by Santorini Dave • Updated: November 16, 2018
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Cabo Hotels – Tips and Advice
- Best Resorts in Los Cabos: Las Ventanas (most luxurious) • Esperanza Resort (most romantic and best spa) • Cabo Surf Hotel (best family boutique) • Hilton Los Cabos (best family resort).
- The best areas for travelers are Cabo Downtown (beaches and nightlife), San Jose Downtown (famous art district), San Jose Puerto Los Cabos (private and tranquil with the only swimmable beach in San Jose), and The Corridor (golf, surfing, snorkeling).
- Los Cabos means “the capes,” and is made up of two towns, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, along with the coral reef marine park, Cabo Pulmo. Most of the hotels and attractions are in Cabo San Lucas, San Jose, and the Corridor (the stretch of Highway 1 linking the two towns). Cabo and San Jose are close in distance, about 30 km apart, but each town has its own distinct feel. Cabo is the livelier town, known for its nightlife, while San Jose is a more tranquil area, known for its Arts District. The Corridor is home to several golf courses and many of the area’s swimmable beaches.
- Los Cabos is known for beautiful beaches, all of which are public, but few of which are swimmable due to dangerous undertow. Those beaches that are swimmable also have some of the best snorkeling in the world; Jacques Cousteau has called the Sea of Cortez “The Aquarium of the World.” The best beaches for swimming or snorkeling are: Medano Beach, Playa Empacadora, and Lovers & Divorce Beaches in Cabo; La Playita in San Jose; and Chileno Bay, Playa Monumentos, Old Man’s Beach (aka Playa Acupulquito), Tequila Cove, Santa Maria Beach, and Palmilla Beach in the Corridor.
- Taxis are incredibly expensive in Los Cabos, costing around $50USD one-way from the airport to the hotels. Round trip fare from Cabo to San Jose is usually between $80 and $100USD. Avoid taxis if possible. Car rentals are fairly cheap here, while tours and some hotels offer their own transportation.
- Los Cabos’ rules of the road are similar to the U.S. Highways are well-maintained, and streets are all well-mapped (if not well-marked) and easy to follow via GPS. Two things that are different are topes and left turns. Topes (pronounced TOH-pays) are speed bumps, but there are no regulations on their height, steepness, or visibility; some are nearly impossible to see until it’s too late! Drive slowly in downtown areas and keep an eye out for these. Standard left turns are usually OK in downtown but not on highways. To make a left, drivers will often need to use a retorno, which is a U-turn overpass. To use a retorno, drive past the road you want to make a left onto, get into the far right lane to take the retorno exit, make the left onto the overpass, and finally merge with traffic going the opposite direction. You can then make a right at the desired street or destination.
- Pay in pesos whenever possible. Many hotels, restaurants, and tour operators accept payment in U.S. dollars. However, travelers will almost always overpay if using dollars, as the exchange rate for tourists favors the peso.
The 17 Best Luxury Hotels in Los Cabos
1. Las Ventanas al Paraíso – Corridor, Tequila Cove
Breathtaking suites and villas with the highest level of luxury and service in Los Cabos. An experience-focused getaway; guests may have their private terraces made up to sleep under the stars, or choose one of their signature Emotions packages, such as a private, Gypsy dinner on the beach. All accommodations include butler service, bespoke mosaic headboards and adobe fireplaces, and thoughtful amenities like telescopes. Las Ventanas’ seven pools overlook the Sea of Cortez and desert gardens, while their spa fuses traditional Baja therapies with four elements practices. Stellar dining and drinks top off the stay. Located in the Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose on Tequila Cove, recommended for strong swimmers only.
Hotel phone: +52 624 144 2800
2. Esperanza Resort – Corridor, Cabo del Sol
Romantic, ocean view suites front a virgin beach in this luxury, boutique resort. Their award-winning spa features hand-made, indigenous treatments and is complemented by cascading infinity pools and a beachfront whirlpool. Breezy casitas, suites, and villas all feature local, artisanal furnishings, hammocks, and soaking tubs. Along with plenty of adults-only spaces, amenities for children here include a kids’ club with cooking classes, mini-golf, and games. Though the beach here is rocky, the resort is only a short drive to several sandy, swimmable beaches. Located southeast of the Cabo del Sol complex in the Corridor.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6400
3. Cabo Surf Hotel and Spa – Corridor, Palmilla
This upscale yet casual, family-friendly boutique sits on a long, sandy beach in a cove with the best surf break in Los Cabos. Ideal for families, the hotel offers connecting rooms, and the largest suite has three bedrooms and a full kitchen. The attached surf school offers classes for ages six and up; peak surf lasts from March through November, but there are gentle waves all year long for beginning surfers or swimmers. With a cozy spa, all-day dining, two pools and two hot tubs, there is something for everyone here. Located on Old Man’s Beach in the Corridor, just north of Palmilla Beach, about five minutes’ drive to dining, shopping, and art in downtown San Jose.
