If you’re looking for an unforgettable Mexican vacation, it can be tough to decide between Cabo and Cancun.
They are both incredible destinations, but which is best for you? In this blog post, we’ll compare Cabo VS Cancun in detail and help you decide.
Both places are on different Mexican Peninsulas, offering stunning ocean views and unique landscapes, and are worthy of discovering the main differences between these fantastic travel destinations.
While Cabo has a more rugged scenery, Cancun is known for its tropical atmosphere; keep reading to find out what’s our verdict!
Cabo vs Cancún: Which is Best?
In this listing, we’ll describe each place’s attributes and provide an honest answer about which one is best for vacation.
But let’s leave it clear, it’s only our opinion! Some people might disagree with us, and some will find our verdict helpful; in either case, we are happy to share this with our dear Baja travelers.
Prepare for a full review about Cabo vs Cancún’s location, journey, landscape, highlights, beaches, food, weather, tours and activities, nightlife, hotels, value for money, and safety!
Los Cabos is located on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, encompassing Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, as well as the Resort Corridor between these two mini-cities.
The commonly named Cabo is a trendy spot for celebrities, and it’s known for its dramatic landscape, with cliffs, canyons, and desert views.
The Sea of Cortez is also nearby, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving. Cabo is also a great choice if you’re looking for dry weather and underwater adventures!
This worldwide acclaimed touristic destination is located on the Yucatan Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, which gives the tropical scenery you’ll look for when you want a beach holiday.
As most people know, it’s a popular spot for spring breakers. Still, it also is a fantastic place for family holidays. Cancun is known for its “jungly” ambiance, beautiful beaches, and turquoise waters, and it’s also a great choice if you’re looking for nightlife and upscale restaurants.
Our absolute winner: CABO – remoteness and uniqueness
Given its geography and location, Los Cabos is a more suitable destination for anyone who is traveling from the west area of the United States. But hey, this is not a limitation! This beautiful spot is worth visiting no matter where you come from.
If you want to put your hands on great hustle-free deals, check out this complete guide, direct flights to Cabo (US-based).
This travel destination is easy to reach if you are flying from the United States east side, and of course, from anywhere in Europe. Direct flights are easier to get, as this is probably more commonly visited than its counterpart Cabo.
Our absolute winner: CANCÚN – easy access
San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo sit at the very tip of Baja California, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez.
The landscape is as diverse as it is beautiful, with towering cliffs, serene beaches, cactus forests, and lush desert all close to each other.
One of the most popular activities in Los Cabos is simply driving around to take in all the different scenery— to be honest, this is my favorite hobby here.
Whether you’re headed up into the mountains for a hike or down to the beach for a swim, there’s always something new and breathtaking to see.
Cancun is famous worldwide for many good reasons, and the most prominent is its landscape: one of the most wonderful and serene places on Earth.
The turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and lush vegetation provide a perfect backdrop for a relaxing vacation.
Cancun landscape provides the ideal setting for several activities. Still, the Mayan legacy is the most valuable: exploring this ancient Mexican civilization is a unique experience!
Swim in the Cenotes, lounge on the beach all day, or take a dip in the clear blue waters; all part of a memorable getaway in Mexico.
Our absolute winner: TIE – majestic landscapes with unique attributes
Marine life in Los Cabos is some of the most varied and exciting in the world. The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is home to over 900 species of fish, making it one of the most biodiverse bodies of water on Earth— there is no match for this!
Some of the most popular marine life attractions in Los Cabos include whale watching, swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling, and scuba diving with sea lions.
Several great charter companies offer deep-sea fishing excursions; trust me, you’ll be blown away by this experience!
Whether you’re looking for encounters with some of the world’s most fascinating creatures or just want to enjoy a day out on the water, Los Cabos is the place to be.
