There are so many amazing things to do in San Jose del Cabo Mexico. Whether you enjoy beach hopping, eating delicious food, getting to know the culture and history, or getting out into nature and hiking, biking and surfing, there is truly something for everyone.
If you want to know more about where to get the best food in San Jose del Cabo, be sure to check out my guide to the Best Restaurants in San Jose del Cabo.
If you are planning a trip to the area and you want to learn more about the best places to see and all the awesome things to do, check out my Baja California Sur guidebook here.
Concerned about whether this region of Mexico is safe or not? Get the latest on safety in Los Cabos here.
Where to Stay in San Jose del Cabo
There are so many wonderful hotels in San Jose del Cabo. While the biggest resorts tend to be in Cabo San Lucas, there are some fantastic deals, great boutique hotels, and some nice resorts right here in San Jose del Cabo.
Hotels in San Jose del Cabo
- Six Two Four: This is my favorite beachfront hotel in San Jose del Cabo. For only $50 a night you are right across the street from the main hotel zone beach. It is modern, clean, and stylish. The beds are outrageously comfortable. The staff are helpful and offered us some great tips on things to do. The pool is ice cold in winter, but the perfect place to cool off in the hotter months. Balconies face the golf course. So you can have your morning coffee (or afternoon beer), while watching people play whatever hole it is that’s behind the hotel. Book a stay at Six Two Four here.
- El Encanto Inn: Located right in the old town and gallery district, this is the best value for money in this part of town. Rooms are nice and not too expensive. The hotel itself is a historical building that was the very first inn in San Jose del Cabo (for horses, not people!). You can walk absolutely everywhere here, there is a pool, plenty of parking, and comfortable beds. Book a stay at El Encanto Inn here.
- Casa Natalia: This is absolute boutique hotel luxury in San Jose del Cabo. Casa Natalia consistently ranks as one of the best boutique hotels in the world and the price tag matches. It’s stylishly decorated. The on-site restaurant is one of the best in town. The rooftop is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring. For the price, I’m disappointed that breakfast isn’t included, but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful hotels in town. Book a stay at Casa Natalia here.
- Hotel El Ganzo: For waterfront views, a great beach club, the best rooftop in town, and top class service, book a stay at Hotel El Ganzo. It’s located just out of town on the San Jose del Cabo Marina. It hosts the coolest events in town every week. They have DJs, live music, yoga classes, and pool parties. The rooms are artistically decorated, the staff are beyond helpful and will make your stay feel like serious luxury. The beach club is a boat ride away (included in your day out at the beach club for no extra fee). There are hammocks, a full bar and restaurant, and even horseback riding if you want to. Book a stay at Hotel El Ganzo here.
Apartments in San Jose del Cabo
If you want to self-cater while you are in San Jose, I recommend checking out some of the fantastic luxury houses and condos available on Plum Guide here. These are a couple of my top picks for apartments in San Jose del Cabo.
- Rústico Lounge has some fantastic options including beach-front condos and even glamping tents available. It’s location is great for those that want to hang out at the beach and walk to all of the beachfront restaurants and surf spots. Book a stay at Rústico Lounge here.
- Casa Playita is on my list for my next trip to San Jose del Cabo. This little casita is absolutely perfect for families, two friends, or two couples traveling together. It has two bedrooms, is stylishly decorated, has a nice outdoor space, a full stocked kitchen and is walking distance to all of the best things to do in San Jose del Cabo. Book a stay at Casa Playita here.
The Best Things to Do in San Jose del Cabo Mexico
If you’re wondering what to do in San Jose del Cabo Mexico, check out some of these fun activities!
Hiking is one of my favorite things to do in San Jose del Cabo. There are several hikes that you can access very close to downtown and the hotel zone.
One of the easiest hikes to get to is the Cerro de Las Chivas. You can walk here from the center of town in about 15 or 20 minutes along safe sidewalks. Follow Google Maps here to get to the entrance of the trail. It’s easy to spot from the sidewalk and very easy to follow to the top.
The hike is steep, but only takes about 30-45 minutes to get to the top. Wear shoes that have a good grip, there will be some rock scrambling near the top.
A flatter and slightly easier hike is located here. Follow the arroyo, or dried-up riverbed away from the beach. It will take you through the canyon to a waterfall.
It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the small waterfall at the end. Along the way, you’ll pass a zipline complex. Stop in for an adventure if you feel like zipping across the canyon. When you get back to the beach, there is a great seafood spot popular with the locals located right under the bridge.
2. Mountain Biking
If you’d rather hop on two wheels into the mountains, there is a newly made mountain biking track that you won’t want to miss.
