Cabo San Lucas on a Budget may sound like a fairy tale, but it’s not. We go all the time and we love it and we enjoy it on the cheap. This post will show you how you can too! In addition to ideas of things to do on a budget, this post also includes places to stay and inexpensive places to eat. Obviously I did not include every option, but I assure you there are tons of hotels and eating establishments that are not outrageous.
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Best Time to Visit Cabo San Lucas
The ideal times to visit Cabo San Lucas would be May to June and October to November. Because these are considered “shoulder” months you can not only avoid large tourists crowds, but you have the best possibly of finding the best deals at hotels and resorts. That being said, the quietest and least expensive time to visit would be May to June.
Top Things to Do In Cabo San Lucas
- Enjoy a Sunset at Land’s End
- Visit San Jose del Cabo
- Play on Lovers & Divorce Beach
- Day Trip to Todos Santos
- Snorkeling at Santa Maria Beach
- Eat Fish Tacos
- Stroll Marina Cabo San Lucas
- Go Whale Watching
- Relax on Playa Mendano
- Check out Chileno Beach
Take the Bus
Number one tip for Cabo San Lucas on a budget is to take the bus to get around. The Ruta Del Desierto, or the purple and yellow bus, is actually a convenient and cheap option. You can take the bus just from the airport to your hotel or resort or use it to get around the area. Of course if you decide to take the bus from the airport, you will need to walk to Terminal One. Once you gather your luggage you will then take a 10 minute or so walk. Obviously, this option may not work for everyone.
We normally take the bus from the airport to our hotel in Cabo San Lucas. The cost is about 8-10 pesos per person and the buses arrive every 8 to 10 minutes. It takes about an hour to get to our hotel, and yes, we have walk across the road to access the hotel.
Before you get too excited about the time frame, the first time we visited Cabo, we arranged for shuttle transportation in advance. It cost $48 for the two of us, and we shared the van with other people. First, we had to wait outside for at least 30 minutes for all passengers to arrive. Then we had to stop at every passenger’s resort before arriving at our hotel, which took about an hour.
For us, it’s a no brainer, but you can decide for yourself. I will say the bus is not as good of an option when leaving Cabo if you have an early flight. In that case, I would take a different form of transportation.
Budget Friendly Hotel Options
If you don’t feel the need to stay in a fancy resort right on the beach, then you have so many options. First of all, The Fairfield Inn by Marriott, is our favorite. This is our opinion, not an affiliate sponsorship here. We have stayed here numerous times because the rates are fantastic, the staff is wonderful and it’s just a 12 minute walk to Playa Medano. Not to mention they have a superb breakfast buffet and the hotel is close to everything. I am happy to pay on average $70 a night for all this. They are pet friendly as well.
Additionally you can find great hotel rates on Booking.com.
There are a plethora of restaurants and taco stands to enjoy in Cabo San Lucas on a budget. Of course, these are some of our favorites, but every time we visit, we try to find something new.
Maria Jiminez’s Mexican Restaurant
Wonderful authentic and inexpensive Mexican cuisine. A must when you visit.
Best Fish Tacos and wonderful owners!
We love Wicked Pizza!. Local tip, go on Wednesdays for half price pizza.
Taco Gus has amazing Huaraches (if you don’t know what these are, you must try at least once) and Shrimp Tacos. Definitely my favorite because they bring you so much food and the prices are wonderful!
Marisicos Tres Islas
Great Seafood and Terrific Prices – The shrimp three ways was simply amazing!
Free Things to See & Do in Cabo San Lucas
Fun in the Sun at Playa Mendono
Well the beach is why you go to Cabo San Lucas right? So Playa el Medano is everything you would imagine a popular Mexican beach to be. Lots of people, music, water sports, restaurants, vendors and fun! If you love taking long walks on the beach like I do, then this is a destination you will want to visit. Many of the resorts are located along this beach so you may end up here by default. Don’t be put off by the vendors, as there are many, but let’s be honest, they are just trying to make a living and they are not pushy and a polite No Gracias, will keep them moving along.
Climb Mt. Solmar
We had a cloudy day while in Cabo and decided to take a break from the beach by hiking Mt. Solmar. This is a moderate hike and not too strenuous, just stay on the marked path. Of course it’s well worth the effort to see the unique view of Land’s End and Divorce beach from above. However It’s important to note that to access Mt. Solmer you must pass through private property, but the owner is really nice and will open the gate and let you through as long as you ask nicely.
Enjoy the Day at Chileno Beach
This lovely little oasis is about 9 miles from Cabo San Lucas and is a 28 pesos bus ride each way, per person. Which translates into roughly a $1.50. If you spend any time at Playa Medano then you will want to come to Chileno for a break from the crowds. It’s a small hidden gem of a beach but you will love the peace and quiet, the lack of folks trying to sell you stuff and if you bring your snorkel gear you can enjoy some pretty sweet sites right off the beach. A very wonderful afternoon and it was free except for the bus ride, which was pretty darn cheap.
Visit Museum of Natural History
Located in what was an elementary school, the Museo de Historia Natural, is not only interesting for adults, but for children as well. In addition to exhibits dedicated to paleobotany and paleoanthropology with fossils, you can also find exhibits on astronomy, geology, and paleontology. In addition you can learn about the history of Cabo San Lucas and how it evolved to what it is today. Of course, most people that visit Cabo love the water, and there is another area dedicated to the marine history of Cabo San Lucas.
Explore The Estuary of San Jose del Cabo
As a matter of fact, this is a great option if you take a day trip to explore San Jose del Cabo. The Estuary of San Jose del Cabo is a desert oasis right by the San Jose River. It provides a sanctuary for many exotic bird species in the area. You can enjoy walks along protected trails and spot over 100 species of birds, fish, and turtles. Also, it’s easy to access because it’s just outside the Hotel Zone.
Take a Rental Water Taxi to see the Landmarks
Visiting Land’s End and Whale watching tours can be expensive in Cabo San Lucas, up to $130 per person. But that does not mean they have to be. Instead of the taking a private tour, head over to the Marina and opt for a pubic water taxi. The cost runs about $10 per person and that is a huge savings to put towards other activities. Of course, the public taxis will have larger groups on board, and no refreshments, but the cost savings makes it worth it.
Another great free thing to do is to just casually stroll around the marina in the evening.
Hike Sierra de la Laguna
Another wonderful free adventure to enjoy is hiking Sierra de la Laguna. This is a UNESCO-listed reserve at the southern end of the Baja California. Not only can you enjoy a day of glorious nature and scenic views, but you can take a break from the beach and endless water sports. In addition to hiking you can also go climbing, mountain biking, or just take a walk on a deserted mountain trail. You can begin your hike at the Rancho San Dionísio trail marker, 23 km north of downtown Cabo San Lucas. Also be sure to take plenty of water, wear a head covering and good shoes for the day.
Obviously you will need to find all these places if you go to Cabo. Therefore, we are including a map to help you get around.
Map to Take With You
In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed this Cabo San Lucas on a budget post. Cabo is a wonderful place to vacation, but so many people stay in all inclusive resorts and really miss the full experience.
If you’re interested in other budget friendly trips to Mexico, check out Things to do and see in Puerto Vallarta when planning your trip.
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