Can You Swim in Cabo? 8 Swimmable Beaches to Check Out

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Mexico is known for its beautiful beaches, and its Pacific coast is no exception.

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just looking to get a feel for the waves, you’ll find swimmable beaches along this stretch of Cabo’s coastline.

This small, sleepy coastal town on the Sea of Cortez is home to some of Mexico’s most wild desert landscapes and gorgeous beachfront properties.

We’ve done the hard work for you and highlighted all the swimmable beaches in Cabo San Lucas.

Not only that, we also list out the beaches that are not safe for swimming and you should avoid.

Read on to find out more!

Where Can You Swim in Cabo?

Medano Beach

El Medano is located in the heart of downtown and is one of the busiest beaches in Los Cabos – and for good reason!

El Medano is the main beach in Cabo; there are plenty of restaurants, bars and resorts lining the shores, so it’s a great place to spend the day.

It’s the longest stretch of swimmable beach in Cabo and is Blue Flag certified (the highest international standard for safe beaches).

The waves are generally mild and there are some fun surfing spots, too.

El Medano is one of the safest beaches in Cabo for swimming because there are lifeguards on duty all day long and there are plenty of restaurants nearby to grab lunch or dinner.

This sprawling beach is home to several high-end resorts, so you may have to put up with crowds during your visit.

Chileno Beach

Chileno Beach is one of the top swimmable beaches in Cabo, and it’s incredibly popular with locals.

The beach here has been awarded Blue Flag status, meaning that you can expect the waters to be calm and clear, making it a great place to snorkel.

Although restaurants and other amenities are limited, there are plenty of palapas to relax under for getting out of the sun and cooling off on a hot day.

The turquoise waves lapping at the shore and sweeping sand create an atmosphere of tranquility that’s perfect for those who want to escape from the busy streets of Cabo.

It’s also one of its most popular snorkeling spots with over 80 species in the clear waters.

Surrounded by roped-off swimming areas and lifeguards on duty, it’s not hard to see why this spot is so loved by locals!

While it might get a little crowded during the day, it’s perfect for families and fun-seekers.

Palmilla Beach
palmilla beach photo by Ana Rodríguez Carrington

Palmilla Beach

Located in San José del Cabo, you’ll have to take a short drive to Palmilla Beach but it’s totally worth it!

This crescent-shaped beach is shared with a luxury resort, One & Only Palmilla, but the whole stretch is publically accessible.

Vendors are sparse here, which makes it the perfect beach for vacationers looking to disconnect.

Relax under one of the many palapas as the sound of crashing waves gently lull you to sleep.

There are no restaurants nearby so pack your own lunch and snacks beforehand.

Although this beach is safe to swim on most days, the water can change depending on the weather so check the flag conditions before taking a dip.

With easy access, lifeguards on duty as well as bathrooms & showers available, you won’t have any trouble making your stay here comfortable!

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Lover’s Beach

Quite possibly the most iconic stretch of sand in Cabo San Lucas, Lover’s Beach is a top pick for a quiet escape for the day.

The soft sand is perfect for sunbathing, and the gentle waves make it ideal for swimming.

So what’s the catch?

This beach is located at Land’s End, near the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas. This means the only way to get here is by boarding a water taxi from the marina.

You can take part in water sports, grab snacks from vendors, and catch some rays on the sand while sipping refreshing drinks.

Land’s End will be your scenic backdrop for photos too; the charm and beauty here will not go unnoticed.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous day, consider taking a snorkeling trip to Lover’s Beach and the surrounding area. The marine life will not disappoint!

Word of caution: If you go over to the Pacific side (Divorce Beach), don’t swim here! The undertow is extremely powerful and dangerous.

Santa Maria Beach

If you’re looking for a more secluded beach in Cabo, Santa Maria is the place to go.

While most beaches in Cabo don’t have favorable swimming conditions, Santa Maria is a swimmable paradise.

This horseshoe-shaped beach is about 20 minutes drive from the marina, making it a great pit stop along the way to San José del Cabo.

The bay is a marine sanctuary with abundant marine life so you can expect to see a lot of divers and snorkelers here.

The water here is calm and clear, and you can often spot whales during the winter months!

