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What to do in San Jose del Cabo? The Quiet Side of Los Cabos

  • Joel CZ 
  • 10 min read
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For the record, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are two different towns (30 minutes apart) under the same umbrella called “Los Cabos.”

San José del Cabo began its activities as the main seat of the municipality of Los Cabos in 1928. Currently, it is a town, like Cabo San Lucas, with a promising future.

Nevertheless, Los Cabos has positioned itself as one of the preferred tourist destinations in the Baja California peninsula.

Its enchanting beaches, natural monuments, and delicious gastronomy attract a growing stream of Mexican and foreign tourists, especially North Americans.

San Jose del Cabo, overview

Having lived for almost ten years in both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas helped me to understand and appreciate the beauty and diversity of “both worlds.”

On the one hand, there’s Cabo San Lucas, with its neverending party scene and a luxurious yacht marina and shopping centers.

On the other hand, we have San Jose del Cabo. A quiet, charming, artistic, and bohemian town full of galleries, mouthwatering and award-winning restaurants, and a beautiful central square with its chapel.

The corridor

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Source: Arturo Verea / Shutterstock.com

The corridor, known as “Carretera transpeninsular,” is a scenic 20-mile highway that connects both towns (San Jose and San Lucas).

Along the way you will see some beautiful beaches, restaurants and world class resorts.

An important tip I want to give you is this: Rent a car! Everything in Los Cabos is scattered, and there’s a ton of other little hidden places in the surroundings of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose alike. For example, a visit to Todos Santos is a must!

Taxis are super expensive here. So in case you don’t wanna drive, there’s also public transport. But again, if you want to make the most out of your trip, it’s best to get your own wheels.

For now, I will list some of the best and most popular things to do in Los Cabos.

Art Walk and Galleries in San Jose del Cabo

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Source: Kartinkin77 / shutterstock.com

In high season, the city streets where the art and craft stores operate are closed to vehicular traffic, turning them into pleasant and picturesque spaces for walking.

Frequently, the works are sold by their authors, with whom it is possible to have a relaxed conversation about their work.

In season, the locals close later in the evening, and many people have a drink to enjoy live music.

San José Estuary

In this aquatic body of 50 hectares of surface, located in the proximities of San José del Cabo, the meeting of fresh and salty waters creates a suitable habitat for the proliferation of some particular species of flora and fauna.

It has abundant vegetation, and you may be lucky enough to spot a sea cockerel. This beautiful bird has the curious peculiarity of being one of the few migrates from south to north, and one of its stops is the estuary.

San Jose del Cabo Annuiti Mission

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Source: DBSOCAL / Shutterstock.com

In colonial times, San José del Cabo Anuiti was the southernmost mission in Old California. It was dedicated to San José and built in a place that the Pericúes called Annuity.

The Indians destroyed the mission in 1736 in their war against the Jesuit religious who wanted to impose new customs.

It was rebuilt and then abandoned until it disappeared, and the church that stands on the site was built in 1940.

La Ribera

La Ribera is a pleasant town in Los Cabos that makes its living from fishing, tourism services, and a little agriculture and cattle farming.

It has an extensive white sand beach where visitors swim and practice their favorite sports. According to the locals, it is the best place to go fishing for a huge wahoo, marlin, or sailfish, enough to set a world record.

Visit The Arch

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Source: karamysh / shutterstock.com

The postcard of El Arco has become the best-known representation of Los Cabos nationally and internationally.

It is a rock formation that emerges from the sea at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, called “the end of the earth.”

Near the beach, you can see colonies of friendly sea lions.

Just 100 meters from El Arco is Playa del Amor, with clear waters, ideal for snorkeling. You have the option of taking a walk to see and photograph the formation, but you can also stay for an unforgettable day at the beach.

Santa Maria Beach

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Santa Maria beach – Source: rhfletcher / shutterstock.com

On your trip to Los Cabos, you can’t miss a visit to this paradisiacal cove in the shape of a horseshoe. Santa Maria Beach is a paradise for snorkeling and diving, for its clear and generally calm turquoise blue waters.

