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June 23, 2024

A Los Cabos Guide: Things to Do, Places to Eat and Where to Stay

Organic farms. Deep-sea fishing. Sunset cruises. Land activities aplenty, from camel rides to zip lines.

By Becca Hensley

Suffice it to say — Los Cabos sparks joy. Where two oceans meld for a spectacular splendor of unbridled blues, Cabo, situated at Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula’s endpoint, stands out as one of the only places on Earth where desert meets sea. It claims a cornucopia of attributes, each a draw. Whale watching. Resplendent hotels. Celebrity chefs. Impressive nature. Supreme ceviche. A vivacious party scene in one town and an authentic, artsy milieu in another. A brand-new marina on the lesser traveled East Cape that just might make Baja the next yachting paradise. Organic farms. Deep-sea fishing. Sunset cruises. Land activities aplenty, from camel rides to zip lines. And most important, a richly conveyed and maintained local culture.

But I’d swoop in posthaste for Cabo’s bounty of wellness offerings. The newest can be found at the reimagined Spa at Esperanza, where lead therapist — and intuitive healer — Connie Ruiz has envisioned and executed one of the most curative and immersive wellness programs in Mexico. She worked in collaboration with Mexican spiritual practitioner and Mesoamerican therapy expert Fernanda Montiel, who advised on the programs and conducted a spiritual blessing ceremony in the space before it launched.

Located at Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, a soulful, intimate-sized enclave overlooking sublime private beaches, the spa brings the four elements, crystals, nature and the beliefs of the Nahuel people (and other indigenous groups such as the Maya and Aztecs) to play in wellness journeys so profound they involve more than five hours of bliss. Meant to incite transformation, affirmation and well-being, each cleverly curated experience thematically includes treatments that mirror the significance of the elements, as embraced by local culture.

Esperenza, Auberge Resorts Collection / ©Auberge

Whether one chooses water, fire, earth or air, the salubrious day begins with a one-on-one private meditation, breath work and yoga session on the beach. Next up, back at the spa, comes energy cleansing, affirmation card readings and body work that could range from wraps to massages. A break in the form of a tailor-made four-course lunch follows at the cliffside restaurant Cocina del Mar. At last, a grand finale facial seals the deal. The result: a pivot toward transformation, Cabo style.

Where to eat in Los Cabos

At Flora Farms, sustainable Flora Field’s Kitchen boasts produce from its 25-acre gardens and antibiotic-free meats and dairy from its nearby 150-acre ranch on a hip, friendly menu. In the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, the destination reveals a Los Cabos distinctly beyond the touristic strip. Expect seed-to-plate seasonal dishes, even cocktails made with harvested vegetables. A carrot juice margarita? That’s almost healthy.

For those not able to get a reservation at Enrique Olvera’s storied Pujol in Mexico City, Manta provides an alternative. At The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, the restaurant does Olvera’s spin on Mexican-Peruvian-Japanese fusion. Expect a cool-kid contemporary setting that serves a harmonious collection of dishes from sashimi to suckling pig.

[See also: The Best Restaurants in Los Cabos]

Manta at The Cape, A Thompson Hotel / ©Thompson

With multiple tables artistically arranged on a plethora of terraces along the rim of a promontory above the sea, facing two coves at once, Cocina del Mar may well be the most romantic restaurant in Cabo — even on Earth. At Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, it serves a jaw-dropping breakfast buffet in the mornings, then ups its enchantment ante at night, beginning at sunset. Try the seafood fondue, a melting pot (pun intended) of blue crab, shrimp, squid and Mexican cheese.

Bite into razzmatazz Mexican haute cuisine at Cocina de Autor, located at all-inclusive standout Grand Velas Los Cabos. Led by chef Sidney Schutte (of two-Michelin-starred Spectrum in Amsterdam), the innovative restaurant serves seasonal tasting menus in many mini-sized courses — each leaving you wanting just one more bite. A contemporary interpretation of Mexican culinary history, this restaurant is open to non-resort guests.

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El Farallon is cleverly wedged into the cliff face at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal / ©Waldorf Astoria

One of Los Cabos’ most dramatic eateries, El Farallon, cleverly wedged into the cliff face at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, seems suspended over the sea. Stop first at the seductive Champagne Terrace for bubbly, then move further into the restaurant, with its rock-faced back wall and open front that embraces the sky. Order the restaurant’s most touted appetizer: chimichurri-marinated chocolate clams, followed by a mixed grill seafood platter.

