An aerial sunset view of boats speeding by El Arco de Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur

Things to do in  Baja California Sur

The good life is easy

Cabo’s twin resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are near-synonymous with Mexico's Baja California Sur. The beach-and-club scenes are fun, but this lower portion of earth’s second-longest peninsula is home to some great things to do and natural marvels, from the biodiverse Sea of Cortez (hello, snorkeling and diving!) to gray whale sanctuaries and pre-Hispanic cave drawings in the UNESCO-recognized El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve. In consistently good weather, travelers hop beaches from Cabo to the low-key capital of La Paz and surfer- and artist-heavy Todos Santos.

Top 15 attractions in Baja California Sur

Arch of Cabo San Lucas (El Arco)

A signature landmark of Los Cabos, El Arco de Cabo San Lucas—known locally as simply “El Arco” or “the Arch”—is a limestone arch carved by time, tide, and wind. The natural attraction runs down to the water’s edge at Land’s End, the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas (which itself is at the southern end of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula) and into the Sea of Cortez. From a distance, the rock formation looks like a dragon; up close, the arch frames sky, sea, and sand for prime photos.More


Stretching roughly 3 miles (5 kilometers) along the La Paz coastline, the Malecón is a wide boardwalk that’s frequented by travelers, locals, joggers, families, rollerbladers, and cyclists alike. Lined with restaurants, bars, and shops and dotted with sculptures and benches, it’s the ideal spot for a stroll at any time of day and offers sweeping views over the ocean.More

Lover's Beach (Playa del Amor)

With white sand and jade-colored water, it’s no surprise that this postcard-ready beach has a reputation for inspiring romance. Rock formations frame the beautiful scene, and, since Mexico’s Playa del Amor faces the relatively calm waters of the Sea of Cortez, it’s ideal for snorkeling right off the shore.More

Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California)

The Sea of Cortez (or Gulf of California) lies between the Baja California Peninsula and mainland Mexico. This stretch of the Pacific, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most diverse seas in the world and home to more than 3,000 marine species, including hammerhead sharks, sea lions, and sea turtles.More

Our Lady of Pilar Church (Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar)

Set against the sweeping backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the 18th-century Our Lady of Pilar Church (Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar) is the town’s most notable religious edifice. Originally built by Spanish missionaries and characterized by a yellow facade, an altar surrounded by stained glass, and sweeping views over the ocean, Our Lady of Pilar Church is a Todos Santos must-see.More

Medano Beach (Playa Médano)

The waters of Cabo San Lucas may be wild elsewhere, but at Medano Beach (Playa el Medano), there is plenty of safe, calm swimming, along with beach fun for the whole family. Los Cabos’ most popular beach offers up a long stretch of sand filled with towels, sun umbrellas, volleyball, pleasure boats, and bars, backed by resorts and high-rise apartment buildings.More

Santa Maria Beach (Playa Santa María)

Stretching around a secluded cove, Santa Maria Beach (Playa Santa María) is a protected marine sanctuary and an excellent spot for snorkeling or sunbathing. Santa Maria’s serene setting offers a nice alternative to the noise and excitement of Cabo San Lucas’ beaches, and snorkeling with a variety of colorful fish is just a short swim from shore.More

San Jose del Cabo Church (Parroquia San José)

Located in the heart of the old town, San Jose del Cabo Church (Parroquia San José) was founded by Jesuits in 1730. This iconic Catholic church, with brilliant white bell towers and a striking interior, pays homage to Jesuit priest Nicolas Tamaral, who was martyred on the site where the building now stands.More

Balandra Beach (Playa Balandra)

The untouched shores of Balandra Beach are some of La Paz’s most beautiful. With calm waters sheltered from the Gulf of California and a shallow sandbar stretching from one side of the bay to the other, it’s the perfect beach for swimming and wading. It’s also part of the national marine park and one of La Paz’s last undeveloped beaches.More

Chileno Beach (Playa Chileno)

Protected by the Chileno Bay, the waters at Chileno Beach (Playa Chileno) are calm, warm, and clear, while the reefs just offshore act as a home to an abundance of sea life. The beach, considered one of Los Cabos’ best-kept secrets, mimics the feel of Caribbean shores. Sun-seekers will enjoy the seclusion and the top-notch snorkeling opportunities.More

Isla Espiritu Santo

Isla Espiritu Santo, off the coast of La Paz in the Gulf of California, is part of the national marine park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This long narrow island is abundant in wildlife, both above and below the ocean’s surface, and a popular destination for travelers looking to experience some of the best of Mexico’s outdoors.More

San Jose Estuary (Estero San José)

Located between San Jose del Cabo and Los Cabos Marina, the San Jose Estuary (Estero San José) is home to hundreds of species of birds and colorful wildlife and is a prime destination for bird-watchers. Nature lovers also flock to this sanctuary for sunrise kayak journeys and relaxing sunset hikes.More

