Where to Stay and Play in Los Cabos

Posted by Donna Heiderstadt on June 18, 2013 at 11:34:35 AM EDT | Post a Comment
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There are a couple of reasons why celebrities (like Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney) are regulars in Los Cabos, the desert-meets-ocean resort playground located at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula: The sun shines an average of 350 days a year, temperatures are typically a balmy 80ish (with occasional windy periods in the spring and steamier weeks in summer), and its resorts offer a combination of relaxation and pampering that lets you be social when you want to and secluded when you don't. Here's how to really get Los Cabos done right.

The Basics

You can fly to Los Cabos (the nickname for the neighboring towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo—the airport code is SJD) on American, Delta, United, Alaska, among other airlines. The airport is about 15 minutes from San Jose Del Cabo and 45 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. Shared shuttle vans (about $15-17 per person) are a popular transportation option, especially to reach resorts in and around the latter. Los Cabos is a generally safe destination, but if you're looking for ocean swimming, it can be tricky as waves and undertows are powerful; the best swimming beaches are at resorts on the Sea of Cortez not the Pacific Ocean. And while Los Cabos does draw its share of the young party crowd, its many timeshare properties mean Baby Boomers seeking golf, tennis, and fine dining are abundant, too.

If You're Feeling Social...

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Stay at a resort close to Cabo San Lucas, where the marina area is home to dozens of bars, clubs, and restaurants, including wild drink-and-dance clubs El Squid Roe, The Giggling Marlin, and Nowhere Bar, Mexican eatery Mi Casa, and sushi restaurant Nick-San-Cabo.

A social resort that's walking distance to the marina: Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa, a 150-suite timeshare/resort property set on lively and swimmable Medano Beach with a beautiful view of the famous El Arco rock formation. Spacious and nicely decorated studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites and penthouses have ocean-view terraces, and there's a large free-form pool, two restaurants, and a spa (from $239/night).

If You're Craving Seclusion...

Yes, Los Cabos can have a party atmosphere (especially over spring break and Christmas holidays), but pockets of dreamy bliss are just a short drive away. Two lovely but completely different options:

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The Hotel El Ganzo, which just opened this spring in the serene Puerto Los Cabos development (just outside San Jose Del Cabo, about 20 minutes from the airport) is an architecturally intriguing, 72-room boutique hideaway with a decidedly artsy streak: Through curated art and music programs the light-filled rooms and suites feature paintings and wall murals by "artists in residence" and the lobby and lounge have live music by indie performers who can record in an onsite studio as well. There's also a sleek rooftop swimming pool and sushi bar, and a beach club set on calm Sea of Cortez water (from $187/night).

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The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa is a 154-room adults-only property with a Zen-inspired wellness theme (but plenty of all-inclusive indulgences, too) and a sweeping beach view that's just a five-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas marina. This means you can enjoy child-free ambience around two pools and a large Jacuzzi, pamper yourself in the spa, and dine at three restaurants (with dining privileges at and shuttle transport to three other Pueblo Bonito resorts, including neighboring Sunset Beach), and yet still easily head into town for a bit of nightlife (from $366/night, all-inclusive).

If You Feel the Urge to Splurge...

If it's a special occasion (honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, finally taking vacation days), plenty of luxury awaits.

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First up: Capella Pedregal, Los Cabos' newest luxury resort is a visually stunning, 96-room enclave located on a secluded beach just minutes (and a dramatic drive via a tunnel) from the Cabo San Lucas marina. Exquisite Mexican colonial-inspired décor with handcrafted detailing makes the rooms and suites—each featuring a private plunge pool—especially romantic while fine dining at El Farallon or Don Manuel's, as well as the sublime Auriga Spa, let you indulge all your senses right on property (from $575/night).

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Then, the Esperanza, a 57-room resort set atop a photogenic bluff on the Sea of Cortez, excels at the kind of authentically low-key-yet-luxurious Mexican hospitality that makes guests instantly relax. Romantic touches abound, too: the Damiana Alegre couples treatment at the Spa, the views from the open-air palapa-style restaurants, and the infinity edge hot tubs on the balconies of the Casitas (from $550/night).

Looking to expand your trip? Here are five solid reasons to discover even more of the Baja Peninsula.

Photo credits: Los Cabos El Arco courtesy of Los Cabos Tourism Board; Casa Dorada courtesy of Casa Dorada; Hotel EL Ganzo courtesy of Hotel El Ganzo; Pueblo Bonito courtesy of Pueblo Bonito Resorts; Esperanza Dining Palapa courtesy of Esperanza

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