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Santa Maria Beach (Santa Maria Bay)

Santa Maria Beach
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Santa Maria Bay: Marine Diversity and Recreational Activities in Los Cabos

Nestled along the Tourist Corridor of Los Cabos, Santa Maria Beach is a pristine gem renowned for its sheltered natural cove and status as a protected marine sanctuary.

This idyllic beach, often hailed as one of the top beaches in the area, provides a serene escape from the bustling energy of nearby Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.

Rich marine life and activity

Snorkelers at Santa Maria Bay
Santa Maria Bay is a perfect snorkeling and diving spot

Santa Maria Beach’s sweeping arc of white sand and crystal-clear waters is a paradise for beach lovers and marine enthusiasts.

The bay’s unique geography forms a perfect snorkeling and diving spot, sheltering it from the harsher currents of the Pacific.

The marine life in Santa Maria Bay is nothing short of spectacular, offering rich sights of colors and marine species.

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Divers and snorkelers are often greeted by schools of tropical fish, including the vividly striped sergeant majors and the shimmering yellowtail snappers.

The bay’s rocky reefs are home to various fascinating sea creatures, from playful sea lions to the elusive and graceful manta rays. Moreover, the bay’s seagrass beds are a nurturing ground for smaller marine species, adding to the area’s rich biodiversity.

In addition to snorkeling and diving, Santa Maria Bay is a perfect spot for paddleboarding and kayaking. Visitors can glide over the tranquil waters and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.

Activities Beyond the Beach at Santa Maria Bay

Swimming, sunbathing and picnicking at the beach
Swimming, sunbathing and picnicking. You can do it all.

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, the beach is a haven for relaxation, sunbathing, and picnicking, with the surrounding cliffs offering a stunning backdrop and shelter.

Near Santa Maria Bay, tourists will find various beach hotels and villas offering luxurious accommodations with easy access to the bay. The hotel on Santa Maria Beach is called Montage.

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For golf enthusiasts, the area around Los Cabos is dotted with world-class golf courses, making it a popular destination for those who wish to combine marine adventures with golfing.

Santa Maria Beach (Playa Santa María) map

Zoom out to view the proximity to Chileno Bay, Cabo San Lucas, and San José del Cabo.

Optimal Times to Visit The Beach

Winter and Spring months, November through May, are the best months to visit Santa Maria Beach in Cabo San Lucas.

During this period, you can expect sunny days, minimal crowds, low humidity, and comfortable temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (around 24-30 degrees Celsius).

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This weather is ideal for beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and diving.

For exciting snorkeling activity, it’s noteworthy that morning hours are often the best for optimal visibility in the bay’s clear waters.

Santa Maria Beach: Access, Amenities, and Nearby Attractions

Outdoor facilities at the beach
The beach has public outdoor showers, toilets, and changing rooms

Santa Maria Beach offers an ease of accessibility and natural beauty, making it a destination for those traveling to Los Cabos.

  • Santa Maria Beach is a Blue Flag beach recognized for environmental management and water quality.
  • The beach is family-friendly, with good swimming conditions.
  • It’s recommended to bring your own snorkel gear and beach essentials.

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Facilities and amenities at Santa Maria Beach

The beach is a protected area and does not have restaurants or shops, so it’s good advice to bring your necessities, such as food, water, and sunscreen.

You can also purchase an umbrella in Cabo for beach use, as shade can be scarce.

The beach has outdoor showers, toilets, change rooms, and a wooden boardwalk leading to the beach area.

Accessing and enjoying Santa Maria Beach is straightforward, with several visitor options.

By Car

The car park at Sant Maria Bay
The car park is right near the beach. Ample car spots are available.

The most common and convenient way to reach Santa Maria Beach is by car.

The beach is located off Highway 1, about 10 miles southeast of Cabo San Lucas, toward San José del Cabo, making it easily accessible for those driving.

The journey from Cabo San Lucas should take around 15-25 minutes.

For visitors coming from San José del Cabo, the trip takes about 45 minutes. Arriving from San José, you will drive to Cabo San Lucas and turn back toward San José. There’s no interchange on the highway.

Once near the beach, signs will guide you to the asphalt parking area, approximately a quarter to a half-mile from the highway turn-off.

Public Transportation

The local bus, the ‘Ruta del Desierto,’ is a cost-effective choice for those on a budget. It is reliable and operates every 30 minutes.

If you’re coming from San José del Cabo, you’ll take a bus towards Cabo San Lucas and then change to one heading towards the Tourist Corridor or Highway 1.

Let the driver know that your destination is Santa Maria Beach.

Boat Rides and Tours

Tour boats anchor at the Bay
Plenty of boat tour options are available for all budgets.

Consider taking a boat ride or joining a guided tour for a different and more adventurous approach.

Tour operators offer snorkeling, kayaking, and luxurious private yacht tours departing from the Cabo San Lucas Marina.

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These tours provide transportation to Santa Maria Bay and include additional services like snorkeling gear, guides, and food and beverages.

This option is great for those looking for a hassle-free and organized experience.

Location Proximity

Santa Maria Beach is close to Chileno Beach, another popular beach destination. Both beaches are known for their pristine conditions and offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and swimming.

Like Santa Maria, Chileno Beach is recognized for its clean and clear waters, making it another excellent option for visitors to explore while in the area.