Sierra de la Laguna

Cabo San Lucas may be known for its beaches, but the seaside town also offers adventure options that involve more land than sea. The Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, with its abundant oak and pine forests, is a rugged escape for those looking to explore the great outdoors. The Tropic of Cancer dissects the range; in other words, the area is tropical, but its elevation helps keep it relatively cool.More

Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park

Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park (Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo) contains the oldest living reef on North America’s Pacific coast, home to corals, colorful fish, and larger species such as whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and sea turtles. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this marine park is a rich destination for reef snorkeling and scuba diving.More

Palmilla Beach (Playa Palmilla)

Calm water, roped-off swimming areas, and soft sand make Palmilla Beach (Playa Palmilla) one of the most family-friendly beaches in Los Cabos. Snorkelers, swimmers, and anglers will all find something to love here, but not everyone is quite so active. Score a free-standing palapa and you’ll have a shady place to lounge with picture-perfect views.More

Top activities in Baja California Sur

Luxury Catamaran Whale Watching Cabo San Lucas
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Los Cabos Luxury Sailing, Snorkel and Lunch Cruise
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Luxury Sailing Yacht and Chef Dinner
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Camel Outback Adventure with Mexican buffet and Tequila tasting
Special Offer

Camel Outback Adventure with Mexican buffet and Tequila tasting

$109.00  $16.35 savings
Sunset Mexican Dinner Cruise Fajitas dinner & live music
Special Offer

Sunset Mexican Dinner Cruise Fajitas dinner & live music

$95.00  $9.50 savings
Pirate Ship Sunset Dinner and Show in Los Cabos
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La Paz Whale Shark Snorkeling Tour and Lunch From Los Cabos
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4x4 ATV Adventure with Tequila tasting and Mexican buffet lunch
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Outdoor Ziplining and UTV Adventure from Los Cabos
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Outdoor Ziplining and UTV Adventure from Los Cabos

$129.00  $19.35 savings
Cabo Sunset Sailing Shared Cruise
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All about Baja California Sur

When to visit

Baja has two seasons: a long, hot summer and a mild winter from November to May. It’s a year-round destination with sunny days, clear skies, and eternal beach weather. The dry, cool winters are a great time to visit if you want to avoid the tourist crush and the long, hot summer. Whale watching happens year-round, but whale migration season peaks in winter from January through March.

Getting around

Public transportation is limited. Aguila buses serve much of Baja from Calle Miguel Hidalgo in Cabo San Lucas but can be slow and unreliable. Taxis, rental cars, and hired shuttles make more sense for getting around. However, drivers often hound airport arrivals with ride offers for inflated prices. Before shelling out the cash for a taxi from the airport, check to see if the local shuttle bus service will work or if your hotel offers rides from the airport.

Traveler tips

Though it’s on the travel map and increasingly developed, Todos Santos is still Baja Sur’s loveliest low-key beach town. Travelers interested in good surf spots and beach-bohemian vibes should visit for a day or two—enough time to stroll the charming cobblestone streets, visit the galleries and shops in the center of town, and catch wild surf breaks at Cerritos or San Pedrito beaches.

Local Currency
Mexican Peso (MX$)
Time Zone
PST (UTC -8)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Baja California Sur known for?

Baja California Sur is known for its Los Cabos' beach resorts and biodiverse marine life in the Sea of Cortez. Whale sanctuaries and protected desert habitats lie in El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. La Paz is the capital. Todos Santos is popular with surfers and artists.

Which is better, Baja California or Baja California Sur?

It depends on your interests. Baja California Sur is more developed for tourists, due to the resorts in Cabo San Lucas. Both offer opportunities for water sports (surfing, snorkeling, diving), but the beaches in Baja California Sur are hard to beat. From the US, Baja California is easier to reach.

What kind of activities are there in Baja California Sur?

Baja California Sur has some of Mexico’s greatest natural wonders—and is big on watersports and outdoor adventures. Travelers visit in droves to explore beaches, deserts, and mountains on hikes, horseback, and all-terrain vehicles. Whale watching is a year-round activity. Other options include ziplining, tequila tastings, boat cruises, and club hopping.

What is the difference between Baja California and Baja California Sur?

Baja California and Baja California Sur are neighboring Mexican states on the Baja California Peninsula. Both are top travel destinations with deserts, natural marvels, and world-class beaches and resorts. Baja California Sur (Southern Lower California), on the southern side of the 750-mile-long (1,200-kilometer-long) peninsula, is more developed for tourists.

Do I need a passport to visit Baja California Sur from California?

Yes, visiting Baja California Sur from the US requires a passport. Depending on your length of stay, you may need other permits, available at your entry point. US travelers can cross the US-Baja California border with a valid passport or other acceptable identification but must show a US passport upon return.

Is Baja California Sur affordable?

Yes, but you'll need to hunt for deals. The days of shoestring luxury travel are gone—as the area's popularity has grown, so too have charges for tourist services. Eat where the locals eat, travel as they do, and your spending lowers dramatically. Otherwise, the costs are average to high.

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