Los Cabos is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Latin America. Mexico’s west coast is an oasis of tranquility, known for fabulous resorts, vast sandy beaches, and an azure ocean. If you’re planning a vacation in San Jose del Cabo and need ideas on what to include in your itinerary, you’ve found just the right guide!
I’ll tell you about all the best things to do in San Jose del Cabo, from playing golf to hiking. Whether your perfect vacation includes lounging on a beach or rappelling down a mountain, you’ll find plenty of ways to stay busy in Mexico.
Prioritize the activities that sound like the most fun to fully enjoy your vacation to Los Cabos. And keep in mind that some of these experiences are seasonal (whale-watching) and will be available only if you’re in Los Cabos at a specific time. Now, let’s get into all the best things to do in San Jose del Cabo!
Best of San Jose del Cabo Quick Guide
Must See: Plaza Mijares, Art District, El Arco, Palmilla Beach, Lovers Beach, Mision San Jose del Cabo Where To Stay: Flora Farms, Marisol Hotel Boutique, Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Fun To Do: Zip-line Park, ATV Rides, Surfing, Snorkelling, Horseback rides Day Trips: Cabo San Lucas (Lands End), Todos Santos, Espiritu Santo Island Must-Try Foods: Enchiladas, Tamales, Guacamole, Tacos
Best Things To Do In San Jose Del Cabo
Sandy beaches, delicious food, and thrilling adventures are my usual experiences with Mexico resorts. Whether I’m in the mood to lounge on the beach the entire day or I want to do something crazy and out of my comfort zone, I’m never disappointed.
San Jose del Cabo is no exception to the rule. The town’s attractions include everything from luxury five-star resorts to cooking classes with local chefs, with countless other options in between.
1. Stroll Around The Gallery District
Souvenir shops, local handicrafts, and art galleries are the staples of San Jose del Cabo’s Gallery District. Set in the alleys behind the town’s main square, the Gallery District is known for traditional Mexican charm and intriguing artwork.
On Thursday nights, the streets of Cabo’s Gallery District close for vehicles, allowing the locals and tourists to swarm them. The event is locally known as the Art Walk, and it was established by the local authorities who wanted all visitors in San Jose del Cabo to experience more of the town’s tradition and culture.
Visit San Jose Del Cabo’s art district to discover and support local artists from Baja California Sur and pick up some one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home.
Practical Information: San José Art Walk takes place every Thursday from 5 PM to 9 PM between November and June.
2. Visit Misión San José del Cabo
Every town has a main religious building that’s special to all the locals, and in this Mexican city, it’s Misión San José del Cabo. The Town’s Mission church borders the Mijares Square in the center, so it’s an attraction you quite literally can’t miss if you’re just walking around downtown San Jose.
The church is pretty from the outside but the interior is a bit underwhelming. There’s some art inside and the stained glass windows are noteworthy, but it’s not a place where you’ll spend more than 10 minutes if you’re not religious. Visit the Mijares Square at night to see the church illuminated with bright colors.
Practical Information: Mision San Jose del Cabo is open every day from 9 AM to 8 PM. Entrance is free.
3. See The Iconic Arch of Cabo San Lucas
The Arch of Cabo San Lucas is the most famous natural landmark on the Baja peninsula. But it’s in Cabo San Lucas, and to visit it from San Jose, you’ll need to arrange a guided tour or take an Uber. Is it worth the hassle? Absolutely, if you’re fascinated by nature.
Head to the Lands End in Cabo San Lucas to see the iconic Arch. Towering rocks are in the backdrop of this entire sandy beach, and they create a spectacular scene. Also, it’s called Lands End because it is the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. If you were to follow a straight line down, you wouldn’t touch land until the South Pole.
Guided tours are the best for visiting the Arch from San Jose del Cabo. Hotel pickup is included, and the best tours include rides in glass-bottom boats and snorkeling. And of course, you can’t book a tour in Mexico without complementary tequila!
Practical Information: Expect to pay around $100-150 for an organized excursion to The Arch of Cabo San Lucas from San Jose.
4. ATV Rides on The Beach
Most of the Baja peninsula is desert terrain, which is best explored on ATVs. Arrange an ATV tour and you’ll get picked up at your hotel, and taken to a beach full of dunes where you can ride around on an ATV for hours.
It was the most fun I had in Los Cabos and I would absolutely do it again. Single and double ATVs are available so you can ride however you like. All participants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license to drive an ATV. Even children are welcome to join on double ATVs!
You’ll get all the protective gear and instructions on how to drive an ATV, in case it’s your first time. Most of these tours take you to areas of the peninsula that can only be accessed in all-terrain vehicles, and it’s a thrilling way of exploring Baja California Sur.
Practical Information: ATV Tours of Los Cabos start at approximately $75, without entrance fees to nature parks.
