While Los Cabos’ breathtaking coast may be its greatest draw, many visitors to this Baja California escape don’t realize that many beaches aren’t suitable for swimming.

Most beaches in Cabo are closed to swimming because of strong undercurrents and waves.

Don’t let this ruin your plans for quality time in the sea. There are small pockets of beach with mild water that can be found amongst the rugged coastline and rocky bluffs. Although you might not be able swim right at your resort, you can still spend the day on one of these five beaches that are just a short drive away.

Medano Beach

Medano Beach is considered the main swimming beach in San Lucas. It is crowded with tourists, as it is home to many vendors, beach restaurants and rental beach chairs. If you aren’t bothered by all the hustle and bustle, you can still enjoy your time on the beach. You can also rent water sports equipment at one of the local beach clubs.

Chileno Beach

While Medano Beach is touristy, Chileno Beach along the hotel zone is a favorite among locals. Although it doesn’t have the same amenities as Medano Beach, this low-key spot offers some useful amenities like palapas and portable toilets. There is also a nearby restaurant. It is also a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. It’s actually one of Cabo’s most popular snorkeling spots and is easily accessible by bus or taxi. First, take a refreshing dip, then snorkel for about an hour. There are chances of you spotting lobsters, sea urchins or even stingrays.

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Palmilla Beach

If you want a quiet spot with few vendors, Palmilla Beach in San Jose del Cabo might just be the ticket. Playa Palmilla is not as easy to reach as you might think. You will need to rent a car and get there by public transport. However, the crescent-shaped beach is well worth it. It is San Jose’s most beloved beach with many swimming and snorkeling opportunities. You can also rent umbrellas or have a shade spot at the beach palapas. You will need to bring a picnic, beach blankets and snorkeling gear. There are no restaurants near the beach.

Cannery Beaches

Some claim that the beaches of Coral Negro and Balconcito, also known collectively as Cannery Beaches, might just be the best in all of Los Cabos. They would be correct in many ways.

These beaches are located just before you reach Land’s End and have fewer vendors than the others. They’re also less crowded. They have huge boulders that you can sit on, or hide from the sun. The water is great for swimming. Although some visitors do snorkel here, they are not the best places to do so. Save that money for Santa Maria or Chileno and just enjoy the day swimming in the ocean.

Santa Maria Beach

Speaking of Santa Maria Beach, it is arguably Los Cabo’s most famed snorkeling spot, thanks to the abundance of coral reefs in its bay. If you are interested in swimming only, it is worth considering going somewhere else. This beach is well-known for its popularity and the number of tour companies that have their boats docked here for snorkeling trips.

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The good news is that there aren’t many vendors selling their products, so the beach isn’t as crowded. There are restrooms, showers, and parking. Watch out for breaching and spouts during whale-watching season, particularly in January and February.