A sense of adventure is a must for any Cabo vacation. Things will not always go as planned, and the traveler who embraces unexpected challenges as part of the fun will enjoy the trip infinitely more.
Full-service resorts and online resources make it easy to plan every aspect of a Cabo visit in advance. Those who prefer to make decisions on the fly can do so, with a couple of exceptions: Places book up in La Paz  and Los Cabos  during the Christmas/New Year’s and Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter) holidays, and La Paz fills up during the November Baja 1000  off-road race. Travelers who build some flexibility into their trip can allocate time as they go, view rooms and restaurants before committing to them, discover new places, and bargain for significant discounts. Of course, if you decide to wing it, you’ll spend a good chunk of your vacation looking for places to stay, so this approach works best for longer trips.
The flat end of the peninsula from San José del Cabo  to Cabo San Lucas  is warm year-round. Pacific influences generally moderate the heat July–September, while the tropic waters of the Gulf Current make this stretch the warmest coastal zone on the peninsula during winter months. Cabo San Lucas receives about 45 percent of its measurable annual rainfall—a total of 15–18 centimeters (6–7 in) a year—in September, so if there’s a month to avoid for weather reasons, that’s the one.
For some travelers, August and September may also be intolerably hot. Todos Santos  on the Pacific coastline is cooler than Cabo San Lucas in the summer, and Cabo San Lucas  is usually cooler than San José del Cabo  or La Paz .
The two months when you’re least likely to have Los Cabos beaches to yourself are December and January, when large numbers of Americans and Canadians come here seeking respite from rainstorms and blizzards. Crowds dwindle in summer and early fall due to the heat, although anglers and divers keep at least some hotels fully booked during these months as well.
If you’d like to time your visit around a specific outdoor activity, consider the following as a guideline:
Sportfishing: The greatest variety and number of game fish swim the widest range of Cape waters April–October, when water temperatures are relatively warm. In winter, many species migrate south, but fortunately for winter anglers, exceptions abound.
Scuba Diving: Water visibility is best July–October, when it exceeds 30 meters (100 ft); this is also when the air temperature is warmest, often reaching well over 32°C (90°F).
Surfing: Cape Region surfers are blessed; they can enjoy both winter and summer wave action within a radius of roughly 100 kilometers.
Kiteboarding and Windsurfing: November–March, the Sea of Cortez is a windsurfer’s paradise, particularly along the East Cape. La Paz  attracts windsurfers even in summer, when a strong breeze called el coromuel comes in just about every afternoon.
Whale-Watching: California gray whales and calves are a common sight offshore December–April, as they pass through Cape waters on their way to birthing lagoons on the Pacific Coast of the Central Baja region. The closest lagoon for viewing the whales up close, Bahía Magdalena, lies 200 kilometers (120 mi) northwest of La Paz .
Seasoned Baja travelers pride themselves on the detailed nature of their packing lists. Below are some items to consider. For more detailed lists of equipment based on your planned activity, check out the corresponding sections here .
Documents: The first thing to pack is your passport, required for U.S. citizens as of January 2007. Then print out confirmations and contact information for your flight, rental car, hotel, and any prebooked activities. Pack driving maps if you plan to venture beyond the Los Cabos region.
Gadgets: A camera is a must-have for any trip to Cabo. A GPS, laptop, cell phone, and portable music player may also come in handy while on the road in Baja, but the more electronics you pack, the heavier your bags will be and the more you’ll have to keep track of your belongings. Even if you don’t plan to camp, a headlamp is useful in places like Cabo Pulmo , where there are no streetlights for getting around at night.
Toiletries and First Aid: You can buy just about anything you need in San José  or La Paz . Tums and Pepto come in handy when you OD on the hot sauce. Bug repellent and anti-itch lotion help prevent and soothe insect bites. Hand sanitizer is always a good idea.
Shoes, Clothes, and Accessories: Bring sturdy footwear for walks and hikes, and Tevas or other water-friendly footwear for the beach. Sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential. Bring a cute wrap for the beach, but leave the strappy heels behind unless you want to risk going home with a broken ankle. Layers come in handy. Pack your reading material of choice; English-language books and magazines are hard to find and more expensive here.
Sports Equipment: Consider the size of your rental car when packing up the sports closet. Golf clubs, fishing rods, scuba gear, and surfboards take up lots of room. Bring straps for securing gear on the roof and repair kits for fixing dings and leaks. Renting equipment is an option in the more developed towns, including Cabo San Lucas , San José del Cabo , and La Paz . Even out-of-the-way places such as Cabo Pulmo , Los Barriles , and Todos Santos have kayaks, surfboards, and scuba gear available for rent.