The "Best Of" Guide to San Jose del Cabo
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San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, holds a special place in my heart. I got engaged and married here and it's a place I've called home for the past two years. This city has some of the most beautiful beaches, hotels and best restaurants in the world. Not only that, but there is an amazing culture here that everyone should have the chance to experience. While Cabo is commonly used to refer to Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, there is a distinct difference between the two. While Cabo San Lucas provides more of a party/spring-break/tourist vibe, San Jose del Cabo is more local. It is filled with great restaurants, bars and more of an arts culture. This guide is here to serve as your one stop shop for any and all San Jose del Cabo recommendations from your local gringa — me!
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Where to stay in San Jose Del Cabo
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort
One of Cabo’s finest, with its distinctive Baja design and complex of pools and alfresco common spaces overlooking the sparkling Sea of Cortez.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
This stylish Los Cabos resort overlooking the sparkling Sea of Cortez features butler services, numerous land- and water-based activities and gourmet restaurants helmed by famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
$150 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa
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Things to do in San Jose Del Cabo
If this isn't obvious enough as it is, but San Jose has the most beautiful beaches! You likely will not have to go to any of the public beaches if you're staying at a hotel as most have access.
Local gringa insight: a lot of people don't realize that most of the beaches are not swimmable, in all of Cabo. If you are looking for a public beach that is swimmable I suggest Palmilla's public beach or Costa Azul.
Arts / culture
If you're in town on Thursday night be sure to head downtown for the San Jose Art Walk! This is by far the most lively and fun night of the week in downtown SJ. Many local artists and vendors display their gorgeous pieces. There is also live music. It's always more crowded on Thursdays, and gives the downtown so much life! Just make sure to give yourself extra cab/driving time as there is usually traffic.
Local gringa insight: book a dinner reservation in advance as it's the busiest night. Some of my favorites are La Lupita, Agave and Kitchen Table. Just make sure that you save room for dessert. The churro cart churros in the square are the best!
Food / drinks
If food and drink activities are your thing, there are great cooking class options at Flora Farms or Tamarindos where you can make classic Baja dishes like tamales, salsas, ceviche and so much more. If you prefer less work and want to just drink, I highly suggest a tequila/mezcal tasting. Many hotels offer this or you can book one at Agave in downtown SJ.
Also if you're visiting from October - April and you want to get more of a local experience, be sure to check out the Mercado Organico (farmer's market.) Not only can you get a delicious breakfast or stock up on the freshest fruit, veggies, pan and mariscos, but there are also other local vendors that have booths, live music and free yoga classes!
Local gringa insight: Make sure to bring cash as a lot of the vendors at the market do not accept credit card.
Golf: While I personally am no golf expert, I know for a fact we have some AMAZING golf courses. If your hotel does not have one, you can purchase rounds at Puerto los Cabos, Cabo Real or Club Campestre.
Surf: San Jose has some of the best waves in North America. Whether you're an expert or a total beginner there are waves for both! If you are a newbie, you can definitely find surf lessons here too.
Local gringa insight: If you are coming to SJ to surf, make sure it's in summer due to the swell. In the winter the Pacific side gets the swell. More expert surfers I definitely suggest heading to the East Cape, rookies stick to Playa Acapulquito or Costa Azul.
If you are feeling up for it and want to get out of SJ for the day, you have a bunch of great options close by. You can check out the party scene of Cabo San Lucas (30 min from SJ), escape to the quiet, remote and untouched East Cape (20 min from SJ) or you can venture up to the adorable surf town of Cerritos (45 min from SJ) or Todos Santos (60 min from SJ). Send me a note if you want more details on these locations too! I can help you secure hotels there, as well as provide some great restaurant and activity recommendations!
Places to eat & drink in San Jose Del Cabo
Es Por Ti: This is such a cute spot just outside the square. They have amazing juices, pastries and breakfast entrees! My husband and I usually split a bear claw to start (something sweet), followed by either their cheesy or avocado toast!
Pezgallo: This was actually the first the first breakfast place I tried when we first moved here, and almost two years later we keep coming back! It's located right in downtown SJ (literally in the square). Because of its location, you can’t get dropped right out front, but it’s less than a two-minute walk from the street. Everything here is great! They recently expanded their menu and their new additions (the brekky burrito being one) are amazing. I also usually get their berry smoothie! Just a heads up, there’s usually a little wait for brunch (especially on weekends), so just expect to wait 10/15ish min. The good news is, they have a coffee window where you can order their amazing pastries, coffees, juices and/or smoothies while you wait.
Flora Farms: This is a bucket list establishment, plain and simple. The food and ambiance (organic / farm to table) speaks for itself. I actually had my bridal brunch here and it was phenomenal — my mom still can't stop talking about their bloody mary. Everyone I bring here is blown away. Simply put, don't not visit. Please note they are closed on Monday's and they have a pretty strict cut-off on when they stop serving breakfast, so be sure to get their early if you want the breakfast menu. They do brunch on Sundays, which is when it's extended.
Ruba's Bakery: Another cute bakery located in the heart of downtown! Their service is great and quick, and its usually busy here so be sure to make a reservation on Opentable. Everything here is really good. I usually get their croque madame, but swap with salmon or their french dip like dish - so good! And of course, their pastries are great!
