San Jose del Cabo Mexico
Some might say the municipal seat of Mexico's South-Western Baja Los Cabos district has a lot to compete with. The sister-city of celebrity-draw Cabo San Lucas; San Jose Del Cabo is often over-looked in favor of luxury resorts and sport-fishing, yet arguably boasts far more in the way of beauty and charisma. San Jose Del Cabo occupies the same temperate peninsula as Cabo San Lucas in the state of Baja California Sur; blessed with miles of stunning sugar-paste beaches; sparkling clear ocean and peaking temperatures that reach the high 90's during summer. Less than 18 miles separate the municipal capital of Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas, yet they couldn't be more different!
San Jose Del Cabo retains much of the colonial charisma that helped shape the historic town in the 18th Century. Quintessentially Spanish architecture – notably the Parroquia San Jose Church, marks a period of settlement and evolution in the town's history, which prior to the Spanish, was home to Pericu Indians. The fresh-water oasis, with it's myriad of lagoons and lush vegetation soon caught the eye of Spanish explorers, whose foundation led to the arrival of whole galleons on their way back from the Middle East. This enticed both English and European pirates - including Sir Francis Drake!
Virtually nothing remains of the Spanish colonization due to destruction of the Mexican-American Civil War, apart from the town's sparsely scattered stuccoed churches; the terracotta tiled Central Plaza and the grandiose faded salmon Cathedral of San Jose Del Cabo - an eclectic mix of European Renaissance and Gothic inspired architecture. The mosaic memorial to the fallen Jesuit Spaniards (whom resisted the Pericu Indians) serves as one of the few reminders, that San Jose Del Cabo was not always so peaceful.
With efflorescent tree lined streets; a provincial ambiance and a tranquility belying an historically peaceful past, San Jose Del Cabo is world's apart from hedonistic Cabo San Lucas. San Jose is the place where visitors return to, seeking to absorb more of the “traditional Mexico” bandied about by brochures. The main street “Playa de Mijares” oozes a sophisticated charm that many find endearing. Mariachi bands regularly strike up upon the Art Deco bandstand from morning until siesta, while shop owners chatter happily between doorways and children scamper to and from school.
Art galleries along the main street such as the Huichol Collection Gallery, offering a fascinating glimpse into native arts and crafts. Exhibits range from the traditional Nieyerika yarn paintings by the Huichol tribe, to modern abstract and impressionist works by local artists.
On the flip-side, San Jose Del Cabo rivals Cabo San Lucas with a far greater number of beaches – all characteristically smooth of sand, and easily accessible. The commercial strip of Playa Hotelera is enveloped by the teal blue Gulf of Cortez, and a mile of luxurious hotel resorts. Here both families and sun-worshippers tend to congregate, since the beach is but 5 minutes walk from the town center. Just East of El Estero (The Estuary) lies La Playita (“Little Beach”.) The charm of traditional fishing practices, along with the flotilla of pangas (fishing boats) contribute to the picture postcard idyll, however the area has more than upped it's game for tourism. In 2005, the 500-slip marina and sectioned swimming area were completed, opening up the area for more than just embarkation to sport-fishing hot-spots.
La Playita's marina is encompassed by some of the finest restaurants to be found on the Los Cabos peninsula. Similarly to Cabo San Lucas, fresh tuna and sport-fish dominate the native local menus, with traditional dishes ranging from shellfish ceviche, to tantalizing twists on Carnitas (like tortillas) with lobster and shellfish. Two of San Jose's consistently high ranking native restaurants are situated in the heart of the town, just behind the cathedral. Taquería El Fogón holds repute for the best rotisserie pork tacos in Baja California,
whilst El Mesón del Ahorcado (“The Hangman”) offers an eclectic selection of quesadillas, within a theatrical film-set of a restaurant.
At night, San Jose Del Cabo is brought to life by twinkling fairy lights and gentle rhythms, as Banda bars up the ante with light-hearted live music. Some semblance of Cabo San Lucas' nightlife may be found within the luxury hotel resorts – mainly along the Playa Hotelera. The beauty of San Jose Del Cabo is it's ability to sustain a traditional charm, yet appeal to modern holiday-makers as a place where varied adventures may be had. Whether you're a thrill-seeker looking for some off-road action, or you prefer to enjoy the solitude getting closer to nature allows – San Jose Del Cabo could be just the ticket!