Cancun vs Cabo: Which One Is Better for a Mexican Vacation?
Cabo San Lucas and Cancun are two of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. They are both known for their beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and endless sun.
So, which one is right for you? I’ll be comparing the two destinations to help you decide. Below, you’ll find all the info you need to make an informed decision about which destination to pick for your next vacation. Let’s start with a brief intro for both.
Cancun vs Cabo | Cancun at a glance
Cancun is one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico located on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. It’s renowned mainly for its beautiful beaches, high-rise all-inclusive resorts, and lively nightlife.
But Cancun is not only about the beach. The city makes a perfect base for incredible itineraries around the Yucatan peninsula exploring the ancient Mayan Ruins and the prehispanic culture.
Cancun, as we know it today, was founded in 1970 as a planned resort city. It was developed to boost tourism in Mexico and attract foreign visitors.
The city quickly became a popular destination for spring breakers and young people looking to party.
In recent years, however, Cancun has become more family-friendly, with a number of luxury resorts and hotels catering to families and couples.
Cancun vs Cabo | Cabo at a glance
Cabo is another popular resort destination at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.
The area is known for its white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and lush green landscapes. It is also a popular destination for its white-sand beaches, world-class scuba diving and snorkeling, luxurious all-inclusive resorts and golf courses, and much more.
Once a small fishing village, tourism to Cabo began to skyrocket in the 1970s after the town was discovered by Hollywood celebrities. Today, Cabo is a popular tourist destination for both Mexicans and international visitors.
Now that you know a little bit about each location, let’s compare them across different areas.
Cancun vs Cabo | Best Time to Visit Cancun and Cabo
Best time to visit Cancun
The best time to visit Cancun is from December to April, as this is when the weather is the most pleasant. The average temperature during this time is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is important to note that Cancun can be quite crowded during this peak season.
If crowds aren’t your thing and you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation, it might be best to visit Cancun from late April to August.
Although the weather is hot and humid during these months, there are typically fewer tourists and the prices are noticeably lower on tickets and accommodations.
Another option is to visit in November, a month before the peak season begins in December. You’ll get very pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices, but the downside is that there won’t be as many activities available.
Best time to visit Cabo
If you want amazing weather and the most activities at your disposal, the best time to visit Cabo is from November to April when the temperatures are mild and there is little rainfall.
Of course, tourists from all over the world will be flocking into the town to take advantage of these perks as well, so expect more crowds and higher prices due to demand.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, however, mid-April to mid-June and September to mid-October is the best times to visit Cabo. These shoulder seasons offer lovely weather and reasonable rates at hotels and resorts.
Cancun VS Cabo | Costs
A trip to Cancun can be great value for your money. The average cost of a 7-day trip for two people is about $2,000-2,500, which includes airfare, lodging, food, and activities.
The average cost of a hotel room in Cancun can range from $120-250 per night. When it comes to dining out, you can expect to spend about $30-50 per day. Transportation costs can also add up, with taxis being quite expensive if used regularly.
If you are on a tight budget, you can find cheap hotels and restaurants that will allow you to experience Cancun without spending a lot of money.
However, if you want to stay in luxury accommodations and eat at the best restaurants, then you can expect to spend a lot more.
The best way to save some bucks is to travel during the low season and look for packages instead of separate rates.
Click on the image below to open Expedia and find the best packages to Cancun⤵️
All told, you can expect to spend around $3,000 for a seven-day trip to Cabo San Lucas for two people. That may seem like a lot, but when you consider all that Cabo has to offer, it’s actually quite reasonable.
For lodging, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 per night for a basic hotel room to more than $1000 per night for a luxury resort. For activities, you can expect to pay around $100 per day for things like tours and excursions. And finally, for food and drink, you can expect to spend about $30 per day.
If you’re on a budget, there are ways to save money while still enjoying your trip.
For example, consider staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel. This can help you save on accommodation costs.
You may also want to eat at local restaurants rather than in more expensive tourist spots. And finally, be sure to research any free or discounted activities in the area.
Even in Cabo San Lucas, as much as in Cancun choose to travel in the low season or check out some packages on Expedia to save money.
