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Mexican Riviera

Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port Guide

Cruise port visitors will find plenty to do along the marina. © 2013 Scott S. Bateman
Cruise port visitors will find plenty to do along the marina. © 2013 Scott S. Bateman
The Cabo San Lucas cruise port on the western coast of Mexico is a popular stop on Mexican Riviera cruises for good reasons.

It has a bustling harbor that caters to tourists, plenty of nearby attractions and great weather most of the year.

The Los Cabos municipality is made up of two cities, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. These cities sit at the tip of the Baja Peninsula and are linked by 20 miles of highway.

Cruise ships will stop in the Cabo San Lucas port, but visitors will have time to explore either city.

Quick Travel Tips


  • The marina is the biggest attraction for walkers.
  • The Arch is a famous natural attraction.
  • Weather is warm to hot with low risk of rain.

Where is Cabo San Lucas?


Cabo San Lucas is a bustling city on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula on the western coast of Mexico. It is 990 miles south of San Diego, California.

The Los Cabos municipality is made up of two cities, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The cities are linked by 20 miles of highway.

Tender Boat Transfers


As much as we love Cabo, getting from ship to shore is not something we love. Cabo doesn’t have anywhere for cruise ships to dock. So they anchor just outside of the port and tender passengers via small boats to the marina.

On our cruise, the four available tenders began transferring passengers at 10 a.m. It took us one hour and 15 minutes of waiting in a long line before we began the 15 minute tender boat ride to shore.

Cruise staff suggest that anyone who wants to avoid the long wait should arrive at least half an hour before the tenders begin transfers or wait until noon or later.


Attractions and Shore Excursions


Walking Around Attractions


Cruise port visitors will take a tender from their ships to the Cabo San Lucas marina. It is surrounded by a long stretch of bars, shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. It also has a major upscale mall.

The marina has more than enough to give visitors several hours of walking around. It is so long that even fit walkers may struggle to go from one end to another. Otherwise, there is little to see for walkers outside of the marina. The nearby Pabellón Cultural de la República is a cultural center with a performance auditorium.

Shore Excursions


Arco de Los Cabos
The Arch of Los Cabos. Credit: Wikimedia
The most famous and popular excursion is a boat ride to Land’s End. It is where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez come together.

Land’s End is known for several places to take photographs. They include The Arch, Lover's Beach, a sea lion colony and Pelican Rock. The visit is a quick one with excursion prices usually starting around $35 per person. More expensive excursions to The Arch include other options such as a beach visit, snorkeling or whale watching.

Cabo has a Dolphin Discovery center where visitors can swim with dolphins. Costs usually range from about $100 to $200 per person depending on the program.

The city beyond the marina has fewer things to explore, so cruise port visitors may want to take an excursion and visit San Jose del Cabo. Cabo San Lucas is the livelier of the two cities with larger crowds and a big nightlife.

Nature lovers will enjoy watersports in the area. Cabo San Lucas is popular for sport fishing. The best beaches lie within the bay. They include the busy, narrow but popular Médano Beach at the west of the harbor. It is a short walk from the west side of the marina and a 1.5 mile walk from the east side.

For a calmer atmosphere, San Jose del Cabo is the place to see. It is a city reminiscent of the older days in Mexico and has lovely culture and history. Visitors can stroll around the downtown area among quaint boutiques, shops and cafes. Guided sightseeing tours that include Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo cost about $50 to $60 per person.

Golfers can choose among the Quivira Golf Club or Cabo San Lucas Country Club in Cabos San Lucas. San Jose del Cabo has the Puerto Los Cabos Golf Course.

Cabo San Lucas has many tour companies that help with exploring the area. Booking an excursion on the Internet before the cruise can help save money. Paying for an excursion at the port can get a bit pricey.

Popular excursions include snorkeling, deep sea fishing or parasailing. Horseback riding and ATV tours allow visitors to see the tropical desert of this Baja Peninsula.

Cabo San Lucas Bay often has Humpback whales, Gray whales, Humpback whales and other whale species. An excursion will usually take about two hours and cost up to $100 or more. Be aware that whale viewing is a hit-or-miss experience. Whale watching boats usually pass The Arch for a quick view.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port


Cabo has one major beach near the cruise port. Visitors can see it from the decks of their ships by looking to the right of the marina. It’s called Medano Beach.

After tendering to the docks, cruise visitors can take a 10- to 15-minute water taxi from the marina over to Medano. The water taxi cost us $5 per person one way. Taxi vendors may charge a $1 “government tax” to walk onto the fenced taxi docks.

Medano has bars, shops, restaurants as well as umbrellas and chairs for rent. The beach itself is nice but not exceptional.

On the return trip, someone wanted to charge us $10 each, but he agreed to $5 after we told him that we had paid $5 to get there. Otherwise, look for other vendors with water taxis to see if they are cheaper.

Otherwise, beach shore excursions from cruise lines are rare. After two other week-long vacations to Cabo, we found that even the resorts we visited don’t have beaches much better than Medano. So it’s probably the best choice.

Transportation / Getting Around


Cabo San Lucas has an inexpensive bus system, more expensive taxi service and even more expensive car rentals because of insurance.

Cruise visitors will find that excursions often start at the marina, so there is rarely a need to rent a car or take a taxi anywhere.

Two options are available to get from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo.

SuburCabos bus transports between the cities for 28 pesos/ $2.20. Taxis will cost 350 pesos/ $27.45 Water taxi (easiest transport from marina) cost is $3-10 each way.

Los Cabos Currency


The currency of Los Cabos and all of Mexico is the Mexican peso.

The exchange rate with the U.S. dollar is between 10-14 pesos to $1. There is no need to exchange U.S money, as Los Cabos welcomes the American dollar.

Tipping can range from 10-20% of the total bill.

Cabo Weather


Mexican Riviera weather ranges from comfortably warm in the spring and fall to uncomfortable heat at times in the summers.

Los Cabos has an average high temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit in January and more than 90 Fahrenheit from July through October.

It is one of the driest destinations among Mexican Riviera cruise ports. Average rainfall ranges from near zero from January through June to about three inches in September.

Late spring to early summer is an ideal time to visit for good weather.

Other Tips


  • Wi-Fi hotspots are common around the marina.
  • English is widely spoken among marina businesses, but less common in the city.
  • Cabo San Lucas is much safer than the nearby state capital of La Paz.

    Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port Map

  • More Tips