Undoubtedly the biggest highlight of Cancun is its past. If you’re open to a little bit of history on your vacation to Cancun, Mexico, you’re in luck. Just a short drive from the city lies the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza was once a major center of the Maya civilization and is now one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. The ancient site is home to the famous El Castillo, a massive pyramid that towers over the surrounding jungle in Tulum.
Visiting Chichen Itza is a must-do when you’re in Cancun. But be warned, it can be pretty hot and humid in the jungle, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen!
Our absolute winner: TIE – too beautiful, too different, both amazing
Like Cancún, Los Cabos is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, and its beaches are some of the most beautiful in Mexico. But you might wonder, what’s the difference?
The beauty of Los Cabos beaches relies much on the marine life you can find here. Locals are well aware of environmental initiatives and protect their land like it is worth their own life.
Some beaches are great for touristic activities like Medano beach, and others not so much, as they are more pristine and remote, but still beautiful.
Another attribute you can admire in Cabo is the dramatic rock formations and crystal-clear waters. A great example is Playa del Amor, also known as Lover’s Beach— an iconic small beach located within Cabo San Lucas Bay.
Beaches here are a must-see; the gorgeous white sand and blue waters make it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible views.
Not to mention, the temperature and conditions are almost always perfect for swimming.
The most beautiful beaches you can find here are Playa Delfines, Playa Linda, and Playa Tortugas, just to mention a few.
If you happen to be in Cancun during the spring break, be prepared for the beaches to be crowded with party-goers.
However, suppose you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. In that case, plenty of less crowded beaches are perfect for soaking up the sun.
Our absolute winner: CANCUN – more swimmable
The food in Los Cabos is pretty good. I’m not going to lie— in my opinion, it’s my favorite.
As a local, I can call myself the biggest fan of Mexican dishes, but the truth is that talking about Mexican food is never straightforward. There are hundreds of different recipes and gastronomic techniques across this country that we will never end exploring.
In Cabo, you’ll have the infamous fish tacos, covered in batter and served with tortillas, coleslaw, and homemade salsa— Only this dish can convert me to fried food!
Among other typical dishes of Los Cabos are smoked marlin tostadas, clams prepared in their shells or roasted, and combinations such as fish and manta ray machaca, stuffed crab, or abalone and squid chilorio.
Overall, I would say that the food here is fresh and unique. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me.
Cancun’s food is reminiscent of southern Mexico gastronomy and reflects the influence of Yucatán dishes in general.
Here you can be delighted by the worldwide famous cochinita pibil (pork marinade), sopa de lima (lemon soup), panuchos, and salbutes, among other traditional dishes.
The Yucatán menu is varied and rich, with grilled fish, barbecues, spices, and lots of originality. Still, one thing that must be mentioned here is that the southern Mexican kitchen can’t be perfect without tons of lard!
In my personal experience, I enjoyed trying this food, but I’m not a fan of fatty or fried dishes, so I’ll leave that to you to decide.
Our absolute winner: CABO – better taste (fresher and less fatty)
Los Cabos has a desert climate, so it is one of the driest places in Mexico: no frizzy hair, no sweat, no ruined makeup, and no sunscreen in your eyes— I love it!
Because of the geography involved, during the day, it’s warm and sunny year-round, with January and February being the coldest months, with highs in the mid-70s.
Evenings can be a little windy and chilly, which is fantastic and refreshing; you can wear a light sweater and enjoy a glass of wine with your friends.
At night, you can sleep with no AC and no mosquitos; I believe nothing can beat this weather!
But beware, July and August are the hottest months, with highs in the high-90s— it’s only for seasoned travelers!
Cancun is located on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, so it has a tropical climate. This means that it’s hot and humid all year round, and rain comes significantly more often than in Cabo.
The average temperature here is much more steady year-round, ranging between the high 60s and low 80s. June and July are the hottest months, and from December to March is the coldest period.
The weather in Cancún is always sunny and hot; it’s never cold or even chilly. Like an endless summer, some people would declare it the best weather in Mexico.
