If there’s one destination in Mexico that is all things to all people, it’s Cabo. To some, it’s a lively party spot that never sleeps; to others, it’s rich with cultural traditions and the ultimate place to chill. Locals call the region Los Cabos, referring to the two distinct communities of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, along with “the corridor” in between. Discover the best that southern Baja has to offer.
Where to stay: The dramatic surf that Cabo visitors love to watch can also make some beaches difficult for swimming. This isn’t the case at Playa Bledito, also known as Tequila Cove, where Paradisus Los Cabos (recently rebranded from Meliá Cabo Real) fronts a lovely stretch protected by a breakwater. There’s a spectacularly big pool, too.
What to do: Snorkelling, kayaking and paddleboarding are all popular in the calm waters of the cove. Or join a Cabo Outfitters excursion to the reefs at Cabo Pulmo. And off the water? The golf course next door to the Paradisus just happens to be the Cabo Real, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Where to eat: Partake of Cabo’s über-fresh seafood at popular Médano Beach, where a number of cantinas will serve you with your toes sunk in the sand. Three to try are Tabasco Restaurant & Bar, The Office and Hacienda Cocina y Cantina, all of which boast on-the-beach dining.
Where to stay: If there’s only one reason to choose The Cape, a luxe, boutique Thompson Hotel, it’s the live oysters and soy-infused chocolate clams at the hotel’s Manta restaurant. Also tasty is its surfer-chic decor and its pools and spa, which are seemingly embedded in natural rock formations.
What to do: A trip to the region’s organic farm restaurants, revered Flora’s Field Kitchen and newcomer Acre, both tucked into the foothills above San José del Cabo, is a must. One sip of Flora’s carrot-infused Farm-arita and you’ll stop marvelling that George Clooney made the trek here, while Acre’s First Friday music “happenings” draw a celeb-studded crowd.
Where to eat: For authentic local fare, Las Guacamayas serves melt-in-your-mouth chorizo and al pastor tacos in a festive garden setting. Or ask for directions to hole-in-the-wall Taqueria Rossy, famed for its top-it-yourself fish tacos filled with breaded and fried shrimp or flaky fish.
Where to stay: Perched high above the harbour, all-inclusive Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos feels away-from-it-all while offering easy access to the markets, stalls and malls of Cabo San Lucas. And the resort’s Whale Watchers Bar has one of the best sunset views on the entire peninsula.
What to do: Wander the boutique-lined streets of central Cabo San Lucas, checking out The Happy Donkey for leatherwork. If you seek designer fashion, Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall offers Fendi and Salvatore Ferragamo. To dip deeper into Mexico’s rich arts and crafts heritage, visit La Sacristia and the outdoor handicraft market in San José del Cabo’s Centro Historico.
Where to eat: Don’t shop for tequila before tasting it at Pancho’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar, which claims the largest selection of the liquor in the world and even features a tequila museum. Or try Baja Brewing Company’s coveted Cabotella ale, which goes great with its wood-fired pizzas.
For the art lover
Where to stay: From the murals on the walls to the live music performances at the hotel’s rooftop pool, it’s all about art at Hotel El Ganzo. Also in San José del Cabo, Casa Natalia celebrates the craftsmanship of Mexico’s folk traditions, and chef Loic Tenoux’s Euro-Mexican cuisine makes the hotel’s Mi Cocina restaurant a destination on its own merit.
What to do: In recent years, the Gallery District of San José del Cabo has become a vibrant cultural hub, with the works of contemporary artists sharing space with the finest examples of traditional arts. The weekly Art Walk, held Thursdays from November to June, turns central Alvaro Obregon Street into a pedestrian promenade.
Where to eat: To get away from the gallery-hopping crowd, slip into one of the neon-bright booths at Restaurant Jazmin’s, where the multiple rooms and terraces are ablaze with papel picado (colourful cut-tissue flags), tropical plants, local art and historic photos, and the seafood is stellar.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the January 2017 issue of WestJet Magazine and has since been updated
Mexico’s Magic Towns
There are 111 pueblos mágicos in Mexico, each one designated as such for its enchanting beauty, architecture and centuries-old culture. Here are five magic towns—Sayulita, Todos Santos, Tulum, Isla Mujeres and San Sebastián del Oeste—that are easily accessible from major cities and resorts.