Wellness

A magical potpourri of Mexican cultures, desert terrain and flowing water, Los Cabos has long had sacred vibes. Whether it’s a cacao ceremony, a temazcal (an ancient sauna-style lodge) session, a smoky cleansing with copal (an incense derived from tree sap favored by the Maya), organic farms, beach yoga, desert hikes or ocean swims, Los Cabos has a plethora of salutary options.

The Spa at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort features a stunning en plein air spa with first-class practitioners. Try the three-and-a-half-hour Las Ventanas Collection, a medley comprising a body polish (mole, honey or pitaya flowers), facial and full body massage. Ojo de Liebre Spa at Solaz takes inspiration from the journey of the humpback whale to incite your own wellness jaunt. Organic in ambience with wood-flanked walls, the spa proffers a spectrum of relaxing and results-driven treatments. It has many healing nooks, including a cryotherapy chamber.

The Spa at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal / ©Waldorf Astoria

The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Costa Palmas supports well-being with a variety of treatments in a flowing indoor/outdoor facility. Sign up for your personal, two-day Tata Harper Sensorial beauty retreat, which incorporates products and rituals from the brand’s green line.

The intimate SE Spa at Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos specializes in couples treatments, with ritual rooms framing astounding ocean views. Begin your experience with a magnesium soak in the spa’s mineral pool.

The Spa at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal references Mexico’s folk healing traditions and honors nature with treatments that go beyond relaxation to shift your energy. Local herbs and rituals take center stage with choices such as the rosemary-rich Indigenous Herbal Detox massage.

Where to stay in Los Cabos

Esperanza, Aubergue Resorts Collection

Expect to see a parade of whales in season at this evocative resort poised atop Punta Ballena (Whale Point), which overlooks the thrashing Sea of Cortez. Composed of two private coves, Esperanza cascades toward the water, divided into a quieter adults-only area and a livelier family-friendly pocket, each with a pool. Cocina del Mar, its centerpiece cliffside restaurant, stands as a beacon for both. Opt for the Mexican-art-filled Three-bedroom Oceanfront Villa with Pool, which sprawls 3,000 sq ft to edge the waves, its design mirroring the rocky cliffs and ocean hues. With a butler and private chef, it has a private pool, full kitchen, large living area and more.

Three-bedroom Oceanfront Villa with Pool from $13,200 per night. Contact Noelia Espinoza, reservations manager, noelia.espinoza@aubergeresorts.com, +1 855 331 2226, aubergeresorts.com

Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas

Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas / ©Four Seasons

On the more unspoiled and wilder East Cape, Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas claims an immense beach — not only wide, but long, and even better: swimmable. That’s rare in Los Cabos. A village-like hideaway far from the tourist strip’s madding crowd, near a range of outdoor activity hotspots, the resort also has a private marina, one of only a few in Mexico and the first at any Four Seasons. While the flashy marina accommodates vessels up to 250 ft, landlubbers may prefer staying in the 3,475-sq-ft Three-bedroom Beachfront Presidential Villa, the hotel’s dernier cri. It has three bedrooms, each with its own plunge pool, three bathrooms and a voluminous infinity pool that seems to fuse with the Sea of Cortez.

Three-bedroom Beachfront Presidential Villa from $12,000 per night. Contact Humberto León, reservations and core manager, humberto.leon@fourseasons.com, +52 624 689 0292, fourseasons.com

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

With a dramatic arrival through a mountain tunnel, the eyepopping Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal vaunts one of the region’s most spectacular — and serene — settings, though it lies just minutes from bustling Cabo San Lucas. Built on prime real estate so removed it feels like the only resort on Earth, the opulent hotel holds the breathtaking cliffside restaurant El Farallon as a highlight — as well as 112 rooms, each with a private pool. By far its swankiest, the Presidential Beachfront Suite fulfills fantasies as it stretches 4,100 sq ft to embrace two spacious master bedroom suites and one double queen bedroom. All have sitting areas and opulent bathrooms. Facing the sea, the grand suite shines with Mexican design touches; it opens to an ample lawn and patio for celebrations and fetes, and tempts with an infinity pool — all serviced by a butler.