The con I would mention here is the extreme humidity during the warmer months. If you are not used to this weather, it would probably be a little bit difficult to rest at night without AC or enjoy an outdoor dinner without mosquitos buzzing around.
Not to mention the rainfall forecast!
Our absolute winner: CABO – we don’t like sweating on our sheets and mosquito bites
Tours and Activities
Los Cabos is a beautiful place with plenty of activities to keep you busy; most of these are similar to the ones in Cancún, but each site brings its own magic!
Here are some of our favorite tours and activities in Los Cabos:
- Hiking: Many great hiking trails offer stunning views
- Mountain Bike Tours: A great way to experience a Baja Sur adventure
- ATV Tours: An ATV tour is a great way to explore the desert landscape
- Kitesurfing: More than surfing, prepare to fly!
- Whale Watching: Witness the majestic dance of the whales at the Sea of Cortez
- Sportfishing: Feel the adrenaline when you catch a big game fish!
- Turtle release: Be part of mother nature’s best miracle, life!
From exploring ancient ruins to lounging on beautiful beaches, there’s no shortage of things to do in this beautiful tropical paradise.
Here are our favorite tours and activities available in Cancún:
- Visit the Mayan Ruins: Explore the ancient city of Chichen Itza, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’
- Take a tour to Tulum: An awe-inspiring cliffside ruin overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
- Swim in the Cenotes: unique underground water ponds with magical scenery
- Visit the aquatic and theme parks: Either the famous Xcaret or similar themed parks like Xel-Há and Xplor, enjoy an unforgettable adventure with a plethora of activities to enjoy
- Swim at Holbox island: its clear, turquoise waters and pristine beaches are worthy of your IG repertoire!
Our absolute winner: TIE – either place brings a special memory you’ll never forget
Los Cabos nightlife (mainly Cabo San Lucas) is world-renowned for its friendly atmosphere and vibrant energy. Since it’s relatively close to the US, you can expect to find lovely pubs and restaurants with a similar ambiance.
Yep! the real spring break hub is here!
The nightlife scene here is very summery, fresh, and casual. From raucous bars and nightclubs to more refined settings, there’s no shortage of places to let loose after dark in Los Cabos.
Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or simply relax with a cocktail in hand, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this lively destination.
Generally, we can say this is a more common destination for Americans, rather than Europeans and other kinds of tourism.
But still, if you are young at heart, no matter where you are coming from, you’ll experience a fun Mexican night out!
Cancún’s nightlife is simply fantastic, as it is home to some of the best parties in Mexico. You can have fun until the sun comes up and end the night with the classic “morning tacos.”
Because of its geography, Cancún is more open to receiving a broader scope of visitors from all over the world besides Americans.
The party scene here is unrivaled, with a plethora of bars, clubs, and nightclubs to keep you busy every night of the week— seriously, every day.
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back bar to enjoy some cocktails or an all-night club to dance to the night away, Cancun is undoubtedly the favorite of many!
Like Los Cabos, there are plenty of bars and lounges to enjoy if you want to avoid the club scene. There are also low-key alternatives like restaurants and cafes with live music and entertainment.
Our absolute winner: CANCÚN – most nightclubs belong to the same brand (pretty much the same). Still, Cancún offers a more comfortable setup (better public transport and urban development than Los Cabos).
With so many different options, you’re sure to find the perfect hotel to meet your needs. From luxurious resorts to budget-friendly options, Los Cabos hotels are growing on us, and they seem to offer new trendy venues to Mexico lovers.
Here you can find what’s right for you, and if you are an early booker, you can put your hands on incredible discounts!
Los Cabos hotels will offer stunning views, fun activities and adventure tours, delicious food alternatives, and the beautiful Sea of Cortez as a seashore.
Nothing is better than waking up in the morning and witnessing “The World’s Aquarium” from your own window.
No matter what kind of traveler you are, you’re sure to find the perfect Los Cabos hotel for your vacation.
