Despite its reputation for romantic resorts and rowdy nightlife, Cabo San Lucas is actually a very good family-friendly vacation destination. Many local lodgings offer onsite kids clubs with supervised activities, babysitting options are readily available, and there are a wealth of outdoor activities that will appeal to children of all ages.
Cabo Submarine and Cabo Dolphins are two of the top choices for young children, and both provide memorable experiences in non-threatening environments. Cabo Submarine’s yellow semi-submersible showcases the abundance of colorful marine life in the Sea of Cortés from a comfortable underwater viewing cabin, while Cabo Dolphin provides up-close-and-personal dolphin encounters in very shallow water.
Older kids, meanwhile, may prefer surf lessons at High Tide Sea Expeditions, where they can learn wave riding from a former Mexican national champion. Swimming with whale sharks tours and a snorkel/scuba hybrid called “snuba” are among the cool offerings from Cabo Expeditions, while the Baja California peninsula’s biggest theme park, Wild Canyon, draws raves from visiting teens for its adrenaline-pumping adventures, which range from zip-line courses to off-road racing.
Baja Babysitting is a great option for visiting parents. The company offers access to high-quality, bilingual babysitters who are happy to take of the kids (from 3 months to 14 years old) while Mom and Dad enjoy a little time to themselves. The sitters all travel with bathing suits, so they’re able to entertain the kids poolside at the hotel or rental villa. Sitters are also available to provide an extra set of hands-on beach trips, picnics and other excursions. The sitters are thoroughly vetted, and parents are given contact info for their references. As an added bonus, Baja Babysitting gives parents a local cell phone so they can check on the kids at any time.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Baja Babysitting offers care and entertainment for kids while parents enjoy a little time to themselves.
Chris’s expert tip: Parents are given a local cell phone so they can talk to their kids at any time.
Surf lessons from the former national champion of México may be the most popular water-based activities option from High Tide, but the company’s most iconic offering is a kayak paddle out to Land’s End and the Arch, with a stop at Lover’s and Divorce Beaches for sun, sand, snorkeling, snacks and superb photo opportunities. Stand up paddle boards are also available on this tour. Less active pursuits include an introduction to San José del Cabo’s weekly Art Walk, and off-road jeep explorations of East Cape sites like Cabo Pulmo, a rustic seaside paradise whose offshore marine sanctuary boasts one of the oldest and largest living coral reefs in the Western Hemisphere.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: High Tide’s surfing lessons are popular with visiting kids, and its snorkel and kayak adventures are also family-friendly.
Chris’s expert tip: High Tide doesn’t maintain an activities office, but rather offers round-trip transportation to and from each guest’s resort. This service is included in the ticket price.
Guests at Playa El Médano based resorts in Cabo San Lucas have the easiest access to Aqua World – it’s a short walk from the beach – but this newly opened aquatic themed kids park is worth driving to, thanks to a collection of over 20 fun-filled, wet and dry attractions. Giant waterslides, including one that runs virtually the length of the park, have proven to be the biggest hit with the younger set. Teens or older kids too cool for playground style crowd-pleasers like wading pools and merry-go-rounds can lounge or splash about in the oversized swimming pool. Private poolside cabañas can be rented by the day for accompanying parents, and the park restaurant serves up hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken wings and other comfort food favorites.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Aqua-World is one of only two water parks in Los Cabos and is the only one easily accessible to tourists.
Chris’s expert tip: Party areas with cake and gift tables are an option for kids celebrating their birthdays during a vacation trip to Los Cabos.
Los Cabos spas typically offer signature treatments that revolve around a unifying concept. At The Spa at Las Ventanas al Paraíso, the menu is a showcase for treatments inspired by the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. What really sets the spa apart from the competition, however, are its special programs for kids and pets. The Rose Bud Junior menu, for example, offers an array of massages, manis, pedis, and mini facials for children ages 5 to 13. A parent or guardian must be present during these spa visits, so treatments like the Mom or Dad and Me – in which a parent and child receive side-by-side Swedish style massages – are a popular option. Dogs, too, are treated like VIPs at Las Ventanas: canine pampering options include dog butlers, doga (dog yoga) classes and soothing massages.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Spa treatments for kids are part of the resort’s Rose Bud Junior menu.
Chris’s expert tip: Las Ventanas al Paraíso offers special massages for kids ages 5 to 13.
The Baja California peninsula’s biggest and baddest theme park, Wild Canyon, is home to a wide array of hair-raising and adrenaline-pumping adventures, ranging from zip-lining and bungee jumping to sling swings and off-road racing. Although it’s easily the top stop in Los Cabos for thrill-seeking teenagers, Wild Canyon does offer slower paced pursuits like camel rides and, most recently, an exotic petting zoo. The park is located near Playa El Tule in the Tourist Corridor that connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. After your tour, grab burgers and drinks at the tropical-themed Lion’s Den restaurant.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Teenagers will love Wild Canyon’s collection of extreme activities, which include zip-lining and bungee jumping.