Presidential Beachfront Suite from $6,000 per night. Contact Christian Suazo, reservations manager, sjdwa.res@waldorfastoria.com, +52 624 163 4300, waldorfastorialoscabospedregal.com

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort

The Ty Warner Mansion at Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort / ©Rosewood

Sometimes the smallest gestures leave the biggest impression. At Las Ventanas, those details include a personalized sewing kit customized by your butler to match your wardrobe. But the wow factor at this retreat also comes in size XL: the 28,000-sq-ft Ty Warner Mansion, an oceanside haven with two art-filled master suites, has two pools including a glass-bottomed one on an upper floor that shows swimmers from below. An elevator whisks guests to the 9,000-sq-ft rooftop terrace for the nightly fireworks display ordered up by your butler.

Ty Warner Mansion from $35,000 per night. Contact lasventanas@rosewoodhotels.com, +1 844 843 8962, rosewoodhotels.com

Solaz, A Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos

Solaz, A Luxury Collection Resort / ©Luxury Collection

It only makes sense that a resort decorated by acclaimed Mexican artist César López Negrete would dub room attendants ‘artisans,’ rather than calling them butlers. Resembling a contemporary retreat constructed from polished driftwood, the design-centric hotel oozes modern chic as it simultaneously pays homage to the region’s history and geography. Invite your favorite aesthetes to share the Villa Solaz Four-bedroom Suite, a paragon of sophistication that features local Mexican Huanacaxtle wood and marble textures. Replete with plenty of space (living room, kitchen, bar, dining room), it has an oceanfront terrace anchored by a small pool and hammock.

Villa Solaz Four-bedroom Suite from $8,878 per night. Contact Flavio Rojas Negretti, marketing and PR manager, flavio.rojasnegretti@luxurycollection.com, +52 624 144 0500, marriott.com

Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos

Launched in January as a stylish oasis with a tinier, albeit ritzier, footprint along the packed hotel strip, Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos manages to feel removed from the bustle — though only steps from a slew of larger hotels, including its renowned sister, Grand Velas Los Cabos. With a restaurant led by a celebrated chef, a pool that hovers above the beach and commodious rooms, the adults-only destination sets the standard for luxurious all-inclusives. Take over the nearly 3,000-sq-ft Elite Two-bedroom King Suite with panoramic ocean views, huge living area, and a terrace with firepit and plunge pool — and 24-hour suite and concierge service complete the picture.

Elite Two-bedroom King Suite from $5,800 per night. Contact Monica Canul Pinto, VIP manager, mcanulp@velasresorts.com, +52 800 832 4229, loscabosboutique.grandvelas.com

Things to do in Los Cabos

Land and sea

Take a whale-watching tour in season (December to April), which guarantees not just one sighting — but many. While you’re likely to see the grand beasts spouting near the shore from your hotel’s infinity pool, there’s nothing like cruising among them, especially at sunset. In addition to whale cruising, Cabo Adventures can provide VIP trips on the water, including snorkeling outings, but they also do land tours such as desert camel rides, zip lining, ATV excursions and electric bike jaunts.

San Jose Art Walk

The colorful residential town of San José del Cabo offers an art walk each Thursday from 5 to 9pm between the months of November and June. Set in the Gallery District, the fascinating ramble draws art lovers into the town’s authentic back streets behind the church. Real-deal galleries serve wine and snacks, while reveling in the opportunity to introduce you to local artists and other art aficionados.

A taste of culture with Clase Azul México

A shopping mall is not usually the go-to place for cultural immersion, but tequila brand Clase Azul México achieves just that with its boutique and restaurant in The Shoppes at Palmilla. Opt for the Taste of Culture experience, which includes an intimate tasting of five distinct tequilas and mezcals paired with elevated versions of traditional Mexican cuisine.

Clase Azul Taste of Culture
Clase Azul México pairs its fine tequilas and mezcals with innovative local cuisine / ©Clase Azul

Deep sea fishing

The world of Cabo began as a fishing village — even Ernest Hemingway threw a line here. Be like The Old Man and the Sea’s author and feel the adrenaline rush of pulling the proverbial big catch from the Sea of Cortez’s tumultuous depths. King Fish Cabo is a legendary local outfitter.

This article appears in the 03 Jun 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Summer 2024

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