san jose del cabo

Enjoy some traditional Baja-style shrimp tacos at La Lupita. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Seek Out the Laid-Back Life in San Jose del Cabo

“Quiet,” “quaint” and “peaceful” are just a few words that could describe the town of San Jose del Cabo. Founded as a mission town in 1730 by Jesuit priest Nicolás Tamaral, it retains its 18th-century architecture and has a much more laid-back feel than the nearby party town of Cabo San Lucas.

Many of the tranquil palm tree-lined streets are adorned with colorful Mexican flags that flutter in the breeze and glimmer in the sunlight. A burgeoning art scene, great restaurants and a number of interesting shops make San Jose del Cabo a great place to spend a day during a vacation in luxurious Los Cabos.

Here are our top picks for making the most of your visit.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

san jose del cabo
The quaint and peaceful vibe of San Jose del Cabo can even be felt at its main square. (Photo: Susannah Rigg)

Wander the Streets

Arrive early before the sun gets too hot and enjoy a Pop into the Mission San Jose church, which was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1917 left it destroyed, to see its tiled floors and minimalist interior and check out the bandstand in the main square.

Grab an ice cream at the very traditional Paletería La Tropical before taking a seat in the main square and watching the world go by.

san jose del cabo
The Mission San Jose church was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1917 destroyed it. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lunch at La Lupita

Once you have built up an appetite, drop by the colorful and inviting La Lupita restaurant to enjoy some delicious tacos. Pick from tasty options like chipotle shrimp, traditional Baja-style fish tacos or tacos that come with a crispy cheese wrap instead of a tortilla, all accompanied by enticing entrees like fondue cheese with chorizo, fresh and zingy guacamole or a light and tangy ceviche.

La Lupita also offers a mezcal tasting, giving you a chance to sample five varieties of the smoky spirit from around the country. The staff will guide you in understanding the difference between tequila and mezcal and offer you an insight into why mezcal varies so much in flavor. If beer is more your vibe, then take a pick from a vast menu of artisanal brews from the local area.

Una Cerveza Por Favor

If you want to try more local beers, head to the nearby Baja Brewing Company after lunch. Opened in 2007, it was the first brewery in Baja California Sur which now, some 12 years later, offers a selection of six artisanal beers ranging from Blonde Ales to Oatmeal Stouts, and a fruity Raspberry Ale in between.

Enjoy your locally-brewed cervezas inside their saloon-style bar or outside under the blue skies before buying a few of your favorites to take home.

san jose del cabo
Try some local beers at the first brewery in Baja California Sur. (Photo: Baja Brewing Company)

Go Gallery Hoping

The art scene in San Jose del Cabo is incredibly vibrant with a plethora of galleries located just behind the main square. Take a stroll around the streets in what has become known as Gallery District, dropping into the numerous galleries that line the streets to enjoy the art and designs of both local and international artists.

Make sure to stop by the Casa Dahlia Gallery, a minimalist gallery displaying the paintings and sculptures of five artists from Mexico and the United States, and the Desertica Art Gallery, which is full of artwork in various mediums including traditional Mexican handicrafts and designs.

Real art lovers should consider visiting San Jose del Cabo on a Thursday to participate in the Art Walk, which takes place between November and June from 5 pm to 9 pm. Wander the art district, stepping into galleries and artists’ homes and enjoying the local restaurants and a glass of wine or two along the way.

Dinner in La Panga Antigua

If you want to enjoy dinner in the beautiful open courtyard of a 170-year-old mansion, eating among the trees and under the stars, then La Panga Antigua is your place.

A restaurant that sources all of its fresh produce from their own nearby organic farm, its seafood from non-commercial sources and its meat from Sonora, the food ranges from Asian dishes to Mediterranean-inspired plates all with a Mexican touch and is fresh and full of local flavor.

Enjoy a night cap after dinner on a balmy San Jose night before heading back to your hotel.