Hotel phone: +52 624 142 2666
4. Hilton Los Cabos – Corridor, Tequila Cove
A contemporary, family-centric resort, the Hilton offers exceptional pools, accommodations, and plenty of activities for kids, families, and adults. The kids’ club for ages 4-12 hosts piñata parties and Mexican craft activities, while adults can take up mixology and cooking classes. Two fantastic, 24-hour pools overlook the only swimmable beach in the area; swim-up bars in the pools, swing bar on the beach. Rooms are spacious, beginning at 50 square meters, all with private balconies and some with outdoor Jacuzzis. Located in the Corridor next to Tequila Cove, exactly in between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6500
5. Hotel El Ganzo – San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos
Stylish, adults-only boutique with a rooftop pool, glass Jacuzzi, and a private beach club accessed by boat. With picturesque views of the marina and Sea of Cortez, along with chic décor, original murals, and live music by visiting artists and musicians-in-residence, El Ganzo offers a creative alternative to the usual beach getaway. Exceptional restaurants and bars feature ingredients grown onsite in the hotel’s culinary garden. Local elements feature heavily in their spa menu, with Baja flowers, mezcal, and agave incorporated into traditions from Bali, India, and Thailand. Located in Puerto Los Cabos near the San Jose Estuary, a fifteen-minute ride on one of their loaner bikes to the downtown arts district.
Hotel phone: +52 624 104 9000
6. The Cape – Corridor, Cabo Bello
Mexico Moderno architecture lends an urban vibe to this intimate hotel, featuring an infinity pool, saltwater pool, and Cabo San Lucas’ only rooftop lounge. Contemporary rooms all boast views of the ocean and El Arco, along with copper soaking tubs and craft cocktail bars. Spacious one- to three-bedroom villas add full kitchens, while penthouse villas include private, rooftop plunge pools. Its spa is carved into the stone cliffs with a signature massage matching the sound and intensity of the ocean waves in real time. Fantastic dining options include Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Baja-American cuisine, as well as poolside and beachfront bar service. Located in Cabo Bello on Monuments Beach, a popular surf break in the Corridor, just fifteen minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas.
Hotel phone: +52 624 163 0000
7. Montecristo Estates Luxury Villas – Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach
A collection of spacious villas, each with its own private pool and hot tub, in a gated community overlooking the Sea of Cortez and Sunset Beach. Elegantly appointed units all have three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen, two living rooms, and sleep up to ten people. Butler service and grocery shopping service are both complimentary. The common area features a free form infinity pool, tranquil spa, and a sports bar. Rates include shuttle service to Quivira Golf Club and all sister properties, offering access to twenty more restaurants and a private area on Sunset Beach. Located in the hills just above Downtown Cabo San Lucas.
Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9971
8. Marquis Los Cabos – Corridor, Tequila Cove
This five-star resort, a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World consortium, is one of only two adults-only, all-inclusive properties in Los Cabos. All suites offer sweeping ocean views, Jacuzzi tubs, and private balconies; master suites and casitas include private pools, some with rooftop terraces and gardens. Superb restaurants feature local, seasonal menus in a variety of cuisines, including French, pan-Asian, and Baja, alongside local tequilas and artful cocktails. Three divine pools, a holistic spa, and direct beach access ensure an unparalleled guest experience. Located in the Corridor on Tequila Cove, a short walk to a calmer beach, and near golf courses.
