3 Best Beaches in Cabo
All beaches in Mexico are pretty much public beaches. They are all federally owned. In theory, everyone should be able to enjoy most, if not all, of the coastal waters of Mexico. That doesn't stop these giant resorts from making it difficult for the general public to access their beachfront properties. In fact, it's in their best interest to offer their guests with privacy and a sense of seclusion. The good news is that there are a handful of clean and well maintained public beaches in the Cabo San Lucas area that are easily accessible to the public.
First up on this short list is Medano Beach. This is the closest beach to town offering a wide variety of bars and restaurants - most of them conveniently located in front of beachfront properties lining up the beach. This is probably one of the most popular beaches alongside Lovers and Divorce beach. This also means that it's one of the busiest in Cabo. It gets crowded as the day progresses but remains manageable despite the heavy foot traffic. Swimming is terrific and service from attendants is great. Local vendors are very common in the area so be prepared to say 'no gracias' once in a while specially if you are planning on going during peak hours. There are plenty of activities and it's easy to find a boat to jump onto for a quick tour of the area.
Keep in mind that not all beaches are created equal. If you are looking for a quiet beach where you can relax and enjoy a bit of intimacy then this place might not be for you. But if you are planning on having lunch/dinner somewhere close to the beach or if you don't mind sharing this narrow beach with other people, then this is your spot. Street parking is not that easy to find. You should be able to find public parking here next to Bahia Hotel and Beach House for around $5 to $10 dollars depending on how long are planning on staying there.
- PROs: accessibility to bars and restaurants | close proximity to town
- CONs: gets crowded easily | narrow beach sand | persistent vendors
Santa Maria Beach
Santa Maria is a small beach about 10 miles (20 minutes) northeast of Medano beach. It is more secluded and a less congested than Medano beach. There is a resort hotel (Montage) being built in front of it which may increase the number of future visitors tremendously but for now the beach still gives you a sense of intimacy. Majority of the beach crowd are locals who are smart enough to avoid the inflated food and beverage prices of the more popular tourist beaches. So no, there are no bars and restaurants connected to this beach. There are no vendors either. The only way to enjoy this more secluded local beach is to bring your own cooler for snacks and beverages. Don't forget to bring your own beach umbrella too. Otherwise, you will end up like one of those people who ends up using the lifeguard tower as shade. Don't be that person. There are also a very limited number of small beach huts tucked in the left corner of the bay between the lifeguard and the rocks but those are almost always occupied. I was able to find a guy who rents out huge umbrellas for $10 but he leaves at a certain time in the afternoon so I ended up buying one of his old raggedy ones for a bargain price. Good investment since I used it throughout the entire trip. Public restrooms are available near the parking lot.
This beach is perfect for those looking to get some color under the sun. Most beachgoers spend their time laying in the sand. Snorkeling is an option if weather permits. The small concave shape of the bay makes the beach waves significantly concentrated making them too rough for swimming. I have seen the lifeguard pull a few people out of the huge waves due to exhaustion. Parking is a breeze. If the parking lot gets full, be creative (remember you are in Mexico). I recommend going early to watch the sunrise or late in the afternoon right before sunset for even more seclusion. You might be able to have the entire beach all to yourself depending on what time you go. For those of you who asked, I was able to get this photo (above) by climbing the rocks towards the left side of the bay. Please climb at your own risk. It's fairly easy to get to the top but any climb involving sharp rocks always requires extreme caution.
- PROs: less congested | unique shape of bay | parking accessibility
- CONs: no restaurants or any type of vendors | rough waves
Last on this list is Chileno Beach. The most spacious in terms of beach-sand real estate of the three beaches mentioned. There are plenty of opportunities to get settled as close to the water as possible. This beach is also surrounded by another more developed property - Chileno Bay Resort and Residences (alongside Chileno Golf and Beach Club). The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists looking to get away from the more crowded beaches. Just like Santa Maria beach, there are no vendors of any kind. So bring everything - including snorkel gear. Of the three, this is the best spot for snorkeling. It's fairly common to observe snorkeling day tours coming in all the way from La Terminal de Cabo dropping off their clients along the shore. Save yourself some money and skip signing up for those kind of tours. The drive to this beach is only roughly about 20 minutes from town and there's plenty of free public parking. There are no public restrooms in the area. I did see a small very simple outdoor shower somewhere between the parking lot and the beach.
This beach has the same fine sand as Medano and a little bit of an upgrade from Santa Maria's sand/small pebble mixture. Swimming should be good. The waves tend to be softer compared the other beaches. I would recommend waking up early to watch the sunrise here. The beach was empty one day when I decided to take some sunrise shots. Around 9 am, a beach clean-up crew (most likely organized by the resort) assembles to sweep the beach making sure it's ready for the new wave of visitors for that day.
- PROs: swimming is terrific | good for snorkeling | spacious beach
- CONs: no public restrooms | occasional presence of tour boats
This is a quick rundown of the best beaches in Cabo according to certain categories that a typical beachgoer might consider while trying to find the perfect beach. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in the article or want to inform me of anything that has changed since my last visit, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below or reach me directly through email or social media.