Do you want to be a tourist or a traveler? If the answer is the latter, and you really want to experience Cabo San Lucas, not just the tourist traps but some of the hidden treasures, don’t rely strictly on your hotel concierge for recommendations. Go to where the locals hang out, and let them tell you about their favorite restaurants, nightclubs, and activities. People who live here tend to be both friendly and passionate about the area, and are happy to share their experiences and opinions with visitors. Best of all, the locals here like value, so stopping by any of their favorite haunts is a boon for budget-minded travelers.
Cabo Coffee Company – Located on the town square, this coffee shop is a favorite of both tourists and locals, particularly before noon. Transplants, retirees, and folks who work at night often congregate at the outdoor tables for coffee and morning conversation. Most of the regulars here are bilingual, so don’t be shy about introducing yourself and asking for directions or travel tips.
Cabo Lounge – This is the number one locals bar in Cabo, and draws a diverse crowd of Mexicans and gringos. Draws include live music twice a week, $1 bacon cheeseburgers, free internet use and phone calls to the U.S. and Canada, and a great seat for all the latest local gossip. During the summer months, the air conditioning here is an added attraction.
Tanga Tanga – Located near Cabo Lounge at the Plaza de la Danza, this outdoor bar is popular among the charter boat captains and other local characters, who appreciate the cheap drinks and tacos. They also televise all the big soccer matchs, both Mexican and European, which brings in the sporting crowd. This is an excellent place to enjoy an afternoon beer and listen to fishing stories.
Baja Peppers – The value-oriented $3 breakfast (eggs, toast, fruit, beans, and potatoes) has made this restaurant, located at the Mar de Cortez hotel, a popular meeting place for locals. They televise CNN in the morning, so you can catch up on all the latest news while you enjoy their affordable offerings (which also include a very good eggs benedict). The owner, John Venditti, has opened a number of restaurants and bars in Cabo, and is a very good source of information on the local dining scene. He is very likely to introduce himself, and is always happy to sit down and talk.
Cabo Blue - New co-owners Scott and Amanda Osborne have quickly turned this bar and grill, formerly the Blue Jungle, into one of the most popular stops in town. The best crowds are late night, but to hobnob with the local hoi polloi it is best to stop by in the afternoon. The pub food here is the best in town, and they have daily specials like the excellent $1 fish tacos on Fridays.
Happy Ending – Located next door to Cabo Blue, Happy Ending is popular with both locals and visitors. With two beers and two shots of tequila costing $5, it is easy to see why. This is the best place in Cabo to play beer pong, and a great spot to relax before dinner.
Other restaurants popular with locals include Pollo de Oro (great pork ribs), Mariscos Mazatan (delicious seafood),Lolita’s (hangover curing chilaquiles), and Vero’s Pizza Cafe (New York style pies and calzones).