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Cabo San Lucas In January: Weather And Best Activities

Aerial view of Lands End in Cabo San Lucas

If you visit Cabo San Lucas in January, you’ll enjoy a tourist hub steeped in sun-filled days and lively nightlife. Located at the tip of Mexico’s Southern Baja California peninsula, this coastal city soaks up the warm rays that provide perfect weather and very little rain.

Though the Northern Hemisphere has settled into winter, you can expect crowds of people escaping the cold. While the locals might find it cold in January, snowbirds from Canada and west coast cities will enjoy the clear skies and warm temperatures.

In this article, discover what activities you can enjoy in Cabo in January, some only specific to that time of year.

Cabo San Lucas Weather In January

Although January is considered a cooler month in Cabo, what’s cold to some may be balmy to you, depending on your home city. Being winter, nights and early mornings can be pretty chilly in the low 60s (16C).

Packaging a sweatshirt or light jacket for these times or if you’re taking an early morning excursion is a good idea.

However, when the sun warms up, you can expect an average temperature of 75 F or 25 C. Rain is unlikely as you’re visiting during one of the driest months. Even if you have any rainy days, the showers are short-lived.

Land's End, zip lining and visiting El Arco in Cabo San Lucas in January
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Many days have clouds, although don’t be deceived by that cloud cover. You can still get sunburned, so pack a reef-safe sunscreen and wear a Rashguard shirt to minimize risk.

If you’re participating in water sports in the Sea of Cortez, the average sea temperature is 73 F or 23 C in the month of January. While that may seem cold to someone who lives in Mexico, it felt warm to me coming from Canada.

Alternatively, if you find the ocean cold, most inclusive resorts have outdoor pools, which will be much warmer. On average, the sun rises at 7 am and sets at 5:55 pm, so you’ll have plenty of hours of sunshine.

Since hurricane season runs from mid-May to the end of November, there’s not much can of tropical storms by traveling to Cabo at the start of the year.

All-Inclusive Vs. Cruising

If you’re flying to Los Cabos International Airport in January, you’re traveling in high season. Being peak season, expect to pay higher pricing for hotels and resorts.

To save money, book as far in advance as possible to have the best hotel selection with slightly lower prices. Planning ahead can save money on tours or car rentals if you choose to have one.

Here are some great choices for hotels in Cabo:

Casa Dorada Los Cabo Resort & Spa – Located on Medano Beach in the heart of Cabo San Lucas. The hotel has a kids club, two swimming pools, and seven dining options, making it family-friendly.

Medano Hotel & Spa – Centrally located, with a short walk to the beach. The hotel is budget-friendly with good amenities and offers a car hire.

Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Spa – This hotel is on Medano beach. Its suites have a kitchenette, and the hotel has a mini-market, spa, and scuba diving facilities.

If you’re traveling by cruise ship, the Mexican Riviera is an ideal destination to cruise in January. Since Christmas is peak season, cruise lines often struggle to fill cabins afterward, so that you could score a great deal.

A Princess cruise ship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
A Princess Cruise ship in Cabo San Lucas

While most cruises to the Mexican Riviera are 7-day itineraries, you can opt for a shorter trip to Cabo, which starts at just four days. The five-day itineraries spend either two days in Cabo San Lucas or one day in Cabo and another in Ensenada.

Longer itineraries that transition through the Panama Canal often include Cabo San Lucas as part of their itinerary.

While you might pay less for cruising (and your food and entertainment are included), you’ll likely only spend one or two days in Los Cabos.

However, having a land-based vacation makes more sense should you prefer to immerse yourself in the Mexican culture and enjoy authentic food.

You’ll Avoid Spring Break

Cabo has a reputation for being a party city, and although it can be, it’s also family-friendly. Spring break traditionally draws crowds from California, only a 2-1/2-hour flight away.

With short getaways from San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, you can ramp up the party atmosphere without traveling too far.

