Feature: It’s Spa Time in Cabo

The classic Mexican beach vacation gets even better.

By Maribeth Mellin | Photograph and video by Matt Dutile

Los Cabos, comprising two towns, bustling Cabo San Lucas and artsy San José del Cabo, is a nexus of desert, mountains and sea, flanked by farms that give life to fruits and herbs. It’s the kind of place that naturally inspires a sense of vitality, and so it’s little surprise that there is a stellar spa scene here. You can pop in for the day at spas that draw everyone from celebrities to casual vacationers through their doors. In this thriving wellness culture, you’ll find treatments that immerse you in warm water, awaken your senses or incorporate native ingredients. No matter what you choose, you’re bound to step out of the spa and onto the sand feeling rejuvenated.

Moon and Sea

Three waterfalls cascade into the meditation pool at Luna y Mar, with a backdrop of mountainous boulders on Cabo San Lucas’s shore. Circular pools filled with warm water face the falls and are the setting for the spa’s Aquatic Massage ($175*). It’s designed for water lovers: A therapist alternately kneads, bends and swirls nearly everything from your neck to your toes, occasionally (and with a warning) dipping and twisting your body underwater before cradling it as if you were a baby. The idea is to feel unencumbered by gravity, with your limbs floating free of all tension.

An ethereal theme prevails at Luna y Mar, named for the moon and sea. Signature massages are less intense than the Aquatic Massage and are based on the lunar phases, which are depicted in a relaxation room. Massages begin with therapists using lime, sage and rosemary in a foot-cleansing ritual developed by a curandeira (healer) who combines ancestral techniques with Baja herbs, fruits and minerals. Treatment rooms face the outdoor meditation pool, which awaits the freshly scrubbed and wrapped.

The Resort at Pedregal; 1 Camino del Mar, Cabo San Lucas; 844-733-7342; massages, from $95 for 30 minutes

Global Perspective

Paintings by artists-in-residence line the hallway of the intimate Mindfulness Spa by Mexsun, in the artsy enclave of San José del Cabo. The treatment menu meanders the globe, from Japanese shiatsu and Reiki, to Thai and Mayan techniques, to the Holistic Purification Ritual ($240) with a four-hand Indian Ayurvedic abhyanga (warm oil) massage. The eclectic selection is designed for people “who want exotic and unique experiences,” says spa director Kelli Castineiras, a self-professed fan of global spa traditions. “We always keep authenticity in mind.”

In the Balinese-style Couples Retreat ritual ($355), especially popular with honeymooners and those who have come to Los Cabos for a destination wedding, a therapist kneads, taps, rolls and warms the muscles with hot stones before applying a yogurt, turmeric and jasmine mask (for women) or one with ginger and white pepper (for men). The therapist then leaves the duo to bathe in a hot tub while sipping from flutes of sparkling-wine mimosas.

Earthy copal resin used as incense in sacred ceremonies infuses the abdominal massage and herbal mud wrap in the two-and-a-half-hour Mother Earth Moment ($240), a longer-than-average treatment. And a gentle aloe body rub and hydrating facial soothe the skin in the Agave Sunburn Remedy ($170)—sun-kissed golfers receive extra attention. Trained in 18 kinds of massage, the spa’s therapists can handle just about anything that ails you.

Hotel El Ganzo; Tiburon s/n, Puerto Los Cabos, San José del Cabo; 866-501-7291; massages, from $160 for 60 minutes

Made in Mexico

Personalized attention from start to finish makes the recently opened Auberge Los Cabos Spa at Chileno Bay a standout. One detail that’s especially welcome: An attendant replaces your footwear with sandals in the lobby and accompanies you through each stage of your spa journey, replenishing your cup of tea, water and towels along the way.

Before your treatment begins, you’re encouraged to spend time in the Himalayan-salt inhalation sauna, at the ice rubdown station (yes, this is exactly what it sounds like), in the aromatherapy steam room and taking alternating dips in the warm and cold plunge pools. Spending just a few minutes in the Himalayan-salt inhalation room is intended to help regulate your breath. If you end this stage with a circuit around the reflexology pool, where stones press into the pressure points of your feet, you’ll be well prepared for the next step—the treatment itself.

Spa manager Jorge Luis Hernandez has introduced experiences from throughout Mexico into the signature treatments, which combine multiple segments. “We want people to learn about a piece of Mexico and how the culture was born,” Hernandez says. The intensive two-and-a-half-hour Kayaumari Restorative Ritual ($450), based on traditions of the Huichol people, is a thorough sports massage wherein your limbs and joints are stretched with cloth bands. The room fills with stimulating scents as the therapist applies oils, herbs and a nourishing cactus-infused mask. To round out the offerings, there are Aztec and Maya rituals, plus Thai and deep-tissue massage.

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences; Carr. Transpeninsular km 15, Cabo San Lucas; 844-207-9354; massages, from $165 for 60 minutes

Serenity Now

Tranquility and privacy prevail at the One&Only Spa, a venerable Los Cabos hideaway. Pathways lead past fountains, arches, tiled stairways and bougainvillea to a compound shaded by palms. Guests can enjoy time in the saunas, steam rooms and hot and cold rock pools before being led to secret gardens and individual spa villas with large indoor treatment areas, en suite restrooms and sun terraces. Some have plunge pools and day beds, too. Treatments are highly personalized, and special touches include massage beds that can be cued to slowly raise your body to a seated position—which is a far more pleasant way to dismount a treatment table after a muscle-melting massage.