It’s a great spot for families with easy access to the water and plenty of space to lounge around.

Cannery Beaches

The Cannery Beaches (Playa Coral Negro and Playa el Balconcito) are great for those who want to escape the crowds and splash around.

Located near Land’s End, it’s a short walk from the marina and is perfect for playing in the water or taking a walk along the shoreline.

The beach is publically accessible and there are few vendors, so you won’t be hassled while sunbathing or taking pictures.

Just remember to bring your own snorkel gear if you plan on exploring underwater.

The beach is also home to plenty of large boulders which provide ample shade – a major plus when the sun is at its strongest!

Cabo Pulmo Beach
cabo pulmo beach photo by julie

Cabo Pulmo

Cabo Pulmo is a protected marine park that offers the best snorkeling and diving opportunities in the area.

Home to a thriving reef with colorful sea life, it’s rarely crowded, making it a great place to relax and have fun.

The reef is not only the main attraction though; the rest of the marine park is also worth exploring.

Take part in an aquatic adventure such as swimming with whale sharks or go for a thrilling ATV ride through the desert!

Playa Bledito

Also known as Tequila Cove, the nice sandy bottom and calm waters make it a great beach for swimming.

The man-made wave break shelters you from the currents and helps to keep you out of the rough waters.

But it’s not wise to venture too far without the protection of this barrier as there are no lifeguards on duty.

This is a great spot to take a dip on a hot day, as the water tends to be cooler than the other beaches located in Cabo San Lucas.

Rent a wave runner here and you’ll be in for a day of fun.

Best Beaches in Cabo for Surfing

Playa Acapulquito

Playa Acapulquito is one of the best beaches in Cabo to go surfing.

It’s perfect for beginner to intermediate surfers because it’s not too crowded and there are some great waves here.

Surfing lessons are available nearby at the local surf shop.

It’s fine to dip your toes here but the rocky bottom can be slippery. It’s best to wear water shoes that can protect your feet from the sharp rocks.

Due to the waves and high surfing activity, it’s best to go to another beach instead if you just want to swim.

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Playa Monumentos

Playa Monumentos is a perfect spot for experienced surfers looking to test their skills.

The waves are more powerful than other nearby beaches, so it’s not recommended for beginners.

The challenging left-point break will have experienced surfers feeling right at home.

You can rent surfboards, boogie boards and other beach equipment at the nearby luxury property, The Cape: A Thompson Hotel.

Other Beaches to Consider

The following beaches are safe for swimming, but under certain conditions, they’re capable of strong currents and rip tides.

Please do your best judgment before going into the ocean.

Playa Barco Verado

Also known as Shipwreck Beach, Playa Barco Verado is a great place to take a dip.

More often than not, it’s a safe spot to swim, although not recommended for small children.

But during high waves and rough waters be sure to stay out of the water to avoid getting hurt. Don’t put yourself at risk for injury!

Playa Barco Verado is also a popular stop for divers so you’ll often see group tours heading out to the reef.

Playa Las Viudas

As with the previous beach, Playa Las Viudas suffers from the same fate.

Conditions can vary, from calm to rough, so it’s best to go to another beach if you’re just looking to swim.

When the waters are calm, expect great snorkeling opportunities and tons of tidal pool activity.

Unsafe Beaches to Swim in Cabo

The majority of Los Cabos’ unswimmable waters are found on the Pacific ocean side.

Conditions can be treacherous and some parts are not safe because they have deep waters with strong currents.

There is also the constant problem of jellyfish along certain stretches of shoreline which makes swimming even more dangerous as these creatures sting unsuspecting beachgoers.

Here’s a list of some of the more popular beaches that are not safe to swim in:

Playa Hotelera – A sandy beach in San José del Cabo with gorgeous views but unfortunately, not safe to swim in due to the strong currents and undertow. It’s a good spot if you’re looking to do some beachside activities like volleyball or strolling.

Divorce Beach – Located on the Pacific side of Land’s End, the conditions at this beach are much more treacherous than the neighboring Lover’s Beach.

Pedregal – This beach has beautiful clear waters but it’s not swimmable due to the strong currents and undertows.

San Jose Estuary Beach – A bird sanctuary with a beautiful, wide sandy beach and clear blue waters. The problem is that the water has strong currents and can be rough.

