Cabo San Lucas, located at the Baja California Peninsula’s tip, is nestled between the Pacific Ocean & the Sea of Cortez. Although it was once a small fishing village, Cabo has become one of the leading vacation and retirement cities in Mexico. It boasts a growing population of 350,000 and is still rural enough to see cows walking along the roads in some areas.
It had been inhabited by only a few Mexican families until the 1970s. Today, half of the Cabo San Lucas Mexican population has immigrated from other areas of Mexico because of the many work opportunities. They brought with them their music and food, creating a large variety of Mexican culture. The city is now a mixture of Mexican, Canadian, and American cultures due to citizens from those areas visiting and buying property in the area to stay in during the winter months. Cabo is magical in so many ways that it is impossible to describe.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Cabo San Lucas before you visit or take residence here temporarily or permanently, including retirement, things to do, cost of living, and even Cabo San Lucas real estate.
Cabo San Lucas Basics
At Cabo San Lucas, you can find sun, sand and mountains along with the ocean. Winter temperatures are perfect at an average in the 70s, while summers heat up to the mid-80s, making for a perfect beach day.
The centerpiece of the city is the marina. This man-made harbor was completed in 1978 and there are three marina developments. Playa Grande, the locals’ favorite beach, is located on one side of the harbor. It leads to the Lands’ End rock formation as well as the Pacific Ocean. Medano Beach is on the opposite side and offers many attractions. There are hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and a movie theater along the boardwalk that runs around the marina’s interior.
The number of retail outlets grew with the city. There are now plenty of options to choose from in order to find American products, such as a Super Walmart, Home Depot, and more. There are also Mexican grocery stores that offer authentic Mexican baked goods and less expensive domestic products. You can also find seasonal fruits and vegetables being sold out on the streets.
Cabo San Lucas Lifestyle
Cabo San Lucas is a desired destination for spring break, winter snowbirds, and bachelor/bachelorette outings due to its gorgeous beaches and dynamic nightlife. A line of dance clubs border El Centro’s main street. They are open until 4 a.m. to dance the night away. On the beaches, there are many activities offered such as snorkeling, parasailing, and much more! Adventure can also be found away from the water with activities such as ziplines, wine tasting, and horseback riding.
Cabo San Lucas is a popular destination for the wealthy and famous. There are many Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from, including El Farallon or Alexander’s. You can also spend quiet time with locals at Tiki bar, which is a popular expat favorite for its friendly service, great food, and beautiful views.
Top Activities For Everyone in Cabo
Deep Sea Fishing
Since Cabo San Lucas was a small fishing village, you will find tuna, marlin, and mahi mahi amongst many others in the beautiful blue waters. Expert fishermen from all over the globe travel to this area to fish because there are many options for fishing adventures. Booking an offshore fishing charter is the cheapest option. It is best to book with a fishing charter company as private yacht charters can be a bit more expensive.
Whale Watching Tours
Pods of whales travel from Alaska to the Sea of Cortez annually so they can mate and give birth. From mid-December to mid-April, it is possible to see grey whales and humpback whales; however, the best time to view calves is after February. Book your whale watching tour in the morning if you are prone to seasickness and prefer calm waters, but keep in mind that whales are prone to be out later in the daytime.
You can also enjoy dinner and sunset cruises for more unique fun out at sea. You can take boats of any style out to view the sunset over the Pacific, then enjoy a leisurely tour around the Sea of Cortez. Some excursions offer full-course dinners and other excursions offer a party atmosphere with a large bar.
Some boat companies also offer guests the opportunity to go snorkeling near the local beaches. Diving companies can teach you the basics of snorkeling and take you on an adventure of a lifetime to see some of the beautiful ocean wildlife off of the coast of Cabo San Lucas.
Nearby Day Trips
San Jose Del Cabo
To the northeast of Cabo is San Jose del Cabo. San Jose del Cabo is the home of Mexico’s international airport. San Jose, although only 30 minutes away from Cabo, is more laid-back and more expensive than Cabo. Although a marina was added to the city in recent years, it isn’t surrounded by shops or restaurants like Cabo. A new strip is located near the town, which houses many luxury restaurants and retail shops.
