Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Things to do + to avoid
Cabo San Lucas

Traveling to Los Cabos? Then Cabo San Lucas might be your first stop. In this blog post, I’ll let you know if it’s worth staying here or if you are better off continuing to travel through Los Cabos. One thing is for sure: It depends on what you are looking for.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not sponsored, but part of a collaboration with Mayan Monkey Hotel which offered us a complimentary stay to explore Cabo San Lucas. We paid for all our expenses including food and activities ourselves. However, as everywhere on this blog, I only share things I absolutely recommend and think my readers will also love!

Cabo San Lucas marina
Marina of Cabo San Lucas during sunset

Let’s face it, Cabo San Lucas is the tourism epicenter. Big hotels, food chains, nightclubs, and tours of all kinds make this city the busiest and most touristy place to be in Los Cabos. Especially around the marina, you find tour operators, restaurants, souvenir shops, vendors, water taxis, etc.

The good news is: You don’t need a car as most sights and all kinds of tours start right at the marina and everything you need is within walking distance. Nonetheless, it’s worth getting off-grid and sneaking into the side streets. In this article, I tell you where to go, eat and sleep to make your trip to Cabo San Lucas a unique one, no matter if you are traveling as a couple, solo, or with a group of friends.

Things to do in Cabo San Lucas

1. Plaza Amelia Wilkes + Downtown Los Cabos

Leave the marina behind and explore the streets around Plaza Amelia Wilkes and Downton Los Cabos. There you’ll find the more authentic Mexican life, great restaurants away from the loud and crowded waterfront, as well as street art and some of the tour operators’ offices.

Shop in Downtown Cabo San Lucas
Street art in Downtown Cabo San Lucas

2. Visit the Arch and Land’s End

Seeing Land’s End and the Arch definitely isn’t a unique thing to do in Los Cabos. Actually, it’s the most popular activity in Cabo San Lucas. But the landscape is unique, and you shouldn’t miss seeing the southernmost tip of Baja California Sur. At this point, the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet, and The Arch marks the very end point of the peninsula of Baja California.

The Arch, Land's End Mexico
At Land’s End the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet.

Iconic rock formations:

  • Pelican Rock
  • Neptune’s Finger
  • The Arch

The only way to visit Land’s End is by boat. You can book a tour or find one of the water taxis that typically drop you off at Lover’s Beach and arrange a pick-up time. Negotiation is key here. From Lover’s Beach, you can walk to Divorce Beach located on The Pacific Ocean. This beach is much quieter, but swimming isn’t advised due to strong currents, rip tides, and crashing waves.

Pro tip: If you are going to dive, snorkel, or join a whale-watching tour, you will get to see the rock formations anyway and don’t need to book a tour.

3. Hike to Cerro del Viagía (Mt. Solmar)

Want to see Land’s End from above and get a bird’s eye view of Cabo San Lucas? Then the hike up to Cerro del Viagía (Mt. Solmar) is your activity. The only issue: The trail up to the viewpoint is on private property and you cannot just go on your own. However, you can hike up Mt. Solmar on a guided tour and this is where it becomes a bit whimsical.

Every day except Saturday at 8:15 am and twice a week before sunset, a local guy named Enrique leads a group of people up the mountain. To join the group, you must be at the fenced trailhead at 8 am and shouldn’t be afraid of dogs. Yes, you read correctly! Enrique owns a dog training center and brings his furry friends along the trail.

The easiest way to get the details on where and when to meet is to follow the Facebook page Ascenso al Cerro del Viagía.

Marina Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
Marina Cabo San Lucas

We didn’t sign up for the hike as it didn’t fit into our schedule and we didn’t feel like hiking in a group of up to 50 people. This time, we decided to spend more time under the water instead of chasing views. But I believe the view from up there is beautiful, especially during sunset.

4. Go diving or snorkeling at the Marine Park

Cabo San Lucas is a great spot for snorkeling and diving. All dive sites along Land’s End were protected in 1973 by the President of Mexico and declared the second underwater national marine park after Cozumel. In order to maintain a healthy marine environment, it’s forbidden to fish and spearfishing or collect anything (what you should never do, anywhere!)