Cancun VS Cabo | connectivity (easy to reach)
It’s actually very easy to reach Cancun, thanks to the town being a major tourist hub and the Cancun International Airport.
The airport receives direct flights from many major cities around the world, so in most cases, you won’t find it difficult to reach the town.
You can read all about how to get from Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone or other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula or check out a quick summary on this table of content.
ONE WAY COST
US$ 39 (from 1 to 3 p)
US$ 30 - 70 (per day)
30 min - 60 min
US$ 10 (per person)
from 85 USD
$US 5 (per person)
$US 80 - 100 (per taxi)
The city is also very well-connected to other parts of Mexico, making it a great base for exploring the country.
You can easily take a day trip to great destinations like Valladolid, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and many more.
Also, renting a car in Cancun is a great option and a very safe alternative to tours or public transportation, as it will give you more freedom to go where you want at your own pace.
Visitors from the US can easily reach Cabo San Lucas by flying into Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), which is located just outside of the city. From there, it is a short drive or taxi ride to any of the major hotels and resorts.
There are also a number of shuttle and private transportation options available for those who do not want to drive.
However, if you’re coming from another country, reaching Cabo can be more complicated. As of writing this article, there are no direct flights from most places outside of North America, so you’ll have to make at least one stopover before reaching your final destination.
Cancun VS Cabo | Beaches
The beaches in Cancun are definitely some of the best in Mexico. They are clean and well-maintained, and there is a wide variety of them to choose from.
However, Cancun beaches are basically one huge 25km beach that runs along the Hotel Zone.
A couple of exceptions are Isla Blanca and Playa Mujeres north of the Cancun hotel zone.
Also, from Cancun, you can easily get to the nearby town of Puerto Morelos or further south to the Riviera Maya which stretches all the way to Tulum and the Sian Kaan Biosphere.
At almost all popular beaches, visitors can find plenty of activities to keep them busy, from swimming and sunbathing to windsurfing and parasailing.
Although on Cancun beach there are no regular beach bars, you can purchase a day pass in one of the all-inclusive resorts and enjoy their facilities.
In the past few years, Cancun has been experiencing an issue with sargassum seaweed. Sargassum season usually lasts from May to September, and sometimes even into October.
The seaweed can range in thickness from a few inches to several feet. During this season it can be difficult to find a spot on the beach that is free of seaweed.
However, there are still plenty of places to enjoy the sun and sand, and a lot of beach clubs and hotels make an extra effort to clean up their sections of the beach so their visitors can still enjoy the best that Cancun has to offer.
Where to go if there is sargasso in the Cancun area
Even if there is Sargasso on Cancun beach you are in luck, because you can take a ferry to Isla Mujeres or visit Isla Blanca which is usually Sargasso-free.
Beaches in Cabo offer something for everyone – from secluded stretches of sand where you can relax and soak up the sun, to active beaches where you can find people windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding.
However while in Cancun it’s just one long beach, in Cabo you will find spectacular secluded small bays and you will need a car to get to them.
It’s worth mentioning here that Cabo doesn’t have a sargassum seaweed issue during the off-season.
Cancun VS Cabo | Best Hotels and Resorts
Best Hotels and Resorts in Cancun
Travelers who are looking for the best hotels and resorts in Cancun will find that there are plenty of options to choose from. The city’s resorts offer both luxury accommodations and budget-friendly options.
JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
The JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa is one of the best hotels in Cancun. It offers luxurious accommodations, world-class service, and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.
The resort also has an on-site spa, fitness center, and several restaurants.
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun
Another great option for accommodations in Cancun is the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun. This hotel provides guests with lovely rooms overlooking the ocean, five-star service, an on-site casino, and much more.
Best Hotels and Resorts in Cabo
Cabo is a beautiful destination with many luxury hotels and resorts to choose from. Here are a few of the best places to stay during your next visit.
The Cape, A Thompson Hotel
The Cape, A Thompson Hotel is a modern and stylish hotel located on the beachfront in Cabo San Lucas. The hotel offers stunning views of the Sea of Cortez, and guests can enjoy amenities like an infinity pool, spa, and several restaurants and bars.
