5 Reasons to Choose Cabo Instead of Hawaii as Your Travel Destination

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Hawaii is a destination on lots of folks’ travel bucket lists.  Emily and I have been to Kauai and Maui and enjoyed the beautiful scenery on both islands.

But team member Keith recently got back from a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico (also known as “Cabo”).  While there, he met 2 couples who said they started traveling to Cabo annually instead of Hawaii.  They suggested it’s easier to get to, more affordable, and there’s plenty to do!

Cabo Instead Of Hawaii
Go Whale Watching, Scuba Diving, or Sailing off the Coast of Los Cabos in Mexico! It’s Easy to Get to With Many Non-Stop Flights From the US

I’ll share why you might choose Cabo over Hawaii for your next vacation!

5 Reasons to Visit Cabo Instead of Hawaii

There are several factors to consider when selecting a destination, including the tourism demand for your travel dates.  While some folks might prefer one destination over another, I’d much rather travel anywhere instead of nowhere at all!

That said, if you’re looking for a warm weather getaway with beautiful scenery and fun activities, Cabo could be a better destination instead of Hawaii.  Here are some reasons why!

1.   Shorter Non-Stop Flights to Cabo

Link:   How to Fly (Including Business Class!) to Mexico & Central America With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   How to Fly to Mexico & Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Link:   Ultimate Guide to Big Travel With AMEX Membership Rewards Points: Caribbean & Mexico

It depends on your departure city, but there’s a good chance you can get to Cabo faster than Hawaii.

For example, it’s ~2 hours of flying time from Los Angeles to Cabo.  Whereas it’s ~6 hours from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

And folks on the East Coast can save time and avoid lots of time zone changes because Cabo is in the Mountain Time zone.  And it’s a ~6 hour flight from New York to Cabo.  You’re in the air for ~11 hours from New York to Honolulu, which is a long flight!

There are non-stop flights to Cabo from:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle

If you’re booking a paid flight to Cabo, I recommend using Google Flights to save time.  And if you’re redeeming miles, check out our guides to booking award travel.

2.   Fly to Cabo Using the Southwest Companion Pass

Y’all know how much I love the Southwest Companion Pass.  Emily and I think this is the best deal in travel!

Because a friend or family member can travel with you for almost free on paid and award tickets for up to 2 years.  Just pay taxes and fees for your companion’s flight.  This includes flights to Cabo, which is a Southwest destination!

Cabo Instead Of Hawaii
Folks With the Southwest Companion Pass Can Fly to Cabo From Most Departure Cities Throughout the US! But Depending on Your Home Airport, You May Have a Connection

Team member Keith recently used his Companion Pass to get to Cabo.  And it saved him ~$300 by only having to pay taxes & fees for his wife’s flight.

And starting in 2018, Hawaii will become a Southwest destination.

Remember, you can earn qualifying Companion Pass points with the sign-up bonuses on these credit cards:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

And remember, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest to book an award flight.  But these points do NOT count for earning the Companion Pass.

3.   Use Fewer Points at Luxurious Hotels

It depends on your hotel preferences, but folks looking to book a luxurious stay might do better in Cabo compared to Hawaii.  Especially, if you’re looking for an all-inclusive hotel.

For example, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is all-inclusive, and gets excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.  And it costs just 20,000 Hyatt points per night.  Remember, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, which is a terrific option for booking free hotel stays!

Cabo Instead Of Hawaii
You Can Use Points to Enjoy a Luxurious All-Inclusive Stay at Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

There are also lots of other excellent all-inclusive options in Cabo for folks booking a paid stay, like Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas.

Hawaii has terrific hotels too!  But you might use more points or pay more to book a stay.  For example, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort costs 60,000 Hilton points per night.

Don’t forget to check out my post with 5 fantastic hotels in Los Cabos where you can stay free using points!

4.   Favorable Exchange Ratio

It’s a good time to travel to Cabo, because the exchange rate with the US dollar is very favorable ($1 = ~19 Mexican Pesos).

While you’ll typically pay for airfare or hotel stays in dollars, you can get more for your money in Cabo when you dine out, shop, and take local transportation.

You can check out these posts for tips on exchanging money and to save on foreign transaction fees:

5.   Terrific Sightseeing and Activities

Traveling to Cabo is a great choice if you just want to soak in the sun on the beach.  But there’s also a lot to see!

Here’s a sample list of activities you might enjoy while visiting Cabo:

Cabo Instead Of Hawaii
Take a Boat Ride to See the Famous Arch in Cabo San Lucas!

Just remember, while Cabo has some beautiful beaches, many of them are closed to swimming because of extremely strong waves and currents.  Here’s a guide to finding swimmable beaches in Cabo.

Keep This in Mind Before You Travel to Cabo

Cabo is an international destination, so you must have a passport to travel there.  And this means you’ll have to go through Immigration & Customs when entering Mexico and upon returning to the US.

Remember, you can speed through US Customs if you have Global Entry.  It only took less than 5 minutes for team member Keith to exit the plane and get to a taxi upon returning to the US from Mexico.  If you don’t have Global Entry already, you can get it for free when you pay with certain credit cards.

And when you’re traveling to Mexico, don’t forget to use a card with no foreign transaction fees.  With the favorable exchange ratio and no foreign transaction fees, you’ll get a great deal paying for beachfront margaritas! 😉

Bottom Line

Folks looking to book a vacation to a tropical climate might prefer Cabo instead of Hawaii.  That’s because you can:

Selecting a travel destination can depend a lot on personal preferences.  So regardless of your destination, it’s just great to get out and travel!

Have you visited Hawaii and Cabo?  Which destination do you prefer?

Million Mile Secrets features a team of points and miles experts who have traveled to over 80 countries and have used 60+ credit cards responsibly to accumulate loyalty points and travel the world on the cheap! The Million Mile Secrets team has been featured on The Points Guy, TIME, Yahoo Finance and many other leading points & miles media outlets.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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