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This Backpack and Snorkel Travel Guide (Los Cabos Purple Guide) provides information about the six best beaches in Los Cabos and ensures that you will be Making Memorable Moments on a relaxing vacation in Los Cabos.
The towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, or "Los Cabos" as they are commonly called, are a favorite beach destination and the best is, you are almost guaranteed to have beautiful weather as in Los Cabos the desert meets the ocean with an average of 4 days per month with a little rain. The only months where you will see more than a sprinkling are August through October and February to June are typically almost rain-free.
This overview will help you find the best beaches in Los Cabos for you.
East of Lands End with El Arco towards the Sea of Cortez, the landmark arch of Cabo San Lucas, you will find beautiful white sand beaches that are good for swimming and some of them have decent snorkeling too.
Beaches on the Pacific Ocean, however, are no-swim beaches and the Pacific's treacherous undercurrents claim several lifes every year.
We have been to several of the beaches and tell you how to get to the beaches, what you can expect and I will tell you all about of favorite beach in Los Cabos.
Playa Palmilla is our favorite beach in Los Cabos. Even though we explored other beaches in the area, we kept returning to this long crescent shaped beach with white sand and turquoise water. We were there in December, which is the main holiday season, and the beach was amost empty most of the time.
Besides swimming and improving your tan, you can watch pelicans plunge from the sky for their meals.
Unlike Chileno beach and Santa Maria beach, Playa Plamilla has finer and less abrasive sand and I was able to walk there without the need for water shoes. Swimming was good, but snorkeling is better on e.g. Santa Maria Beach or Chileno Beach.
To get here, drive Highway 1 to the Hotel Palmilla exit and then follow the signs to the beach (Playa Palmilla).
Chileno beach is the best snorkeling and diving beach in Cabo San Lucas. Swimming here is excellent too as the beach lies in a bay - Chileno Bay. For added convenience, there are showers and restrooms on the beach and some palapas that offer natural shade.
Bring your food and drinks as there are no restaurants here.
I found the coarse sand to be abrasive to my feet and wished I would have brought some water shoes.
We went here in the late afternoon and the beach was crowded with local families.
Getting there can be a bit tricky as you need to find the unmarked exit at approx. at km 15 on Highway 1. We missed it the first time. Once you get off the highway, the road will lead to a paved parking lot from where you have to take a short walk to the beach.
Lovers Beach is a located at Land's End and can only be reached by water taxi or kayak. That does not mean that it is a quiet, secluded and romantic place that you will have all to yourself and your special someone to share it with. But it is one of the best places to go, so put it on your list. Due to its isolated location, there are no restrooms or showers here. So pack your food and lots of sunscreen as it gets pretty hot during the day and there is really no shade.
There are water taxis from Medano Beach or the marina where you will likely pay US$10 per person for the trip. It took us on a tour to Pelican Rock (we saw plenty colorful (red, blue and orange) fish from above the water), the arch, the sea lion colony and Divorce Beach before dropping us off at Lovers Beach.
A different way to get to Lovers Beach is by renting a kayak on Médano Beach and paddling approx. 40 minutes to Lovers Beach by the rock formations and Las Playitas, beaches that are flooded during high tide.
As there are constantly arriving and departing water taxis, swimming is permitted in a roped-off area only. Swimming is good and there is some opportunity for snorkeling, too.
Be advised that lovers beach will be in the shade in the morning and will get sunlight in the afternoon.
Santa Maria bay can be easily accessed at km 12 from Cabo San Lucas via Highway 1. It is a gorgeous secluded bay. We got there in the morning and we were almost the only people on the beach. There were, however, some yachts anchored in the bay. The beach got more crowded at around 11 am, but it was a far cry from the masses at Medano beach.
Swimming was great and snorkeling was wonderful. The best snorkeling spot was close to the rocks on the Eastern side of the bay. There were some fish near the Western side of the bay, but not as many.
I found that the coarse sand was fairly abrasive and hurting my feet. The next time I go there, I will wear shoes on the sand and in the water.
Long story short: this is a very nice beach for swimming and snorkeling.
Divorce Beach is on the other side of Land's End from Lovers Beach. Sounds complicated? Just walking up the mini sandy hill at Lovers Beach and you are on Divorce Beach.
Please keep in mind that Divorce Beach is on the Pacific Ocean side and therfore has dangerous undercurrents that can pull you out to sea. So, absolutely no swimming here.
We came early in the morning and had the beach almost for ourselves. The later it got, the more people arrived and at around noon the beach was busy, but not overcrowded.
Be advised that Divorce Beach has sun for much of the day and no shade, so bring plenty of sun lotion.
What I liked very much is that the sand is fine and not as coarse and abrasive as at Chileno beach and Santa Maria beach.
There are some vendors that try to sell bracelets, food and water. They are not too obtrusive.
Medano Beach is by far the most popular beach for tourists in Cabo San Lucas. Logically, there are many hotels, bars and restaurants along this 2 mile beach. THere are lots of activities and tons of vendors trying to sell anything you can think of. If you are looking to party, Medano Beach is your place.
Parking will likely be difficult to find nearby, so be prepared to walk a couple of blocks. If you don't mind sharing a beach with many partying tourists, then Medano Beach is an excellet spot for the whole family with the necessary facilities, little surf which is good for swimming and som snorkeling.
If you kayak from Medano Beach to Lovers Beach or El Arco and if it is low tide, then you will pass several small sandy beaches "Las Playitas" that are only visible at low tide and thatare fully submerged at high tide. Those beaches are only accessible by boat and you will likely have them all for yourselves as water taxis don't stop here and as there is no way to walk to them.
This beach is located by the Cabo Surf hotel. You can either park up on a small parking lot and walk through a man made tunnel to the beach or park at the Cabo Surf Hotel. There are no free beach amenities, so bring your own food, beach chairs and beach umbrella unless you want to pay for those at the hotel. The beach is rocky, so bring water shoes. It is also popular with surfers; the folks at Cabo Azul Surf Shop are happy to provide surfing lessons.
This white sand beach stretches from the rocks at Lands End to the base of Pedregal to the west on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas. That makes this a no swimming beach as treacherous undercurrents and large unpredictable waves occasionally kill people.
It is great for walking and sunbathing on the beach, watching sunsets and whale watching. I have never seen vendors there, and there are typically only few poeple there which makes it perfect for relaxing.
Last but not least another beach that we will go to the next time we get to Los Cabos. Located on the outskirts of San Jose del Cabo, it is a popular surfing spot and not suited for swimming. Besides a restaurant, there are no amenities.
We have never been at this secluded Pacific Beach which is a 30 minute drive North of Cabo San Lucas. This beach is popular with companies that run horseback riding excursions and atv tours. It is said that this beach is great to watch the sunset and for whale watching in winter.
Access is North of Cabo San Lucas at on Highway 19 at km 97 Puente Migriño. Turn off and drive approx. 0.7 miles to the beach.
We have not been to this San Jose del Cabo beach which borders the San Jose Estuary between the InterContinental Presidente Los Cabos All Inclusive Resort and La Playita.
It is great for bird watching as fresh water from the Rio San Jose river combines with the salt water of the Sea of Cortez and form 125 acres estuary which is home to over 350 species of wildlife and plant life.
The map below shows the location of the beaches. Click on the map to see the exact locations in Google Maps.