Any trip to Cabo San Lucas should include a visit to San Jose del Cabo. The two towns that make up this piece of the Baja Peninsula could not be more different in what they offer travelers who want to explore all that Los Cabos has to offer. San Jose del Cabo has the artsy spirit coupled with a sense of history, making it a destination on par with Mexico’s quaint Magic Towns for those who want to explore beyond the beach, the bars and the party buzz of the Baja.
For those staying in a villa with Elegant Mexico, as luck would have it, San Jose del Cabo is a short 13 minute drive away making it a convenient place to dine, sip, shop, browse and wander in the lazy afternoon hours.
Things to Do in San Jose del Cabo
Whether you’re looking for some fun in the sun, a place to relax, or everything in between, you’ll never be short on things to do in San Jose del Cabo.
You can’t visit San Jose del Cabo without spending time on the beach, and 350 days of sunshine every year means anytime is an excellent time to visit. The all-inclusive resorts lining Playa Hotelera offer beach loungers perfect for sunbathing or continue south along the coast to Costa Azul Beach for the best waves in town.
Experience the rich wildlife of Los Cabos by visiting the Dolphin Discovery Center to swim with dolphins or encounter numerous endemic birds and plants at the Estero San José.
Treat yourself to an afternoon of play and relaxation. Hopefully, the scenic views overlooking the Sea of Cortez at the world-class Vidanta Golf Course don’t distract you while going for par on the greens.
San Jose del Cabo offers plenty of history as well. Plaza Mijares is a favorite place to meet up, hang out, or simply enjoy people-watching. This historical plaza is home to the iconic Misión San José del Cabo. The church dates back to 1730 and remains a symbol of the town and culture. Visitors are permitted inside to admire the ornate décor and religious-inspired art.
Join a walking tour of the town, starting in Plaza Mijares. Tours wind through cobblestoned streets and colonial buildings with a stop at the San Jose del Cabo town hall — one of San Jose’s historical landmarks. The building took nearly 40 years to construct and was inaugurated finally in 1927 (the clock tower was completed in 1930).
Stop by the colorful “Los Cabos” letter sign, considered a rite of passage for people visiting Los Cabos and an Instagram “must”.
Art and Culture in San Jose del Cabo
As if Mexico isn’t already known for its vibrant and colorful culture, you’re sure to see plenty of it while visiting San Jose del Cabo. It’s a place where art and culture are a regular part of life, and you can experience it from the street vendors to art galleries.
Visiting the Gallery District is one of the top things to do in San Jose del Cabo for browsing the best local talent on the peninsula. Contemporary works in Ivan Guaderrama Art Gallery, peculiar sculptures in the Frank Arnold Gallery, or the fine art adorning the walls of Galeria de Ida Victoria make good places to start.
Plan to spend your Thursday evening at the weekly Art Walk hosted in the Gallery District, where a few blocks are closed off to cars so that locals and visitors alike can enjoy art displayed in the streets along with live music and eats.
Dining in San Jose del Cabo
If you’re ever stuck on what to eat in San Jose del Cabo or where to shop, simply head to Plaza Mijares, and you’ll quickly find tons of options lining the streets of the downtown district.
San Jose del Cabo is a foodie destination where the rich flavors of Mexican cuisine mix with international dishes to appeal to tourists. And you can’t forget about tasting some of the best seafood you’ve ever had, likely caught the same day it’s served.
La Lupita is a favorite taco spot (aside from street tacos) sample taste unique, artisanal-style tacos. Alternatively, delight in the charming setting of Los Tres Gallos for home-cooked-style Mexican favorites.
Jardín Secreto opened recently and gives a cool, minimalist vibe amid firepits and tropical vegetation. Garden-to-table cuisine is on the menu but save room for the Wood-fired pizzas matched with an aromatic Baja wine.
Los Tamarindos is another spot that ranks high on foodie lists. It’s an organic farm and restaurant near the San Jose del Cabo estuary and operates out of a farm house dating back to the 19th Century. Similarly, don’t miss Flora Farms, a 25-acre organic working farm and home to Flora’s Field Kitchen serving locally grown and healthy ingredients in creative and inspired presentations. It’s a family affair with hay rides, tours of 100 percent sustainable living spaces, and shops.
Shopping in San Jose del Cabo
There are many small boutique shops around town where you’ll find unique gifts for yourself (or friends back home). Shop locally-made handicrafts at vendors set up in Plaza Mijares or visit the small boutique shops where the local shop owners love to meet travelers and share interesting facts about items in their stores.
Among the favorites is Shima Shima that specializes in Mexican-made finds. Find neon-colored pom pom necklaces and elaborate weaves from the Tenango Valley of Hidalgo, wide-brimmed beach hats and colorful cotton dresses.
Check out some crazy home goods at Caravane Cabo, a design lover’s paradise that is full of artisanal finds like scoop chairs that look like avocados (another Instagram must). Find an array of handcrafted straw bags adorned with sequined Day of the Dead skulls and brightly colored, wooden folk art sculptures from Oaxaca at Choya Rose.
Nightlife in San Jose del Cabo
When most people think about nightlife in Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas is always at the top of mind. But while Cabo San Lucas is full of international-style clubs and wild parties for dancing until the early morning hours, San Jose del Cabo delivers its own nightlife experiences that might be more of your speed.
San Jose del Cabo has plenty of places to enjoy an evening or night out with friends. In El Centro, near the Gallery district, you can find fun bars like Mixology and 12 Onzas that ser tasty cocktails. Also, if you hang around restaurants like Don Sanchez and Shooters long enough, the tables full of hungry patrons transition into ordering rounds of drinks at the bar.
If you’re looking for the best handcraft drinks in San Jose del Cabo, grab a seat at Dalton Gin Bar or Cuervo’s House and watch the bartender put on a crafty display of drink-making. And right next door to Cuervo’s House is La 29, where it only costs 29 pesos to have a fun night out!
Tequila tasting is also on the roster if you know where to look. The great grandson of Jose Cuervo hosts private tequila tastings and classes at his restaurant in downtown. Jorge is studied in everything tequila, and makes an entertaining, educating and spirited few hours for those who want new stories to share at their next dinner party.
San Jose del Cabo is a captivating destination if only for its beauty, history, color and very friendly locals. Visit San Jose del Cabo if you want to escape the trendy tourist areas of Los Cabos for some quirky local culture.