5. Hike To Cerro De Las Chivas
Cerro De Las Chivas is an observation deck atop a hill in San José del Cabo. The trailhead is just off the main road in Mauricio Castro neighborhood, and it takes only 20 minutes or so to make it up the hill.
This is a popular spot for panoramic views, especially among people who are feeling a little adventurous in Los Cabos. It’s a great way to kill an hour, get in some exercise, and experience a scenic view of the city and the Pacific Ocean, all in one quick hike.
Practical Information: The Cerro De La Chivas observation deck is accessible at any time, free of charge.
6. Day Trip to Espiritu Santo Island
Espiritu Santo Island is a place of mesmerizing scenery. The island is a national park, situated close to La Paz. It’s best to visit it on sailing tours from Los Cabos because the island can only be visited by boat.
It boasts dramatic rock formations and many miles of sandy beaches. One thing to note is that there’s virtually no shade anywhere on the island, so make sure to bring a hat at the very least. Camping on the island is allowed, and it’s the only way to spend more than a few hours here.
Practical Information: Arrange a boat cruise to Isla Espiritu Santo with local operators because there are no commercial ferries to the island.
7. Play Golf
Resort vacations and golfing go hand in hand, so it’s not surprising that San Jose del Cabo has some excellent golf courses. If golfing is something you enjoy, Los Cabos is the perfect destination.
Puerto Los Cabos is one of the best golf resorts in town with three different courses designed by pioneers of the sport. And most holes offer scenic views of the ocean, so try not to be distracted.
Practical Information: The rates for Puerto Los Cabos golf courses range from $165 to $600.
8. Lounge At Your Resort
There’s nothing wrong with taking an entire day to yourself, especially when you’re on vacation. Spend a day lounging at your resort making the most of your booking, and discovering all the different services the resort can offer you. Maybe pretend you’re in White Lotus for a day but without all the drama.
Staying at the resort is the best option if you enjoy swimming because most beaches in Los Cabos are not swimmable. And the ones that are get crowded fast, so chances are you won’t be able to find any shade from the sun if you’re not there first thing in the morning. Set up camp by the pool, sip cocktails all day long, and devour a good book – you’re on vacation and you deserve it.
Practical Information: Resorts in San Jose del Cabo don’t offer access to swimmable beaches. Swimming in the pool is the safest option.
9. Attend a Cooking Class
Mexican food is high on my list of preferences and I love cooking, so this activity was the dream for me. A few different cooking classes are available in San Jose del Cabo, but by far the best one is with chef Fransico. Book the cooking class with a tour of the local market, and you’ll get to spend the day with a very friendly and incredibly talented cook.
Chef Francisco can teach you how to make tamales, enchiladas, carnitas, and many other staple Mexican dishes. And no matter the main course, Fransico will always teach you how to properly make margaritas and guacamole. Tequila tastings are also part of the cooking class and they make the entire experience way more fun.
Practical Information: Book the cooking class and market tour with Chef Francisco for approximately $130 per person. The meeting point is at the entrance to the market.
10. Ride A Horse On The Beach
Horseback rides on the beach are popular in Los Cabos and are a great way to feel like a movie star for a few moments. Bonanza Horse Riding is a local operator in San Jose del Cabo that offers horseback riding in the town. Even total newbies to riding are welcome to come on tours.
Bonanza Horse Riding is a family-run operation. All their horses are well-kept, fed the best diets, and really well-trained. The guide is friendly and knowledgeable, and it will make horse riding seem like a breeze even to those without prior experience.
Practical Information: The one-hour ride takes place on the Costa Azul beach. The two-hour ride also includes a ride in the San Jose Estuary.
Baja Blown Glass Factory is a local glass-making shop in San Jose del Cabo. Here you’ll find unique items made by locals, and there’s everything from kitchenware to art you can hang on the walls.
What I like the most about this place is that they can make you anything you want out of glass, right before your eyes. In addition to unique local souvenirs, you get to witness a glass-maker at work, an experience usually reserved for museums.
Because this is a shop and not a museum, there’s no entrance fee. Anyone can browse the items on sale, and talk to the glass-makers to learn a thing or two about their craft.
Insider Tip: If you order something custom-made, you won’t be able to take it home the same day because it needs time to cool.
Practical Information: Baja Blown Glass Factory shop is open from 9 AM to 6 PM.
12. Hang Out at Plaza Mijares
Plaza Mijares is the main town square in San Jose del Cabo. It’s lined with charming buildings, including the town hall, and features a center stage for events. This is the heart of town, and on warm summer nights, it’s buzzing with tourists and locals.
The square offers easy access to art galleries, museums, restaurants, and the local Mission church. It’s a must-see spot during any proper tour of downtown San Jose del Cabo, even more so if you’re looking for good local shops. During the Thursday night Art Walk, local artists set up stalls on the Plaza, showcasing all their best work.
