Perched on the southern tip of Baja California, polished Cabo San Lucas is an unlikely choice for budget-friendly vacations. Reputed for its A-list celebrity sightings, world-class spas, and five-diamond villas, this small slice of paradise offers a surprising abundance to the frugal traveler. While Kim Kardashian might be kicking back in the $500/night private condo for the weekend, its not unusual to be right next door, taking in the serene beauty and warm Mexican hospitality from the privileged perch of secluded seaside suites and beachfront guestrooms, starting at just $68/night. Rates are priced during off-season travel and for advance bookings.
Undergoing renovations, the 286-guestroom Tesoro Los Cabos is a remnant of the sleepy, fishing town Cabo used to be, clambering to keep up with the high-end newcomers. Central to just about every downtown attraction, the resort sits on the marina boardwalk, with panoramic shots of the bay. Guestrooms start from a resourceful $68 per night for a city view category, and an optional all-inclusive plan adds about $41 per person, per night. While the lowest-category guestrooms are fairly low key with no special trimmings, the affordable suite rates (from $95/night) rake in the value for Tesoro. Visit Tesoro Los Cabos to book.
One of the first to stake its claim on Cabos secluded beachfront strip in 1979, the 114-suite Solmar Resort is hemmed by the Pacific Ocean and the carved cliffs that gave rise to the towns pen name, Lands End. While Solmars rates start from just $109 per night, a single-level upgrade to an oceanfront junior suite tacks on approximately $20 more for direct, private access to the pristine beach and a separate living room area. The resort offers an intimate setting in a low-rise complex, with colorful room accents, modern amenities, and use of the newer Solmar properties services, including pools, the spa, and restaurants. Plus, its only a 10-minute walk from downtown. Visit Solmar Hotels & Resorts to book.
Overlooking the picturesque harbor, the 155-guestroom Marina Fiesta Resort and Spa is an all-suite property rising up from Cabos brand-studded shopping strip, and a short walk from Medano Beach, the most popular swimming spot to set up camp. Rates start from just $120 per night for a 505-square-foot junior suite, with an all-inclusive plan available for $75 more per person (averaging $135 per person, per night). Nautical décor, private terraces and separate kitchenettes distinguish Marina Fiestas guestrooms, however, the prime downtown location rings in its true economical merit. Visit Marina Fiesta Resort and Spa to book.
Tapering off at a mere Four Diamonds, villas at the 142-guestroom Cabo Villas Beach Resort and Spa start from $125 per night. Situated in a coveted spot in downtown Cabo on Medano Beach, the property boasts one of the only designated swimming holes along the shore, safe from the breaking waves of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. Rooms feature modern amenities like wall-mounted flat-screen TVs and marble accents, balanced by traditional hacienda furnishings. Splurge on a 750-square-foot, one-bedroom deluxe suite with a four-person cap for just $25 more per night. Visit Cabo Villas Beach Resort and Spa to book.
Another stunning Solmar addition, the Four Diamond, 260-guestroom all-suite Playa Grande Resort fans out into a vast, beachfront complex, with room sizes starting from a spacious 633 square feet and just $140 per night. Situated on a private stretch of sand, side by side with the remarkable granite rock formations, Playa Grande is also just a 10-minute stroll from lively downtown. The guestroom décor is warm-toned, with marble counters, luxurious bedding, floor-to-ceiling windows, kitchenettes, and balconies or terraces. Visit Playa Grande Resort to book.