For many of us, our idea of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is steeped in youthful flashbacks. Tequila hangovers, hookups at Playa del Amor, and sunburns from that beguilingly blue yet UV-reflective water.
To be fair, Cabo likely deserves some of its tourist-trap reputation, but travelers may want to check or rethink their previously held notions. Over the last decade or so, the region has been doing its best at a rebrand, forgoing the My First Spring Break crowds to appeal to more sophisticated adventure seekers. Think Instagram-worthy hiking excursions, hotel amenities for the action sports set, and catamaran escapades for marine-life enthusiasts.
Even those peripherally familiar with Cabo know it’s something of a hiking paradise. It can also be something of a mess of tourists and wannabe influencers posting selfies from the cliffs of Mount Solmar. Yes, the views from Solmar and the even more popular Arch are stunning, but experts often pick the hikes and beaches of places like Los Barriles Paseo en la Playa or the Cañón de la Zorra nature preserve. And while the latter isn’t close to the beach, it makes up for it with picture-perfect waterfalls, gasp-inducing birdwatching and, perhaps best of all, a bit more solitude from the tourists.
When it comes to hotels offering experiences unique to the region, the recently opened Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa already sports the requisite amenities of a luxury hotel experience, as well as the distinction of being adjacent to the area’s only swimmable beach. Look a little closer, however, and it’s clear the property is keen on giving guests an experience that extends beyond 360-degree rooftop views and two infinity pools. While the concierge is happy to charter a private yacht for guests, the resort also offers on-site kayaking and paddleboard adventures in the Sea of Cortez. They’re also the only Cabo property that offers Cabolectric, a unique experience from a company that specializes in environmentally friendly contraptions like eFoil motorized surfboards and Manta5 Hydrofoil bikes.
The recently renovated Drift San José del Cabo is a more artsy alternative to the grand resorts the region is known for. Located, naturally, in the gallery district, the boutique property sports industrial modern rooms (polished concrete, bright whites mixed with organic textiles and woven accents). A quick walk up some cobblestone streets and it becomes clear the property might be appealing to a more bohemian traveler, albeit one who doesn’t mind that the hotel offers on-site surfing packages that include a board, soft rack, and vehicle transportation to the more keep-it-like-a-secret beaches.
For quantity as well as quality, it’s hard to top the mountains-meet-sea Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa. It proudly enforces an adults-only policy, and the list of active amenities is lengthy (golf, tennis, water sports, target shooting, sport fishing, surfing, even archery). And yes, snorkeling is a thing, but a swanky alternative just might be a visit to Land’s End and the iconic Arch aboard a property-chartered glass-bottom boat to watch the sea life on the way.