best things to do in san jose del cabo

20 Best Things To Do in San José del Cabo [2024 Guide]

If you’re looking for a Los Cabos getaway with a little more luxury, a little more culture, and a little bit more adventure than you could ever find within the confines of even the best resort, the town of San José del Cabo is what you’re after. Whether you’re staying at one of the many boutique hotels in San José del Cabo proper or are just looking for the perfect excursion away from the resort, you’ll find it here.

After multiple visits to Baja California Sur, we can’t deny that San José del Cabo is our favorite part of the Los Cabos area – by far! Read on for all our personal recommendations and local advice on the best things to do in San José del Cabo, the cultural and historic capital of Los Cabos.

things to do in san jose del cabo

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Best Things To Do in San José del Cabo

Far too many visitors come to San Jose del Cabo for a resort stay and do nothing more. What a shame! Stay at a luxe resort in San José del Cabo is certainly one of the best ways to enjoy this stunning area, but here are some additional recommendations of our top things to do in San José del Cabo:

  • Stay at a Resort
  • Enjoy the San José del Cabo Art Walk
  • Explore Historic San José del Cabo
  • Try Farm-to-Table Dining

In addition to these incredible things to do in San José del Cabo, there are plenty of things to do in Baja California Sur that make for the best day trips from the Los Cabos area. Some of the area’s most unforgettable excursions include diving in the legendary Cabo Pulmo, swimming with whale sharks, and hiking to oases in the desert.

Read on for even more of the best things to do in San José del Cabo and beyond, plus our top tips for where to stay, eat, and play.

grand velas los cabos
Courtesy of Velas Resorts

Things To Do in San José del Cabo

1. Stay at a Resort

There are a million things to do in San José del Cabo, but most visitors add this sunny Mexican city to their bucket list for its incredible resorts. From basic and (relatively) affordable all-inclusive resorts to some of the most luxurious resorts in Mexico, you’ll find it all in San José del Cabo.

Best Resorts in San José del Cabo

If a resort stay isn’t exactly what you’re after, consider one of the area’s increasingly impressive array of boutique hotels in San José del Cabo. From charming properties like Mar del Cabo along the beachfront to intimate, design-forward spots in the heart of town like Drift and Acre, there is a huge range of boutique experiences to consider here, too.

2. Enjoy the San José del Cabo Art Walk

On the opposite end of the spectrum from a resort stay is one of San José del Cabo’s most beloved traditions, which brings together locals and visitors in a way that most resort towns could only dream of.

Every Thursday evening starting at 5:00 PM, local gallery and shop owners open their doors and welcome the area’s best artists and art aficionados alike to share wine, cheese, and local bites while exploring the cobblestone streets of the gallery district.

The San José del Cabo Art Walk is just as cool as it sounds, whether you’re the artsy type or are just looking for a cool moment to explore the historic part of town. It’s one of the best things to do in all of Baja California Sur – not just San José del Cabo!

san jose del cabo art walk

3. Explore Historic San José del Cabo

The heart of Cabo San Lucas can feel packed with tourist shops and drink deals, but San José del Cabo is the ultimate antidote. The center of San José del Cabo is a destination in its own right, drawing in visitors with its colors, cuisines, and charming, historic streets.

Start a self-guided walking tour in Plaza Mijares, the central plaza in town (with the San José del Cabo sign for photo ops) that faces the historic Spanish colonial mission in the city center. From there, head towards the areas of town known for galleries and shops (concentrated on Calle Alvaro Obregon) and branch out from there. The layout of the town makes it easy to explore, or book a cultural and historical walking tour of San José del Cabo to see it like a local does.

