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 is the main seat of the municipality of Los Cabos (since 1928). Currently, it is a lively 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 Los Cabos corridor
The corridor, known as “Carretera transpeninsular,” is a scenic 20-mile highway that connects both towns (San Jose and San Lucas).
An important tip I want to give you is this: Rent a car! Everything in Los Cabos is scattered, and there are many 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.
14 Top things to do and see in San Jose del Cabo and the surroundings
1. Admire San Jose del Cabo’s art walk and galleries
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.
2. 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.
There’s abundant vegetation, and you may be lucky to spot a sea cockerel.
This beautiful bird has the peculiarity of being one of the few who migrates from south to north, and one of its stops is the estuary.
You may want to read: La Ventana & El Sargento, Mexico: A Small Paradise in Baja Sur
3. Visit the San Jose del Cabo Annuiti Mission
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.
4. Drive to 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.
5. Tour The Arch, Los Cabos Landmark
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.
6. Spend a beach day at Santa Maria Bay
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 due to 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.
7. El Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas
Just a half km 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.
You can also find snorkeling, scuba diving, and beach parachuting equipment here.
8. El Chileno Beach
This beach on the 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.
9. Go on a camel tour
Although camels are native to Asian deserts, which is their 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.
They are “two-seater” animals, so 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.
10. Diving and snorkeling
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, where 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 navigate, so taking a sailing excursion to practice your favorite sea entertainment is a dream trip.
11. Discover Cabo Pulmo National Park (near San Jose del Cabo)
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 and professional diving.
13. Palmilla Beach and Golf Club
Palmilla beach is another superb option in the 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!
You may want to read: 10 Best Golf Courses in Mexico: Where Are They?
14. Miraflores, San Jose del Cabo
The charming town of Miraflores is just 25 miles from San Jose del Cabo, boasting a beautiful tradition of 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.
Enjoy the best seafood in Los Cabos
You can choose between seafood from the secluded Sea of Cortez or the open Pacific Ocean in the Baja California peninsula.
There’s a huge selection of 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!
- 20 Most Beautiful Cities in Mexico to Live or Visit
- Traditional Mexican Clothing: Top 10 Prettiest Outfits of Mexico
- 15 Best Hot Springs in Mexico to Discover in 2024
- Is it Safe to Road Trip in Mexico? Driving Guide and Routes
- 12 Most Acclaimed Mexican Wines: Toast to Excellence!