Magical San Jose del Cabo is the true gem in the Los Cabos region. This historic town, honored by Mexico’s pueblo magico designation, has managed to retain its charm despite decades of tourism development.
To learn more about the region, when to go and where to stay, please start with my guide to Baja and Los Cabos resorts and choose the best destination for your travel group.
Explore ever-popular Cabo and the top Cabos San Lucas resorts in this blog post.
To learn more about the small town of Todos Santos facing the Sea of Cortez, read our guide to the quieter side of Cabo. It’s actually a special, bucket list destination for adventures in nature.
To learn more about historic San Jose del Cabo, a colorful and charming town nearest to Los Cabos International Airport, please read on.
Historic Downtown San Jose Del Cabo
San Jose del Cabo dates to 1730, when Jesuit priests established a mission by the banks of the San Jose River. Their church, now surrounded by cobblestone lanes packed with restaurants and bars, is still at the center of the colonial era town. Plaza Mijares, the main square, adjoins it to form a pedestrian zone. It’s the site of evening markets, street musicians and a focal point of town life.
Vacation rentals, furnished flats and small hotels radiate from the square in every direction. One favorite is The Drift, a stylish, polished concrete boutique hotel which uses local fabrics and accessories for decor. Minimalist rooms with free-standing tubs and showers are built around a small pool. Social life revolves around the mezcal bar, small restaurant and yoga classes.
Puerto Los Cabos Has Beautiful Baja Resorts
A few large resorts are set on the hillside of Puerto Los Cabos, a new and very manicured resort development outside of town. Although very modern, it too has its own allure.
Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Spa & Golf Resort is one option about a 15-minute Uber ride from the center of San Jose. Some newly married relatives loved staying at this posh, adults-only, all-inclusive because they came to Cabo to get away from their baby. They loved the golf course and the spa.
The JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa is a contemporary resort, very classy with spare, modern design. The stunning water views start at the lobby level and below that, several pools cascade down towards the sea. At our visit, the beach was not open due to hurricane damage (but this coast is never safe for swimming.) Instead, the terrific gym, large spa, pool bars and lounges kept everyone busy being relaxed. The hotel has a few daily activities and is an ideal choice for families who don’t need a lot of outside entertainment. It’s also very popular with same sex couples with kids.
The Marina Of San Jose Del Cabo For Small Los Cabos Resorts
The Marina area of San Jose del Cabo is another option. This marina is more for fishing boats than huge, elegant yachts and not especially scenic. There are a few small hotels near a protected beach cove with very shallow, warmer water that’s ideal for toddlers. It’s a favorite beach for local families.
La Marina Inn is one of the smaller hotel options. New mom Meghan writes, “We really liked that Marina area and ended up spending the day swimming at the local’s beach. There were a few really good local restaurants with different types of cuisine within walking distance. The hotel also had a great restaurant where you could buy breakfast, lunch and dinner. We felt like we got to experience a somewhat authentic Cabo.”
The contemporary El Ganzo Hotel is an adults-only place across the way that sells day passes to its small and very rustic beach club. Access their beach with a free ferry that kids will enjoy.
Mid-Price Los Cabos Resorts In San Jose del Cabo’s Zona Hotelera
Zona Hotelera (translated as Hotel Zone) is a commercial strip on the seafront Malecon of San Jose. It’s convenient to many attractions, has easy-to-walk-to shops and restaurants and is a 10-minute Uber from the galleries and sights in the old town. In San Jose del Cabo, the gold sand Playa Hotelera (translated as Hotel Beach) is one of the very few safe places to swim.
Posada Real Los Cabos is a top budget option with small, simple rooms with balconies or patios. It’s popular with partygoers and couples, though children are welcome. Guests like the friendly staff, seaview pool bar shaded by a thatch palapa and tasty Mexican American restaurant. All-inclusive packages are available.
Marquis Los Cabos is a more upscale, all-inclusive resort option for adults only which may work for your group. It’s very conveniently located, just a few minutes from the El Dorado Golf and Beach Club. Marquis Los Cabos is oriented to show off views of the sunrise over the Sea of Cortez, and has larger rooms, fitness and tennis facilities, and a few pools.
The region’s most posh and Instagrammable resorts line the Los Cabos Resorts Corridor between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. They are pure magic; read more about them in our Cabo San Lucas resort roundup here.
Magical Dining Experiences In San Jose del Cabo
San Jose is a foodie town, with many pricey favorites including La Lupita for uupscale tacos and mezcal and Sage for Italian. For a splurge or just a special date night, you can’t beat Flora Farms or Acre. Both restaurants require advance booking. These are the two most Instagrammed places (both expensive by New York standards) in the dusty hills above San Jose del Cabo.
Flora Farms is more rustic. It has a wonderful restaurant that’s usually sold out, so we enjoyed cooking classes there and sampled what we made that way. The focus is on fresh, locally sourced and healthy Mexican and continental food.
Acre has grown from a restaurant tucked into the jungle to having treehouse guest rooms and real estate options. The menu is more international and imaginative, with many imported items and a large wine list. They are delicious, memorable and worth a visit if you want a splurge. Acre has an animal rescue farm as well (long story.) They will take you on a golf cart tour when you visit, for free, and kids love that. Be sure to ask about their rescued camel.
Top Foodie Restaurants in San Jose del Cabo
Start any day at the French Riviera Bakery, just a block off Plaza Mijares. Croissants and pain au chocolat made with Mexican cocoa are so delicious they will transport you for a few moments to France. They also serve a full menu of French-Mexican fare.
The service is so snappy and the seafood is so fresh that it’s hard not to love the casual Toro Guero Mariscos. Try seafood tacos made of snapper, scallops, octopus and other fish of the day. Dishes come with fresh tortillas and various salsas (habanero, jalapeno, cilantro, tomato, avocado) to enhance your meal as you see fit. Perfect place for a beer and seafood feast located a 15-minute walk outside the historic Centro along Centenario Blvd.
Located just a block behind the town Cathedral, Jazmin’s is the classic Mexican restaurant where locals go to celebrate life events. Colorful flowers decorate columns, trellised walls and the garden. Delicious tacos, specialties like quesadillas with pumpkin or huitlacoche mushrooms, a variety of margaritas, several soups and regional seafood mean there’s something for everyone. We find the roving mariachi bands make any night magical when they begin to serenade.
Day Trips and Adventures from San Jose Del Cabo
Plan a day away from this town to enjoy a guided nature tour, dune buggy adventure or marinelife adventure.
San Jose has its own dolphin encounter program close to the resorts, an easy option for families. The tourist office also provides a lot of information about the variety of San Jose excursions and outdoor adventures.
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