Cabo San Lucas Diving
The local dive sites are only a short boat ride from Cabo San Lucas’ marina

Cabo San Lucas dive sites

All Cabo San Lucas dive sites are within a 5 – 10-minute boat ride from the marina, which is super nice and easy. The conditions inside the bay are usually calm with little to no currents, which makes the marine park ideal for beginners. But also advanced divers will find great spots. The so-called local dive sites are Land’s End, Pelican Rock, Neptune’s Finger, North, and Middle Wall.

Cabo San Lucas dive sites
Diving at Pelican Rock, Cabo San Lucas Marine Park

Underwater sights

Besides the marine life, it’s worth seeing the overgrown “Nürnberg” shipwreck at 40 feet (12m) depth and the sea lion colony at Land’s End. If you’re lucky you don’t only find sea lions sunbathing on the rock formations, but jumping into the water and playing around. At Pelican Rock and Middle Wall, you get to see the famous sand falls, a phenomenon of sand cascading down a submarine canyon.

Sea lion colony Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Sea lions sunbathing on Pelican Rock
Diving Cabo San Lucas
Huge schools of goatfish are often seen in the Sea of Cortez
Diving at ship wreck Cabo San Lucas, Mexiko
We found a sea turtle while exploring the shipwreck at Land’s End

Review: Diving in Cabo San Lucas

The downside of diving at the Cabo San Lucas marine park is its popularity. Getting to the boat and into the water can be stressful as there are plenty of dive boats, snorkelers, and water taxis driving around all day long. As soon as we got into the area protected by buoys and started to dive, we felt fine.

I also have to mention that we visited Los Cabos in December peak season and went diving in the afternoon. In the mornings the water is much calmer, potentially the better choice if you want to avoid the crowds.

Diving with a sea turtle in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Dive operators

More details about Cabo San Lucas Dive Sites can be found on Dive Cabo’s website, the operator we went with and can absolutely recommend, as well as their sister operator East Cape Explorers

Dive Cabo Cabo San Lucas
Diving at Land’s End

5. Join a whale-watching tour

Best time to see whales in Los Cabos

Wintertime is migration season for humpback whales and gray whales as they travel from their feeding grounds near the poles to the warm waters near the equator to mate and calve. The waters around the Mexican peninsula Baja California are one of the best places to watch humpback whales and gray whales on their great migration.

Humpback whale off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
We spotted a humpback whale off the coast from Cabo San Lucas’ – Photo by Payo, Whale Watch Cabo

Between December and April, the chances of seeing whales are 95% and more. This is the time when most tour operators offer a whale guarantee: They will take you again in case you don’t get lucky on your tour.

Humpback whales at the coast of Mexico
Two humpback whales put on a synchronized show for us

How to select a whale watching tour

Choosing a whale watch company is easy as there are plenty of operators around. At first glance, they all offer similar tours. Nonetheless, it’s worth doing some research and finding a whale watch tour that fits your needs.

tail fin of a humpback whale up close
This humpback whale showed us its tail fin a couple of times….

Thankfully, whales are protected by law in Mexico, making all tour operators responsible to play by the rules, keep distance, limit the number of boats observing one whale at the same time, how approaching the whales, etc. Still, choosing a responsible company is crucial to protect these incredible marine mammals.

Two breaching humpback whales Mexico
Two humpback whales breaching right in front of our boat – photo by Payo, Whale Watch Cabo

Tip: Whale Watch Cabo

We decided for Whale Watch Cabo. According to my research, they are one of the most conscious and eco-friendly whale-watching tours in Cabo San Lucas. Whale Watch Cabo takes small groups only (10-12 passengers), with a marine biologist on board and they offer zodiac tours. This allows them to move faster and get closer to the whales while of course keeping the observation distance.

