Santa Maria Beach
Santa Maria Beach
4.5
About
This sheltered cove is bookended by towering rocks in the Tourist Corridor. Its crystal clear waters make it a favorite for swimming, diving, and snorkeling.
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  • product-of-canada
    Toronto, Canada2,386 contributions
    Nice change from Medano
    Was worth the half day trip, especially if you like snorkelling. My wife preferred Chileno beach, because it was bigger. We were able to get shade at both locations, without paying for lounge chairs with umbrellas. Go in the morning, and walk to the far right to the rock wall. You will be shaded there, but there is limited space. We took Uber there, and the public bus back. When taking the bus, just go to the highway and flag down the purple/yellow bus. They are fast! Faster than Uber.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 6, 2023
  • almliu
    Sister Bay, Wisconsin175 contributions
    Nice place to see
    Nice beach. Came for several hours to enjoy the beauty. We’re surprised that there were no public bathrooms (would be hard to make a full day there with young children) also restaurants are only for private villa customers and won’t take beach people.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 14, 2023
  • Kayla T
    Phoenix, Arizona36 contributions
    Snorkel here!
    Amazing public beach! So clean! Amazing snorkeling! We loved hanging out at Santa Maria. We are so glad we found this beach, rather than paying for a snorkeling tour adventure, since they come to this cove anyways! Loved this beach!
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 29, 2023
  • FrequentTraveler2011
    Chicago, Illinois43 contributions
    Interesting snorkeling within a bus ride from Cabo Sun Lucas
    The beach is truly impressive! Surf is variable and can be very calm or significant, but a flag system keeps swimmers informed about safety levels at any given time. The sand, while rough, can be navigated more comfortably with the use of neoprene socks or water shoes. Unfortunately, the ambiance is affected by ongoing construction in the vicinity, and it appears that in the near future, the once secluded beach will become more populated. Trinket vendors are already here. The best snorkeling experience can be found on the far-right side near the rocks. There, we encountered a diverse array of marine life: well-fed Surgeonfish, Angel Fish schooling together, Moorish Idol, various damselfishes including the striking Giant Damselfish, Cortez rainbow wrasse, Blue-barred Parrotfish, Porkfish, Pompano, Pacific Trumpetfish, Guineafowl Puffer, and even a Moray Eel. We went twice in one week and saw something new each time. Corrals are not impressive, visible bleaching. During our visit, the high tide early in the morning left minimal dry sand close to the snorkeling area. To secure our belongings, we placed them on the rocks surrounding the beach. As the tide receded after 10 am, we installed our umbrella about 10 feet away from the demarcation line set by the adjacent hotel. However, a hotel employee bulled us (and others) to a more central part of the beach, farther away from the prime snorkeling spot, supposedly for our safety but most likely to ensure that our umbrellas did not obstruct the view for their guests lounging on the property. There were no risks for location. Later, we were told by the locals that while the property behaves possessively toward the public beach, they have no ownership rights. Accessing this beautiful beach from Cabo San Lucas was convenient. We hopped onto the purple public bus near the Walmart parking lot, and the fare was just 30 pesos. The buses, while of varying quality, all have air conditioning, making for a comfortable ride. Sometimes, you might encounter a live musical performance along the way. Heading back to town was just as straightforward. We crossed the highway and waited on the side for about 15 minutes until we spotted the bus, then signaled for it to stop. On the bus, we seemed to be the only ones on vacation, all other passengers commuted to or from work, many wearing their uniforms.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 20, 2023
  • Stephanie
    California23 contributions
    Awesome ⛱️
    Love this place. I feel safer here. We had a lot of awesome pictures and videos. Lots of fishes 🐟 😉 😀. Also, I like the life guard, lol. My family and I went to multiple beaches, and this one I like when it comes to safety and feeling secure.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written December 4, 2023
  • tinaNtravel
    San Jose, California2,011 contributions
    Great snorkeling beach and a nice place to swim
    This beach is in a cove about 20 minutes north of Cabo. We took an Uber. The beach has a bathroom and an outside shower to rinse off, near the parking lot. Bring shoes, as the beach is very large/long and is mostly a rock/pebble beach. Near and in the water is soft sand rather than rocks. It seems this is a place for boats from Cabo to stop – as when we first arrived, 4-5 boats were anchored offshore. There are also a couple of hotels in the area with seats on the beach for their guests. A few of us went snorkeling near the rocks on the side of the cove and it was fantastic. In addition to a lot of fish, they saw a manta ray and a Morey eel. We left in the evening – and I was wondering how long we would have to wait for an Uber ride back to Cabo. To my surprise an Uber was there in 1 minute.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written January 15, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
1,311 reviews
Excellent
840
Very good
348
Average
94
Poor
24
Terrible
5