4. Try Farm to Table Dining

Don’t underestimate the bounty of the arid landscapes of Los Cabos. In the past several years, farm-to-table dining has been all the rage in Los Cabos, drawing foodies from around the world to its prestigious tables. These are some of the best spots to try it in San José del Cabo:

  • Acre: One of the most popular farm-to-table restaurants in the area, Acre also offers cool treehouse accommodations and new villas, making it one of the best boutique hotels in the area.
  • Flora Farms: Right down the street from Acre, Flora Farms is a delight with its outdoor dining terrace and bar, perfect for any time of day.
  • Los Tamarindos: Call an original 19th-century farmhouse home for a few hours as you enjoy local and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and cooking classes at one of the region’s most beloved farm-to-table kitchens.
  • Monte Cardón: Located on a spacious farm on the Eastern Cape just outside of San José del Cabo, Monte Cardón is the area’s most promising newcomer.

It’s a trend that is starting to take in the rest of Baja California Sur as well, so make sure to check out farm-to-table spots in other popular Baja destinations like Loreto, La Paz, and Todos Santos as you explore the rest of the region.

cabo san lucas

5. Sail to El Arco in Cabo San Lucas

One of the most impressive and recognizable landmarks in Los Cabos is the dramatic El Arco – The Arch – at Land’s End on the very tip of the Baja California peninsula. Visiting El Arco from San José del Cabo requires making the drive down the Tourist Corridor, but trust us, it’s worth it.

Getting up close and personal with El Arco is a wonder. Sail out via one of the simple passenger boats that take visitors from the marina, or opt for a luxe catamaran at sunset. Alternatively, tour companies in the area rent kayaks and lead expeditions to the arch and its neighboring beaches. The variety of ways to experience the famous landmark makes this one of the most beloved things to do in Los Cabos.

6. Try Surfing

Currents and waves at the beaches in much of the Los Cabos area make swimming in the ocean at most of the area’s resorts impossible (Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection is one of the very few resorts in the area with a swimmable beach!), but an excellent spot for surfing.

Cabo Surf Hotel, located on Playa Acapulquito quite near the entrance to San José del Cabo, is the best place to stay in town for a surf-centric vacation. The on-site surf school is the best in town and is great even for those who have never touched a board before.

If you’re looking to give it a try on your own (we only recommend this for more experienced surfers who know how to manage the area’s currents and waves!), head to Playa Costa Azul just outside of San José del Cabo. High Tide Los Cabos provides lessons and gear. Alternatively, head just north along the Pacific Coast of the peninsula to Los Cerritos Beach, considered one of the best places in Baja California Sur for surfing.

whale watching baja california sur
Courtesy of Visit Baja Sur

7. Go Whale Watching

Numerous species of whales migrate to the Baja California peninsula during the cooler months, making it one of the most reliable places for whale watching in the Americas.

Between November and April (though most reliably, from late December through early March), whale watching is one of the best things to do in San José del Cabo. Whale-watching tours, though carefully regulated for the welfare of the species, let travelers get remarkably close to the creatures.

Spend any time on the beachfront in San José del Cabo during whale season and you’re likely to spot them from the shore. Whales breaching and flapping their tales became a popular show during breakfast at the seaside restaurant Encanto at Mar del Cabo by Velas Resorts just outside of San José del Cabo.

8. Swim with Whale Sharks in La Paz

In addition to being one of the best places in the Americas for whale watching, Baja California Sur is also known for being one of the few places on Earth to swim with whale sharks! About two hours north of Los Cabos on the Sea of Cortez, the city of La Paz is the start of the adventure; it will be a long day but a magical one.

Small group and private whale shark spotting excursions include transportation as part of the experience, which is one of the main reasons to consider booking a pre-planned, organized tour from San José del Cabo. Excursions are tightly regulated by the government but allow you to get impressively close to the wildlife.

sierra la laguna
HTurner / Shutterstock

9. Hike to Desert Waterfalls

Los Cabos is arid year-round, but hidden among some of the region’s numerous protected reserves and ecosystems are beautifully lush oases, waterfalls, and more. Not far from San José del Cabo are some of the coolest spots in the region, nestled within the UNESCO-protected Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve and an easy day trip from town.