However, if you prefer a quieter vibe as we do, traveling to Mexico in January avoids the spring break crowds who swarm Medano Beach. While you’ll have cooler weather, it’s a good month for hiking, fishing, or enjoying an outdoor adventure.

With lots of bars and vibrant nightlife, you can choose to party on your own terms or opt for a quiet evening. The choice is yours.

Best Month For Whale Watching

Whale watching in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Whale watching in Cabo in January

January is the perfect time to go whale watching in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. As humpback whales migrate between Mexico and Alaska, a journey consisting of 3,000 miles, visitors can see them in the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean during this month.

When it comes to whale-watching tours in Cabo, tour operators offer two types of watercraft; a small Zodiac boat that seats 12 people or a large catamaran-style vessel.

The smaller Zodiacs provide speed, and once a whale is spotted, you’ll get there first. However, you’ll experience a rougher ride.

Cabo San Lucas Whale Watching Tours

Use a motion sickness patch or select the larger vessel if you suffer from seasickness. While the catamarans aren’t as agile, you’ll enjoy a smoother ride and can move around for the best photo opportunities.

Both excursions last 2 to 2-1/2 hours, but the catamaran includes unlimited drinks and a snack. So, grab your binoculars and cameras for an unforgettable experience!

Humpback whales are often seen, but you might also spot gray whales, porpoises, and orcas.

While I have taken numerous west coast whale watching excursions, the one in Cabo provided the best action.

Cruising by Land's End
Whale watching in a large catamaran in Cabo

Adventurous travelers who make a day trip to La Paz will have the chance to snorkel with the majestic whale sharks. Like humpbacks, whale sharks are migratory creatures that visit the Bay of La Paz from October to March.

Despite their massive size, these gentle creatures are harmless and feed on tiny organisms such as plankton and krill. This unique experience promises to be up close and unforgettable!

Enjoy A Festival

Mexico celebrates a lot of festivals, and January is no exception. If you vacation at the right time, you can celebrate with the locals.

On January 6th, Mexico celebrates Día de Los Reyes (or Three Kings Day), which honors the three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus. Today, the Three Kings Day is observed with gift-giving, a parade, and food.

Roscon De Reyes, eaten on Three Kings Day
Roscon De Reyes, eaten on Three Kings Day

Eleven days later, Cabo San Lucas celebrates the Feast Day of San Antonio de Abad on January 17th. The Festival of Saint Anthony Abbot honors the patron saint of animals, whose only companions were animals.

During the event, locals gather with various animals, from livestock (horses, goats, and chickens) to smaller household pets, such as dogs, cats, and rabbits. The animals are adorned in clothes, bows, and ribbons to receive a blessing.

On this day, large livestock are allowed into churches where a priest blesses them. This is a Mexican cultural tradition that you don’t want to miss.

While the first two festivals are of religious nature, the next celebrates an outdoor sport. The Lord of the Wind Festival occurs towards the month’s end and recognizes top kite surfers.

Whether you’re a participant or spectator, it’s thrilling to watch the Sea of Cortez dotted with colorful kites during the annual 5-day event.

The East Cape of Baja, renowned worldwide for its warm water and consistent winds, provides the perfect place for such an event.

Great For Marlin Fishing

Fishing boat heading out from Cabo Harbor, Mexico
Fishing boat heading out from Cabo Harbor

Known as the “Marlin capital of the world,” you can enjoy excellent sport fishing opportunities in January. With a bit of luck, you could score a catch of Wahoo, Dorado, Yellowfin Tuna, or Marlin.

Anglers flock to Cabo to enjoy deep-sea fishing and especially for the chance to catch a marlin. While you’ll find different varieties in the waters here, Striped Marlin and Blue Marlin are often caught in January. 

Both species become active in the mornings and afternoons, so fishermen should plan accordingly. Anglers should know that Los Cabos encourages catch-and-release methods in order to conserve the species numbers and ensure others can enjoy this activity too. 

However, if you prefer to take your fish home, only one marlin and two Dorado, sailfish, tarpon, or halibut per boat are allowed.