Whale watching in a zodiac with Whale Watch Cabo
Maybe George Clooney was watching us ride by in our zodiac from his house on this side of Cabo San Lucas

Restaurant tips Downtown Cabo San Lucas

The most authentic Mexican restaurants in town are located in Downtown Cabo San Lucas. The best way to find them is to stroll through the side streets, look for small restaurants with local guests, or the best bet: Ask the locals themselves! This way you will not only eat the most authentic Mexican dishes but also support small, family-run businesses that don’t get the attraction due to their location or mention in guidebooks.

Colorful Mexican restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

We loved these restaurants:

  • Baja Roast: Individual small café in Downtown Cabo San Lucas, serving fresh brews and a small selection of sandwiches and bagels: Address: Francisco Villa, Blvd. Lázaro Cárdenas e, Juárez
  • Mi Casa Restaurant: Centrally located at Plaza Amelia Wilkes serving authentic Mexican cuisine and huge margaritas. While you are waiting for your table you can stroll through the associated art shop next door
  • SUN Japanese Iron Cuisine: Authentic Japanese cuisine where Japanese chefs and waiters treat you with specialties like TanTan ramen and Okonomiyaki

We got recommended these restaurants from locals (didn’t make it though):

Where to stay: Mayan Monkey Los Cabos

Looking for a central and budget-friendly place to stay in Cabo San Lucas? I have a great recommendation. We’ve spent 4 nights at Mayan Monkey Los Cabos and I think this hostel & hotel is a great choice for solo travelers, groups of friends, AND couples alike. Want to find out why? Here’s why:

Room options

Mayan Monkey is a hotel and hostel. This means, depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose between a private room or a bunk bed in a shared dorm.

Breakfast & snacks

There are different breakfast options, a standard buffet including coffee, tea, toast, and fruits, and the option to order eggs, avocado toast, etc. a la carte. It’s cheapest if you reserve it online before your arrival. Rather prepare your own food? There is an open kitchen to store and cook your own meals.

Breakfast at Mayan Monkey Los Cabos
Breakfast a la Carte
Mayan Monkey Los Cabos shared kitchen
Restaurant and shared kitchen space to store and cook your own meals

Common area & pool

The common area with pool and bar is great for hanging out, socializing with fellow travelers, enjoying a cocktail, or simply reading and planning your itinerary. Staying in a private room you have a little veranda as well.

Mayan Monkey Los Cabos
Chillin’ at the lush pool area
Mayan Monkey Los Cabos
Every private room has o small patio to sit and relax


The hotel is located right at the marina of Cabo San Lucas, with restaurants, shops, supermarkets, tour operators, etc. within walking distance. Mayan Monkey also has locations in Tulum and Cancun.


They offer daily complimentary activities like hiking, yoga, cooking classes, game nights, and more. You can check the schedule online or on the big board.

Mayan Monkey Los Cabos activitiy schedule
Activity schedule showing all kinds of complimentary activities

Bike rental

Bikes are often the most fun, affordable, and sustainable way to explore a new destination. At Mayan Monkey Los Cabos bike rentals are available for $14 per day. This way you can explore Cabo San Lucas independently even if you don’t have a rental car.

Mayan Monkey Los Cabos bike rental
Bike rentals are 14USDollar per day.

Is Cabo San Lucas worth visiting?

As mentioned at the beginning, Cabo San Lucas is the tourist center of Los Cabos. You’ll find a solid infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, and English-speaking tour operators. You don’t need a car to explore the city and surroundings, which makes the city a great base to arrive and start your Los Cabos adventure. As a solo traveler, it’s easy to get connected to other travelers staying at Mayan Monkey Los Cabos. Also for couples and groups of friends, it’s a budget-friendly hub.

Personally, I found Cabo San Lucas a bit too much of everything and would recommend you explore other parts of Los Cabos to experience the contrasts Los Cabos has to offer. The southern tip of Baja California has to offer quite some cultural treasures, laid-back beach towns, lonesome beaches, and an incredible underwater world.

Planning a Los Cabos road trip? Find more travel guides for Baja California Sur



Have you ever been to Mexico or traveled around Los Cabos? What are your highlights? Do you like the article, and have suggestions, feedback, or recommendations? Leave me a comment and please feel free to share this article with your friends!



Travel guide Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Things to do in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico



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