Playa Solmar – The powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean at Playa Solmar are very dangerous, making it impossible to swim.

Divorce Beach
divorce beach photo by Brook Ward

What's Makes the Beaches Unswimmable in Cabo?

As beautiful and serene as the beaches may seem in Cabo, there are a few things that can make the beaches in Cabo unswimmable, including:

Rough Water and Steep Drops

Cabo San Lucas is known for its strong waves and currents. Steep drops in the ocean floor can also be dangerous for swimmers that are caught off guard.

This means that at some beaches, the water drops off dramatically within a few steps from shore.

Strong Undertows

The waters in this area have very strong undertows. Undertows are hard to detect and usually come with very little warning signs.

If you happen to get caught up in one while swimming, it could take you out of your depth very quickly.

This can be especially dangerous if you’re not an experienced swimmer.

If you’re planning on going swimming or have little ones, it’s best to only go to beaches that are deemed safe and have lifeguards present.

sea urchin
sea urchin

Jellyfish and Sea Urchins

The waters of Cabo are home to many different species of jellyfish and sea urchins.

If you happen to get stung by a jellyfish or pricked by a sea urchin, it could be extremely painful and may even result in a visit to the emergency room.

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Rip Currents

Strong rip currents are common along the entire coast of Mexico, but the Pacific side of this beach town is hit the hardest.

But that doesn’t mean you can enjoy a nice dip in the ocean!

There are a number of safe beaches in Cabo where you can swim, like Medano, Santa Maria, or the beaches on the Sea of Cortez side of town.

If you’re really concerned about swimming in the ocean, you might consider taking a snorkel tour instead.

This way you’ll still be able to see the beautiful ocean life, but in a safe environment.

If you don’t want to venture out at all, there are plenty of resorts with swimmable beaches for you to enjoy!

Swimming in Cabo: How to Stay Safe

Cabo is a tropical paradise, but there’s a common misconception that you can’t go swimming at all and that’s not true.

But that doesn’t mean you can go swimming without any precautions.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while you’re swimming in Cabo:

Look Out for the Colored Flags

When swimming in Cabo, it’s important to be aware of the beach flag system that’s designed to help protect you and other beachgoers from dangerous currents.

In fact, many of the beaches here have earned the distinction of being “Blue Flag” beaches, which means that they meet all the criteria to be considered safe for swimming.

Black and red flags mean that the water is not safe to swim in because of strong currents or dangerous waves.

Yellow flags indicate strong currents, while green flags indicate gentle currents.

When swimming in these areas, it is important to obey the local warnings and stay safe!

Learn Basic First Aid Skills

Swimming in Cabo can be one of the most exhilarating and fun experiences you can have, but it’s important to be prepared for any potential emergencies.

To stay safe while swimming in Cabo, make sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of first aid.

Make sure you pack the right gear (band-aids, sanitizer, allergy medication, painkillers, etc.), know the basics of first aid, and be prepared to help someone if they get into trouble while swimming.

By having this knowledge in hand, you can be confident that you will be able to handle any situation that comes up while you’re swimming in Cabo.

Cabo san lucas ocean waves
cabo san lucas ocean waves

Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Never Swim Alone

There are dangerous currents that can sweep away swimmers who are not cautious.

Always swim in pairs or with a group, and make sure to heed all warning signs posted around the area.

Avoid Contact with Jellyfish

Jellyfish can be a real nightmare for any swimmer and can cause a nasty sting or an allergic reaction.

If you’re swimming in Cabo, make sure to stay well away from all the jellyfish blooms and get out of the water immediately.

If you do happen to come into contact with a jellyfish, rinse immediately with fresh water and seek medical help.

Final Thoughts

So is swimming in Cabo safe for travelers? The short answer is yes. As long as you stick to the swimmable beaches in Cabo, you shouldn’t have any issues.

If you’re not a strong swimmer or have small children with you, be extra cautious and make sure to read the signs and follow the rules posted around the beach.

If you’ve never been to Cabo, this is a great way to experience the beauty of this incredible city.

Swimming in Cabo is certainly a fun and exciting experience that won’t disappoint.

Pack your swimsuit and get ready for some fun in the sun!