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort is another great option for those looking for a luxurious experience in Cabo.
This resort is located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the area and offers everything you could want on a vacation, including golf, tennis, spa services, and more.
Cabo vs Cancun | Things to Do in Cabo and Cancun
Before diving into the top things to do in both destinations, you should know that while Cancun and the entire Yucatan Peninsula are completely flat, Cabo San Lucas has the mountain of the rocky desert of the Sierra de la Laguna as a backdrop.
That not only create a stunning landscape but offer great hiking opportunities. That means that if you are a hiker Cabo should be your first choice.
Things to do in Cancun
✔️ Relax on the Beach. Cancun’s beaches are world-renowned for their beauty. Soak up the sun, swim in the clear blue waters, or simply relax on the sand – there’s no wrong way to enjoy Cancun’s beaches.
✔️ Visit the ancient Mayan ruins. The most popular ruin to visit is Chichen Itza, but there are many others in the area that are worth exploring.
✔️ Go on a snorkeling or scuba diving trip in Cancun. The waters around Cancun are home to a wide variety of marine life, making it a great place to go snorkeling or diving.
✔️ If you visit during the right season, you can swim with whale sharks. The season for whale sharks in Cancun lasts from May to August. I highly recommend you do so as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
✔️ Take a day trip to Isla Mujeres. This small island off the coast of Cancun is a beautiful place to spend a day relaxing on the beach or exploring the island’s shops and restaurants.
✔️ Party at one of the many nightclubs – Cancun is famous for its nightlife, so make sure to go out and party at one of the many nightclubs.
✔️ The town is home to incredible restaurants. Sample the delicious cuisine ranging from Mexican to international fare.
✔️ Go shopping at the local markets or upscale malls.
✔️ Take a refreshing dip in one of Cancun’s many cenotes. These natural freshwater pools are formed by underground rivers and remain enjoyable even in the hottest weather.
✔️ Visit Xcaret Park. This eco-archaeological park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the culture and history of Mexico. The park has many different activities and sights to see, making it a great place to spend a day or two.
Things to do in Cabo
✔️ Take a Boat Tour. A boat tour is a great way to see all that Cabo has to offer. Make sure to take a tour of the famous El Arco rock formation. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
✔️ Go scuba diving or snorkeling. The waters around Cabo are teeming with marine life, and there are plenty of companies that offer both beginner and advanced diving trips.
✔️ Go Whale Watching. This is an amazing experience that you can also have in Cabo, but during different months compared to Cancun. The whale shark season in Cabo lasts from December through March
✔️ Spending some quality time on the beach. With its beautiful blue waters and sandy beaches, thousands of people flock to Cabo every year to relax on the shore.
✔️ Explore San Jose del Cabo. This historic town is full of charming streets and colonial buildings. Stop by one of the many art galleries or take a stroll through the quaint town square.
✔️ Sample both local and international cuisine at Cabo’s excellent restaurants.
✔️ Take a hike. There are plenty of trails to explore in Cabo, ranging from easy to challenging. Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the stunning scenery.
✔️ If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, there are a ton of options available from zip-lining and bungee jumping to whitewater rafting and surfing.
✔️ Cabo is home to many great shops and boutiques. You can find everything from clothing and jewelry to art and souvenirs. Spend a day browsing the shops and picking up some new treasures.
✔️ Take a day trip to Todos Santos. This small town is a Pueblo Magico located about an hour away from Cabo San Lucas and is known for its colonial architecture, art galleries, and cafes. There are also several nearby beaches that make for a perfect day trip.