Pan Springs: I wish this restaurant was in downtown. Pan Springs is a little outside downtown in its own shopping center, so there are not many shops to explore, but I couldn't not include Pan Springs. They never miss — with their juices, smoothies, entrees, you name it. Probably one of the best salmon benedicts I've ever had — the croissant sandwich it's on is not real life.
El Wine Shop: My hubby and I come here all the time with our dog! Despite having “wine” in their name, they have some solid coffee and smoothie options (maggy verde is my favorite). In addition to their drinks, all their food is simple and delish! We usually get a breakky burrito (the big one), smoothie bowl or avo toast. Wine Shop also has a location in Cabo San Lucas, but their San Jose location is a quick 10 min walk from the hotel zone!! Great for a morning stroll. Please note there are very limited parking spots and it's usually full, so try to walk or Uber.
Lunch / dinner
Flora Farms: If my description above didn't sell you, not sure what will! One thing to note about dinner, is that on Tuesday's it's their fried chicken night which is supposed to be amazing.
Acre: This restaurant gives off a sexy, jungle vibe that makes you almost feel like you are in Tulum. If you don't mind spending a little more on dinner, I definitely suggest making a reservation It's very scene-y and instagrammable and has great cocktails and food! Maybe leave the kids at home for this one as it's perfect for couples, friends on vacation or a girls night out as it turns into a lounge-y atmosphere. One piece of advice, get their brussel sprouts!
La Lupita: If you're looking for some of the best tacos in Los Cabos, La Lupita is a must! They actually have two locations, one in SJ and one in Cabo San Lucas. Although it's not your traditional "hole in the wall" taco place, these are some of my favorites! Not only are their tacos delish, but don't skip out on their esquites - they are my FAVE. I usually start with them following by 2-3 tacos. My go-to order is: 1. El Takeshi 2. Miso Fish 3. Mexican Flank Steak w/ cheese crust. NOTE: you can order a cheese crust on the side and swap it in for any taco! On the menu it's a pastor taco, but I don't eat pork so I order it on the side and add it to the Mexican flank steak and it's so good!
Kitchen Table: This is a relatively newer restaurant that I am obsessed with ! Not only are the vibes amazing and cool, but the food is delish. It’s perfect for parents, girlfriends, guys night out, etc. It's the kind of place where you share everything. Kitchen Table is primarily Portuguese cuisine, which I'm not sure how to explain, but it's yummy. My favorites are their mezcalitas (a margarita with mezcal instead of tequila - this is a staple in Baja), Buñuelos (these are basically sweet potato goodness), Crispy Shrimps (probably my favorite dish in all of Cabo right now), KT Crudo, Sourdough Bread (the smoked butter that comes with this is not real life) and their Surf & Turf.
Agave: Agave is right in the heart of downtown SJD on a rooftop overlooking the art district I’m not exactly sure what type of cuisine I would classify this as except like quintiessential Baja, which I know doesn’t really help tourists, but just think delicious vegetables, seafood, drinks, etc. On the pricier end, but not ridiculous! Not sure it would be my first choice for kids, but great for groups, couples, girlfriends, etc. Their menu usually rotates based on whatever is in season, but they always have Octopus and I will always recommend it here! Usually they have a tuna sashimi type dish which is great and short rib!
Toro Guero: If you want to feel more like a local and you love seafood, you have to try Toro Guero. I've never had to make a reservation, but might not hurt if you're coming with a larger group. It's just outside the downtown area, but walkable and safe to do so. It's probably more casual and affordable than the other recs I listed, but the food is so good - one of the first establishments here actually! I usually get their shrimp tacos capeado (fried) and their tuna tostadas (they are huge, so share!)
El Ahorcado: Otherwise known as Hangman’s, El Ahorcado is an affordable and delicious, more “hole in the wall” type taco place. Locals will probably laugh at that because there are certainly more “hole in the wall” spots, but not sure if gringo stomachs can handle those. This place is perfect because the food is amazing and it feels a little off the beaten path (not downtown), but just outside of it! Literally 2-3 min from downtown. El Ahorcado offers live music and is a great place for families, couples, groups, kids, etc. I’ve brought a lot of visitors here and I always get great feedback, so if you’re staying in SJ and looking for a more casual spot to mix it up, come here. Here’s our usual order of some sort:
Mezcalita’s (their roasted piña house one is good too, but usually can only have one before I switch to a classic)
Queso fundido (my husband orders chorizo for half, and we get their flour tortillas with it…OMG)
Arrachera or Sirloin tacos (since I don’t eat pork, I pretty much always opt for the beef and get it gringa style, which means they add cheese)
Also, they have cheese crust tacos here and wow, they are amazing. One thing to note on the tacos here, and really any of your basic street tacos in Mexico. They come pretty bareboned, so it’s up to you to put all the yummy fixings on it. Please note, don’t make the mistake I did and try one of those potatoes they serve in the salsa platter. They look yummy, but are slathered in habanero sauce - make sure to ask your server about the salsas because some are VERY spicy.
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