Blessed with almost 100 miles of spectacular shoreline, the beaches of Los Cabos have something for everyone.
Most beaches have no services, however. Bring water, snacks, a beach umbrella, snorkel gear, a hat and sunscreen. If you plan to stay after sunset, bring a cover-up for the cool desert nights from December to March. Earth, Sea and Sky's on-site concierge can assist you with maps and recommendations on where to purchase supplies.
Safety: Lifeguards are scarce in Los Cabos. Beach resorts use a flag system to indicate water safety. Never turn your back on the surf, especially when on the Pacific side of Los Cabos, where rogue waves and undertows are common. Sea of Cortés beaches are far more suited to swimming and family fun.
Cabo San Lucas Beaches
Two of North America's finest stretches of sand are in Cabo San Lucas Bay.
Lining the Pacific Ocean, long scenic stretches of beach offer the perfect setting for leisurely walks and sunset views. Solmar Beach, Pedregal Beach and Sunset Beach are all great spots to beachcomb and enjoy the views. Avoid getting in the water, as surf conditions and undertows here are hazardous. Access via beachfront resorts, or the Pedregal if you're staying in a villa rental. Running from Land's End to the Pedregal, Playa Solmar is an easy walk from downtown. A great setting for spotting migrating whales from January through March, Playa Solmar is also wonderful for enjoying beautiful sunsets over the Pacific. There are no services, but hotels are nearby.
Playa del Amor
Nestled along the rock formations at Land's End near the stone arch, photogenic Lover's Beach offers great snorkeling and diving on the bay side when conditions are good. Avoid the water on the Pacific side ("Divorce Beach"), as powerful surf creates unsafe conditions. To access, take a water taxi from the marina or Médano Beach. Arrange your return trip and bring supplies as there are no services.
For a real local experience, head to this small beach excellent for swimming, kayaking or relaxing under a palapa without being bothered by beach vendors. To access, head down Blvd. Marina past the Navy base.
Playa El Médano
Spanning Bahía San Lucas from the Hacienda Beach Resort at the marina entrance to Villas del Palmar, this is where the beach action can be found. Médano (Dune) is Cabo's main beach and the place to see and be seen. In high season and especially during spring break, the beach is packed with sun and fun worshippers. The closest and safest place to swim from downtown, Médano is wonderful for families, and offers plenty of activities for kids. Snorkeling gear and dive trips to nearby sites are easily arranged from rental huts on the beach, along with every type of watersport, from kayaks to boogie boards. Médano's beachfront restaurants and bars are toes-in-the-sand casual with fresh seafood, Mexican favorites and long happy hours. In full gear, Médano's party-hearty enthusiasm can be overwhelming, so if you prefer peace and quiet, try the area in front of Villa La Estancia or Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos. Access Médano from Paseo del Pescador or any of the hotels along the beach. Parking is limited, so prepare to walk at least a few blocks (even further during special events, spring break and holidays).
In the 20-mile Tourist Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, you'll find outstanding, easily accessible beaches. Kilometer markers along the highway make it easy to find specific beaches.
Popular with the surfing crowd, Monuments Beach is located just a few miles out of Cabo San Lucas below the famous Sunset da Mona Lisa Restaurant. This small, pretty beach offers snorkeling and swimming depending upon surf conditions. Access at Km. 5 at Misiones del Cabo.
Playa Las Viudas
Playa Las Viudas (Widows Beach) is a favorite for locals. Its pristine sands, rock outcroppings and tidal pools are Baja beach trademarks. Las Viudas is suitable for families, but swim with caution. Although there are no services at this beach, access is easy: take the dirt road near kilometer 12.5.
Bahía Santa María
For excellent swimming and snorkeling, or just curling up under a beach umbrella and relaxing, head to Bahía Santa María. A small horseshoe-shaped paradise and protected marine sanctuary, beautiful Santa María bay is surrounded by craggy cliffs. Snorkeling is excellent if it's not too windy. Mornings are best for families with small children. You'll see many species of tropical fish and gorgonians (sea fans) lining the rock walls, especially on the right side of the bay. There is no shade, so bring hats and sunscreen. Santa Maria is a popular destination for snorkel cruises from Cabo San Lucas. Make arrangements through Earth, Sea and Sky's concierge. To access Santa María, look for the beach access sign at kilometer 13, and follow the dirt road to the parking area. There are no facilities here.
A few kilometers east of Santa María, southwest of the Hotel Cabo San Lucas, is one of the few beaches with services in Los Cabos. Great for families, snorkelers and divers, there is even a dive shop palapa on the southwestern end near the water. Chileno is a wide, fairly flat beach with safe swimming and very good morning snorkeling. Tidal pools towards the eastern bluffs are wonderful to explore, especially for children. Facilities include shade palms, primitive restrooms (bring your own bathroom tissue), and kayak/snorkel/dive gear rentals. Snorkeling is best in the protected area near the dive shop, which also sells cold sodas and bottled water. Nearby dive sites include Chileno Reef, a protected finger reef about half a mile from shore. Teeming with tropical fish, eels, starfish and urchins in calm, shallow water, this is a good location for beginners. Easily accessed from Highway 1, look for the dive flag at the edge of the highway at kilometer 14.5, which marks the parking entrance to this exceptional beach.
Midway through the Corridor, the Cabo Real Resort offers miles of desirable beaches. Playa Bledito, also known as Tequila Cove, fronts the Meliá Cabo Real and Hilton Hotels. A man-made breakwater creates safe swimming and watersports. Equipment rentals are located between the Meliá and the palapa-dotted beach. The beachfront throughout Cabo Real is excellent for beachcombing, jogging and horseback riding, but save swimming for Playa Bledito. Easiest access can be found through the Meliá Cabo Real at kilometer 19.5.
