Looking to delay winter as long as possible and soak up a little sun in Mexico? Known as the “sister town” to the party destination of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo is a place that offers charm, history, and excellent food about 25 minutes north of the Cabo Marina. I think everyone knows what to expect when visiting Cabo – Cabo Wabo and Señor Frogs come to mind, but my favorite sign in the city is the “husband babysitting” sign over a very large strip club downtown on the way to the marina. If that is what you are looking for in a vacation – excellent! Have a great time. You’ll find me con margarita (rocks, no salt) North on México 1…
One excellent, little known fact about Mexico: All beaches are required by national law to have public access. So that beautiful resort you drove by and wanted to check out? You can! Pack a lunch with cervezas, and schlep that beach chair (sorry, my Jersey shore lingo slipped out there) front and center. Depending on the experience you are seeking, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from:
Palmilla Beach (km 27)
A gorgeous resort that hosts some of the world’s most rich and famous, Palmilla is a beautiful beach front with natural rock formations and long stretches of sand for exploring. Some of the city’s most beautiful homes are situated along this beach. Surf here is swimmable and occasionally staff will come down from the hotel to offer water sports, like paddle boarding, on the beach.
Chileno Bay (km 15)
Chileno Bay provides beautiful snorkeling coves and crystal clear water perfect for a lazy day of floating. We enjoyed the afternoon with a school of Sergeant Major’s swimming at our toes. You can book snorkeling excursions here, or visit with your own gear.
Zippers Beach (km 29)
Zippers Beach is one of the better-known surfing beaches in the area. It is also home to one of our favorite restaurants, Zippers Bar & Grill!
Food & Drink
If you are anything like my family, vacations are based around food. At breakfast, we talk about where we are going for lunch. My husband owns and operates a restaurant, so experience and food quality are of utmost importance to us! That being said, here are a few of our favorite spots to hit in the area:
This place is just amazing – there are no other ways to describe it! A ten-acre valley farm in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in Los Cabos, Mexico, we enjoyed a delicious brunch with hibiscus mimosas next to the turtle sanctuary (yes, really!) in the gardens. The rumor is George Clooney rents the entire restaurant for friends and family when he visits, and I don’t blame him. Plan for a few hours to explore the gardens, do a little shopping, enjoy the live music and eat to your heart’s content.
Zipper’s Bar & Grill
Zipper’s is located on Zippers Beach – it is the perfect beach front bar and grill to have a casual dinner or late afternoon cocktail and snack after the beach. The Big Tony burger, named after the owner with avocado and crispy bacon, really hits the spot.
A place that is loved by the locals and nestled in a lush palm garden with beautiful lighting. Paul, the owner, is magnanimous and welcoming. The fresh fish dishes and chile relleno are outstanding.
Located in the courtyard of boutique hotel, Casa Natalia, Mi Cocina is the perfect place for a cocktail in the center of historic San Jose del Cabo.
One of the most delicious piña coladas of my life! The chef also makes authentic Chilaquiles, a little known and super delicious traditional Mexican dish of corn tortillas topped with salsa, mole, crema, queso fresco, and other goodies.
Sport & Adventure
Sport fishing is exciting and popular in both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific. We usually take a charter from the Cabo Marina, however San Jose del Cabo does have its own Marina these days. A half-day (6AM – Noon) will likely run you about $100/person plus tip for the crew. If you have a good crew, they will make the day more than worthwhile! On this particular trip, we caught 3 wahoo, 1 skipjack, and 1 mahi mahi. We hooked a large marlin but didn’t land him. We kept the wahoo and had it filleted right as we got into the marina. There are many restaurants that will cook your fish for you if you call ahead. Wahoo is a delicious and uncommon fish, so we were very lucky to bring in 3. We recommend eating wahoo sashimi-style! “Here fishy-fishy” chants are entirely acceptable.
Another note for the conscious traveler: Baja California Sur and the surrounding area recently suffered from the devastating impact of Hurricane Odile in September 2014. The people of this area have rebuilt and come back with outstanding resiliency, but they need our help by continuing to visit. Tourism is one of the only major industries in this location, so you can simply do your part by vacationing here. I highly recommend it.