Our Beach Vacation and Your Travel Guide to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

With spring break travel at its peak, I can’t help but reminisce about palm trees, clear blue skies and one of our favorite beach destinations, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico!  In this post, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photos from two previous trips, an overview of Cabo, where we stayed as well as a few recommendations on where to eat, sleep and play.

Cabo San Lucas is located on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula and about a 4.5 hour direct flight from Chicago.  John and I first visited Cabo in 2011 for his 30th birthday, a second time in 2017 (the majority of this post has been sitting in draft since then), and most recently, I traveled to Cabo last summer for a bachelorette party (read all about The Ultimate Bachelorette Party in Cabo here).  Although we’ve had our fair share of trips to Mexico including Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Akumal, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun (read all about our Destination Wedding at Secrets the Vine Cancun here), Cabo is one of my favorite beach destinations in Mexico for sun, sand and margaritas.The two times I traveled with John, we stayed at the newly renovated and contemporary, ME by MELIÃ, an adults-only property located on Medano Beach (Playa el Médano), the only swimmable beach in Cabo.  We chose this hotel because of it’s location and atmosphere.  The ME overlooks Cabo’s popular landmark, El Arco (The Arch) at Land’s End, a distinctive rock formation where the Pacific Ocean becomes the Gulf of California and is walking distance from shops, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and the marina.  The weekdays are fairly quiet and relaxing at the hotel, but you can expect high-energy, a fun vibe, house music and a large crowd on the weekends when the main pool area turns into a beach club known as Blue Merlin Ibiza (formerly known as Nikki Beach).

**Fun Fact** The week of John’s birthday in 2011, Tiesto, one of my favorite DJs back in the day, was spinning live at our hotel so we lucked out with a “free” concert off of our hotel room’s balcony.

**Note** In 2014, Hurricane Odile slammed the Baja California Peninsula and ripped through Cabo causing severe destruction and irreparable damage and so our hotel went through a complete renovation.  The four photos above are of the pool area from our first visit in 2011 and the photos below are of the hotel now.

If you’ve ever traveled to Mexico then you know there are a ton of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, but ME isn’t one of them.  Staying at an all-inclusive resort definitely has its perks.  The resorts are large and you never have to leave the property, they have a variety of restaurants on site, nightly entertainment and your room, meals and beverages are all bundled into a package when you pay up front making you feel as if everything is “free” when you arrive on your vacation.

Although we’ve stayed at all-inclusive resorts in the past and have had wonderful experiences, we chose ME because of it’s prime location and smaller boutique size.  Since ME is NOT all-inclusive, dining at the hotel could get very expensive.  Cocktails can cost between $8-$12 and a small bottle of FIJI water is around $4.  They only have two restaurants on site; the Blue Merlin Ibiza Restaurant which offers Mediterranean cuisine with Asian influences (the sushi and ceviche is so fresh and delicious) and The Deck which is located in front of the hotel by the beach and is open for breakfast and lunch, in addition to room service options.  In my opinion, you end up paying about the same as you would at an all-inclusive resort without feeling confined to your resort, forcing you to venture out and try new places. 

Cabo is a fairly safe town (we walked into town every night) and when you walk out on to the beach and turn right out of the hotel, you’ll hit plenty of great and inexpensive restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner helping keep your costs low if you choose to forgo the all-inclusive route.

 Restaurants on Medano Beach:

  • Mango Deck Restaurante Bar & Beach Club– Lively atmosphere with loud music and an MC who hosts a variety of contests.  The service was excellent and our dinner for four which included quesadillas, nachos, swordfish, margaritas and beer came out to about $160.
  • The Office on the Beach– Ocean front restaurant with tables in the sand, colorful linens and tiki torches.  It’s only a few doors down and a MUST for anyone visiting Cabo.  The food, beverages (the margaritas are just oh-so tasty) and service are excellent.  It’s pricey and you’ll need reservations ahead of time, but it’s worth visiting.  They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • SUR Beach House– A contemporary and modern restaurant with patio seating, amazing views and a tasty menu (I ate lunch here twice last summer).  Located right next door to ME.
  • The Sandbar– Located two doors down from ME and where we had breakfast a few times.  I believe our entire meal including drinks came out to about $30 for four guests.  They also offer 80-min. full body massages on the top deck for only $45 as well as different excursions and activities including wave runners, parasailing, horseback riding on the beach, ATVs, etc. (prices have probably gone up, but make sure to negotiate on the excursions).

Hotels on Medano Beach:

A Few Other Hotels in Cabo:

  • Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas– A beautiful all-inclusive option located on the far end of Medano Beach (tides are rough on this part of the beach so you can’t swim in the ocean).
  • Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort– Adults-only, all-inclusive option, but far away from everything. We’ve stayed at several Secrets properties and they don’t disappoint.
  • Breathless– Chic, adults-only hotel overlooking the marina; same hotel chain as Secrets.  My sister-in-law and her husband stayed here last year and they loved it.
  • Grand Solmar Lands End Resort– A favorite and the go-to resort for blogger, Olivia Rink (see her post here).
  • Vidanta– A brand new, luxury, all-inclusive resort in Los Cabos.  Kind of far out and the home of OMNIA Day Club (you can see photos and read about my experience at OMNIA from a previous post here).

As I mentioned above, ME is walking distance and less than a 5 min. cab ride from downtown Cabo and the marina which accommodates luxury yacht owners and guests with the highest quality services and amenities including entertainment, shopping and a variety of restaurants from Japanese, Asian Fusion, Italian, Mexican and American to choose from.

A Few Restaurant Recommendations:

  • Chamuyo– Argentinian steak house known for their beef ribs and flank steak with outdoor seating in a romantic setting.  The service, cuisine and wine were excellent and the bottom line was roughly $300 for five guests.  Just walk down ME’s driveway and it’ll be across the street.
  • Edith’s– Sister restaurant of The Office with great seafood and steak options.  The girls and I were supposed to have dinner here one night last summer, but we made some last minute changes and didn’t make it.
  • Nick-San– Gourmet Japanese and Mexican fusion restaurant with tasty sushi, modern decor and great ambiance.  We ate here on our first trip to Cabo and I remember it being a little pricey.  There are two locations: one in the marina and the other location is at the Shoppes at Palmilla (not familiar with this location).

The marina is steps away from a two block stretch of Cabo’s vibrant nightlife that caters to both young and old with your pick of bars and clubs to conclude your evening. 

My Top Bar & Nightclub Picks:

  • Mandala– A fun nightclub with locations in all the major Mexico destinations.  I would highly recommend reserving a table on the weekends because it gets packed (the ceiling is covered in disco balls).
  • Nowhere Bar– Located in the marina with a small dance floor and outdoor seating; good place to kick off the night with 90s throwbacks.
  • Cabo Wabo– A touristy spot with a live band.
  • Squid Roe-Another fun touristy spot.

**Travel Tip** Bottle service in Mexico is a lot cheaper than in any major cities in the US so it’s well worth it at places like Mandala.  The staff always takes good care of you and will treat you like a VIP.  Again, everything is centrally located so you’ll have plenty of places to choose from!

Make sure to check back at a later date for my Complete Travel Guide to Mexico including all the destinations in Mexico we’ve been to, the best months to visit, what to pack and a full list of hotels and resorts to choose from.  Thanks for stopping by.

xo

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