Los Cabos is very much a dog-friendly destination, with a wonderful array of dog-welcoming resorts, residences, restaurants, and yes, beaches. However, for dog-owning vacationers or newly arrived dog-owning residents, there are a few things that are important to know. Beyond flying with pets (which has its own protocols, detailed here), most local resorts that welcome dogs don’t do so indiscriminately. What that means is Los Cabos resorts typically welcome only small and medium sized dogs up to about 40 pounds. When it comes to the best dog-friendly beaches in Los Cabos, meanwhile, the main thing dog owners need to be aware of is Blue Flag beaches.
As we recently profiled at CaboViVO, Los Cabos has more Blue Flag beaches than any destination in México (25). These beaches are excellent in terms of services and sustainability, but they’re not at all friendly to dogs (meaning, pets aren’t allowed). So knowing these beaches (provided in the article linked here) provides a handy list of “where not to go” for a dog walk/day at the beach. If you look online for reviews of local dog walking beaches to avoid, you’ll see the same three names repeated: Playa Palmilla, Playa Chileno, and Playa Santa María. This is to not a surprise, as those were the first Blue Flag beaches in the area. As recently as five years ago, there were only those three. Now, obviously, there are far more.
Finding the Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Los Cabos
Luckily for dogs and their owners/”parents”, Los Cabos has way more than 25 beaches – the municipality that’s home to cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo boasts more than 100 miles of coastline, with innumerable playas – and outside those that are Blue Flag certified, virtually every other stretch of sand is in fact dog-friendly. Many beaches are secluded or lightly frequented. Which is to say, without rules or regulations of any kind, and thus perfect for letting Max or Daisy off the leash.
As valuable as these less crowded or off-the-beaten-path beaches are – Los Cabos’ East Cape is especially rich in this regard – dogs and their owners shouldn’t feel as if they’re not welcome at many of the best-known beaches. That’s simply not the case. As a matter of fact, the most popular playas in both Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo are dog-friendly (Médano Beach in Cabo San Lucas has some off-limits areas to be aware of, however). These social centers feature restaurants and/or bars where dogs and their owners can eat and drink, as well as plenty of space for walking, and abundant opportunities to meet new four-legged friends. Of course, the more popular a beach is, generally speaking, the more likely leashing will be expected or explicitly required.
So with this in mind, here are our suggestions for the “best dog-friendly beaches in Los Cabos.”
Playa del Amor – Cabo San Lucas
The most iconic beach in Los Cabos, Playa del Amor – or, in English, Lover’s Beach – is situated on the half-mile Land’s End headline, and along with neighboring Playa del Divorcio (Divorce Beach), is the closest beach to El Arco and what truly is Land’s End. Beloved by wedding photographers for much more than simply its name, Lover’s Beach offers gorgeous vistas and coastline views, particularly in the morning. There is actually great snorkeling nearby, too. It should be pointed out, however, that one should never swim off neighboring Divorce Beach due to strong Pacific rip currents. For dogs, both Lover’s and Divorce Beaches are wonderful playgrounds. Lover’s Beach is accessible only by boat, meaning the small pangas (or water taxis) that throng the marina area. Water taxi drivers typically charge by the person, and thus may want to negotiate to take a dog or dogs. But getting there shouldn’t be a problem. The real issue is getting dogs in and out of the boat. If your dog is too big to lift or carry, you may want to skip Lover’s Beach for this reason. It’s also important to bring water for yourself and your pooch, as there are rarely any vendors here. Bring what you need and be prepared to clean up after yourself. A little more effort is required here, in other words. Which is why, in terms of convenience, Lover’s Beach may not be among the best dog-friendly beaches in Los Cabos. But there’s no question it’s the most memorably spectacular.
Playa Los Cerritos – El Pescadero
Cerritos may be the best Los Cabos dog beach, in that it has everything. Long a destination spot for surfers due to its great year-round conditions, Cerritos is also perfect for dog walking, frisbee catching, tennis ball retrieval, runs along the shoreline as Pacific Ocean waves roll in … Basically, whatever you and your best friend feel like doing. The beach is very long, so there’s plenty of room to play. A few more popular areas will require a leash, however, and a leash is also required to take advantage of day pass opportunities at Cerritos Surf Town Beach Hotel & Spa. Day passes are $40, which includes a $20 food and drink credit. Attractions like the swimming pool, hot tub, and surfboard rentals make this a great family hangout, and yes, dogs are welcome as long as they’re leashed. The hotel is right on the beach, so any time Buddy’s ready for a run, you’re conveniently close. The only real downside is the location, as Cerritos is a 45 minute drive from Cabo San Lucas, north along Hwy 19 (turn off is at Km 67).
Playa El Médano – Cabo San Lucas
Okay, so this one is complicated. But it’s important to include, because Médano Beach is not only the most popular beach in Los Cabos, it’s the center of social life in Cabo San Lucas. This is where locals go to hang out, and where tourists not only go to party and work on their tans, but also negotiate many outdoor activities. So, why is it complicated? Well, Playa El Médano (or Médano Beach, either version works) is home to no less than 12 Blue Flag beaches. How is it possible that nearly half the region’s 25 Blue Flag certified beaches are contained within one larger beach? Well. Médano Beach is really big – about two miles long – and all those Blue Flag certifications belong to sandy stretches in front of individual resorts (Breathless, Casa Dorada, Cascadas de Baja, ME Cabo, Pueblo Bonito Blanco and Rosé, RIU Palace, RIU Santa Fe, RIU Palace Baja California, Villa del Palmar, Villa El Arco, and Villa La Estancia). So pets are not welcome in front of those resorts, each of which has beach style lounge seating set up for guests. But that still leaves a lot of beach left to enjoy with your pooch, whether that means walking, playing fetch, or chilling. The most popular cantina on the beach is the famed Mango Deck, and yes, it’s dog-friendly. Leashing is pretty much recommended everywhere on Playa El Médano because of the crowds, but for those seeking more freedom, the beach traffic does thin out to the east past the big resorts. Don’t be scared away because of the fact that a few spots are off-limits. Dogs are definitely welcome on much of the beach, and in many of the bars and restaurants. Médano Beach begins at the eastern end of the Marina (in front of Breathless) and follows the coastline.
Playa Costa Azul – San José del Cabo
Playas Costa Azul and Los Cerritos actually have a lot in common. Both are renowned surf beaches. Costa Azul, for example, is home to the Zippers surfbreak that once was the site of Los Cabos’ only WSL (World Surf League) sponsored surfing event. Beyond that, both beaches are quite large and consistently popular, but with one end that’s much less used, and thus perfect for unleashed dog-friendly fun. The more crowded part of Costa Azul is the section centered around Zipper’s – the restaurant, not the surfbreak. Zipper’s is one of the best beach hangouts in the area, with good food and drinks, and a pet-friendly attitude. Dogs should be leashed in the restaurant, of course, as well as on the more populated portion of the beach. The main difference between Los Cerritos and Costa Azul is that the latter is located in San José del Cabo, and thus is much more convenient for those who live or are staying anywhere in Los Cabos except Cabo San Lucas. If you’re driving from Cabo San Lucas, Playa Costa Azul is on the right as you drive into San José del Cabo, at Km 28.5.
There are plenty of other great local beaches that welcome dogs, but these are the four we’d rank as the closest pairing in terms of best dog-friendly beaches in Los Cabos and best beaches period. These are also beaches that, by and large, are equally enjoyable for both dogs and their pets.
Saludos from Co-Founders…
Chris Sands – Writer and Michael Mattos