It’s called Bike Park Sanjo MTB and can be reached by following Google Maps to this location. There is a parking lot here, so you can drive to the start. You can also simply ride your bike to the entrance of the park. Just be sure to take precautions for cars around the narrow roads that lead to it.
This bike park has over 60km of track to explore by bike. They are all one-way, so you don’t have to worry about any oncoming bikers. There are three different levels.
There is one 4km beginner trail that loops back to the parking lot. There are several intermediate trails that go off from the beginner trail. And there are a few difficult trails that take you up to the top of the mountains.
3. Take a Cooking Class
If you enjoy cooking or want to learn more about Mexican food culture, taking a cooking class is one of the best things to do in San Jose del Cabo.
My number one recommendation is Cookin’ Cabo. Francisco, the main chef, is a wonderful host. Originally from the Mexican coastal city of Acapulco, he came to San Jose del Cabo for a better life for himself and his son.
The tour starts at the local municipal market. Here you’ll pick up all the ingredients you need to cook your meal. Check the schedule on their website to know what you’ll be cooking. Each day of the week, Francisco makes a different dish.
Francisco will then take you back to his house where you will cook an authentic Mexican meal in his home. You’ll make tortillas from scratch. You’ll make different salsa and a few Mexican side dishes. Once you’ve cooked everything up, you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy your hard work with everyone else on the tour.
You can see a video from my experience on the tour here.
There are other cooking class options available at varying price points. Take a cooking class at the farm-to-table Mexican-owned restaurant Los Tamarindos. This high-end restaurant will teach you some of the basics of Mexican cuisine. It also includes a tour of their grounds, which are quite impressive.
4. Delve into the History
Many people, myself included, don’t realize just how much history there is in this part of Mexico. While you won’t find tons of archeological sites like in Mexico City or the Yucatan or Oaxaca, you will be able to learn about missionaries and pirates and a strong group of native people who fought hard for their homeland.
The best way to learn about the history of Los Cabos is to take a tour with Cabo City Tours.
You can see a video I made of that experience here.
This is a community project that was started by a group of locals who wanted to help kids feel more part of their community here.
The municipality of Los Cabos has grown 1000% in population in the last 30 years. Many of those people are Mexicans from other parts of the country who have moved here with their families for job opportunities and a better quality of life.
That means that there are a whole lot of kids who were born in places like Mazatlan, Acapulco, Chihuahua, and Mexico City to name a few. These kids have grown up in Los Cabos, but perhaps have never felt like it’s their true home.
This project aims to make them feel like it is. For every tour taken and paid for by a tourist, one local kid gets to take the tour as well. It’s a way to help them understand the history of Cabo and their place in that timeline. Some of the kids have even begun working to be tour guides for the company as well.
Read more about the tour or book a spot here.
5. Go Snorkeling
There are a lot of options for snorkeling in San Jose del Cabo. If you have your own snorkel set (you can buy them at the local grocery stores here Chedraui or La Comer), you can go straight to the beach and snorkel from the shore.
The best nearby beaches for snorkeling are Playa Palmilla and Playa Chileno.
If you don’t have snorkeling equipment or you want to go on a guided snorkeling tour, then there’s no better place than Cabo Pulmo.
Cabo Pulmo is really more of a day trip (although I recommend staying there for at least one night), but it is 100% worth visiting.
You can drive yourself there along the East Cape Road. From San Jose del Cabo, it takes about 2 hours to get there. From here, you can take a boat tour that will bring you to four or five different snorkeling sites.
If you don’t want to drive there, you can go on a tour like this one that picks you up and drops you off in San Jose del Cabo.
Cabo Pulmo is a protected national marine park. It has some of the most marine biodiversity in the world. The waters are calm. The boat companies that run tours are professional and truly focused on conservation.
You can see the tour company we used and more of the entire experience in this video.
For more local snorkeling options, Get Your Guide has some nice tour options. They will pick you up at your hotel, usually include snacks and beers and all of the snorkel gear.
6. Visit the Different Beaches
If you like walking along the beach, Costa Azul is without a doubt the best place to do that. It is incredibly long and even at high tide has plenty of beach to walk on. There are very few vendors here (unlike Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas). It’s nice a quiet and great for sunset.
If you are in San Jose del Cabo during the winter months (December-March), you can actually see whales right from shore at this beach. Bring a beach chair and look out at the horizon for a few minutes. In February and March in particular, you won’t wait more than a few minutes before spotting one.
While the main beach in the tourist zone, Costa Azul, is an absolutely stunning beach, there are so many more beaches to explore in this region of Mexico.