Best Time For Outdoor Activities

Since temperatures are warm but not overly scorching, it’s a fantastic time of year to participate in some outdoor fun. Activities are plentiful and inexpensive, and the only limitation is your adventurousness.

Check out these ideas for fun in the sun during your January trip to Cabo.

Take A Glass Bottom Boat Tour

No trip to Cabo is complete without a short glass-bottom boat ride to El Arco (the Arch). There are plenty of locals vying for your business, so negotiate to get the best price.

After your ride, you can select to be dropped off at the Marina or Medano Beach. This activity is ideal for all ages, and we even took my 81-year-old mum one time.

On a glass bottom boat ride to El Arco in Cabo
On a glass-bottom boat ride to El Arco in Cabo

If you bring snorkeling gear, you can request a drop-off at Lover’s Beach near El Arco and a pick-up later in the day. The waters off Lover’s Beach are teaming with tropical fish, and you’ll have a chance to see pelicans and sea lions nearby.

Walking across the Pacific Ocean side, you’ll see Divorce Beach too. It probably gains its name from the turbulent waters. NOTE: you cannot swim there. Lover’s Beach has calmer waters and a roped-off area reserved for snorkeling.

Go Parasailing

If you don’t fear heights, parasailing off the coast of Cabo is an exhilarating experience. Unlike Mazatlan, where you parasail from the beach, in Los Cabos, you’ll soar up to the skies from the back of a boat. Tour operators use a winch system to lift and lower the parachute.

Parasailing is dependent upon the wind to lift the chute. However, tours won’t operate if it’s too windy. The parachute can accommodate two adults or two adults and a child if the combined weight is under the limit (generally 360 lbs). As you can see, we enjoyed a tandem parasail on a cloudy day.

Parasailing in Cabo San Lucas
Parasailing in Cabo San Lucas

Guests can take a camera or GoPro, but they’ll want to use a safety strap as it can be pretty windy 500 feet in the air. Once at maximum height, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of Medano Beach, the Pacific Ocean, and El Arco at Land’s End.

Parasailing rides typically last 10 minutes but could be extended if there are fewer fliers. As with any ocean-going activity, you’ll want to dress for the weather and the chance of getting wet. You will need to remove your shoes and sunglasses and empty your pockets.

Try Zip Lining

While most who visit Cabo hit the beach or partake in a water sport, there are adventures in the mountains too. Located in the desert, the Wild Canyon boasts it has the largest Baja zip-lining course.

It features seven lines, some as long as 2,673 feet in length. Some lines are tandem so that you can zip along with your friends. But Wild Canyon offers more than just zip lines. You could say it’s Mexico’s version of an extreme adventure park.

If you purchase a park day pass, you can bungee jump, ride camels, go on an ATV excursion, cross a suspension bridge, and much more.

Zip lining in Costa Azul Canyon
Zip lining in Costa Azul Canyon

Alternatively, you can zip line at Costa Azul Canyon, which also features seven exciting lines.

Hike A Trail

Hiking in Cabo San Lucas is a popular activity, and the city boasts a variety of trails. The Lover’s Beach Trail is highly recommended but shouldn’t only be done at low tide.

The 2.4 km hike requires some rock scrambling, so wear appropriate footwear. In January, you’ll benefit from the lower temperatures and not-so-scorching sun.

You can also check out Playa El Medano, an out-and-back hike that provides breathtaking beach views. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because some sandy and rocky surfaces are along these trails. Afterward, you can take a swim at one of these incredible beaches!

If you’re looking for a more accessible option, the Esperanza Trail is perfect. This 1.6 km hike starts in front of the Hotel Esperanza. On the trek, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby islands. Expect to take under 30 minutes to complete. 

It’s a relatively easy trail with some rocky and uneven surfaces, so be sure to watch your step! Also, remember to pack water and sunscreen for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Play A Round Of Golf

While the Baja area is a water sports playground, it’s also becoming a golfer’s paradise. Bear in mind that you’ll have to spend about USD 350 to play at the finest courses, such as Cabo Del Sol’s Ocean Course (designed by Jack Nicklaus) or Quivira Los Cabos.

