Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Cabo is one of Mexico’s top party destinations. That is (partially) true. Cabo is also a major expat and retirement destination. Many Americans and Canadians from the west coast have second homes in Cabo San Lucas. The city is also home to Mexicans from all over the country. Many Mexicans come to Cabo for better work opportunities and a fun lifestyle as well. The landscape is beautiful and the beaches can be stunning. The Baja region is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cabo San Lucas sits at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula.
POPULATION: 200,000 (2020)
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WHERE IS CABO SAN LUCAS?
Cabo San Lucas sits at the very bottom of the Baja peninsula. The Baja Peninsula and the Gulf of California is a protected area and UNESCO site. The geography and physical environment of Cabo is very unique. It kind of feels like Arizona or Nevada on the beach. It’s very desert-like and mountainous. The cities are growing but the surrounding areas are very sparsely populated. Cabo is beautiful. Most likely you are going to fly to get here.
CULTURE IN CABO SAN LUCAS
Cabo is the land of opportunity. People move here from all over Mexico for higher wages and beachfront living. You will find that most people are from Guadalajara, Sonora, and parts of northwestern Mexico. The Pericú, the indigenous people of the Baja region, have been driven to extinction. You won’t see much trace of the indigenous cultures here. The modern economy is largely dependent on tourism. Things have gotten very commercial and Disney-fied. Driving from Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo, you’ll be surprised at the high level of infrastructure.
DIGITAL NOMAD COMMUNITY IN CABO SAN LUCAS
Cabo San Lucas is home to less digital nomads than you might expect. Nobody in Tulum is saying ‘yeah I might move to Cabo’. You never hear it. There are digital nomads in Cabo, but not too many people seem to stay for a couples months. In the digital nomad community, there isn’t too much talk of people going to Cabo for more than a week. It’s interesting because its unclear why that is. Cabo is a pretty good spot for digital nomads. There are likely many remote workers from California and the West Coast of the US. Cabo San Lucas should continue to grow in popularity among the digital nomad crowd. There’s lots of stuff to do, it’s an easy flight, beautiful sunsets, great weather. Cabo and La Paz will continue to see growing interest in the digital nomad community.
EXPAT COMMUNITY IN CABO SAN LUCAS
There are many expats in Cabo San Lucas on both a part time and full time basis. Many snowbirds come down to Cabo to spend their winters. Most expats and retirees you’ll see are from the Western US and Western Canada. In the winter, you’re equally likely to meet someone from Oregon or Alberta. Many Canadians and Americans have second homes (winter homes) in Cabo San Lucas.
DAY TRIPS AND THINGS TO DO IN CABO SAN LUCAS
Take a boat to El Arco! Take your Instagram photos. This is the most touristy thing you could do in Cabo.
Hike up to Cerro de la Z. It’s a free hike right in the city and the views are spectacular.
WHERE TO STAY IN CABO SAN LUCAS
The best place to stay in Cabo depends on your goals. If you want to optimize for nightlife, you will want to be walking distance from the nightclubs. It’s a balance because you want to be close to the action without being too close.
HOW TO RENT AN APARTMENT IN CABO SAN LUCAS
Your best bet is to book an Airbnb. The hotels here are very strict about guests and often include wristbands and other annoyances. For maximum freedom, Airbnb is the way to go in Cabo.
BEST CAFES IN CABO SAN LUCAS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS
Cabo has a number of good cafes and decent wifi. We recommend you go to a lesser-known coffee shop a little bit away from the main strip if you want to be able to concentrate on your work.
Cafes that My Latin Life recommends:
Cafe Cabo: Good wifi, close to the action, and nice outdoor area.
Cabo Coffee Company: Great coffee shop with wifi near Pedregal.
Starbucks: You’ll be relieved to know that there’s Starbucks in Cabo and yes there’s wifi.
Cafe Distrito 23cuatro10: Underrated coffee shop and very popular among locals.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN CABO SAN LUCAS
One of the top rated restaurants in Cabo is Sunset Monalisa, where (not surprisingly) you can dine and enjoy an amazing view of the sunset. Be warned, it’s expensive. For the ballers who like to be seen, this is the spot.
For a reasonably priced spot, can’t go wrong with Jo’s Garden. It’s a pizza and sangria spot, with a bohemian vibe, outdoor seating good pizza, and good prices.
There are many taco stand areas in Cabo. One of the best taco spots is Tacos Ramiros.
