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San Jose del Cabo: The Pearl of Los Cabos

January 25, 2021

A mile inland from the sea at the opposite end of the Baja Peninsula corridor from Pueblo Bonito Resorts is San Jose del Cabo, a charming colonial town that represents the quiet, traditional side of Los Cabos. Redolent of the 18th century, San Jose’s picturesque zocalo (main plaza), highlighted by the twin-spired church in the historic district, is shaded by century-old Indian laurel trees. Here you’ll find colorful buildings and quaint cobblestone streets lined by art galleries, garden bistros and boutiques carrying silver jewelry, hand-painted ceramics and other artisan-produced items.

Founded by a Jesuit padre in 1730, San Jose is the artistic and cultural center of Los Cabos. It’s the yin to the bodacious yang of Cabo San Lucas. No trip to Los Cabos is complete without exploring its vibrant downtown art district. For the adventurous, San Jose also has a verdant estuary where you can take a horseback ride to explore a nature preserve that’s home to numerous migratory bird species and waterfowl. Treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning from the Philippines anchored in the Rio San Jose estuary in the late 1500’s. British buccaneers often attacked them. The region was originally inhabited by Pericue Indians who cultivated pearl-bearing oysters in these coastal waters.

An ideal way to experience San Jose is the Thursday night Art Walk, a fixture on the calendar from November to June. The Art Walk offers visitors a perfect opportunity to explore the town’s compact art district. Tucked behind the landmark church off Plaza Mijares is an eclectic array of fine art galleries and artisan shops set along narrow lanes that open their doors to one and all.

More than a dozen Gallery District Association members, recognizable by a distinctive bronze plaque posted outside, invite strollers to meet artists, view exhibits and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or tequila in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Genres range from painting and sculpture to folk art, ceramics, jewelry and photography by Mexican and international artists. Best of all, Alvaro Obregon Street, the main drag, is closed to vehicular traffic from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, turning the center of San Jose into a pedestrian thoroughfare where live bands (traditional mariachi to rock ‘n roll) perform on street corners and rooftops—and where performance artists entertain visitors at the drop of a hat.

From the splendid comforts of Pueblo Bonito’s resort hotels in Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo, an enchanting town steeped in 18th-century Spanish traditions, Los Cabos is a marriage of the contemporary and the colonial. This multi-faceted destination at the tip of the Baja Peninsula welcomes all visitors to appreciate its distinctive beauty and authentic culture.

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