Snorkeling at Santa Maria Bay

Sign telling about the Sea Turtles on site
The Sea turtle capital. The sea turtle type you are likely to meet snorkeling here.

Santa Maria Bay is a gem. This sheltered cove is a protected marine sanctuary, making it a haven for various aquatic life.

Snorkelers can expect endless numbers of colorful fish species, such as pufferfish, angelfish, Moorish idols, and parrotfish. Additionally, invertebrate species such as sea cucumbers, sea urchins, starfish, crabs, and stingrays can easily be spotted.

But that’s not all – Santa Maria Beach is also home to sea turtles, sea lions, and even the majestic Mobula Rays. The rays can often jump out of the water in impressive displays.

The Crystal Clear Waters at Santa Maria Beach

Kayaking at the calm clear water of Santa Maria Bay
Swim, snorkel, and kayak in the crystal clear waters of Santa Maria Beach

As you enter the crystal-clear waters of Santa Maria Beach, expect a warm welcome from a vibrant display of sea life.

Coming on a boat or from the beach, you want to swim toward the two opposite ends, closer to the rocks and the beach, and snorkel there.

What makes Santa Maria Beach truly special is the crystal-clear waters. The clarity of the water makes it easy to see all the marine life in action. It’s so clear you can see a lot even when standing on board the deck of a tour boat.

The beach’s proximity to the Sea of Cortez means the water is teeming with biodiversity.

Snorkelers can spend hours exploring underwater landscapes and encountering new fish species and other sea creatures.

Swim alongside schools of fish and marvel at the vibrant invertebrates. Starfish, Sea Cucumbers, and Sea Urchins dot the bay’s floor.

Flag code at the beach
Sea safety code. Flags color code at the beach.

Keep your eyes peeled for stingrays, crabs, and even elusive sea lions. Those can occasionally be spotted frolicking in the bay.

Adding Santa Maria Beach to your list of must-visit destinations in Los Cabos is highly recommended.

With its stunning natural beauty and being a protected marine sanctuary, there are endless opportunities for snorkeling and swimming.

The bay is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Booking a tour to visit Santa Maria Beach

To make the most of your snorkeling experience, consider booking a snorkel tour with one of the many tour operators.

Daily departures to the bay from Cabo San Lucas marina regularly operate.

These tours typically include all the equipment you’ll need, including snorkel gear, towels, and wetsuits in the winter months.

And if you’re looking to cool off from the hot sun, know that most tours offer a free unlimited bar. (sunscreen, sunblock, and bottled water too.)

The tour guides are usually very good, and they will tailor the activity to your family.

Motion sick solution

You can expect great snorkeling straight off the beach, so there are no boats for those who get motion-sick.

Protecting the Marine Sanctuary

Marine conservation signs in Santa Maria Beach
Protecting the Marine Sanctuary. A conservation sign is on the left, and a danger sign is on the right. Watch the rocks!

This is the right time to note that Santa Maria Bay is a protected marine sanctuary, and it’s up to all of us to help preserve its delicate ecosystem.

When snorkeling or swimming in the bay, respect marine life and avoid touching or disturbing the animals.

When booking a tour, choose a company that prioritizes sustainability and eco-friendliness.

Along the Tourist Corridor: Chileno Bay

Chileno Bay is located just a short drive from Santa Maria Beach. Chileno Bay is another popular snorkeling spot in the area.

If you took a bout tour, ask to add a visit there to your excursion.

Like Santa Maria Bay, Chileno Bay is a protected marine sanctuary home to various sea life.

Known for its calm waters and secluded cove, Santa Maria Bay contrasts with Chileno Bay, which provides a more expansive snorkeling experience. Here, you’ll experience deeper water and a wider variety of underwater landscapes.

Whether you visit one or both of these stunning sites, you will surely enjoy a thrilling snorkeling adventure.

A Snorkeler’s Paradise

Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a first-time visitor, Santa Maria Beach is a must-visit destination on your next trip to Baja California Sur.

This hidden gem is a true paradise with calm waters, breathtaking scenery, and abundant marine life.

So grab your snorkel gear and get ready for an unforgettable underwater adventure.

Tours and Tickets to Experience Santa Maria Beach (Playa Santa María)

Below are numerous tours we aggregated.

The tours feature:

  • Handpicked selection
  • Star review from 4 to 5 only
  • Free cancellation
  • Instant confirmation

Selected Tours & Activities

Star review from 4 to 5 only & free cancellation

$48.97 USD


5.00 (1)

Free Cancellation

$100 USD


5.00 (8)

Free Cancellation

$130 USD


5.00 (4)

Free Cancellation

$70 USD


4.66 (32)

Free Cancellation

$109 USD


4.93 (910)

Free Cancellation

$65 USD


4.72 (18)

Free Cancellation

$99 USD


5.00 (5)

Free Cancellation

$90 USD


5.00 (5)

Free Cancellation

$109 USD


4.88 (56)

Free Cancellation

$95 USD


3.75 (4)

Free Cancellation

At Los Cabos

I used to live in Los Cabos for some time and worked here as a boat captain in one of Cabo San Lucas' leading tour companies. Back then, I came for 6 months but stayed for 18. I've done a bunch of things, and visited multiple hemispheres. I traveled and lived in other countries. And now I'm back here, At Los Cabos.

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