There are plenty of things to see and do in the Sierra de la Laguna area, but the hike to the Sol de Mayo waterfall and Cañon de la Zorra (Fox Canyon) outside of the small town of Santiago are some of the ultimate highlights. Sol de Mayo is accessible via a short hike through the canyon, on the private proprty of Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo, where for a small entrance fee you’ll gain access to the area.

Travel independently (it’s easy as long as you arrange transportation or rent a car to get to Santiago) or head out with a small group or private excursion from San José del Cabo – either options make for a great day exploring some of Baja’s most enchanting landscapes.

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cabo pulmo diving

10. Go Diving in Cabo Pulmo

Whale watching in San José del Cabo is legendary, but diving (or snorkeling!) in the ultra-rich Sea of Cortez in nearby Cabo Pulmo is just as spectacular. A protected National Marine Park, the Cabo Pulmo area has a spectacular coral reef running parallel to the coastline, as well as incredible marine life like sharks, sea lions, rays, turtles, and more that make diving excursions here one of a kind.

Day trips from San José del Cabo to Cabo Pulmo tend to be long – around 10 hours at least due to the nearly two-hour drive – but the experience is so worth it. Booking an organized excursion from San José del Cabo is the best way to enjoy the experience, as it includes transport:

11. Hit the Links

Los Cabos is arguably the premier golf destination in Latin America, boasting courses tucked along mountainsides and butting up against dramatic coastline, designed by everyone from Greg Norman to Jack Nicklaus.

The Puerto Los Cabos course in San José del Cabo is one of the area’s best, with two different Jack Nicklaus-designed courses. Also in San José del Cabo, the 27-hole course with three nines at One&Only Palmilla, Nicklaus’ first course in Latin America, is another challenging yet accessible course you won’t want to miss. There are ocean views from every single fairway.

san jose del cabo beach

12. Hit the Beach

No matter where you’re staying in San José del Cabo, you’ll want to make sure to hit the beach for at least a short visit to the golden sands that have made the region so appealing with visitors. Keep in mind that many beaches in San José del Cabo aren’t swimmable due to currents, but these are the best in the area:

  • Playa Hotelera: Arguably the most popular beach in San José del Cabo, this stretch of sand is lined with hotels, but it is perfect for a beach day no matter where you’re staying.
  • Playa Costa Azul: This is one of the best surfing beaches in Los Cabos.
  • Playa Acapulquito: Home to Cabo Surf Hotel and a haven for surfers, this beach is swimmable and offers some great dining options.

If you’re willing to travel a bit father, other Los Cabos beaches to enjoy are the twin Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach by El Arco in Cabo San Lucas, or the swimmable public beach of Playa Chileno. Some of Baja’s most beautiful beaches are a bit further away, with Balandra Beach in La Paz and the shores of the protected islands of Loreto being some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Mexico.

13. Take a Day Trip to Todos Santos

Located just 45 minutes north of Los Cabos, the small, historic town of Todos Santos is experiencing a renaissance that even a few years ago would have been unimaginable. Burgeoning wellness offerings, hip boutique hotels, incredible cuisine, and an increasingly interesting array of things to do make it one of the best places to visit in Baja California Sur.

Todos Santos makes for a perfect day trip from San José del Cabo, with easy and frequent transportation options and plenty to do to fill and itinerary. While the new travel boom to Todos Santos skews luxurious, you’ll still find pockets of affordability here if you’re traveling on a budget, remnants of the town’s start as a hippy, artsy paradise on the Pacific Coast.

Where To Stay in Todos Santos

san jose del cabo desert

14. Go Off-Roading

There’s no better way to experience the incredible desert landscapes that surround San José del Cabo and stretch across the rest of Baja California Sur than by getting out on an off-roading excursion. Baja is known for off-roading after all, welcoming the world-famous Baja 1000 off road race to the region every year in November.

Whether you’re interested in heading towards the interior of the peninsula near the Sierra de la Laguna to visit spots like Fox Canyon or Sol de Mayo waterfall or want an easy excursion along beachfront and mountains, you’ll find it here. The most popular excursions in the area tend to head towards Playa Migriño and the surrounding mountainside outside of Cabo San Lucas. However, visiting the Sierra de la Laguna tends to be a more laidback, less touristy experience that we’d certainly recommend.

Reviews and Bookings: Migriño Beach & Mountain ATV Tour in Los Cabos

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15. Take a San José del Cabo Walking Tour

Walking through the historic heart of San José del Cabo is easy enough – the town is quite walkable and has plenty to see and do – but there’s just nothing like touring with a local. For an inside look at the most charming, historic heart of Los Cabos, sign up for a San José del Cabo cultural and historical walking tour.

These experiences are hosted in the late afternoon and evening when the sun starts to set, the perfect time to explore the streets of San José del Cabo without the blazing heat of the day. They’re also one of the best ways to connect with knowledgeable locals for info on the best restaurants, cool events going on and things to do, and other details the locals know best.

Reviews and Bookings: San José del Cabo Cultural and Historical Walking Tour

la lupita san jose del cabo

16. Enjoy Live Music at La Lupita

Hidden behind a colorful, historic facade in the heart of San José del Cabo, La Lupita Taco & Mezcal is one of the best restaurants in San José del Cabo. In addition to having a full menu of cocktails, gourmet tacos, and other favorite Mexican dishes, La Lupita also frequently features live music in the evenings, making it’s outdoor patio and bar the place to be.

Even if your visit doesn’t coincide with live music, adding La Lupita to your itinerary is always a great idea – come early enough in your trip and we can guarantee you’ll be back for more!

17. Explore Cabo San Lucas

Even if you’re staying on the San José del Cabo side of Los Cabos, there are plenty of reasons to head into Cabo San Lucas for the day. Whether you’re just interested in exploring or have a full itinerary planning out of sailing to El Arco and hitting the twin beaches next door, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

Some of the other best things to do in Cabo San Lucas include hiking Mount Solmar near Land’s End, visiting one of the next-level spas in the area for a mini wellness retreat (we recommend visiting the WELL at Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection!), or embarking on any number of adventurous activities like fishing excursions, off-roading trips, or day trips to nearby town.

grand velas boutique los cabos
Courtesy of Velas Resorts

18. Sample Mexican Spirits

You can’t come to Mexico without enjoying some of the country’s most well-known spirits, especially at a time when the burgeoning artisanal spirits industry is generating more buzz than ever. In town, West Coast Tequila Co. and La Coa Tequileria are the best places to learn – and taste – more, though tastings are informal.

The Agave Room at the brand-new Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos is one of the coolest new spots in San José del Cabo for sampling Mexican spirits. The space is spectacular, and the experience features expert guidance on the best tequilas, mezcals, and lesser-known agave-based spirits like pulque and sotol for a next-level experience.

19. Take a Cooking Class

Your trip to San José del Cabo will include some spectacular, fresh Mexican food, that’s for sure, but if you’d like to take your favorite dishes home with you, consider taking a cooking class during your stay. Some of the best cooking classes in San José del Cabo even feature market tours prior to getting in the kitchen. We’re linking the best cooking class in San José del Cabo for you to book ahead of time, too!

If you’re staying at a resort in San José del Cabo, make sure to check out the resort’s offerings and activities – often they include cooking demonstrations, classes, and tastings with professional chefs.

acre los cabos
Courtesy of Acre

20. Stay the Night in a Treehouse

Spending the night at the treehouse suites at San José del Cabo boutique hotel Acre is such a cool experience that it even made our list of the best things to do in Baja California Sur! Elevated above the private 25-acre farm in San José del Cabo known for its spectacular farm-to-table cuisine, these rooms are one-of-a-kind.

These treehouses feature modern design and comfortable furnishings, and each have their own private bathroom with additional outdoor shower, private terrace, and even feature high-speed wifi! It’s a stay experience you won’t forget.

Read More: 10 Best Boutique Hotels in Los Cabos

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.