Back in the spa compound, there is a large fitness center staffed with personal trainers, an airy yoga and Pilates studio, and a Wellness Garden and juice bar. In the spa area, curandero Raul Retana oversees the temazcal, a dome-shaped steam bath heated with volcanic rocks. The Temazcal Ritual ($160) begins with a spiritual cleansing with copal and includes drumming, chanting and heavy perspiring inside the steam bath before a refreshing shower. Retana also performs the two-hour Ancient Healing Treatment ($350), including a one-on-one consultation, sage cleansing and deep-tissue massage that uses magnets to release negative energy—so you can return home from Los Cabos with a happy, healthy glow.

One&Only Palmilla; Carr. Transpeninsular km 7.5, San José del Cabo; 866-828-2977; massages, from $250 for 60 minutes

3 More Standout Spas

Looking for an inexpensive massage on the beach? Make your way to Sand Bar (Playa Medano and Calle Cormoranes, Cabo San Lucas; 011-52-624-144-3752; massages, from $33 for 60 minutes). This unassuming two-story restaurant employs 25 certified massage therapists to care for the weary on 12 massage beds in an open-air second-story aerie. Lest this sound like a massage factory, consider the well-trained, intuitive therapists who knead the knottiest shoulders into submission while you listen to waves slap the sand and feel the sea breeze. Reserve your massage in advance or take a chance and hope there’s a table open—you can always sip something cold and munch on the downstairs restaurant’s tasty mariscada (seafood platter) while waiting your turn.

For a more sophisticated afternoon, there’s Manoma (Koral Center; Carr. Transpeninsular km 24.5, San José del Cabo; 011-52-624-105-2900; massages, from $49 for 60 minutes), in a busy plaza that houses several wellness shops. Manoma’s sleek, scented facilities include a stunning yoga studio, where well-trained instructors teach hatha, Ashtanga and aerial yoga with ropes dangling from the ceiling. Local clients stop by for classes, hydrating facials and holistic therapies, including Reiki and aromatherapy massages. For an added treat, you can linger over a smoothie in the adjacent tea shop or check out El Merkado, a trendy food hall in the plaza.

Spa therapist Nora Baez spent many years honing her skills at Cabo’s top spas before opening her one-room Heritage Boutique Spa (Casa Bella Boutique Hotel, 10 Calle Miguel Hidalgo, Cabo San Lucas; 011-52-624-143-6400; massages, from $80 for 60 minutes) across from the main plaza in Cabo San Lucas. Baez’s massages, wraps, facials and exfoliations utilize ingredients and techniques from throughout Mexico. She also provides reflexology and aquatic healing treatments in a warm pool. The spa has a shower, and clients can use the hotel pool after their treatments.

RCI® affiliated resorts in Los Cabos include:
Hacienda del Mar Resort 3622

Jack Nicklaus, widely considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time, designed the links here. Carr. Transpeninsular km. 10, Mega Desarrollo, Lote D, Cabo del Sol
Member Review: “Our concierge was very helpful!”

Pueblo Bonito Resort at Sunset Beach 5704

Slip into a poolside cabana at this all-inclusive on the southern end of Cabo San Lucas. Predio Paraíso Escondido
Member Review: “A beautiful resort away from the crowds.”

Pueblo Bonito Rose Spa & Resort 4110

There’s a stunning free-form pool plus miles of beach to enjoy. Domicilio Conocido, Playa El Médano
Member Review: “We loved having easy access to the beach and the pool.”

Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa by UVC DC17

Little luxuries include minibars refreshed daily and private terraces with views of the ocean or marina. Paseo de la Marina, El Medano Ejidal
Member Review: “We were treated like kings and queens.”

Grand Velas Los Cabos DF94

Home to the largest wine collection in the region as well as seven dining venues and a poolside cevicheria. Carr. Transpeninsular Cabo San Lucas km. 17.3, Corredor Turistico Los Cabos
Member Review: Not yet rated

RCI® Tip

Looking for spas in popular destinations? Visit RCI.com and use the Vacation Type filters to search for your next spa getaway.

For complete member reviews (as member reviews have been condensed) and additional resort listings, visit RCI.com or call 800-338-7777 (Weeks) or 877-968-7476 (Points). Club Members, please call your specific Club or RCI telephone number.

Search Now

Non-RCI affiliated resorts in Los Cabos include:
Auberge Los Cabos Spa at Chileno Bay

Auberge Resort’s posh family-centric resort is next to the area’s top snorkeling bay and has 60 luxurious rooms and 32 villas with indoor and outdoor showers and large balconies. Carr. Transpeninsular km. 15; Cabo San Lucas; 844-207-9354; chilenobay.aubergeresorts.com; doubles from $595 a night

Hotel El Ganzo

International artists and musicians take up temporary residence in this boutique hotel, at a scenic marina set apart from town. The rooftop infinity pool alone is reason to stay here. Frequent concerts and art workshops attract an eclectic clientele. Tiburon s/n; Puerto Los Cabos, San José del Cabo; 866-501-7291; elganzo.com; doubles from $247 a night

One&Only Palmilla

This oceanside resort’s white hacienda-style buildings attract well-heeled celebrities, and its restaurants are among Cabo’s finest. Carr. Transpeninsular km. 7.5, San José del Cabo; 866-828-2977; oneandonlypalmilla.com; doubles from $640 a night

The Resort at Pedregal

A rock-lined tunnel leads through the mountain at land’s end to this handsome property, backed by boulders and facing the Pacific Ocean. Its El Farallon restaurant at the water’s edge has a romantic vibe. 1 Camino del Mar, Cabo San Lucas; 844-733-7342; theresortatpedregal.com; doubles from $675 a night

  • *Prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: Summer 2018