Practical Information: Plaza Mijares is in downtown San Jose del Cabo, accessible at any time for free.
13. A Day At A Beach Club
San Jose del Cabo is a destination for relaxed vacations and it’s got the beach clubs to prove it. Spend a day at a beach club to enjoy pure hedonism and ultimate relaxation. Hang out in a canopy beach bed and enjoy the views of the ocean, while servers bring drinks and snacks directly to you.
El Ganzo de Playa is one of the best in town. It’s situated on a small swimmable beach in San Jose, one of few in the town. The club doesn’t take reservations, so if you arrive early in the morning, securing a spot shouldn’t be a problem.
Practical Information: El Ganzo de Playa Beach Club has a day pass fee of 1,000 Mexican pesos (approximately 59 USD), $800 of which is credited for drinks and snacks.
14. Zip-line Rides & Rappelling
Costa Azul is a popular adventure sports operator in San Jose del Cabo. The business offers zip-line rides, guided rappelling down a mountain, and the chance to walk on a moving suspension bridge. If any of that sounds like fun, Costa Azul should be one of your first stops in San Jose del Cabo.
What I really like about Costa Azul is that they’ll pick you up at your hotel and take you to their location in the nature park, just 10 minutes outside downtown San Jose del Cabo. And all participants get a shot of tequila after they’re done with the adventure, in true Mexican fashion!
Practical Information: Costa Azul charges $99 for access to all their activities, hotel transfers, lockers, and complimentary drinks (water and tequila). Participants are charged an additional $15 for entrance to the park.
15. Whale Watching From Cabo San Lucas
The whale watching season in Los Cabos is from November to April. It’s one of the best things to do in the area, especially if you’re looking to fill your day with fun and exciting activities.
Book a whale-watching tour to spend an afternoon observing the majestic mammals from a boat. It’s a wonderful experience, especially if you get a friendly guide who can’t wait to tell you everything they know about whales.
Insider Tip: Avoid the open-bar tours because they’re more about day drinking than whale watching.
Practical Information: Whale-watching tours are usually priced at $100-150 per person.
16. Dine at a Farm-To-Table Restaurant
San Jose del Cabo has a few farm-to-table restaurants that offer an authentic Mexican dining experience. The most popular places are Flora’s Field Kitchen and Tamarindos, both situated in the Ánimas Bajas neighborhood.
Flora’s Field Kitchen is part of a large property that includes a parking lot, shops, a farm, 10 private villas, and a community area. This is the place to be if you want to stay at a luxury private residence in Los Cabos, and have fresh produce for breakfast every day.
Tamarindos is an upscale restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine. All the dishes are prepared with produce grown on the restaurant’s farm, so everything is fresh and delicious.
Practical Information: Book a table at either a restaurant online or by phone.
17. Swim in the Ocean at Palmilla Beach
Not all beaches in San Jose del Cabo are swimmable due to strong currents and big waves. Palmilla Beach is a swimmable sandy beach a short bus (or Uber) ride from downtown San Jose.
Come here to spend a day relaxing on the beach and swimming. The ocean is calm enough even for stand-up paddleboarding, which is quite rare for this part of the Baja California peninsula. Head out to the beach early in the morning so you can rent loungers and umbrellas and spend the entire day enjoying yourself on the beach.
Insider Tip: You can’t buy food or drinks at the beach so bring your own.
Practical Information: The Ruta del Desierto bus can take you to Palmilla Beach from downtown San Jose del Cabo.
18. Head To Todos Santos For a Day
Situated just an hour outside San Jose del Cabo on the west coast of Mexico, Todos Santos is a charming little town. It’s got many art galleries so it’s very popular with artists, and there’s even a local history museum in the cultural center.
Todos Santos beaches are great for surfing thanks to the big waves. They’re not really swimmable beaches, but you can always relax under the sun for a little while and observe the surfers. Unless you’ve got a sun allergy; in that case, you’ll want to cover up and stay as far from the beach as possible.
Walk around the charming little town and pop into the local shops to check out the unique handicrafts. Todos Santos even has a Hotel California, which made me stop in my tracks and break out in song in the middle of the street!
Practical Information: Todos Santos is an hour and 10 minutes from San Jose del Cabo by taxi and Uber.
19. Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach
Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach are the two sandy beaches at Lands End in Cabo San Lucas. Most tour operators bundle trips to the beaches with visits to El Arco, Lands End, and even whale-watching excursions in the area.
The two beaches are connected but are named differently in reference to their accessibility. At Lovers Beach, the ocean is calm and you can go for a swim. But at Divorce Beach the sea is rough and tumultuous, hence the name. Sometimes, it’s not even possible to make it all the way to Divorce Beach because the sand is too hot.