A few of my favorites include:
- Playa Palmilla: This is one of the closest swimming beaches to the hotel zone in San Jose del Cabo. You can easily drive here if you have a rental car. Alternatively, it’s a very cheap bus trip away from the hotel zone (only 13 pesos!). You can also get a taxi here which should cost about $10 USD. There are always taxis lined up in the parking lot at the beach as well, so it’s easy to get a ride back to your hotel when you’re done at the beach. The waters here are incredibly calm and great for swimming. Walk all the way to the end of the beach during low tide and you’ll connect with the nearby Playa Acapulquito Beach for a nice walk (and you’ll see the mini San Jose del Cabo arch!).
- Playa Chileno: Technically, Playa Chileno is in Cabo San Lucas, but it’s still close enough to San Jose that you can head here for a great beach day. It’s a very popular beach with the locals on a weekend, so be prepared to come early on a Sunday if you want a good spot by the water. It’s one of the best beaches to come with your own snorkeling gear. You can also rent some other beach equipment here like kayaks or paddleboards if you want to get out on the flat waters of this bay.
- Playa Acapulquito: This is a small beach with a great beach club. If you prefer to do your beach-going with a cocktail in hand, get over to Acapulquito and grab a table at the 7 Seas. They have a wonderful seafood menu, ice-cold beer, and strong margaritas. This is also the best beach in San Jose del Cabo if you want to learn to surf. There are several surf schools based around the beach here with Mike Doyle’s Surf School being the top-rated option in town.
- East Cape Beach: The East Cape is just across the San Jose Estuary and yet it feels like a very different world to San Jose del Cabo. The closest beach, the east cape beach, is usually referred to by the expats here as Buzzards Beach. That’s because right on the beach here is a restaurant/bar called Buzzards Bar & Grill. They make decent food that you can eat with your toes in the sand. Depending on the weather and the time of year this is usually a pretty nice beach to relax on with relatively calm waters for swimming. For really great food, have lunch at the nearby Drunken Sailor in the San Jose del Cabo Marina.
7. Tequila Tasting
Want to drink tequila with a Cuervo? Well, you can do just that at Cuervo’s House.
Watch the full video experience here.
While the Cuervo family no longer own the Jose Cuervo brand (you’ll learn all about it during the tasting), tequila is still in their blood. The restaurant’s owner, Jorge Cuervo, is a master tequilero. That means he has studied everything there is to know about tequila, as a sommelier does with wine.
There are two different options depending on the tequilas you want to try. Regardless of the tasting you choose, you will get a few snack pairings as well as a full history lesson on Tequila. You’ll learn about how to find a good on in the store (and how to avoid the fakes!). You’ll learn the best way to drink tequila (hint: it’s not with salt and lime!).
I highly recommend sticking around and heading to their karaoke bar after the tasting. It’s called El 29 because everything on the menu is 29 Pesos (about $1.5 USD).
Book a tequila tasting with Jorge Cuervo.
8. Take a Food Tour
There are so many things to do in San Jose del Cabo that will get you out and about, but don’t forget about all the food.
If you want to do a self-guided food tour, you can check out my video where I did exactly that.
Or you can read my article about the Best Restaurants in San Jose del Cabo.
But if you want to try lots of different dishes that you might not know to order, you want to meet some cool people, you want to learn about the connection of food and culture here in Cabo, then you should take a food tour.
I’ve taken many food tours with Juan More Tacos and I have never been disappointed. The tour in San Jose del Cabo is run by a few great guys who are passionate about sharing their food knowledge with their guests.
They offer a lunch-time tour and a dinner-time tour.
The lunchtime tour includes stops at a local tortilleria and the municipal market alongside some smaller restaurants and food stalls. The evening tour focuses on taco spots and great locally-owned restaurants.
You can read more about the tours and book a spot here.
9. Souvenir Shopping
The best souvenir shopping is in San Jose del Cabo. Even if you are staying and playing in Cabo San Lucas, you should head over to San Jose for your gifts.
There are a few souvenir shops along the main tourist street, Boulevard Antonio Mijares. This is where you’ll find the Plaza de Artesanias or the Artisan Plaza. This is a good place to get cheap things like t-shirts, fun bags that say San Jose del Cabo, and other little things that will remind you of your trip.
If you want better quality items, keep walking towards the old town. Just by the Plaza de Mijares, there are several nice jewelry stores. I personally like La Mina. It’s a family-owned shop that has been here in San Jose del Cabo for more than 20 years.
For boutique one-of-a-kind pieces, head into the gallery district in San Jose del Cabo. There are lots of souvenir shops here, but there are also boutique stores, art galleries, and markets.
Don’t miss the Saturday organic market. While it does have organic produce, it also has local artists who sell their jewelry, art, clothing, and more.