Cancún hotels are known for their luxury and style, but like Los Cabos, you can find some fantastic hotel deals here. The truth is that both places are pretty even on this one.
Whether you’re looking for a five-star resort or a more modest hotel, you can find great rates on accommodations in Cancun. Of course, you’ll enjoy one of the most amazing views on the planet: La Riviera Maya (or The Mayan Riviera).
White soft sand and crystal-clear waters, Cancún is one of the best destinations in Mexico, and indeed the hotels here are phenomenal.
It truly depends on what’s your preference rather than a competition between the two sites. Ultimately, it’s more like a personal inclination, either fabulous cliff views in Cabo or stunning turquoise oceanviews in Cancún.
Our absolute winner: TIE!
The Value for Money
This is a question that I get asked a lot, and it’s tough to give an exact answer because there are so many variables depending on every traveler’s budget.
But let’s leave it clear, there are definitely ways to save money while visiting Los Cabos. In my experience, I have been able to pay reasonable prices for tours, hotels, and meals and enjoy the ride without overspending.
The tours in Cabo are pretty accessible as most of them are group activities, allowing most people to access the fun.
Experiences like swimming with whale sharks, whale watching, camel rides, horseback rides, hiking, biking, snorkeling, and so on are pocket-friendly.
Also, a tax-free shopping mall, The Luxury Avenue, offers attractive prices for glam lovers.
You’ll find great cheap eateries in Cabo; just for 1$ or 2$ bucks, you can get delicious fish tacos— hence, a unique dish you cannot try elsewhere.
Of course, your airfare will also play a significant role in how much your trip costs. Los Cabos is serviced by many major airlines, so you should be able to find a flight that fits your budget.
So there you have it – the cost of visiting Los Cabos varies depending on your individual needs and wants.
In my experience, Cancún is also a great place to have fun without squeezing your wallet to death.
There are ways to save money while traveling to Cancún, such as eating at local restaurants and avoiding tourist traps. However, it can still be a pretty costly trip if you are not careful enough.
I’d also say that food in the south of Mexico tends to be cheaper than in Cabo— because it is a desert so food, in general, is more expensive.
So that’s an extra tick for Cancún.
The big secret here is anticipation. Anything booked with some time ahead will make it worth it, especially if you are open to big group package trips; those are 100% money savers!
Our absolute winner: TIE!
If you’re thinking about spending your hard-earned vacation days in Los Cabos, you might be wondering about the area’s safety.
Let’s put your mind at ease – Los Cabos is a safe place to visit. As for 2022, the area has been peaceful for a few years and safer than the southern Mexican territories.
Of course, like anywhere else, there will always be some risks involved in travel. But overall, the crime rate here is relatively low.
Same as with most sites, safety is more tied to the traveler’s common sense rather than the location itself— of course, with some exceptions, some spots are “no-no places.”
Cancún is a beautiful place to vacation. It has been the safest place in all of Mexico since many, many years ago. Nothing ever happened here: Nothing.
Recently there have been crime-related incidents that decreased the sense of safety that we used to have, putting this place in a similar category to Cabo, which can raise some concerns among tourists.
But let’s not panic; both places are relatively safe, but it’s always convenient to have some precautions. The first step to ensure it’s safe is always checking the Mexico Travel Advisory before booking any trip.
The following steps rely on you:
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Stick to well-lit areas
- Avoid strangers
- Keep an eye on your belongings
- Be careful when drinking
Our absolute winner: TIE – in both places is convenient to increase precautions.
The Bottom Line
So, which travel destination is better – Los Cabos or Cancún? The answer, of course, depends on what you’re looking for, but we hope our review can bring some insights into this question— hence, this is a matter subject to debate!
We believe both places are very similar in terms of landscape, value for money, accommodations, things to do, and safety.
We think Cabo has the best weather, location, and food, while Cancún has the best beaches and nightlife.
Whichever destination you choose, you’re sure to have a great time. Bon voyage!