Cancun vs Cabo | tours
Tours in Cancun
► If you’re interested in history, be sure to take a tour of the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, the UNESCO HERITAGE SITE and one of the world’s seven wonders ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Adventure seekers will love the Xplor Park tour. This eco-adventure park features zip lining, underground caverns, pools, off-road driving, and more.↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Tour the Underwater Museum of Art. The museum features over 500 life-sized sculptures. Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive around the sculptures, which are made from materials that encourage coral growth. You’ll also get to see a variety of fish and other marine life up close. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Take a sail and snorkel tour to Isla Mujeres. These tours will take you to the beautiful Isla Mujeres, where you can sail around the island and snorkel in the colorful reefs. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Cenotes are a must-see when visiting Cancun. You’ll find countless cenotes around Cancun, ranging from open air to completely submerged. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Isla Contoy is an uninhabited island located off the coast of Cancun. This island is a protected bird sanctuary and is home to many different species of birds. Visitors can take a tour of the island and learn about the different birds that live there. There are also many beautiful beaches on the island where visitors can relax and enjoy the view. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
Tours in Cabo
► Take a snorkeling tour. Cabo offers some of the best snorkeling in the world. The clear waters and abundance of marine life make it a snorkeler’s paradise. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Go on a hike in the nearby Sierra de la Laguna mountains. The tour includes transportation to and from Cabo San Lucas, as well as binoculars and a field guide. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► For a romantic evening, try one of the sunset cruises. What better way to experience the beauty of Cabo than with your significant other? Visitors can enjoy a leisurely sail around the bay while sipping on champagne and taking in the stunning views. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Another popular tour is horseback riding. There are several ranches in Cabo that offer horseback riding tours. These tours take visitors on a leisurely ride through the countryside, giving them a chance to take in the stunning scenery. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► Whether you’re a first-time zipliner or an experienced thrill-seeker, Cabo has a ziplining tour for you. With breathtaking views of the ocean and the cliffs of Los Cabos, these ziplining tours are not to be missed. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
► In Cabo, whale watching season coincides with the months during which you’ll experience the best weather. So make sure you don’t miss the chance to swim with these gracious giant animals of the sea, including the Whale sharks. ↳ BOOK IT HERE
Cancun vs Cabo | Safety
Safety in Cancun
Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, and we can safely say that it is safe to travel to Cancun (pun not intended)
Some violent episodes occurred in the past years but we want to hope that those were isolated cases related to drug cartels issues that don’t normally involve tourists and regular citizens.
The city has its own police force that works hard to keep crime rates low, and there are plenty of security measures in place, both at hotels and resorts and in the general area.
However, as with any travel destination, there are always risks to consider. The most important thing to do is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when necessary.
Safety in Cabo
Cabo, like Cancun, is one of the safest places in Mexico. The crime rate is very low, and most tourists never encounter any safety-related incidents during their visit.
The same rule applies, though. You have to be aware of your surroundings and take some basic precautions. As long as you do those things, there’s no reason to be worried at all about visiting Cabo.
You’ll have a great time without any incidents.
Cancun vs Cabo | Food Options
Food options in Cancun
Cancun is a food lover’s paradise, with something to please every palate. From fresh seafood to traditional Mexican fare, there is no shortage of delicious options.
Visitors looking for a quick bite can find plenty of fast-food options, while those looking for a more luxurious dining experience will not be disappointed either.
Whether you’re looking for traditional Mexican cuisine or international fare, you’ll find it all. For those who want to experience the local flavor, there are plenty of street vendors and hole-in-the-wall eateries serving up authentic dishes at affordable prices.
For those looking for a more upscale dining experience, Cancun has no shortage of gourmet restaurants with world-renowned chefs.
Food options in Cabo
In addition to its stunning beaches and nightlife, Cabo also boasts some great food options. While visitors can find a variety of international cuisine, you’d be missing out if you don’t try the fresh, local seafood.
For those looking for a traditional Mexican meal, there are plenty of options in Cabo. Tacos are a popular choice and can be found at most street corners and markets.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, there are also several restaurants that specialize in regional dishes from across Mexico.
If you’re not in the mood for Mexican food, there’s no need to worry – Cabo has plenty of other dining options as well. Visitors can find Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and whatnot in the city.
Cancun VS Cabo | Best Place to Visit as a Family Traveling
Both Cancun and Cabo have beautiful beaches and plenty of suns, so it really comes down to what type of atmosphere you are looking for.
Cancun is more built up with high-rise hotels and restaurants, while Cabo (especially San Jose del Cabo) is more low-key with its quaint villas and smaller beach town feel.
