The Best Places in Los Cabos Now
The industry playground is welcoming new chic spots. And as summer heats up, luxury goes on sale at its highest-end resorts.
Los Cabos, where, the Pacific rolls into Sea of Cortez in Mexico, is awash in luxury development, but most of the action in recent years has been in the beachfront Corridor between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. This stretch of world-class resorts -- about a 135-minute flight from Los Angeles -- now ranks with Hawaii as an industry sand-and-sun destination, with regular visits by George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, manager Geyer Kosinski, producer Scott Stuber and Leonardo DiCaprio. There's also a marked sense of safety in contrast to some other parts of Mexico.
Many visitors never go off resort, but there are new spots to explore away from the gated path (You'll need to either rent a car or take taxis). The high season ends soon, but summers are getting busier, thanks partly to low-season rates up to 40 percent off.
WHERE TO EAT
Few visitors venture east of historic San Jose del Cabo, whose mainstays include haute-Mexican restaurant Don Emiliano's and taco spot Las Guacamayas (beloved by Mario Batali). But the new Flora's Field Kitchen (Las Animas Bajas, flora-farms.com) -- on an organic farm 10 minutes from town -- has lured such fans as Lauren Conrad and Thomas Keller with its family-style dinners. "It has a great farm-to-table menu," Keller says. Flora's serves only what is harvested on-site. For live jazz and inventive tapas, head to Deckman's (Highway 1, deckmans.com) on the west side of town.
Down the coast in Cabo San Lucas, it's not just about cerveza-drenched spring break anymore. Check out the extensive Mexican wine list at Doc (Cabo San Lucas Street, docwinebarcabo.com), an intimate Italian restaurant. Two blocks away is acclaimed Nick-San sushi, where the chef serves fish caught on his own boat; Molly Sims loves it. In the Medano Beach area, home to the popular Mexican beach eatery the Office, a new option is Bar Esquina (Avenue el Pescador, bahiacabo.com). One of the best spots to enjoy its short rib and Stilton pizza is the lively 17-seat marble bar.
WHERE TO STAY
Until two years ago, Cabo boasted just three truly luxury properties, all located along the Corridor. The five-diamond, 71-suite Las Ventanas Al Paraiso (rooms from $855 high season/$510 low, Highway 1, lasventanas.com) -- where new couple Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson were first spotted -- is a stunningly stark white-stucco property with Zen-like, raked-sand succulent gardens and service that extends to leaving a towelette next to the sunscreen-smudged sunglasses you left on the nightstand.
Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore are fans of the Spanish-mission-style, 174-room One & Only Palmilla (rooms from $775 high season/$575 low, Highway 1, palmilla.oneandonlyresorts.com). The most comprehensive of the resorts, it offers four restaurants, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Market; a shop featuring such designers as Matthew Williamson and Missoni; and both family-friendly and adults-only pools. Look out for the kid-size beach chaises.
At the romantic Esperenza (rooms from $595 high season/$495 low, Highway 1, esperanza resort.com) most of the 57 rooms feature a private infinity plunge pool, and the restaurant has a breathtaking dining terrace that juts out into the ocean. Try the tuna sashimi, which you can sear on a hot lava rock at your table.
Meanwhile, there are now two high-end challengers located off the Corridor right in Cabo San Lucas. Just steps from the marina, Hacienda Beach Club & Residences (rooms from $695 high season/$550 low, Calle Gomez Farias, haciendacabosanlucas.com), features 109 residences, many for rent. Sixteen four-bedroom villas, selling at $5.2 million, sit right on a swimmable beach with views of Cabo's iconic granite Arch. (Many other resorts are on stretches with risky undertows.)
To get to Capella Pedregal ($650 high season/$525 low, 1 Camino del Mar, capellahotels.com), you drive through a private 1,000-foot tunnel under Pedregal Mountain to a Pacific side cove that Rande Gerber calls "spectacular." The smallest of the 66 rooms is 820 square feet, and all offer fireplaces and plunge pools. Looking for a private home rental? The area's go-to booking agent is Julie Byrd of Earth, Sea and Sky Vacations (cabovillas.com).
WHAT TO DO
The spectacular meeting of land and sea at the tip of Baja is the setting for some of the world's best fishing, whale spotting, diving and paddle boarding. Sailors can go out with a crew aboard an America's Cup yacht via outfitters Cabo Adventures (cabo-adventures.com).
For prime golfing and a beyond-A-list scene, wrangle an invite to play at El Dorado, (Highway 1, eldoradogolfandbeachclub.com) developer Michael Meldman's private residence/links club where Clooney, Gerber and wife Cindy Crawford and WME's Patrick Whitesell and wife Lauren Sanchez reportedly own second homes. A six-bedroom penthouse casita is currently on the market there for $11.95 million.
For a change of pace, spend a leisurely evening enjoying the weekly Thursday art walk in San Jose del Cabo. Later on, ramp things up at the jammed Nowhere Bar (Plaza Bonita, Boulevard Marina, nowherebar.com) in Cabo San Lucas. "The tequila shots on ice are amazing," Sanchez says, "and you never know who will end up dancing on the tables."