How I Plan a Trip: Cabo, San Lucas

I love planning trips. When I say this to people, I often get crazy looks – why would I enjoy the planning part?

Well, I do! It gets me very excited about where I’m going, and it gives me an opportunity to optimize my time in that new place.

To demonstrate how I prepare, I’ll paste my Google Doc I created for our future trip to Cabo. I find Google Docs very helpful to keep all of my past and future itineraries, whether it’s to share with others who want advice for their upcoming travels, or to reminisce about the good ole days in that part of the world.

Weekend in Cabo San Lucas


  • Fairfield Inn & Suites


  • Mi Casa
  • Sunset da Mona Lisa – expensive, incredible ambiance; seafood Italian
  • Mariscos Mazatlan
  • Tacos Gardenias
  • Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas and Boulevard Marina


  • El Squid Roe – tequila congo lines
  • Cabo Wabo – most famous bar/club in town
  • Slim’s Elbow Room – smallest bar in the world


  • Lands End (El Arco)
    • 7 minute drive
    • seals
  • Playa Del Amor
    • walk from El Arco
    • azure cove on the Sea of Cortez at the very tip of the Land’s End Peninsula
    • get here from Playa Médano: take a five-minute panga water-taxi ride ($7–$10) or the half-hour glass-bottom boat tour. Opt for the latter if you wish to have some time to photograph the arch from the Pacific-side view
    • Swimming and snorkeling are best on the Sea of Cortez side of Lover’s Beach, where the clear, green, almost luminescent water is unquestionably the nicest in Cabo San Lucas
      • you may spot striped sergeant majors and iridescent green and blue parrot fish
    • climb up steep rocks to Playa Solmar – spot whales! (wear shoes)
    • Chileno Beach
      • very nice beach; best snorkeling: 12 minute drive
  • Santa Maria Beach
    • 10 minute drive, toward Chileno
  • Desert Park Reserve
    • can ride camels; 13 minute drive (right next to Chileno Beach)
  • swim with dolphins; snorkeling tour?
    • Cabo Adventures – highly rated company
  • Playa Medano
    • closest to our hotel; 9 minute walk
  • Cabo Pulmo: national marine park; amazing coral reef
    • almost 2 hour drive from hotel…probably not
    • Los Arbolitos beach
      • weird rock formations look like melting wax sculptures!Las Sirenitas – shoreline hike to get here

Where Do I Start?

Accommodations are my starting place. First I research neighborhoods to figure out where I want to spend the majority of my time. I research what’s in a good location, gets good reviews, and is available for the lowest amount of points. Once I find a good place to stay, I organize by restaurants, bars, and activities.

Where do I get this information? For accommodations, I use Agoda, AirBnb and sometimes TripAdvisor. For activities and things to do, I usually check TripAdvisor, WikiTravel and Lonely Planet.

In my planner, I bold the items that I consider high priority, and I order the activities starting at “best and most doable” down to “probably won’t do, but worth considering.” I try to hit the top activities within a reasonable time frame; it’s not fun to be rushed during your vacation, so it’s best to prioritize. I keep the “low priority” activities in the list just in case (whether it’s for friends who are doing a similar trip & want suggestions, or in case one of my higher-priority activities is inaccessible/not possible during my trip).

From there, it’s apparent if a rental car will be worth the money & effort or not. If the top activities that I want to do are very far apart and taxi cabs are expensive, a rental car is usually the best way to go.

Does this method seem crazy to you? What are some ways you plan your trips? Let me know if you would like some help planning a trip!

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