Hotel phone: +52 624 144 2000
9. Villa La Estancia – Cabo San Lucas, Downtown
Gorgeous resort on sandy, swimmable Medano Beach, with cascading, sea-facing pools and five Jacuzzis. This hacienda-style resort with Spanish colonial décor is home to well-appointed rooms and spacious suites that include up to three bedrooms. An oversized spa offers a wide menu: from romantic, couples massage and hydrotherapy packages to kids’ services in the Mini Spa. Guests may dine at the casual, poolside grill and upscale, Italian restaurant onsite, or choose one of the many restaurant options at the sister properties next door. Full meal plans are available here, or guest may take the short walk to Downtown Cabo San Lucas to check out the local gastronomy scene. Located on Cabo’s most popular beach, near nightlife, dining, and shops.
Hotel phone: +1 877-897-1951
10. Casa Natalia – San Jose, Downtown
This sunny, adults-only boutique with creative flair and a fountain-fed pool is home to one of the city’s best restaurants, Mi Cocina. Casa Natalia embodies the artistic vibe of San Jose, with colorful rooms featuring Mexican textiles, original artworks, and bold accent walls and furnishings. All rooms feature bright terraces with hammocks, while spa suites add outdoor whirlpools. Superior suites and above include complimentary, private breakfast delivered to your terrace. Complimentary transfer to the Beach Club at El Ganzo. Located in Downtown San Jose on the main square, walking distance to the town’s famous Art Walk, historic church, and restaurants.
Hotel phone: +52 624 146 7101
11. Grand Fiesta Americana – Corridor, Cabo del Sol
Family-friendly, all-inclusive resort, boasting six pools, four whirlpools, and fifteen bars and restaurants; truly something for everyone! Its unique spa specializes in “vinotherapy,” wine-based massage and therapeutic treatments. The resort offers a variety of rooms and suites, all with balconies, and some with private pools or gardens. Direct beach access fronted by a reef makes this an ideal spot for snorkeling. The Grand Fiesta sits in the Corridor, right next to the Cabo del Sol Ocean and Desert golf courses.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6200
12. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos – San Jose, Hotel Zone
Luxury all-inclusive resort with four pools surrounded by shady cabanas, a kids’ splash playground, a teen game room, and nightly entertainment. Spacious rooms and suites all include a private balcony or terrace; connecting, swim up, or club level options available, the latter with access to an exclusive lounge and upgraded room amenities. Sixteen unique restaurants and bars offer flavors from around the world, including Mexican, French, and Japanese, along with a tequila bar and 24-hour cantina. Its Zen Spa features peaceful massage palapas surrounded by water. Located in the San Jose Hotel Zone, near an amazing swimming beach, Palmilla.
Hotel phone: +52 624 163 7730
13. Sheraton Grand Hacienda del Mar – Corridor, Cabo del Sol
Elegant colonial-style resort with five pools, located between two golf courses in the Cabo del Sol complex. Its “Old Mexico” vibe is its most distinctive attribute, with ornamental cupolas, Catholic artwork, antique gold, red tile roof, and hand-painted tiles. Enormous suites from one to four bedrooms and two floors can sleep up to ten. Their amazing kids’ club features time in the kids’ pool with waterfalls and slides, Spanish lessons, and even camping. Spa days and romantic dining round out the experience.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 8000
14. Viceroy Los Cabos – San Jose, Hotel Zone
The most visually striking hotel in Los Cabos, the Viceroy’s architecture resembles a futuristic pueblo on a gorgeous golden sand beach. Its interior courtyard paths are set amid reflecting pools, meeting up at a pod-like restaurant designed like an inverted bird nest, before continuing on toward a chic swimming pool and further to the beach club. Rooms are spacious with minimalist décor, electronic lighting, and shades, and all feature large terraces with oversized soaking tubs, daybeds, and a breakfast table. Dining is remarkable here, with organic produce and local seafood served daily in Nido (the bird nest) and Origen, their contemporary Mexican fine dining restaurant. Their spa offers massage and body treatments with a special focus on aromatherapy and music. Located in the San Jose Hotel Zone, a fifteen-minute bike ride (complimentary bikes) or short taxi to the Downtown Art District.
Hotel phone: +52 624 104 9999
15. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica – Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach
Exquisite adults-only, all-inclusive resort with two dazzling pools, an award-winning spa, and a private golf course. Sophisticated rooms and suites all include private terraces, some with personal plunge pools. Tower rooms and suites add 24-hour butler service, upgraded amenities, and access to an exclusive lounge. Sumptuous dining here focuses on contemporary Baja flavors using local, organic produce, fresh seafood, and fine meat cuts. The Pacifica’s design and style celebrate its desert surroundings with sand-colored buildings, cactus gardens, and raked sand landscaping. Located on Sunset Beach on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas, about ten minutes’ drive to the marina and downtown nightlife.
Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9696
16. Bahia Hotel & Beach House – Cabo San Lucas, Downtown
Fashionable boutique hotel with a free-form pool and beach club in the heart of Cabo’s nightlife district. This chic hotel is home to two of the top restaurants in Cabo San Lucas: Bar Esquina, known for its seasonal Mexican-Mediterranean menus, and SUR Beach House, with its craft cocktails and Asian-Peruvian-Mexican flavor fusions. Newly renovated rooms feature modern Mexican décor with rich woods, tree stump tables, and lots of natural light. Bahia Hotel is only one block from Medano Beach and walking distance to nearly every bar and restaurant in town.
Hotel phone: +52 624 143 1890
17. Sandos Finisterra – Cabo San Lucas, Downtown
Gorgeous all-inclusive, family-friendly resort carved into a cliffside boasting three pools, a kids club with activities, a nightclub, and a spa with hydrotherapy. Rooms feature contemporary décor with balconies, some with private Jacuzzis. The common areas are decked out in a retro style, and take the rugged landscape into consideration, using the natural rocks as interior walls. Its high vantage point offers unsurpassed, panoramic views of the Pacific, Sea of Cortez, and Cabo. The resort is walking distance to the Cabo marina, bars, and restaurants, but guests will want to drive back up.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6700
Staying in Cabo San Lucas, Downtown
Cabo San Lucas, usually shortened to Cabo, was a tiny fishing village only forty years ago. But this sleepy town has been experiencing a tourism boom since the late ’70s, fast becoming one of the top beach destinations in the world. Downtown Cabo is best known for its lively bars and nightclubs, golden sand beaches, and relaxed attitude. The town is laid out in a C-shape, following the contours of the coast, beginning with Medano Beach to the northeast, the marina in the center, and wrapping around to Land’s End and the famous El Arco rock formation at the southeastern tip. All of the beaches in this area front the Sea of Cortez and are swimmable, including Medano (the most popular), Playa Empacadora (mostly locals), and Lovers Beach (accessible by water taxi). Beaches on the south side face the Pacific, such as Sunset Beach; these are closed to swimming due to the deadly current.
Just inland from the beaches, Downtown Cabo is home to casual and fine dining restaurants, and wild nightclubs and bars. The marina area includes Puerto Paraíso mall, water taxis to Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach, tour and fishing boats, plus more bars and restaurants, some that will cook any fish that travelers catch. A small main plaza with a historic church, local natural history museum, and souvenir shops sits to the southwest of the Marina. Everything is close; in fact, you can walk the length of Madero Beach, all the way around the marina, and to Land’s End in about thirty minutes.
The Best Hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Downtown
- Villa La Estancia • Reviews • Hotel phone: +1 877-897-1951
- Bahia Hotel & Beach House • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 143 1890
- Sandos Finisterra • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6700
The Best Restaurants in Cabo San Lucas, Downtown
- Restaurante Los Tres Gallos • $$-$$$ • Authentic Baja recipes with local ingredients in a romantic setting.
- Las Cazuelas del Don • $ • Amazing, traditional clay-pot stews with a rotating menu based on the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Bar Esquina • $$-$$$ • Trendy spot for Mediterranean and Mexican flavors. Great cocktails.
- Scabo Old School Restaurant • $$-$$$ • Casual, cheap, and absolutely delicious! 100 pesos, or about $5USD, buys five quesadillas and a beer.
- Koi Sushi • $$-$$$ • Relaxed restaurant for fresh sushi, best in Los Cabos.
Staying in Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach
The Sunset Beach area sits on the southern edge of Cabo, overlooking the Pacific. This is the latest area to be developed in Cabo, so the beach itself is fairly secluded and unspoiled. Though not swimmable, Sunset Beach is the perfect spot to unwind in the sun or hit the links; away from the raucous partying of downtown, but still accessible to its dining, marina, and conveniences. This area is home to a few luxury resorts, high-end residences, and Jack Nicklaus-designed Quivira Golf Club.