BEST BARS AND NIGHTLIFE IN CABO SAN LUCAS
The party scene in Cabo is more limited than you might expect. There’s a lot of venues, but most of the bars are so wack you’d never step foot in them. Once you sift through the options, only 5-10 decent bars and nightclubs emerge.
In Cabo San Lucas there’s two main bar areas. The main nightlife district is on boulevard Lazaro Cardenas (the main street). In this main area is where all the big nightclubs are. If you’ve spent time in Mexico you’ll be familiar with Mandala, Abolengo, La Vaquita. The second nightlife district is down by Medano beach where many of the hotels are. Here you will find beach bars that are going both day and night. There’s also some cool rooftop bars in the Medano beach area.
Bars that My Latin Life recommends:
Mandala: This is the classic nightclub. Expect to see groups of American college girls and vacationing Mexican girls.
Abolengo: The Abolengo in Cabo isn’t too popular but it’s on the main strip. In Playa del Carmen the Abolengo is good, but in Cabo it’s not great. The set up of the venue and music could be better.
Cabo Jack’s: A restaurant that can get pretty rowdy. This is one of the main spots among locals.
Baja Brewing: Good restaurant rooftop bar with a full menu and beer list.
Mango Deck: This place is full spring break vibes. This is the type of place where anything goes. The drinks are expensive but it’s worth it.
IS CABO SAN LUCAS SAFE?
Cabo is reasonably safe but far from perfect. Don’t get so drunk as to make yourself an easy target. Everybody wants Cabo to be safe but there’s also big business here in selling to the tourists. You can expect these sellers to be rather aggressive at times.Avoid the boat harbor area at night.
IS CABO SAN LUCAS A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE?
Cabo San Lucas is a great place to live. It’s one of the safer cities in Mexico and the nature is stunning. It’s a decent place to live year-round, too. You could spend summers here too and it’s still quite pleasant in the evenings. Many people come to visit Cabo, so expect that many friends will come visit you. Everybody wants an excuse to go to Cabo. The city is smaller than you think but growing rapidly. This is a great area to invest in real estate.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT CABO SAN LUCAS?
The best time of year to visit Cabo San Lucas is in the spring or fall. This is when the weather is the best. The spring is very busy with tourists, so the fall is probably better. Keep in mind that American Spring Break completely takes over Cabo. Spring break might seem like it’s only a week or two but it’s really the entire month of March.
BEST BEACHES IN CABO SAN LUCAS
The beaches in Cabo are beautiful. The thing is that many are unswimmable. The waves are simply too strong. The Pacific ocean is known for its strong currents. The beaches directly on the Pacific ocean are unsafe for swimming. The best beaches in Cabo are the beaches that are in bays and coves. Here is a low down on the best beaches in Cabo San Lucas:
Medano Beach: The main beach in Cabo. The water is somewhat unclean due to the cruise ships.
Playa Coral Negro: Locals beach on the other side of the bay from Medano Beach. It’s a cool spot and you can climb up the rocks for a view of the city.
Playa Pública Cabo Bello: Small, secluded beach east of the city.
Playa El Chileno: Well-known beach out of town on the way to San Jose del Cabo.
HOW TO GET TO CABO SAN LUCAS
The main way to get to Cabo is by plane. You are most likely to land at San José del Cabo Airport in Los Cabos. You can also get to Cabo from the airports of La Paz or San Jose del Cabo.
Cabo is a very far drive from Tijuana and the southern United States. Much further than you think. It will have roughly 20 hours to make it all the way down the peninsula to Cabo. You can also take the ferry from Mazatlan to La Paz.
COST OF LIVING IN CABO SAN LUCAS
The cost of living is more reasonable than you might expect. Rent prices are reasonable for annual rentals. Food prices are more expensive than other parts of Mexico. Nightclubs and drinks are also more expensive. All things considered, the cost of living here in Cabo is still much less than the United States or Canada.
HOW LONG SHOULD I STAY IN CABO SAN LUCAS?
Cabo is a good place for any time range. You can stay here as long as you want. Cabo is good for a weekend. Cabo is good for 7-10 days. Cabo is good for a month or an entire winter. You could even live here year round. That is one thing Cabo has going for it.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CABO SAN LUCAS
Cabo San Lucas is cool. Definitely worth a visit. Most people will probably come away with a somewhat negative view of the city due to how commercialized it is. It’s the type of place where your experience can vary dramatically based on how you move. There are not too many digital nomads in Cabo, but there are tons of expats and retirees. There’s also, of course, tons of tourists looking to party and live it up. You’ll have a good time.
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
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