It only took 40 years for a dusty Mexican fishing village at the end of the Transpeninsular Highway to be transformed into one of the most famous resorts in the world.
Back in the early 1980s, sport fishermen and beachcombers made the thousand-mile journey from San Diego to Cabo in small charter planes, accompanied by a guide who knew the territory and where to find primitive accommodations for a getaway off the grid.
If you were among those first Cabo aficionados, you’ve witnessed big changes over the intervening years. Once the airport opened in 1984, developers started arriving, followed by tourists and snowbirds seeking a vacation home on Cabo’s breathtaking beaches.
Despite its burgeoning popularity, Cabo San Lucas has maintained its unique charm, providing guests with unparalleled vistas, accommodations, recreational opportunities, and food and drink.
Visitors to Cabo find three distinct “zonas” along the coast: Cabo San Lucas at the peninsula’s southernmost tip, the Tourist Corridor running east along Route 1, and the old city of San José del Cabo, about 20 miles northeast on the banks of the Río San José.
Venture a little east from San José del Cabo and you discover Puerto Los Cabos, a 2,000-acre planned community with hotels, marina, golf course, residential neighborhoods and three miles of white sand beach.
Boaters approaching the main marinas of Cabo head in from the east in Bahía San Lucas, just north of El Arco (the famous arch) off Lovers Beach. The waters on the peninsula’s west side are notoriously rocky and rough, so beware as you enter the southern end of Baja California. Once into San Lucas Bay, things are noticeably calmer, and Cabo is spread out before you.
The area around the marinas is home to dozens of restaurants and cafes — everything from local taco and takeout joints to upscale eateries and familiar chains such as Starbucks and Hard Rock. South of the marina district is the Playa Grande Resort & Spa, as well as the Ridge at Playa Grande Luxury Villas, the Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos, the Terrasol Beach Resort and Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.
Activities are plentiful: swimming,sport fishing, shopping, golfing, surfing, zip lining, kayaking, scuba diving, horseback riding, snorkeling, hiking, biking, whale watching, culture, nightlife … or just cooling out at the spa or on the beach.
For local color, check out nearby Pabellón Cultural de la República. Opened in 2011, it hosts musical performances, theater productions and movie screenings during the Baja International Film Festival.
WHERE TO DOCK
Marina Cabo San Lucas
This marina is strategically located in the heart of Cabo’s harbor with 380 total slips, 33 magayacht slips, full crew facilities, fitness center, swimming pool, onsite shopping and dining, 24-hour gated security, and high-speed fuel dock.
Marina del Rey
+52 624 143 6522
This is the first marina and fuel dock when pulling into Cabo. Bordered by a swimmable beach and the Sea of Cortez, the marina was relaunched in 2016 with new docks, fuel station and 25 slips for boats up to 130 feet in the private boat area and up to 60 feet in the commercial area.
Marina Puerto los Cabos
Located about 25 miles east of Cabo near the historic downtown area of San José del Cabo, this marina is part of the Puerto Los Cabos development, a community with hotels, golf course and a beach. Its 230 slips accommodate boats up to 250 feet, with concierge services, a maintenance yard and more.
WHERE TO DINE
Tucked into the cliffs of the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, El Farallon overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers stunning views with its equally amazing ocean-to-table menu. The chef selects the best of each day’s catch from local fishermen and transforms it into something unforgettable.
Elements los Cabos
This popular vegan and vegetarian restaurant tucked away behind the downtown tourist bars is a little slice of Mumbai in Mexico. Offering a menu of meat-based options as well, Elements receives top reviews for great Indian food.
JM Italian Steakhouse
Chef Jimmy Maddin was once the executive chef at Caesars Palace. His years of preparing meals for celebrities, royalty and global icons are reflected in the creative menu of steaks, seafood and pasta served at his signature venue, a short walk from the marinas.
East of downtown on a secluded beach at the exclusive Cape Resort Hotel, Manta celebrates Pacific Coast cultures from Mexico, Peru, Japan and beyond. Locally sourced ingredients produce creative culinary masterpieces such as beet ceviche with ginger, and habañero and leche de tigre.
Romeo & Julieta Ristorante
Patterned after a hideaway in Tuscany, the arched entrance is reflected throughout in exposed rock walls and vaulted brick ceilings. Enjoy creative antipasti, homemade pasta dishes or a Caesar salad prepared tableside. The menu changes periodically depending on the seasonal ingredients.