Sunset on a desert golf course in Cabo San Lucas
Sunset on a desert golf course in Cabo San Lucas

However, the bragging rights might outweigh the cost if you’re an avid golfer. With an arid climate and not much risk of rain, you can enjoy spectacular Pacific Ocean views from some of the top golfing greens.

Between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, you’ll have your pick of over a dozen courses. With so many choices, you might need to extend your vacation to find some beach time.

Enjoy A Camel Safari

If you’ve always wanted to ride a camel, you don’t need to travel to Egypt to do so. Cabo San Lucas offers camel safaris. Since the camels are friendly and docile, the tours are suitable for families and often have complimentary pick-up at your hotel or cruise port.

Once paired with a four-legged friend, you’ll don a white Shemagh scarf before heading out onto the beach or desert. Most tours last three hours, and with a slow-moving camel, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the landscape at a leisurely pace.

Some tours include a tour of the Tierra Sagrada ranch and may also include an authentic Mexican buffet. Others pair the camel rise with tequila tasting and a tortilla-making lesson. Of course, you’ll have plenty of time to capture those camel selfies!

Feast On A Food Tour

A fun-filled food tour in Cabo San Lucas will allow you to eat like a local. Eating Mexican food at home doesn’t quite compare with sampling authentic culinary dishes in Mexico.

Sampling tacos in Cabo San Lucas
Sampling tacos in Cabo San Lucas

On a three-hour walking tour, you’ll taste the best tacos and quesadillas while learning the local culture. Moving from one gastronomic hotspot to another, you could sample fish tacos, a variety of salsa, and Mole. Arrive with an appetite and a desire to try something new.

The Eat like a Local tours are limited to small groups, which makes it much more personal. The tour includes in-depth commentary on Mexican traditions associated with food. If you love to eat, make sure to take this tour!

Go Horseback Riding

Whether you’re new to horseback riding or an experienced equestrian, Cabo offers various rides to suit your needs. Beginners can feel the wind in their hair and smell the salty air as they do a gentle trot on a Pacific Coastal beach.

All rides typically last two hours, which includes transportation time. More advanced riders can enjoy a tour of the desert and the hills. Don’t think this excursion is just for adults, as most tours can accommodate children of 7 years and up.

For a touch of romance, consider the two-hour sunset beach ride along the Baja California Sur. For an added adventure, you can combine horseback riding with a UTV adventure on desert trails and through canyons before mounting your horse.

This 3-hour is guaranteed to get your heart pumping, then relax on a tranquil beach ride while watching the sun go down.

Enjoy An ATV Tour

If you’re ready to live on the wild side and aren’t afraid to get dirty, head out into the Baja outback in an all-terrain vehicle. ATV tours are growing in popularity, and you have many to choose from in Cabo San Lucas. 

ATVing in Los Cabos, Mexico
ATVing in Los Cabos

Some vehicles accommodate one rider, while others take two. Rentals come with helmets and goggles; you just need to bring your adventurous spirit.

All-terrain vehicles have the ability to take you where horses can’t. So, if you’re seeking an adrenaline tour that races through streams and into canyons, you’re in for a treat on a Cabo ATV adventure. 

Tours start at two hours, but the longer ones (4-1/2 hours) include an authentic Mexican buffet and tequila tasting.

Cabo San Lucas in January – Wrap It Up

As you can see, January is an ideal time to Visit Cabo San Lucas. With slightly cooler weather, you can spend more time outdoors, soaking up the scenery or enjoying a fantastic excursion.

Whether you arrive by cruise ship for the day or fly in for an all-inclusive stay, its vibrant atmosphere and fantastic patio restaurants will entice you to make another visit.

Those on a Mexican Riviera cruise can continue down the coast to enjoy the beautiful ports of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán. It’s a chance to do some whale watching from your vessel.

Aerial view of Land's End, ATV vehicles on a trail and zip lining in Cabo San Lucas