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Cabo San Lucas vs San Jose del Cabo: Which to Choose?

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

When we think Los Cabos, we generally focus on the 20-mile stretch of seaside highway known as the corridor, which separates the bustling city of Cabo San Lucas from the quaint and historical San Jose del Cabo. An area renowned for its sparkling ocean views, delicious gastronomy experiences, and award-winning nightlife, Los Cabos is now extending to include the up-and-coming East Cape, where luxury vacation rental in cabo, farm-to-table dining, and award-winning golf opportunities are the name of the game. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a return veteran we are here to help make your vacation choices easier. Consider this your Los Cabo travel guide. Cabo San Lucas vs. San Jose del Cabo: Which to choose?

When is the Best Time to Visit Los Cabos?

It depends on your travel purpose. If you are a seasoned veteran used to harsher climates or a solo wanderer researching budget travel to Los Cabos, Summer might be your best bet! While the risk of storms and high temperatures increases during the Summer months, room rates, flight costs, and overall trip expenses will decrease (often quite a bit!). And if you are into surfing, you can’t go past the Summer months (see below for more deets!).

For those hoping to experience Cabo during its busiest months, we suggest October through June. Weather is at its finest during this season, when tourists flood in and locals venture out to enjoy the best our town has to offer. You’ll find pricing for vacation rentals, wedding venues, and luxury resorts higher during these seasons, as volume floods town and demand for availability rises. Internationally renowned events such as the Bisbee’s Los Cabos Tournament also flush traffic into town during the high season. The plus side is that the weather is mild, with warm days for poolside activities or toes-in-the-sand fun and cooler evenings for fruity cocktails and fireside nightcaps. We’ve prepared a whole blog on the topic here.

When deciding whether to stay in San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, or the East Cape, rest assured that pricing and weather conditions are consistent throughout the region. Los Cabos is about loving life, so enjoy!

How long does it take to travel between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo?

San Jose del Cabo is just a short 20 - 30 minute up the Transpeninsular Highway, depending on traffic conditions, meaning you can move freely between locations regardless of your resort, luxury villa, or vacation rental’s location. Clean, air-conditioned buses move back and forth between the two towns throughout the day and into the later evening, and ride-share apps and taxis also operate 24/7. Locations such as the East Cape are more readily accessible when renting a hire car or private transportation company, as public transportation to the area is still in its early stages of development.

What’s the difference between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas?

Cabo San Lucas is generally considered the Baja’s premier party town and the hub of Los Cabos nightlife. During the day, the famous Medano Beach downtown offers toes-in-the-sand day clubs, restaurants, and bars with views of the iconic Los Cabos Arch and Land’s End. Partygoers can enjoy rowdy drinking games and jelly shots at Mango Deck or head up the beach to Me Cabo’s exclusive Taboo Beach Club for live EDM and lounge music, chic poolside dining, and a swim-up bar. If you want a day away from the hustle and bustle, walk the Cabo San Lucas Marina for lunchtime sushi or shop Luxury Avenue at the nearby Puerto Paraiso Plaza.

By night the main street comes alive, with iconic nightspots such as El Squid Roe and Mandala taking over the evening. If you’re not one to go overboard on the fiesta, exclusive Los Cabos luxury resorts offer quiet privacy from the daily hustle and bustle.

On the flip side, San Jose del Cabo is considered a quaint historical town where the overall vibe is artsy, hip, and relaxed. History buffs will enjoy walking the narrow, cobble-stoned streets of downtown, where tiny art galleries, artisanal souvenir stores, and the historic Mision de San Jose del Cabo Anuito Church hold pride of place. Dining in the area covers everything from authentic Mexican to trendy fusion restaurants, and in San Jose you are just a short drive from famous farm-to-table dining experiences at nearby Flora Farms and Acre Baja restaurants.

Adrenaline junkies looking for adventure activities in Los Cabos will want to check out San Jose’s Wild Canyon, an adventure park. ATV/UTV tours, ziplining, bungee jumping, and horseback or camel riding are the name of the game here. Looking for family activities in Los Cabos? Wild Canyon offers jetskis, SUPs, kayaks, and an animal sanctuary for those traveling with children. Day passes can be arranged online or through your vacation rental’s concierge!

What are the best beaches to surf in Los Cabos?

Here you can’t go wrong! Los Cabos is an aquatic wonderland spanning the entire tip of the Baja. Literally a surfer’s paradise, with local, national, and sometimes international tournaments held regularly. Cabo is blessed by two opposing forces, the tropical Summer storms that stew off the coast of the Baja and deliver awe-inspiring waves pushed coastwards from the South. On the other hand, Northern swells from Southern California arrive just in time to create a epic dynamic.

The East Cape is blessed with Southern Hemisphere swells, meaning finding a beach not worth surfing is near on impossible. Just a short 20 minute drive from San Jose del Cabo, the East Cape is home to pristine beaches, awesome breaks, and gorgeous vacation rentals.

Looking for the perfect place to spend time with family and friends while you explore the best surf in the region? Check out Casa Bellamar, an exclusive luxury vacation villa located oceanfront and within close driving distance of some of the East Cape’s most popular surf spots. This luxury villa Los Cabos sleeps up to 20 guests, making it perfect for shared vacations with extended family, or a weekend away with the guys/girls, always with unbeatable waves in mind. You’ll enjoy perfect surf by day and luxury accommodations by night. A private driver is available to ensure your boards are tightly secured as you venture to hidden surf spots just a stones throw from your luxury vacation rental.

Warning!!!! Many beaches down the southern Baja are considered non-swimmable. Lifeguards are often not present, and warning signs must be heeded to avoid unnecessary tragedy. Regardless of the warning signs available, only venture into heavy surf if you are at an advanced or professional level. Many smaller waves and calmer waters are available for beginner to advanced level surfers. Only those used to large swells should venture in to Pacific waters.

What’s the verdict?

Wherever you choose to stay when visiting the Baja, whether it’s San Lucas, San Jose, or the East Cape, you would be hard-pressed to have a better time on vacation. Easy and accessible travel routes between all three locations mean you can visit all of Los Cabos’ attractions regardless of your vacation rental’s location. Check out our fave luxury villa Los Cabos (we’re a little biased!), the stunning Casa Bellamar, by clicking this link!

Welcome to paradise!

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