10. Go on a Day Trip
While you could easily fill a week or more with all of the things to do in San Jose del Cabo, it’s worth getting out of town as well. The entire state of Baja California Sur is packed with great cities and towns, beautiful beaches, and tons of amazing food.
These are some of my favorite places that are well worth a day trip.
- Fox Canyon: Cañon de la Zorra or Fox Canyon is one of the best day trips from San Jose del Cabo. It takes about an hour to get to and doesn’t require any four-wheel drive vehicle. We easily drove here in our company rental car. Although I would avoid the road after a big rain. If you want to self-drive, set Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo into Waze (Waze is much more reliable than Google Maps in this part of Mexico). It costs about $7 USD per person to enter but has safe private parking. It is about 10 minutes walking from the parking lot to the waterfall where you can swim in the beautiful cool fresh water. Or continue hiking with the waterway on your left side up and over the waterfall. Here the canyon opens up and you can hike quite far through it. I recommend wearing water shoes so that you can keep walking through the shallow waters when the trail gets steep. Watch a video of our experience there here.
- Todos Santos: I have written a complete guide to Todos Santos here where you can read all about the best things to do there, where to eat all the great fish tacos, hikes I love, and more. I lived here for a month before moving to San Jose del Cabo and I explored a ton. It’s well worth at least a day trip if not more of your time.
- Cabo San Lucas: Only 30 minutes from San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas is the easiest day trip you can do. I have written extensively about what to do in Cabo San Lucas and the best restaurants in Cabo as well. You can’t come all the way to Los Cabos and miss out on a boat trip to the arch.
- Lobster Tacos in Miraflores: It’s about 40 minutes from San Jose del Cabo to the small town of Miraflores. It has an interesting history that you can spend some time exploring, but the best thing to do is go to Restaurante Agave. They have an extensive menu, but the number one draw to this place is their fresh lobster tacos cooked to order. If you love lobster and you love tacos (are there people out there that don’t?!), then you should without a doubt come here for lunch. Put this location into your Waze or Google maps and take yourself here.
Get My Baja California Sur Guidebook!
If you found this helpful and are planning to spend more time in Baja, consider buying my Baja California Sur Guidebook. This guide thoroughly covers everything from the best hotels and restaurants to things to do, tour guides to hire, and tips for getting around the state.
You’ll find guides for Los Cabos, Todos Santos, Los Barriles, La Paz, and even up to Loreto and Mulege in it!
Get the digital copy here which includes lifetime access to new updates!
Or if you prefer a hard copy, you can grab that here on Amazon.
Tuesday 13th of December 2022
Thank you so much for this comprehensive and well written article. It’s really helpful!
Monday 24th of January 2022
Hello, Laura. Can you recommend a good tour for whale watching from San Jose Del Cabo, please? Your articles and guidebook have been wonderful.
Friday 7th of January 2022
Hi again Laura, Would you please let me know how you went from Cabo San Lucas International Airport to the condos in Retorno Villa Palmillas. Taxi, shuttle or other. We are not planning to rent a car for the two weeks we are there. We are staying at the same condos you rented. We plan to rent a car after to get to La Paz. Thanks a lot.
Wednesday 8th of February 2023
@Laura Bronner, Hi Laura. Appreciate your videos and tips. We are staying in Cabo San Lucas and planning a day trip to San Jose Del Cabo. We will take the Ruta del Desierto bus. How far into SJDC does the bus go? I'm just wondering where to get off to be closest to Plaza Mijares where everything is located. Can we walk to this location after getting off the bus? Or do we need to take a taxi or Uber?
Monday 10th of January 2022
We rented a car, but you can also take the purple and yellow bus which is called the Ruta del Desierto (it says that on the side of the bus) and you can get off at the Chedraui. It's a bit of a walk from there though if you have a fair bit of luggage. The most direct way is a taxi or a shared shuttle van which you can arrange once you land at the airport.
Monday 3rd of January 2022
Hey Laura - This has been so helpful planning our upcoming trip - thanks so much! I'm wondering if you could relink the location of the easier hike to a small waterfall that you mention. The pin is taking me to the general town of San José del Cabo instead of a trail head.
Saturday 8th of January 2022
@Laura Bronner, thanks so much for this reply. I’m at the hotel el ganzo asking them how to get to the small waterfall and this helps so much
Thursday 6th of January 2022
Hi Maddie! No worries - although it says San Jose del Cabo on the left side, it is linking to the location where the trail starts. It's right under that bridge next to this taco spot: https://goo.gl/maps/Zi9a6fQNsLARMdvS6 - head in along the canyon path (it shows that it's a waterway on google maps, but its completely dry).