One of the best locations on the west coast is Todos Santos. There are many developments in and around Todos Santos but it has still maintained the old-fashioned artsy hippy vibe of the downtown. You can see the famous Hotel California and see if it’s all the song cracked it up to be. Todos Santos is also famous for its arts scene and local farm-to table restaurants. It is such a beautiful city to explore and walk around when you want to get some time away from Cabo.
The two main highways of Cabo San Lucas meet up in La Paz. This location is worth a weekend trip if you really want to take all of the beautiful views in properly. You can spend the day exploring the old towns, or you can drive to the east to visit the nine beaches in the area. There are even extra opportunities to get up close and personal with Mexico’s ocean animals, including being able to swim with whale sharks!
Retiring in Cabo San Lucas
Many retirees may find it difficult to live in a multi-level Cabo home. Many of the newer developments have one-level homes with elevators on each floor. Cabo Bello, a community on the Sea of Cortez, offers ocean-front single-family houses. El Tezal, a rapidly expanding area, boasts homes that were built 50 years ago, as well as dozens of new condominium developments.
The area’s healthcare has improved significantly with the inclusion of the H+ Hospital, a world-class facility located just 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. The reliable AMC American Medical Center and the Blue Net hospitals are close by the city. They offer affordable and reliable emergency treatment. For the same amount that Americans pay monthly, local health insurance can be purchased at annual rates in Cabo San Lucas.
Cost of Living in Cabo
Despite being one of the more expensive areas, Cabo still offers a significantly reduced cost of living when compared to the U.S. Since Cabo is situated at the tip of a peninsula, it is almost like living on an isolated island. Because of this, delivering furniture to your new home is on the more expensive side which contributes to the slightly higher cost of living. Another reason for the higher living costs is the increased demand from foreigners for high-end dining and other luxuries.
Consider These Things Before Moving to Cabo San Lucas
What Type of Home Are You Looking For?
Do you want a single-family home or a condo? Make sure you note whether you are looking for a single story or multiple floors when creating your wish list as many Cabo homes are more than one story. It is also important to note other differences between stand-alone homes and condominiums, such as proximity to neighbors, HOA fees, and amenities. These questions are especially important to consider if you are a first-time homebuyer.
What is Your Ideal Community?
Cabo San Lucas is very diverse so it is crucial to choose a variety of neighbors. Do you want to be surrounded by retired expats? Are you looking to be fully immersed in Mexican culture? It can be helpful to have English-speaking friends who could help answer all of your questions when you first move to Cabo. Otherwise, there are many resources where you can learn how to speak the language of the area and about the culture and customs.
Do You Want to Be Close to Stores, Attractions, & Restaurants?
There are plenty of pros and cons to living nearby all of the great things that Cabo San Lucas has to offer. For example, you might be excited to be close to the action but also have to deal with traffic and noise from the clubs that are near you. You also want to consider the terrain around the area in which you would like to live: Would you like a view of the mountains, the beach, or the city? Do you want to live in an area that is well-populated or a bit more vacant? Make sure you do extensive research before you make any huge decisions.
Can You Handle the Ever Changing Weather?
Cabo enjoys sunny, dry weather most of the year with temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the summer months can be difficult due to heat and lack of rain. On the other hand, the hurricane season runs from mid-May to November, meaning that large storms with wind and heavy rain could begin at any time for about half of the year. It is crucial to ensure that the home you are going to live in has proper weather damage protection.
Does Your Home Have the Appropriate Security Features?
Like anywhere in the world, crime is always a possibility. It is worth considering moving into a gated community with security cameras or a condominium with a doorman just to be safe. Otherwise, you could do your own research and find security systems or security cameras that you can install in your home all on your own.
Do You Have Time For the Entire Process?
It can take up to six months to complete the paperwork before you can move into your Cabo home. Your real estate agent, attorney, and notary will be your closing team and will help you with the entire process, including choosing a mortgage. In most cases, the property is not yours to purchase. A bank will hold the title to the land and you have access to it through a trust called fideicomiso. The closing date is determined by the bank that holds your fideicomiso trust. Try to be patient and ready to wait until you find your dream home; it will all be worth it in the end!