Ang L
Portland, OR187 contributions
Oct 2020
Very nice protected cove for swimming and snorkeling. The beaches all had yellow flags during the days we were visiting but Santa Maria was quite calm, especially at the far west end. Getting in/out where small waves were breaking was a little challenging but not too bad. The water in mid-October was beautifully warm. Only catch is if you don't like crowds/noise, you should get there really early and/or don't go on a weekend. The tour boats from Cabo bring tons of people and blast music. At one point there were eight boats in the small cove. We went on both a weekday and a weekend. On Thursday the boats started arriving around 11:00, but on Saturday was more like 9:30-10:00.
Written November 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Em T
Calgary, Canada53 contributions
Dec 2021 • Family
We had a great time here. Took a taxi from Gregorytour from our hotel. Arrived before 10am and were one of the first groups on the beach. They have umbrellas for rent for $14 (won’t budge on the price). We didn’t get one and didn’t need once since we were in the water most of the time snorkelling. The snorkelling was decent! Clear water and a few different types of fish. Snorkelling tours park at this location. No lockers for belongings, we dug a hole under our beach towel and put our phones and money in there. Seemed pretty safe with tourists all around. The review before this said there are no vendors on the beach. There was when we were there but they ask once and then leave you alone. Since the water isn’t swimmable in front of most resorts I recommend Santa Maria for a day trip. The sand is very coral-ly and rough on the feet so walk to the water and swim to where you want to go. Enjoy!
Written January 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FrequentTraveler2011
Chicago, IL43 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
The beach is truly impressive! Surf is variable and can be very calm or significant, but a flag system keeps swimmers informed about safety levels at any given time. The sand, while rough, can be navigated more comfortably with the use of neoprene socks or water shoes. Unfortunately, the ambiance is affected by ongoing construction in the vicinity, and it appears that in the near future, the once secluded beach will become more populated. Trinket vendors are already here.

The best snorkeling experience can be found on the far-right side near the rocks. There, we encountered a diverse array of marine life: well-fed Surgeonfish, Angel Fish schooling together, Moorish Idol, various damselfishes including the striking Giant Damselfish, Cortez rainbow wrasse, Blue-barred Parrotfish, Porkfish, Pompano, Pacific Trumpetfish, Guineafowl Puffer, and even a Moray Eel. We went twice in one week and saw something new each time. Corrals are not impressive, visible bleaching.

During our visit, the high tide early in the morning left minimal dry sand close to the snorkeling area. To secure our belongings, we placed them on the rocks surrounding the beach. As the tide receded after 10 am, we installed our umbrella about 10 feet away from the demarcation line set by the adjacent hotel. However, a hotel employee bulled us (and others) to a more central part of the beach, farther away from the prime snorkeling spot, supposedly for our safety but most likely to ensure that our umbrellas did not obstruct the view for their guests lounging on the property. There were no risks for location. Later, we were told by the locals that while the property behaves possessively toward the public beach, they have no ownership rights.

Accessing this beautiful beach from Cabo San Lucas was convenient. We hopped onto the purple public bus near the Walmart parking lot, and the fare was just 30 pesos. The buses, while of varying quality, all have air conditioning, making for a comfortable ride. Sometimes, you might encounter a live musical performance along the way. Heading back to town was just as straightforward. We crossed the highway and waited on the side for about 15 minutes until we spotted the bus, then signaled for it to stop. On the bus, we seemed to be the only ones on vacation, all other passengers commuted to or from work, many wearing their uniforms.
Written November 21, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cran_Law
Calgary, Canada52 contributions
Dec 2019
Our family really enjoyed this beach. From lounging on the beach, to snorkelling. The only downside is that the sand in the upper half is more like tiny rocks, so it can be a little uncomfortable on bare feet. It was nice to be able to rent a beach umbrella for 200 pesos for our group of 8, along with flippers for the kids while they snorkelled. There were also a lot of boats that would park in this bay (there are buoys marking where they can't go past), so it was pretty loud at times when boats would come by with their music blaring.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jennifer l
Woodinville, WA89 contributions
Jan 2020
My family loves to snorkel and this is one of a few beaches where you can snorkel straight from the beach (Chileno is the other major one). We drove there in our rental car (good signage). There is an information desk, bathrooms, outdoor showers, and a large parking lot. The beach itself is gorgeous, with beautiful blue/green water and a perfect horseshoe shape surrounded by rocky outcroppings on both sides. The main snorkeling spot is along the rocks on the far side of the beach. It's a bit of a walk from the parking lot (and over very small pebbles rather than white sugary sand), but it's worth it! We were amazed at the quantity and variety of fish that we saw. We saw many large schools of fish that are completely unafraid of humans (we did see people feeding the fish). We also snorkeled the near side of the beach as well, and although there was indeed fish/coral to see, it wasn't as impressive as the far side.

