Where to find sun, surf, and sand castles in Los Cabos
By Chris Sands
Let’s make something clear: There is no bad time to visit the dozens of beautiful beaches that dot Los Cabos. The sun shines more than 330 days a year, and, even in the depths of winter, daytime temperatures rarely dip below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s something special about summer, however—some primal instinct that pulls us toward the nearest coastal oasis when the weather heats up for long, languorous days filled with sun, surf, seafood, cervezas, and sand castles.
Here we share a guide to some favorite stretches of sand.
Playa El Médano (Médano Beach)
Why: Médano is king of the Cabo San Lucas beach scene: two miles of golden sand bounded by shops, restaurants, palapa-topped cantinas, and seaside luxury resorts. It is, thus, the center of the local social scene and the best place to find water-based rentals like kayaks and wave runners or to arrange adrenaline-racing adventures like flyboarding or parasailing. Médano reaches its peak of popularity during spring break, but it’s packed on a year-round basis with bikini- and board shorts-clad revelers.
When: This is the only beach in Los Cabos to double as a nightlife destination, with live music, fiestas, and fireworks displays on a regular basis. Come day or night.
Where: Médano Beach is accessible from the marina boardwalk or from Paseo de la Marina in Cabo San Lucas.
Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach)
Why: The views of Médano Beach and the entire coastline from Cabo San Lucas to Punta Ballena are spectacular. This gorgeous beach is framed by evocatively eroded granite rocks that date to 30 million years ago. The neighboring Divorce Beach is equally beautiful and accessible by walking through a gap in the rocks to the Pacific Ocean side.
When: Lover’s and Divorce Beaches are lightly populated in the morning, and both are perfect spots for picnic brunches. You’ll have to pack your own supplies, however.
Where: Playa del Amor is located on the half-mile Land’s End headland, and it is only accessible by water. Water taxis (called pangas locally) are the cheapest transportation option.
Warning: While safe swimming and excellent snorkeling are available off Lover’s Beach, visitors should avoid the water on the Pacific Ocean side due to strong rip currents.
Bahía Chileno (Chileno Bay)
Why: Chileno is the most popular beach along the coastal corridor that connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. It’s not surprising since the beach is a beautiful place to spend a summer day. It’s Blue Flag–certified for cleanliness, safety, and water quality by the IMNC (a Mexican regulatory agency) and also offers superb swimming and snorkeling.
When: For the full Chileno experience, visit on weekend afternoons, when local and visiting families blanket the beautiful beach, clustering under shade-giving palapas and wading into the warm blue water.
Where: Chileno Beach is located just off the highway, at about km 14, along the Tourist Corridor.
Bahía Santa María (Santa María Bay)
Why: This lovely horseshoe-shaped beach has, like nearby Chileno, possibly lost a bit of its natural luster due to recent hotel development. Nonetheless, it’s a breathtaking spot to spread a beach towel and lather on the sunscreen. Better yet, the bay that it overlooks is a protected marine sanctuary teeming with colorful sea life and tropical fish.
When: Arrive in the morning for optimal swimming and diving conditions, before charter boat cruises arrive with large groups of sightseers and snorkelers.
Where: Santa María is located just off the Tourist Corridor; look for signs around km 12.
Playa Costa Azul (Costa Azul Beach)
Why: Capital of the summer surf scene, Costa Azul is the mecca for those seeking beers, burgers, and tasty waves. Zipper’s Restaurant is the seaside hangout supreme, while the offshore Zippers is an expert-level, right-hand reef break. Two other breaks, the beginner-friendly Middle and the more difficult La Roca also draw local and visiting surfers. Sun and sand are also in great supply, and this is one of the best walking beaches in Los Cabos.
When: The best time to visit Costa Azul is in June, when the World Surf League hosts its annual Los Cabos Open of Surf at Zippers. This year’s event, for women and juniors, was held June 7–12.
Where: Playa Costa Azul is on the southwestern edge of San José del Cabo, between kms 28 and 29 on the Transpeninsular Highway.