The Best Hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach
- Montecristo Estates Luxury Villas • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9971
- Pueblo Bonito Pacifica • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9696
- Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9999
The Best Restaurants near Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach
Staying in San Jose, Downtown and Hotel Zone
San Jose is a relaxed town with a boho vibe. Romantic colonial architecture, fine restaurants, low-key cantinas, and its famous Art Walk are the town’s biggest draws. San Jose is greener than Cabo and the surrounding area because of an underwater river that flows through here, eventually surfacing to create a lush estuary. The wetlands here are home to a bird sanctuary with walking trails, a small beach, and observation platforms, and it’s a popular spot for bicycling or horseback riding. The nineteenth-century Spanish church, Parroquia San José del Cabo, is the historic heart of downtown, with the Art District’s main galleries just one block away on Alvaro Obregon.
Most of the activities are in downtown, but most hotels are just southwest in the Hotel Zone. This is a 3.5 km strip of beach beginning at Costa Azul beach to the southwest and ending at the far northeast of Playa Hotelera (Hotel Beach). This long stretch of golden sand is popular for sunning and beach sports, but is not swimmable. The only swimmable beach in San Jose is further northeast in Puerto Los Cabos.
Best Hotels in San Jose, Downtown and Hotel Zone
- Casa Natalia • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 146 7101
- Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 163 7730
- Mar Adentro • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 104 9999
The Best Restaurants in San Jose, Downtown and Hotel Zone
- The Hangman • $ • Lively night spot for flavorful tacos with a wide range of fillings, strong cocktails, and beer.
- Mi Cocina • $$$$ • Upscale Euro-Mexican bistro in a cozy courtyard setting. Creative dishes and excellent cocktails.
- La Lupita Taco and Mezcal • $$-$$$ • Artsy, casual taco joint with creative ingredients and a huge mezcal selection.
Staying in San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos
Puerto Los Cabos is on the opposite side of the estuary from Downtown and is home to the Marina, the swimmable beach La Playita, and some of the newest hotels in San Jose. This area is generally quieter than downtown, though there are a few attractions here, including the Dolphin Discovery at the marina and the Wirikuta Cactus Garden, filled with sculptures, local flora, and hosting a nightly theater show. Puerto Los Cabos is less than ten minutes from Downtown by bike or car.
The Best Hotels in San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos
- Hotel El Ganzo • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 104 9000
- JW Marriott Los Cabos • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 163 7600
The Best Restaurants in San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos
- Huerta Los Tamarindos • $$-$$$ • Organic, Mexican restaurant and farm with absurdly good food and large portions. Cooking classes available, too!
- El Marinero Borracho • $ • (AKA The Drunken Sailor.) Great ceviche and fish tacos, avocado pie for dessert.
- Flora Farms • $$-$$$ • Organic farm and fine dining restaurant. Impeccable service and rich flavors. Reservations required, schedule a few days in advance for small groups.
Staying in The Corridor
“The Corridor” is a roughly 30 km stretch of Highway 1, connecting Cabo and San Jose. Many of the area’s largest resorts are here, alongside a few golf courses, swimmable beaches, and adventure parks. Resorts and attractions here are spread out, so those who plan on exploring much outside their resort grounds will need to rent a car or arrange for other transportation; there is nothing within walking distance of most hotels here.
The best surf breaks on the Corridor are at Old Man’s Beach and Playa Monumentos. The best snorkeling is at Santa Maria Beach and Chileno Bay. The best beaches for swimming are Palmilla and Tequila Cove.
The Best Hotels in the Corridor
- Las Ventanas al Paraíso • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 144 2800
- Esperanza Resort • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6400
- Cabo Surf Hotel and Spa • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 142 2666
- Hilton Los Cabos • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6500
- The Cape • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 163 0000
- Marquis Los Cabos • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 144 2000
- Grand Fiesta Americana • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6200
- Sheraton Grand Hacienda del Mar • Reviews • Hotel phone: +52 624 145 8000
The Best Restaurants in the Corridor
- Tenangos Los Cabos • $$-$$$ • Outstanding restaurant for authentic Mexican flavors and stout drinks. Try the chile en nogada!
- Cynthia Fresh Organic Restaurant • $$-$$$ • Fresh, organic, tasty, with generous portions. Open for breakfast and lunch year round and dinner in the high season.
- Sunset MonaLisa • $$$$ • Italian fine dining with a romantic ambiance and stunning views. Reservations required.