At different points along its dramatic coastal landscape on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, the popular western Mexico region known as Los Cabos can change from sprawling beachfront to towering mountainside to tranquil desert terrain in a matter of a few miles.
This tendency to transform extends beyond just scenic topography and reaches into the very essence of what has defined Los Cabos for the last half century or so.
As recently as the 1950s, Los Cabos was better known as a collection of fishing villages than a tourist destination, although harbingers did exist like the occasional visitor from Hollywood, such as Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne.
In 1973, the completion of the Carretera Transpeninsular (also known as the Transpeninsular Highway or Mexican Federal Highway 1) connected 1,000 miles from the United States/Mexico border down to the end of Baja, allowing for the influx of goods and materials needed to convert these once sleepy, seaside villages into what it is today—one of the most thriving coastal resort communities in the world.
Consisting of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the area in between referred to as the Tourist Corridor, Los Cabos continues to transform even to this day, says owner of the luxury brokerage, 2Seas Los Cabos, Ramiro Paneque Bullrich.
“Ten years ago, you could drive from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo and see the ocean almost the whole time. Now, everything is built up. There’s a lot of development still happening and big players coming and what we see is a bright future for Los Cabos.”
Even within the last few years, the coastal market has seen a shift, says Bullrich, from less of a vacation hotspot to more centered on second or primary home purchases.
“Before the COVID-19 explosion of people that wanted to come and live here, this was a place where probably, I would say 10-15% of our buyers were living in their houses that they were buying. Now, it’s probably closer to the opposite. I would say that around 60% of the people want to live in the houses they’re buying.”
With the continued investment in infrastructure, businesses and housing seen in Los Cabos over the past 10 years, the region is quickly morphing into something much more than just a simple vacation destination.
Homes in Los Cabos
Like many other resort locations across the globe, demand in Los Cabos continues to strain a limited supply of completed homes. However, with constant development underway, new residences are arriving on the market every month.
These newly constructed luxury homes come in an array of styles, although many aim to capture the best of modern architecture with bold use of natural materials, expansive walls of retractable glass for indoor/outdoor living and airy, open floor plans.
With much of the inventory having been produced in the last 30 years, even older villas and condos in Los Cabos come with contemporary comforts.
A premium is placed upon views with high-end homes often featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and large, outdoor terraces to best take in the all-encompassing sights of the ocean and the surrounding mountains.
Although the majority of luxury properties are located a mile or two from the beach, expect to find additional swimming options as pools and spas are common fixtures in Los Cabos homes.
Major names in hospitality like the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons not only offer resort stays but affiliated residences as well. Owners of these private, whole-ownership residences can enjoy services provided by the hotel, including concierge, in-residence dining and access to resort facilities.
Prices in Los Cabos
Fueled by Americans who make up 80% of buyers, Bullrich says that the high-end market in Los Cabos has grown to exceed $1 million. According to data provided by 2seas Los Cabos, the average price for available properties in Cabo San Lucas sits at $981,216 and $1.3 million in San Jose del Cabo.
As is the case in most coastal communities, proximity to the water greatly influences price. For luxury properties located directly on the beach, buyers can expect to pay a pretty penny, in excess of $10 million with some residences reaching as high as $25 million.
Condos and smaller single-family homes on the edges of town make up the more affordable options, which are priced in the range of about $300,000 to $600,000.
While these prices may rival many U.S. markets, Bullrich says that American buyers will find extremely low property taxes in Los Cabos.
“It’s much less expensive to live here than to live in the States. Our property taxes are something like 1% of what people in America pay. It’s next to nothing.”
The Vibe of Los Cabos
Like twins, the two cities that together make up Los Cabos share a similar ‘DNA’—both being known for stunning scenery, renowned resorts and warm, dry, sunny weather year-round. Yet each town possesses its own distinct identity.
“San Jose is probably where most people like to live—it’s quieter and more traditional,” explained Bullrich. “Then, Cabo San Lucas is really well known for the nightlife and restaurants.”
As the larger of the two, Cabo San Lucas has more offerings in the way of resorts and activities and as such draws in more tourism. While it may have a fitting reputation as a place to party with its bevy of bars and nightclubs, Cabo San Lucas is also known for its stunning beaches and world-class recreation, including sports fishing, surfing and sailing.
On the eastern end of the Baja Peninsula, San Jose del Cabo is arguably the more sophisticated sister town. Regular visitors of San Jose del Cabo will most likely be intimately familiar with the town’s main plaza, where you can find fine dining and shopping as well as an established art scene.
Regardless of where you stay in Los Cabos, you’re likely to find exceptional dining, says Bullrich.
“Food is getting big here. You’ve got amazing places like Flora’s Farm or Sunset Monalisa that everyone who comes to Los Cabos should visit.”
Surrounding Los Cabos
In addition to residential and commercial development, Los Cabos has also seen some major changes to its airport, allowing for newly available direct flights from abroad.
“Eight years ago, we only had one terminal,” says Bullrich. “Now, we have two and they’re building the third. So, we have direct flights from New York and Chicago and now parts of Europe, and that’s made a huge difference.”
A popular vacation spot for Southern Californians, a flight from Los Angeles and San Diego is roughly two and a half hours.
Nature enthusiasts will find a wealth of parks and preserves within a two-hour drive of Los Cabos, including the Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo (or Cabo Pulmo National Park).