San José Del Cabo may not be paradise for an adventure-seeker, but for the art-lover, it’s pretty close to heaven. During my stay at Barceló Los Cabos, I was able to spend the day wandering through the city in search of some great art….and of course tequila.
Here are my suggestions of what to do in historic San José Del Cabo:
Main Square: During the day, the square is the hub for locals and tourists alike. There are a few market stalls nearby, but they tend to primarily cater to visitors. You are more likely to get an authentic souvenir from one of the local galleries or family-run shops in town. The square is designed in typical Spanish-style, with the cathedral on one side and the governmental building on the other.
Note: Our guide, Carlos, explained that on Friday and Saturday nights, there is usually some form of entertainment going on so if you are a music fan, it might be worth an evening trip to San José Del Cabo also. While there, take advantage of the nearby bars and practice your Spanish.
Cathedral: Regardless of your religious affiliation, visiting the cathedral is top on my list of must-see spots in San José Del Cabo. Inside the church, you will see a center alter, with colorfully decorated stained-glass windows on the walls on either side. The town holds quite a bit of history, with the church serving as a main source of conflict. Centuries ago, the Indians massacred the Jesuits due to religious conflicts, resulting in the murder of Jesuit missionary Father Nicolás Javier Tamaral in 1734. He was the founder of The Mission San Jose del Cabo Añuití was also destroyed during the Pericues Rebellion.
Art Galleries: Walking through the streets of San José Del Cabo you will start realizing that many galleries and locals shops are interchangeable. I was on the hunt for new art discoveries, and I ended up being lured into local shops rather than actual galleries. That being said, there are a few worth checking out: The Art Market Mercado, Corsica Galeria de Arte and Indian Hands, where I met the amazingly talented Adriana Quero Martinez whose images are shown below. La Piñata is a local shop where you can find just any souvenir to take back home.
Note: Other galleries worth checking out: Golden Cactus Gallery, Gali and Gabo Gallery, Ida Victoria Gallery, La Dolce Galeria, Frank Arnold Gallery
Architecture: A great way to better understand and appreciate the unique history of San José Del Cabo is just by walking around and observing the architecture of the buildings. Each apartment complex and series of houses and buildings are roughly the same height and are painted in bright colors. The photo below showcases a more simple styled home and the soft color contrasts with the violet flowers and dark green palm trees. In fact, Fan Palms often served the function of a house roof because they don’t allow water to leak through their branches.
Tequila tasting: No visit to a Mexican city would be complete without a little tequila tasting. There are several shops in town that offer tastings (of course in the hopes that you will actually buy a bottle or two). Our guide made sure to advise us on the size of the bottle, even providing us with airline liquid policies. Although I’m not a huge tequila fan when it’s not nicely blended into my margarita, there were several brands that actually tasted tolerable. Agavero (sweet), Damiana (aphrodisiac), Orendain (almond-infused) were three of my favorites. Word on the street is that Añejo Tequila is equivalent to Holy Water - you could drink an entire bottle and not have a hangover the next day.
Cactus Nursery: Cacti may not be your favorite species of plant, but you may develop a stronger appreciation for them after a trip to San José Del Cabo. A few minutes drive away from the city center, the Cactus Nursery is home to a large variety of cacti found in Mexico. Our tour guide was surprisingly knowledgeable about the different cacti species, making me believe many locals take pride in the cacti of Mexico. For more nature-themed activities, head to the San José Estuary or to the Organic Market.
Bargain Hunt: Most bohemians are on an endless hunt for a good bargain and San José del Cabo is the playground for such an activity. When our guide called these shopping stalls the “flea market” I nearly fell over in anticipation, but clearly my definition of a flea market does not align with his. Regardless, I was able to wander to different vendors, finally deciding on what items to find. Many of these workers are desperate for a sale, so don’t be afraid to test out your negotiation skills. Either way, the exchange rate is pretty good in your favor. Still, it’s important not to get ripped off.