Practical Information: Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach are accessible only by boat tours from the Cabo San Lucas marina.
20. Walking Tour of Cabo San Lucas Town
I’ve included a few different activities that take place in Cabo San Lucas or are accessible only from that Cabo. So, it’s only right that you make time for a guided tour of the town, especially if you’re in Los Cabos for the first time.
It’s a different vibe from San Jose del Cabo, which has old buildings and a bustling central city. The main attractions in Cabo San Lucas are near the marina, so you don’t have to stray too far into the residential areas. The town has a Museum of Natural History with a fascinating exhibit on the archaeological and geological history of the peninsula.
Avid hikers should pack a pair of walking poles and head straight to Mt. Solmar, for epic views of the ocean and the cliffs at Lands End.
Practical Information: Cabo San Lucas is approximately half an hour from San Jose del Cabo, accessible by taxi, Uber, and local bus.
21. Go Snorkelling
The coral reefs of Los Cabos boast abundant marine life, which is essential for a good scuba diving or snorkeling experience. Chileno Beach and Pelican Rock are some of the most popular destinations for diving because they’re not easily accessible and have abundant marine life.
Some operators even offer open-bar snorkeling excursions, which include a trip to Lands End at Cabo San Lucas. Don’t worry, the drinks start to flow only when everyone is done with the diving.
Practical Information: Snorkelling tours in Los Cabos can cost anywhere from $65 to $150+.
22. Try Surfing
The beaches of San Jose del Cabo might not be great for swimming, but they’re perfect for surfing. The big waves are a dream for anyone with experience on a surfboard, while the smaller ones are the perfect opportunity to try surfing for the first time.
Surfing lessons and tours are available at the beaches in central San Jose del Cabo. However, more experienced surfers will likely want to arrange a trip to East Cape or Todos Santos, because the beaches in these towns have legendary waves.
Practical Information: Surfing lessons are available at Zipper’s on Costa Azul Beach.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Walk Around San Jose del Cabo?
Yes, you can walk around San Jose del Cabo. Its historic center is very charming and a delight to discover.
Which is better Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo?
Cabo San Lucas is better if you’re looking for parties and touristy towns. San Jose del Cabo is better for an authentic Mexican town and fewer crowds.
Does San Jose del Cabo have a downtown?
Yes, San Jose del Cabo has a downtown. It’s best known for the Art District which is full of galleries and local handicraft shops.
Is San Jose Del Cabo Beach Swimmable?
No, San Jose del Cabo Beach is not swimmable. There’s one small swimmable section near Hotel El Ganzo, and the closest proper swimmable beach to San Jose del Cabo is Palmilla Beach.
Where To Stay in San Jose del Cabo
With so many excellent resorts, deciding where to stay in San Jose del Cabo is a daunting task. The best place for you largely depends on your budget, and whether you’re looking to stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here are some of the best hotels in San Jose del Cabo for all budgets:
Tips and Information For Visiting San Jose Del Cabo
Best Time To Visit
The high season in Cabo is from December to April. Cabo is a popular spring break destination, so by far, the biggest crowds are in late March and early April. If you want to avoid the crowds and have a great time in Cabo, I recommend planning a trip in May, June, October, or November.
Don’t go to Cabo in July or August because it’s insanely hot. Also, the summer is hurricane season in Cabo, and even though the town is rarely affected, it’s best to play it safe. Most things to do in San Jose del Cabo take place outdoors and are not fun if the temperature is constantly above 90 degrees.
San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are both serviced by the Los Cabos International Airport. At the airport, you can take a shared shuttle to your resort. San Jose del Cabo is much closer to the airport than Cabo San Lucas, so this shouldn’t take too long even if your resort is one of the last along the way.
It’s also possible to arrange private shuttles and transfers, but this must be done a few days before your arrival. Taking an Uber from the airport to the hotel is not an option because Uber is banned at the airport. However, you can take an Uber from the hotel to the airport, and that’s what we recommend.
Uber is the best way of getting around San Jose del Cabo. It’s significantly cheaper than the local taxi service, and much faster than the buses. Sure, local buses are available and they’re by far the cheapest option out of the bunch, but they’re incredibly slow and not always the safest.
Uber is very affordable in Mexico and generally the best option for getting around quickly. However, you should always make sure that your driver ends the trip after you arrive at your destination. That way they can’t charge you more than the agreed-upon price, which has been known to happen.
How Much Time Do You Need
You need at least 3-4 days to experience Los Cabos, and probably even more if you want to take a couple of days to just relax by the pool. But to see just the top sights in Los Cabos and explore a little more of the peninsula, four days is the ideal amount of time.
I recommend planning a week’s vacation, so you can spend as much time as you want exploring and going on adventures, but also relaxing by the pool and taking advantage of complimentary resort services.