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What’s the difference between Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas?

We get asked all the time, “What’s the difference between Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas?” All the different Cabos can be confusing, so we thought we’d shed some light on the region and our main tourist areas to help you out.

If you’re visiting Los Cabos (which we’ll explain more in a second!), we would love to take you out on a tour of our beautiful hometown.

At High Tide Los Cabos, we offer everything from surf lessons to canyon hiking and so much more. Join us for an outdoor adventure and get to know the landscape up close and personally. 

Now, let’s dive into the differences between Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, and Los Cabos… If you still have questions after reading, feel free to contact us any time!

Aerial view of the marina at Cabo San Lucas

The marina in Cabo San Lucas

Is Los Cabos the Same as Cabo San Lucas?

Los Cabos is the region at the southern tip of Baja California Sur, Mexico. We have tons of ideas for fun things to do on the Baja Peninsula, which includes Baja California in the north and Baja California Sur in the south.

Within Los Cabos, you’ll find Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. These two towns are the two Cabos, or Los Cabos. 

It’s easy to see how it gets confusing for visitors!

To top it off, many people refer to Cabo San Lucas as simply “Cabo” even though there’s another Cabo nearby. Typically, Cabo refers to Cabo San Lucas while Los Cabos could mean the whole region or the two towns: Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.

There is definitely a difference between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. While Los Cabos includes both, it’s important to know which one better suits your vacation preferences before you book your accommodation.

Lucky for you, our High Tide adventure tours run from both towns and cover all of Los Cabos! 

Colorful buildings in the center of San José del Cabo in Los Cabos Mexico

Center of San José del Cabo

Which is better: Cabo San Lucas or San José del Cabo?

The two Cabos are very different and appeal to different types of visitors depending on the kind of vacation they desire. To give you an idea of locations and activities, take a look at this map of Los Cabos showing the difference between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo:

High Tide Los Cabos tours and activities map


As you can see, San José del Cabo is located about a 20-minute drive along the coast from Cabo San Lucas. The Los Cabos International Airport is located in San José del Cabo, which is where most tourists arrive. 

In San José del Cabo, you’ll find a quaint, traditional Mexican town with architecture reflecting the Spanish colonial era. Family-owned restaurants and lots of boutique art galleries make San José del Cabo an idyllic stay for culture enthusiasts and those seeking a quiet getaway in beautiful surroundings.

Art galleries and colorful buildings in the center of San José del

San José del Cabo

Cabo San Lucas, on the other hand, is known as a party town with lots of resorts and bars catering to the late-night crowds. If you want to let loose and dance until your feet hurt, Cabo San Lucas is your spot!

If you hear someone say they’re going to Cabo, they probably mean Cabo San Lucas. It’s taken on the shortened version over the years even though there’s more than one Cabo.

As we mentioned, it’s only about a 20-minute drive between the Cabos, lined with hotels along the coast. You could definitely see both towns during your visit to Los Cabos, so don’t worry about having to choose between the two!

That said, you don’t want to spend every day going back and forth by car. We think it’s best to choose either Cabo San Lucas or San José del Cabo to spend the majority of your time and then just visit the other to see the differences for yourself.

Why visit Los Cabos?

Now that you know the difference between Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, and San José del Cabo, let us tell you all the reasons why you should visit! 

People walking on the beach in Los Cabos


Los Cabos is a beautiful region offering desert and sea all in one small space. You can go hiking in the canyons and finish your day with a cool cocktail on the beach at sunset. Or you can go surfing in the morning and drive a 4×4 through the desert in the afternoon. Get the best of both worlds!

If you’re seeking Mexican culture and local traditions, stay in San José del Cabo and take advantage of the locally-owned establishments there. You could spend your mornings at the beach or paddling out in a kayak and then try local dishes while dining al fresco for a relaxing evening. 

If you want to party all night in Cabo San Lucas, give yourself extra time in the morning to ease into your day and take advantage of an afternoon siesta! That still leaves plenty of time for snorkeling, kayaking, or trying your hand at stand-up paddle boarding in the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas.

Whatever interests you most, choose the best place to stay in Los Cabos that suits your needs. Whether you’re in San José del Cabo or Cabo San Lucas, we have pick-up locations for all our awesome adventure tours.

Join us for some fun in the sun at High Tide Los Cabos! If you still have questions about the differences between the two Cabos and where you should visit, feel free to reach out. We’re more than happy to help.

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