalisa is one of the most romantic restaurants in the world. Its views of Cabo San Lucas Bay and the arch at Land’s End are spectacular any time of day but particularly at sunset, when the sky turns vibrant shades of red, yellow, and purple. Love is definitely in the air here: Servers report at least one engagement per week, and it’s a favorite wedding venue. The multitiered cliffside restaurant features a Taittinger Terrace Oyster and Champagne Bar, as well as an exceptional Mediterranean menu from chef Paolo della Corte, who trained in Michelin-starred kitchens. Navigate the à la carte options independently or opt for the prix fixe or tasting menus.
México 1, Tourist Corridor, 23406 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
Cabo Surf Hotel is a beachside property in San José del Cabo, an area popular among surfers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Located right on the bay, the hotel is ideal for guests who want to dedicate the majority of their vacation time to doing nothing more than relaxing on the sand or swimming languidly in the ocean. The hotel’s exterior evokes Southern California’s Spanish-inspired architecture, with white stucco walls and a red-tiled roof. Inside, rooms tend toward the simple side, with tile floors, wicker and rattan furniture, and neutral-colored linens. A spa and restaurant are on the premises. For guests who want to learn how to surf, the hotel partners with a local surfing school to offer lessons.
Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 7 Mz 10, Punta Ballena, 23410 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, sits on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, offering guests exceptional views of the Sea of Cortéz. Each of the hotel’s 57 rooms faces the sea and Esperanza’s private beach but also offers access to four separate swimming pools. Hotel staff keep guests as busy as they want to be with a full schedule of activities, some of which are the usual Baja resort suspects like yoga lessons and cooking classes. A number of options are quite unique, however—book a master tequilero to teach you about the fine art of tequila appreciation, or take classes in Spanish, salsa, painting, and more. Guest rooms are gorgeous, with an earth-tone color scheme and fine, locally made handicrafts as decorative accents. Bathrooms in the casitas look out onto water, while villas have full kitchens and dining rooms.
Playa El Medano S/N, El Medano Ejidal, Zona Hotelera, 23410 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico
Sunny as it is, Cabo has never been known for its beaches because of its rough surf. Not so at adults-only ME, however, which sits on the area’s only swimmable stretch of shoreline, in view of the famous El Arco rock formation. While the 162 rooms are the picture of tranquility (deep soaking tubs, private balconies), the hotel itself boasts a party atmosphere—a house DJ spins by the pool, and bottle service is available in the cabanas on the pool terrace. Thankfully, there’s also a spa specializing in traditional Aztec and Mayan-inspired treatments (don’t miss the temazcal cleansing ritual), so you can rejuvenate before returning home.
Blvd. Antonio Mijares
One of the great pleasures of traveling in Mexico is visiting traditional local markets, which sell everything from produce and household goods to handcrafts and textiles. In San Jose del Cabo, the local artisans’ market, or Plaza Artesanos, is open daily. Vendors sell a variety of handmade goods, including rugs, pottery, clothing, and jewelry.
Calle Sexta Avenida
Unlike most parts of Mexico, Los Cabos isn’t really known for locally made crafts, but a welcome exception is Vitrofusión y Arte, where artisans blow and pull glass into dozens of shapes and figures. Tours are available, but if you’re short on time, you can spend a few minutes watching the glassblowers at work before purchasing some souvenirs.
Calle Manuel Doblado, Centro, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
Visitors who come to Tequila to eat—it is a restaurant, after all—won’t be disappointed. With caught-the-same-day seafood and beef, poultry, and vegetables sourced from Mexico, the menu offers plenty of delicious dishes, including a grilled seafood platter with shrimp, scallops, and octopus. But those in the know also visit Tequila to imbibe the spirit after which it’s named; the restaurant has a bar stocked with more than 50 different kinds of tequila and bartenders are more than willing to tell you about the similarities and differences among them all. The backdrop for all this is an oversized patio surrounded by fruit trees and the chef’s herb garden. Smokers can take a turn through the walk-in humidor, featuring Cuban cigars that are impossible to get back in the United States but are perfectly legal in Mexico.
Isla del Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
This archipelago off the coast of La Paz (which takes the name of the main island) is a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While the islands are uninhabited by humans save for a small fishing camp made of temporary structures, they’re home to a great variety of flora and fauna. In addition to dolphins, frigate birds, and ring-tailed cats, you’ll find the only known black jackrabbit population in the world. Celebrated eco-friendly activities company Cabo Expeditions leads daylong archipelago tours that include exploring the mesmerizing volcanic landscape, a ceviche lunch, and an opportunity to swim on Ensenada Grande Beach—often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful—plus guided snorkeling with the incredibly playful pups at the Los Islotes sea lion colony.
Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
There are nearly as many snorkeling options in Los Cabos as there are fish in the Sea of Cortés, and that’s saying a lot. If you’re somebody who prefers going it alone, pick up a snorkeling mask and fins and head to Chileno Bay for some undisturbed fish-seeing. But if you need a little more hands-on guidance, the outfit to dial is Pez Gato. Their twice-daily, four-hour tour includes everything you’ll need—snorkeling gear, drinks, fresh fruit, and sandwiches—plus a friendly and knowledgeable crew who will keep you entertained with facts about the region as you navigate the waters to Santa Maria, a horseshoe-shaped bay that’s home to a marine sanctuary and some of the clearest waters around.
There’s a lot to recommend the tourist-corridor beach known as Chileno Bay, or Playa el Chileno. It’s consistently ranked as one of the cleanest beaches in all of Mexico and has earned coveted Blue Flag status multiple times (the award goes to sand stretches that boast excellent water quality, safety, and services). Here you’ll find ample parking, handicap access, restrooms with showers, and nice palapas for free shade. It’s easy to understand why it’s one of the most popular weekend escapes for locals. The swimming and snorkeling conditions are great, especially the farther out you go. During the winter, take a moment to hold your head underwater. You might hear gray whales’ melodic songs in the distance.
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur is less saturated than other Mexican seasides, but some of the beaches, like Balandra, attract a crowd. For a bit of Baha California Sur quiet, take a boat ride or a thirty-minute hike (no flip-flops, please) to Playa La Escondida. The beach is blanketed with white sand, surrounded by mountains, and bumps up against clear blue waters. Remember to bring all food, clothing, and other goodies you might need for your day as there are no shops or services.
Carretera Transpeninsular San José del Cabo Km. 30 Las Ánimas Bajas, 23407 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., México
Tucked away in a quiet area outside of town, Flora Farms is an excellent place for lunch, dinner, or — better yet — a cooking class. While there, we learned how to make vegetarian tacos (tortillas and all) after going through a tour of the gardens. I’d highly recommend.

They also have a lovely garden in the front of the restaurant with an ice cream stand, perfect for nice days.
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