A long wide bay, perfect for swimming, with good snorkeling near the fishing fleet. There are no facilities other than shade palapas to the right and left of the fleet. A fabulous beach, Palmilla is highly recommended for families. You'll enjoy watching the fishing boats return with their catch in the early afternoon. For access, take the Palmilla exit at kilometer 27, and follow the signs to the main beach area below the road to the exclusive One & Only Palmilla Hotel.
If surfing is your thing, don't miss Playa Acapulquito, or Old Man's Beach, just off the highway before the lookout at kilometer 27.5. A surf school and restaurant make this small beach popular with the local surf crowd. Acapulquito also offers good swimming during calm seas.
San Jose del Cabo Beaches
Perfect for walking, surfing, horseback riding and shore fishing, San Jose's beaches however are not suitable for swimming.
Playa Costa Azul
Long Playa Costa Azul, home of the world famous Zippers and La Roca surf breaks, marks the start of the San José beach zone. Exciting surf competitions are held here every summer. Unless you're an experienced surfer, save swimming for Playa Palmilla. Costa Azul has surfboard rentals, Zipper's restaurant and a convenience store. Access is through the arroyo at Costa Azul Bridge at kilometer 28.
Playa Hotelera (Hotel Beach)
A long stretch of beachfront a mile from downtown, this beach is not recommended for swimming. Early morning and late afternoon surf fishing is popular here, along with strolling, sunbathing, horseback riding and beach volleyball. The San José estuary is on the extreme east end of the beach next to the all-inclusive Presidente Hotel. A migratory bird sanctuary with towering palm groves, the estuary is protected from ocean swells by a long sandbar. Access Playa Hotelera through any of the hotels along Paseo San José, Plaza Garuffi, or open spaces along the beach.
The East Cape
This area really begins at Bahía Los Frailes, but all of the area east of San José del Cabo up and around the Sea of Cortés is known as the East Cape. Miles and miles of unpaved road, usually in poor condition, follows the coastline from San José del Cabo to Cabo Pulmo.
To explore East Cape beaches closer to San José del Cabo, from La Playita to the Shipwreck and La Fortuna area, take the turnoff to Puerto Los Cabos at the traffic circle at Boulevard Míjares and Benito Juárez, across from the fire station in downtown San José del Cabo. You'll skirt the edge of the estuary and cross the broad Arroyo San José. Follow the signs to the East Cape road, now paved all the way to La Laguna.
The further you drive, the less crowded it gets. La Laguna, Zacatitos, La Tortuga, Shipwreck and La Fortuna are all out this way with many opportunities for beachcombing, swimming, surfing and blissful solitude.
La Ribera, Cabo Pulmo, Los Frailes, and beaches to the northeast of Los Cabos are reached using Highway 1. Drive north from San José del Cabo an hour to the La Ribera cutoff at Las Cuevas, a few miles past the turnoff to Santiago. Before La Ribera, take the paved right-hand turn to Punta Colorada and Cabo Pulmo. The road swings away from the beach, which reappears now and then, reverting to dirt fifteen minutes from Pulmo. Along the way, you'll pass turnoffs to El Rincon, rockier Punta Colorada, and sandy beaches south to Punta Arena, all worth exploring.
A National Marine Park, Cabo Pulmo fronts a small village with a few tourist facilities and restaurants. Offshore in 15-80 feet of water are eight finger reefs, the only living coral reefs in the northeastern Pacific. Pulmo's magic appeals to divers, snorkelers, kayakers and explorers. Contact Earth, Sea and Sky's concierge to arrange daytrips to this unique destination.
Bahia Los Frailes
This is another unbelievably beautiful setting, five miles south of Cabo Pulmo. Protected by the stately Friars Rocks at the bay's northwest side, the water is calm and very clear. Swimming, kayaking and fishing are all excellent here.
Cabo Pulmo and Los Frailes are ideal destinations for families. Children will be captivated by the abundant marine life, and both bays are safe and usually tranquil. These are excellent choices for first time snorkelers and divers to confidently explore the magical underwater world of Los Cabos.
The Pacific Coast
On the Pacific Ocean side of Los Cabos, beaches are rugged with plenty of surf action. You'll need a rental car to explore this remote area.
About half an hour out of Cabo San Lucas at kilometer 100, Playa Migriño is a wide stretch of secluded beach popular with surfers and campers. This is a fantastic whale-watching spot from November to March and a nesting area for sea turtles; however, swimming is dangerous.
At kilometer 64 before the village of Pescadero, Los Cerritos is a mile and a half from the highway and a hot spot for surfing, camping, and swimming with caution.
At kilometer 59, an RV park at Playa San Pedrito has a restaurant and bar. Swimming here is at your own risk. Look for the stone arch entrance off the highway.
At kilometer 57, take the dirt road across the highway from the agricultural research station to Playa San Pedro, also known as Playa Las Palmas. This is one of the most picturesque sites on the Pacific side and is not to be missed. A quarter mile of flat beach borders a lagoon and is protected by rock promontories. Groves of palms frame this gorgeous strand of beach. This is an excellent area for swimming with caution, body surfing and hiking.
Los Cabos is a natural paradise. Remember to "take only pictures and leave only footprints" and you'll help preserve one of the world's most pristine vacation spots. The pleasures of our magnificent shores are waiting for you to discover.