Chris’s expert tip: The palapa-topped, tropical-themed Lion’s Den is a great place to have a cold beverage and relive your adventures. Comfort food specialties like burgers and chicken wings headline the menu options, and meal add-ons are also available as a $12 ticket upgrade.
Few local adventure companies can match Cabo Expeditions’ variety of eco-themed activities, which include whale watching and swimming with whale sharks (seasonal), parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and day trips to Isla Espíritu Santo off the coast of La Paz. Perhaps the best thing about the company’s collection of land and water-based activities is that they cover a good portion of Baja California Sur, and thus provide visitors with wide-ranging introductions to the area’s incredible biodiversity. A snorkel/dive hybrid called “snuba” is a great choice for kids, since it requires no certifications, and allows ample time underwater (about 30 minutes) to appreciate the abundance of colorful fish and fauna in offshore waters.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Sea Trek and Snuba excursions are among the area’s best family-friendly activities options.
Chris’s expert tip: Week-long snorkel and kayak tours explore UNESCO protected islands near Loreto and La Paz.
The Baja California peninsula hosts the most famous off-road race on the planet, the rugged and challenging Baja 1000. Over the years, scores of Los Cabos based activities companies have attempted to replicate this experience on a smaller scale, but few have succeeded quite like Cabo Adventures. Their new Off-Road Adventure is a complete blast, thanks in large part to the outstanding course layout, which features everything from bumps, jumps and water hazards to switchbacks and spectacular Pacific Ocean views. There are even a few cows and horses wandering around as driver’s attempt to steer their Polaris high performance vehicles safely through winding, cactus-strewn desert terrain. Not content with mere thrills, Cabo Adventures adds a culinary dimension at the end, serving up delicious, all-you-can-eat sopes (a traditional Mexican favorite) in a breezy beachfront dining area.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Kids can’t drive the buggies until they’re 18, but those eight and older can enjoy the high-speed twists and turns from the passenger seat.
Chris’s expert tip: Drivers and passengers alike will finish this adventure both wet and extremely dusty, so dress accordingly.
Cuadra San Francisco is one of the Los Cabos area’s hidden gems, offering virtually every equine-related activity imaginable: trail rides over local terrain, romantic rides along secluded beaches, carriage rides for weddings or special events…even polo lessons. The late Francisco Barrera trained under Nuno Oliveira, the Portuguese legend considered by many to be the most outstanding horseman of the 20th century, and his son Valente excels at teaching dressage, and the traditional techniques of Mexican vaqueros. The stables are located in the Tourist Corridor, just off the Cabo Real Golf course, and maintain close to fifty horses. Pony-sized horses with special saddles are available for kids, who can take lessons in either riding or archery.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Riding excursions and archery lessons are available for visiting children.
Chris’s expert tip: Cuadra San Francisco maintains a riding school with lessons for all ages and ability levels. Contact them @LosCabosHorses on Facebook for lesson prices and availability.
This 60′ yellow semi-submersible takes up to fifty guests on one-hour tours of Cabo San Lucas Bay, with abundant views of the local marine life from their climate-controlled underwater viewing cabin, and the occasional Beatles song (you guess which one) as mood music. Helpful guides allow you to identify up to 70 types of fish (everything from dolphins and whales to colorful puffer fish), and if it isn’t on the chart, the crew are readily available to answer questions. On the return trip, the submarine hugs the coast near Land’s End, offering up-close looks at The Arch, and other notable rock formations like Pelican Rock and Neptune’s Finger.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This is one of the best tour options for younger children.
Chris’s expert tip: Cabo Submarine get closer to landmarks like Land’s End and The Arch than most boats and provides some superb photo opportunities.
Dolphin swims are among the most popular tickets in town. There are actually several ways to experience these delightful and intelligent creatures: encounters, swims and the more in-depth trainer for a day program. The encounters occur in shallow water, and are recommended for young children, pregnant women and the elderly. Swims aren’t very physically demanding, either, as the dolphins do all the work, with visitors hanging onto their pectoral or dorsal fins as they zip around the large pool. The pool is quite cool, by the way, as it has to be maintained at a temperature comfortable for the dolphins. Wetsuits are provided.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Dolphin encounters are a great option for young children, while dolphin swims are the preferred option for ages 8 and up.
Chris’s expert tip: All Cabo Dolphins tours are assigned a photographer, and dolphin swims and encounters are exhaustively and professionally photographed.