Chileno, by comparison, had far fewer schools of fish. It did have, however, more interesting underwater topography, a longer expanse of beach with finer sand, and the walk from the parking lot was shorter. So, you can't really go wrong with either Chileno or Santa Maria, but if we had to pick just one, we would pick Santa Maria.

Would highly recommend trying to get to Santa Maria before 10:00 am or after 4:00 pm, because it's a much quieter atmosphere without the tour boats.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KellyRemington
Grande Prairie, Canada50 contributions
Apr 2022 • Family
This was by far our favorite beach between Santa Maria and Chileno (we still enjoyed Chileno and it's worth visiting). The beach was not crowded (weekday) and was very clean with gentlemen collecting garbage out of the sand throughout the day with their homemade sand scoopers.

The sand was coarse so I do suggest wearing water shoes to walk around the beach or in the water. Also we ended up setting up shop all the way to the right side of the beach where the snorkeling is best. It's a bit of a hike in the sand with all your gear but if you plan on doing lots of Snorkeling i do recommend heading to the far right.

The snorkeling was great, we got to see a great variety of fish, large schools of fish....starfish, loads of sea urchins (large spine and short spined), puffer fish, yellow tailed tangs, parrot fish, angel fish, and several other types.

You can also rent chairs, umbrella and boogie boards, but they won't set it up of bring it for you if you choose to go far away from their post. We did lug all our items to the far right side and came back for the rented items.

Bathrooms were not super clean and didn't have toilet paper so I suggest you bring some and don't forget your shoes for the boardwalk.

There is no food there so bring lots of water, snacks and lunch in a cooler bag.

We had our 2.5 year old toddler with us, and she loved going to that beach. The water also seemed warmer than Chileno beach. The waves were less aggressive and she enjoyed playing in the surf a lot more. We brought buckets and shovels and a light coloured umbrella for entertainment.

I do suggest hat and rashguard (uv shirt) as some of us got bad sunburns from snorkeling. We brought our masks and snorkels (no fines as we forgot them) and it was great.
Written June 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SS_Strong
Steamboat Springs, CO7 contributions
Jan 2020
Beach and snorkeling were OK, but when we tried to explore along the rocks on the southwest side of the cove, security threw a fit and were screaming to get off! No signs. "PRIVADO" signs on the hill above, but nothing there. Be careful what you do in Mexico, clearly you can be breaking the rules (or law) without even knowing it. Not cool! The shorline along a national park such as this should be open for exploration, and no clear restriction is all the reason I need not to go back (or anywhere else in the country). Thanks, but better places everywhere.
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

trav226
New York City, NY605 contributions
Apr 2021 • Friends
Large, not very crowded, umbrellas $10. Easy paved path to beach and you can get an Uber from the parking lot. The downside - sand in the ocean is like quicksand. You sink into it and it’s impossible to get a footing but you’ll be over your head after a couple steps anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter. Very easy to get knocked down by the waves and backwash near shore. If you want beaches that are truly swimmable without these hassles/ dangers don’t go to cabo.
Written April 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jennifer H
Beaverton, OR8 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
Here for a day on a cruise. Easy $10 US uber ride to this beach. Rented an umbrella for $12 US. Brought our own masks/snorkels but they had those for rent as well. Snorkeling was decent (not as good as Hawaii).. many snorkel boats in the bay. Was able to snorkel near a group that was feeding the fish. Very cool to see the feeding frenzy with a wide variety of fish. Water was cold, but sun was hot so it was a good combo! Caught another uber back to marina. Nice, cheap, easy beach day!
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wes H
Saskatoon, Canada13 contributions
Feb 2020 • Solo
I’ve been here snorkelling several times over the last three years. We are used to the Mayan side at places such as Akumal. The coral is minimal on this area. However I was pleasantly surprised with the fish. There is a very good variety of fish. Santa Maria is at about km12. If you are going from SJDC catch the purple bus across across from Mega (La Comer) it is very cheap. When you are around km13 or 14 or see the Chileno sign just tell the driver “Playa Santa Maria por favor”. It is not far to walk. There are washrooms but I take some paper and stick it in the back side of the little rock wall incase they are out of paper. I find the snorkelling is better if I go to the right side. This is a good activity.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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