Playa Monumentos, or Monuments Beach, is a mecca for Baja bound surfers, thanks to a challenging left-hand point break and scenic views of El Arco and the other granitic rock formations that stretch to Land's End in Cabo San Lucas. This spot is definitely not for beginners, though, with hazards that include sea urchins and rocks near the beach. The incredible sunset views have led to many developments here, most recently The Cape: A Thompson Hotel, a hip new luxury resort featuring retro decor and surfer chic. Guests have access to rentals at the onsite surf shop, and there are some surf-themed suites set aside for visiting wave riders. Despite the crowded setting, however, the beach is open to the public, by law, and there is parking available. Summer is the preferred season for surfing in the Sea of Cortés.
Set on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo San Lucas, only Divorce Beach is closer to Land's End than Playa Solmar. For those curious about the name, Solmar was named for the resort group which owns most of the surrounding real estate, from Grand Solmar and Solmar Resort to Playa Grande. Like all beaches in México, however, it is public by law, with public access. Solmar is definitely worth visiting for the sunset views, which are absolutely spectacular, and also for beachfront whale watching during the winter months. Under no conditions, however, should visitors even consider going in the water. The rip currents are fierce here, and occasional rogue waves are not unknown. Enjoy the sunsets, but stay away from the water.
Playa Las Viudas, or Widow's Beach, formerly known as Twin Dolphin Beach, is not among the most popular of the sandy seaside expanses in the Tourist Corridor, but it is an excellent place for those seeking a little peace and privacy. The beach itself is quite gorgeous - if a bit rocky - with excellent Sea of Cortés views. Located near Km 11 off the main highway, Widow's Beach is a long-time favorite of both local and visiting photographers, with tons of interesting volcanic rock formations. Swimming is not recommended here, mainly because of all the rocks, but this remains a great choice for beach walkers and shell hunters.
Playa Chileno is one of the most beautiful in the area, and has been consistently certified as a Blue Flag beach for its water quality, safety and services. As one might imagine, Chileno Beach is quite popular, particularly on weekends. Shade is provided by palapas or rental umbrellas, and some water-based activities rentals are also available here. The snorkeling is very good, and many charter companies from Cabo San Lucas anchor offshore for tours. There is also plenty of parking, plus all basic services, including bathrooms and handicap access. New resort and residential developments have altered some of the views, but this is still a preferred spot for locals.
Beautiful Tourist Corridor based Playa Palmilla is one of the best swimming beaches in the area, with a protected cove and generally tranquil Sea of Cortés waters. The swimming conditions are so good, in fact, that Playa Palmilla hosts the swim leg of the annual Ironman Los Cabos 70.3 half-triathlon. Snorkeling, fishing and kayaking are also good here, and the beach is likewise a congenial spot for sunning or scenic walks. For access, take the Palmilla exit at Km. 27. Palmilla is Blue Flag certified beach, with all the expected services. Public parking is available, for example, and palapas are on hand for those seeking a bit of shade.
Although not quite as popular as Tourist Corridor neighbor Playa Chileno, this exquisitely lovely horseshoe-shaped beach is definitely worth a visit. Protected Bahia Santa Maria includes a marine sanctuary, and there is a colorful array of sea life visible here. If you're not snorkeling with a tour, you'll need to bring your own equipment, as there are few rentals or services at Santa María...unless of course you're staying at Montage Los Cabos, a recently opened 39-acre luxury resort with beachfront access. This Blue Flag certified beach still has all the public services and access, however, including a parking lot and restrooms.
Playa Los Cerritos is located about forty-five minutes north of Los Cabos, just before the artists' colony of Todos Santos. Head north from Cabo San Lucas on Highway 19, then look for a turn off road to the left around the kilometer 65 mark. This is a beautiful beach, one famed for its surfing conditions. During the winter months when the Sea of Cortés surf scene goes dormant, locals and visiting surfers head to Pacific Coast beaches like Los Cerritos, San Pedrito and La Pastora. But the surf is great here on a year-round basis, and both rentals and lessons are available.
One of the signature beaches in the San José del Cabo area, Playa Costa Azul offers sun, sand and surf, plus plenty of great food and drink at Zipper's Bar and Grill. Costa Azul is located near Km 29 on the Carretera Transpeninsular, and has all the standard beach services. The best surf breaks are found at Zippers and The Rock, with the beginner-friendly Middle Break frequently used for lessons. Zippers surf break is the site of the annual WSL sponsored Los Cabos Open of Surf, and gets crowded during the summer months. Despite the fact this is a good place for snorkeling and swimming, it's a good idea to be alert and careful. Otherwise you might be run down by a rogue longboarder. The cantina is a popular place for lunch, dinner, drinks or a little shade after some seaside sunning. There are a few vendors at Costa Azul, but they are not overly aggressive.
Lover's and Divorce Beaches are as close as you can get to Land's End, the peninsula's southernmost point, without a boat. However, visitors will need to hire a water taxi or other water-based transportation to access them. Lover's Beach is on the Sea of Cortés side, and offers safe swimming and very good snorkeling conditions. It also features spectacular views of the bay, and is the area's most famous site for romantic picnics and wedding related photo shoots. Neighboring Divorce Beach is accessible through a break in the rocks, and is distinguished by crashing Pacific Ocean waves. Warning: do not swim on the Pacific side due to strong rip currents and occasional rogue waves. There are no vendors or services on either beach, so pack accordingly.
Ground zero for the Spring Break madness in March, Playa El Médano remains busy throughout the year, and is in many ways the center of social life in Cabo San Lucas. The beach is huge, about two miles long, and filled with restaurants, bars, souvenirs vendors and water-based activities rentals. You can rent wave runners, kayaks, go parasailing, have a water taxi take you out to Land's End or Lover's Beach, or drop you off back at the marina. The water is extremely calm here, and although you won't find any lifeguards in Cabo San Lucas, areas are roped off for swimming.