It is nestled within a protected sanctuary, so there is a rich underwater life consisting of many colorful minnows and species of flora and fauna that cling to the rocky walls.

The sandy beach is large-grained, and you can access it on tours departing from Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

El Medano Beach

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Aerial view of El Medano beach – Source: Joel Hensler / shutterstock.com

Just a half kilometer away from downtown Cabo San Lucas is this beach, one of the most frequented in the area and for many the best.

From here, you can see the arch. Its waters are calm, and the sand is white and wide.

The sunset over the Pacific seen from El Medano is spectacular.

There you can also find snorkeling, scuba diving, and beach parachuting equipment. It also has a good number of restaurants and other services.

El Chileno Beach

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Source: karamysh / shutterstock.com

This beach on the sea corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo stands out for its calm waters and the relaxing shade offered by its palm trees.

The helpful locals rent equipment for beach fun and offer boat rides to nearby attractions. Visitors to this beach enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, or just swimming. Showers are available.

Camel Tour

Although the camel is a mammal native to the deserts of Asia, which is its primary habitat, it has adapted well to the arid and desert areas of Baja California.

Riding over two meters high on a camel across a sandy beach in Los Cabos is an incomparable experience.

As they are perfect “two-seater” animals, you can accompany your girl, boy, son, or friend. As long as you are not an expert, the reins should lead the camel by the guide because they can run at a speed that would surprise you.

Check it out at Cabo Adventures.

Diving and snorkeling tour

The clear waters of Los Cabos and its cliffs and rock formations have become true paradises for the observation of marine life, both animal and plant.

Diving and snorkeling tours depart from Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo in different boats to the best spots, which the guides know where they are.

Since the Egyptians invented sails, possibly three millennia B.C., there hasn’t been a more natural and pleasant way to sail, so taking a sailing excursion to practice your favorite sea entertainment is a dream trip.

Cabo Pulmo National Park

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Cabo Pulmo National Park – Source: Leonardo Gonzalez / shutterstock.com

This protected area of the Sea of Cortez has several attributes that make it very special. It is the only hard reef in the Baja California peninsula and the only living reef in the northern part of America.

The closest major town is San Jose del Cabo, located just over 60 miles away. Among the most abundant species in its waters are mother pearls, lobsters, and oysters, while on land, reptiles predominate.

The place is a favorite of North American tourists, who go mainly to practice sport fishing.

Palmilla Beach and Golf Club

It is another superb option in the beach corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

It has a varied ocean life, making it ideal for underwater entertainment. Anglers also enjoy their favorite activity in Palmilla.

From the beach depart the typical pangas, small boats where you can take a tour of the nearby attractions or a fishing trip. Occasionally there is a swell good enough for surfing.

Also, if you like golf as I do, this is probably my favorite course (they have two). Check them out!

Miraflores

It is located a little more than 25 miles from San Jose del Cabo, which enjoys a beautiful tradition in elaborating products based on pitahaya. This cactus fruit in its red version is better known as dragon fruit.

The people of Miraflores prepare it in different ways and offer it to tourists.

The Pitahaya Fair takes place in July, and the Queen of the Pitahaya is chosen, always a pretty local woman who wears a typical picturesque costume in which the colors of the Mexican flag predominate.

Santiago

This small town, located 28 miles from San José del Cabo, was the seat of the Jesuit mission of Santiago de Los Coras Aiñiní in the 18th century.

After the expulsion of the Jesuits, the mission was managed by Franciscan and Dominican monks until it was abandoned.

The present church is a later reconstruction. Santiago enjoyed the distinction of being the only town with a zoo in Baja California Sur, and it also has a fossil site.

Enjoy the Seafood!

In the entire Baja California peninsula, you can choose between seafood from the secluded Sea of Cortez or the open Pacific Ocean.

They extract fish, shellfish, and mollusks from both sides to prepare delicacies worthy of the most demanding palate.

You can order soups, ceviches, cocktails, aguachiles, and anything else that takes your fancy. The seafood dishes, well stocked with prawns, shrimp, squid, octopus, clams, mussels, crabs, fish, and other species that are not shellfish, are an excellent selection, both in stew and grilled. Enjoy!

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