So, if your family enjoys being in the midst of the action then Cancun would be the better choice, but if they would prefer a more relaxed atmosphere then Cabo would be ideal. Whichever location you choose, your family is sure to create lasting memories.
Best hotel for Families in Cancun – Hyatt Ziva Cancun All Inclusive
Best hotel for Families in Cabo – Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos All Inclusive
Cancun VS Cabo | Best Place to Visit for honeymoon
The same goes for honeymooners looking for a romantic getaway. If you are looking for a more laid-back and relaxed honeymoon, then Cabo might be the better choice.
Cabo is known for its beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes.
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, but you can also just spend your days relaxing on the beach and enjoying romantic sunsets.
Cancun, on the other hand, is a great choice if you are looking for a more active and exciting honeymoon. Cancun has tons of activities to keep you busy, from exploring ancient ruins to swimming in the mystical cenotes.
Cancun also has many all-inclusive resorts where you won’t even have to leave the premises for the entirety of your vacation in order to have a grand time. You can just take advantage of the countless amenities on offer and spend quality time with your significant other.
Cancun VS Cabo | Best place to visit as a solo traveler
For those of you who are traveling solo, the first question would be to ask yourself if you want some peace and quiet or do you want a livelier vacation.
The good part is that wherever you decide to go you can find both peace and quiet or party places, even though Cancun is more of a better choice for partying hard.
Tips for Traveling to Cancun
👉🏽 Pack light, comfortable clothing that can be easily layered. The weather in Cancun can be unpredictable at times, so it’s better to be prepared for both warm and cool temperatures
👉🏽 Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. The sun is strong in Cancun and the mosquitoes can be relentless.
👉🏽 Don’t drink tap water in Cancun! It’s not safe. Use bottled water or buy a water bottle to refill.
👉🏽 If you’re planning on doing any exploring outside of the resort area, be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and bring a hat or visor to protect you from the sun. Pack comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking, whether it’s exploring the ancient Mayan ruins or simply taking a stroll on the beach.
👉🏽 Don’t forget to bring some cash (in local currency) as not all places accept credit cards and ATMs can be hard to find outside of the major tourist areas. While USD, GBP, and EUR are accepted in a lot of places, the offered exchange rate means you end up paying significantly more.
👉🏽 While Cancun is known for its party scene, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy – from exploring ancient ruins to swimming in cenotes – so be sure to mix up your itinerary. Don’t be afraid to explore and go off the beaten path.
👉🏽 Remember to hydrate. Keep an insulated water bottle with you when you’re out adventuring.
Click on one of the below water bottles to purchase your favorite one ⤵️
Tips for Traveling to Cabo
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, head to one of Cabo’s many hidden beaches. Playa del Amor and Chileno Beach are two of the most favorite.
👉🏽 Pack light and comfortable clothes. Don’t forget to pack some comfortable walking shoes – you’ll want them for exploring all the great shops and restaurants in Cabo San Lucas.
👉🏽 Cabo is known for its fresh seafood. Be sure to try some of the local specialties.
👉🏽 Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent, as the sun is strong and mosquitoes can be a nuisance.
👉🏽 Prices can be high during peak season (December-April), so if you’re looking to save money, travel during the off-season (May-November).
👉🏽 Have fun! Cabo is a beautiful and unique place, so make the most of your time there by exploring everything it has to offer.
👉🏽 Drink plenty of water when you’re out exploring. Cabo has a sunny climate and It’s easy to get dehydrated.
👉🏽 Don’t drink tap water!
What to wear in Cabo or Cancun
Here below some clothing suggestions. Click on the picture to open the Amazon page. ⤵️
Sandals and flip flops
FINAL THOUGHTS: Which is Better Cabo or Cancun
Cabo and Cancun are both excellent vacation destinations and it’s impossible to go wrong no matter which you pick. Both locations offer different atmospheres that are nonetheless enjoyable for all travelers.
It really depends on what you are looking for in a vacation destination. If you want to be active and in the midst of all the action, Cancun is probably the better choice.
But if you are looking for a more laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, Cabo San Lucas might be a better fit.
Regardless, both destinations offer beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay.