The 5 Cabo Beaches
You Have to Visit Right Now
Stop what you’re doing. It’s time to hit up some
of the best beaches in Southern Baja
By Fernando Rodriguez / Photos by Francisco Estrada
You can’t come to Los Cabos without visiting our world-famous beaches, especially these five standouts. Once you’ve checked out the list, grab some bottled water, a hat, and some sunscreen. Then get going!
A few additional words of advice: Swimming at any of the Pacific Ocean-side beaches should be avoided; dangerous sea currents and powerful roaring waves are not to be messed with. You won’t find lifeguards at most Los Cabos beaches, so please exercise caution at all times.
Playa el Médano (Médano Beach)
The most popular Los Cabos beach is undoubtedly Playa el Médano, where all the fun, water-related, and party activities take place. Médano is a pristine, caramel-colored stretch of sand that is home to several popular resorts and even more beachfront restaurants and activities companies. Enjoy everything from parasailing to kayaking, wave runner, water taxis, standup paddleboarding; Médano is also the most swimmable beach in Cabo.
Known as a spring break destination, Médano is home to a mix of beach clubs, party-hardy restaurants, and fine dining. You could spend the day—or even a week—exploring the menus and other offerings at spots like Mango Deck, Billygan’s, Nikki Beach, SUR Beach House, and Tabasco Restaurant. Whether you’re looking for green juice and yoga, tequila and raw clams, or mariachi and tacos, you’ll find it on Playa el Médano.
You’ll also find a multitude of vendors selling wares that range from sunglasses, silver bracelets, and hats to rugs, temporary tattoos, and T-shirts.
When it comes to people watching and good, old-fashioned sunbathing, no Los Cabos beach rivals Médano. When cruise ships arrive in Cabo, they anchor in Cabo San Lucas Bay, right in front of Médano, and allow guests and passengers a full day to enjoy this beach and all of its amenities and splendor.
Playa el Chileno (Chileno Bay)
The family-friendly Playa el Chileno—commonly known as Chileno Bay—is located north of Playa el Médano, on the tourist corridor. Here on this cozy strip of beach, families bask in the sun and the semi-seclusion of the destination. Many arrive here, including tour companies, to enjoy snorkeling in the clear and calm Sea of Cortés waters that’s home to vibrant, multicolored fish.
Like Médano, Chileno is a very swimmable beach. Having won national recognition for its cleanliness and modern amenities, it also boasts wheelchair access to the restrooms via a wooden walkway, shade coverage thanks to permanent palapas, and showers. As you can imagine, it fills up on the weekends with a mix of locals and tourists. Come early and on a weekday to enjoy peak adventure and have the beach practically to yourself.
You can find Chileno right off the tourist corridor; look for signs near the km 12 marker.
Playa Santa María (Santa María)
The darling Playa Santa María is located only a few hundred yards from Playa el Chileno, near the km 15 marker on the tourist corridor. This small and semiprivate cove is a favorite of tourists and locals. The beach has a dirt access road and plenty of parking. New wooden palapas and portable restrooms are available, but it’s still best do as the locals do: If you’re going to want to eat or drink during your visit, bring along an ice chest for water, drinks, and sandwiches. You’ll also want to bring along sunscreen and a shade umbrella, if you have one. Parents will love Santa María because of its calm waters and the small natural wading pool that’s perfect for small children.
Playa Palmilla (Palmilla Beach)
Appearances can be deceiving. While the beach near the famous One&Only Palmilla resort may appear inaccessible, it—like all México beaches—is public. All you have to do is navigate the maze of golf cart roads that wind down to this lovely playa. Don’t hesitate to ask for help should you get lost or confused; Palmilla employees are used to and quite good at providing directions. The resort area was one of the first to attract the Hollywood jet set back in the 1950s. How great is the swimming here? It’s now the starting point for the swim stage of the annual Los Cabos Ironman competition.
Playa Los Cerritos (Cerritos Beach)
When it comes to serious surfing, you have to include the famous Playa Los Cerritos in the conversation. There are several surfing websites that provide wave and swell updates for avid surfing aficionados who journey to this semisecluded surfing paradise regularly during fall and winter months, when waves tend to be as good and high as adventure, thrill-seeking surfers prefer.
Playa Los Cerritos is located about 40 miles northwest from Cabo San Lucas along the Pacific Highway, driving toward Todos Santos. The small farming community of El Pescador is the closest to the Cerritos surfing mecca. The unique Los Cerritos has a charming history with a hippie-like culture and surf camping thrill seekers who gave the area its popularity.
The Hacienda Cerritos Hotel, which looks more mansion than hotel and is located on a private cliff at the shore of the ocean, is the prime indicator of the Playa Los Cerritos location.
Getting to Los Cerritos can take about 45 minutes, but the drive is lovely: There are picturesque views of the desert-like mountains on one side and the tranquil-looking Pacific Ocean on the other. Because there are no highway road signs to guide anyone there, visitors need only keep a sharp eye out for what appears as an oasis resting along the solitude of the Pacific Ocean strip to know that they have arrived.
The waves and experience of Los Cerritos have been mentioned numerous times in Surfer magazine, and it’s a poorly kept secret that many Hollywood surfers (Rob Lowe, Keith Jardine, Adam Sandler, Tommy Lee, and Sammy Hagar) drop by occasionally to soak in the ambience farther away from the Cabo San Lucas party scene.
ATV rentals, horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and much needed massages are just some of the other perks to enjoy at Los Cerritos. Y