6 Best Sights in The Corridor, Los Cabos

Bahía Chileno

Fodor's choice
El Chileno Beach, Bahia Chileno, The Corridor, Los Cabos, Mexico
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A calm enclave—with golf courses, residences, and Chileno Bay Resort—is roughly midway between San José and Cabo San Lucas. Consistently ranked one of the cleanest beaches in Mexico, Chileno has been awarded “Blue Flag” certification, meaning 32 criteria for safety, services, water quality, and other standards have been met. The beach skirts a small, crescent-shaped cove with aquamarine waters and an outside reef that are perfect for snorkeling and swimming (there are even restrooms, showers, and handicap access). To the east are tide pools great for exploring with the kids. Getting here is easy, thanks to the well-marked access ramps on both sides of the road. Along the western edge of Bahía Chileno, some 200 yards away, are some good-size boulders that you can scramble up. In winter this part of the Sea of Cortez gets chilly—refreshing for a dip, but most snorkelers don't spend too much time in the water. On weekends get to the bay early if you want to claim shade under a palapa. Amenities: toilets; showers; parking lot. Best for: swimming; snorkeling; sunset.

Bahía Santa María

Fodor's choice
Bahia Santa Maria, The Corridor, Los Cabos, Mexico
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This wide, sloping, horseshoe-shaped beach is surrounded by cactus-covered rocky cliffs; the placid waters here are a protected fish sanctuary. The bay is part of an underwater reserve and is a great place to snorkel: brightly colored fish swarm through chunks of white coral and golden sea fans. Unfortunately, this little slice of paradise has limited palapas for shade, so arrive early or bring a beach umbrella. In high season, from November to May, there's usually someone renting snorkeling gear or selling sarongs, straw hats, and soft drinks. It's best to bring your own supplies, though, including lots of drinking water, snacks, and sunscreen. Snorkel and booze-cruise boats from Cabo San Lucas visit the bay in midmorning through about 1 pm. Arrive midafternoon if you want to get that total Robinson Crusoe feel. The parking lot is a quarter mile or so off the highway and is sometimes guarded; be sure to tip the guard. The bay is roughly 19 km (12 miles) west of San José and 13 km (8 miles) east of Cabo San Lucas. Heading east, look for the sign saying "playa santa maría." Amenities: toilets; free parking; showers; lifeguards. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; surfing; walking.

Playa Buenos Aires

This wide, lengthy, and accessible stretch of beach is one of the longest along the Cabo Corridor, but is rapidly developing with new resorts. Reef breaks for surfers can be good, but the beach is also known for its riptides, making it unswimmable. It's a great beach for long, quiet runs or walks, and it's not uncommon to find locals with horses to rent for a beachside ride. Whales can easily be spotted from the beach from January through March. The small, man-made "Tequila Cove" between Hilton and Paradisus has calm waters, excellent for swimming. Here you'll find a tiny shack renting bodyboards and other water-sports equipment. Amenities: toilets; water sports; free parking. Best for: surfers; walking.

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Playa Costa Azul

Cabo's best surfing beach runs 3 km (2 miles) south from San José's hotel zone along Highway 1. The Zipper and La Roca breaks are world famous. Playa Costa Azul connects to neighboring Playa Acapulquito in front of the Cabo Surf Hotel. Surfers gather at both beaches year-round, but most come in summer, when hurricanes and tropical storms create the year's largest waves, and when the ocean is at its warmest. This condo-lined beach is popular with joggers and walkers, but swimming isn't advised. When getting in and out of the water in front of Cabo Surf Hotel (where surf lessons take place), watch out for the sea urchins that cling to the shallow rocks. Beginner surfers should ask locals to point out the mound of hidden rocks near the break closest to the cliffs; this means it's much safer to take "rights" than "lefts" at this break. Although not overly common, jellyfish can also be a problem here. The turnoff to this beach is sudden and only available to drivers coming from Cabo San Lucas (not from San José del Cabo). It's on the beach side of the highway, at Zipper's restaurant, which is on the sand by the surf breaks. If coming from San José del Cabo, you have to exit at Costa Azul Surf Shop and drive under the highway to the parking area. Food and drinks are available at Zipper's restaurant or at 7 Seas restaurant. Surfboards can be rented at Costa Azul Surf Shop or at Cabo Surf Hotel. Amenities: toilets; food and drink; free parking. Best for: surfing; walking; sunset.

Playa Las Viudas

Just west of Santa María Bay, this small public beach is often referred to as Twin Dolphin Beach after the Twin Dolphin Hotel, a longtime landmark that was demolished in mid-2007 to make room for Chileno Bay Club. The reef makes it a great place for snorkeling (bring your own gear), but it is open to the ocean and all the inherent dangers that entails, so swimming is not recommended. Low tides reveal great tidal pools filled with anemone, starfish, and other sea creatures (please leave these creatures in the sea). Rock outcroppings create private areas and natural tabletops in the sand for beach picnics. The waters are also popular for kayaking and paddleboarding. Amenities: toilets; showers; free parking. Best for: snorkeling; walking; sunrise.

Playa Palmilla

Check out the impressive multimillion-dollar villas on the road to Playa Palmilla, the best swimming beach near San José. Turn off the highway as if you're going to the One&OnlyPalmilla and then cross over the highway on an overpass. Continue about half a mile. The entrance is from the side road through the ritzy Palmilla development; take a left before you reach the guardhouse of the One&Only hotel. There are signs, but they're not exactly large. The beach is protected by a rocky point and the water is almost always calm; Punta Palmilla, farther out, is popular with surfers during huge swells (20 feet or more). A few thatched-roof palapas on the sand provide shade; there are trash cans but no restrooms. Guards patrol the exclusive section known as Pelican Beach fronting the hotel, discouraging nonguests from entering—although the public legally has access to cross the beach in front of the resort property. Guests of One&Only have access to beachfront cabañas, surf instruction, beach equipment, toilets, and a restaurant. Amenities: toilets; showers; lifeguards; free parking. Best for: walking; swimming; snorkeling.

Entrance on Hwy. 1, at Km 27, 23400, Mexico