Info on San José del Cabo

San José del Cabo is a city located in Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the seat of the municipality of Los Cabos, at the south end of the Baja California peninsula. In the 2005 census it had a population of 48,518 persons. Together with neighboring Cabo San Lucas, it forms a major tourist destination for travelers, particularly vacationers from the United States and Canada. These two cities are served by Los Cabos International Airport.
In 1730, Nicolás Tamaral, a Jesuit missionary, founded Mission San José del Cabo in an attempt to convert indigenous Pericu people and thus quell frequent uprisings. The nearby Río San José was useful to the Spanish as a source of fresh water for galleons traveling to and from the Philippines.
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Resting at the tip of the Baja Peninsula are the sparkling resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, known as "the capes," or Los Cabos (Lows-KAH-bows) in Spanish.
Once used as a frequent provision stop for pirates awaiting passage of the Manila Galleons, Los Cabos is today headed for resort stardom. In the last ten years it has evolved from a sleepy hide-away for recluse fishermen and yacht owners, into one of Mexico's most popular resort destinations. This is due largely to improved road and air access, and heavy investment by FONATUR (the government's agency in charge of new resort development) and the private sector.
Los Cabos differs in many respects from its Mexican Riviera counterparts. Because of its geographic separation and isolation from mainland Mexico, Los Cabos' visitor industry grew up with closer ties to the U.S. (mostly California) than to the rest of Mexico. A conspicuous "north-of-the-border" atmosphere and attitude give the area an appealing cultural duality. American products fill store shelves, dollars are the preferred currency, U.S.-made cars are everywhere, and resort development (until recently) has been dominated by North American enterprises. Nonetheless, there is no denying the resort's strong Mexico-by-the-sea ambiance.
It is also unique in its striking desert landscape, dry climate, and "great outdoors" unspoiled beauty. Visitors are surrounded by a dramatic coupling of endless cactus desert, backed by vermilion mountains, and bordered by miles of white sandy beach and clear, azure waters.
The resort is one of Mexico' largest in terms of its layout. Basically there are three areas of concentration. San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas anchor the area's resort strip. The two towns are separated by the Corridor region, a heavenly stretch of lovely beaches, sprinkled with much of the area's new resort development.
San Jose del Cabo is a pleasant city of meandering streets, lush palm groves, and the languid pace of a colonial village. The area was first visited by Cortés himself in 1535. But it was missionary zeal, not conquistadors, that first brought European civilization to San José. A Jesuit mission was built in 1730 to indoctrinate the Pericu Indians of the region. In the nineteenth century San José slowly evolved into a modest center of commerce for passing ships. Today it is a town of 24,000 people that has a handsome Municipal Palace, charming courtyard restaurants, shops, boutiques, and a lovely tropical estuary. The atmosphere here is subdued compared with the more rowdy town of Cabo San Lucas.
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SAN JOSE DEL CABO (GPS coordinates 23'09 N ~ 109'61 W) is the gateway to the Los Cabos Corridor, which includes most of the activity from the Los Cabos International Airport to Cabo San Lucas. This historic town has plenty of charm for a city that has grown so much over the last 15 years.
San Jose was just another small Baja riverside village until Cabo San Lucas exploded in the 1980's. Located directly between the new airport and the tip of the Peninsula, it was inevitable that San Jose Del Cabo would tag onto Cabo's shirt tails. Despite the significant growth on the Cape, this beautiful town has maintained much of its original charm. All of the services a Baja traveler needs can be found in and around San Jose Del Cabo.
San Jose is quite often discovered accidentally by tourists headed for Cabo. One slow drive through town looking for ice, food, or beer is usually enough to convince most visitors that they have stumbled upon a 'secret' destination completely independent from Cabo, offering a much more relaxed pace. The people here are very friendly, the streets are squeaky clean, and much of what made San Jose Del Cabo a jewel of a town 100 years ago still exists today. If one tires of the slow, relaxed pace here, it's only a 30 minute drive to all of the action at Cabo San Lucas!
PUERTO LOS CABOS is a new master planned community just across the estuary (east) of San Jose del Cabo. The new development will offer a marina, houses, condos and much more. Just being 15 minutes from the Los Cabos International Airport makes this new hideaway extrememly convenient.
For a unique perspective of San Jose del Cabo and the surrounding mountains and the Sea of Cortez, check out this wonderful SATELITE PHOTO.
If you would like to see what the entire Baja Peninsula looks like FROM SPACE check it out!
If the purpose of your vacation is to relax, you are much more likely to achieve your goal by staying in San Jose del Cabo than in Cabo San Lucas. CABO SAN LUCAS tends to survive at a more frenzied pace than San Jose del Cabo and is certainly worth a visit for those staying in San Jose del Cabo. The restaurants and nightlife in Cabo San Lucas are world class. But for a casual pace with a nice flavor of real Mexico San Jose del Cabo is hard to beat!
Speaking of the real Mexico, San Jose del Cabo is the perfect jumping off point to explore the natural beauty of Baja's EAST CAPE. This pristine stretch of coastline runs north-east from San Jose del Cabo all the way up to the Gringo hideaway of BUENA VISTA. Uncrowded beaches, spectacular ocean views, and very few people. This is the perfect place for a one day excursion! Snorkeling, surfing, kayaking or just pulling up a picnic basket and some cold drinks on an empty stretch of this is Baja! City-slickers beware...the East Cape roads are not paved and can get pretty roughed up after a good rain. Checking with someone in town as to the current condition of the road is always a good idea.
For a fun inside peak at exploring San Jose del Cabo and the East Cape visit this personal on-line story by JOAN HAFENECKER.
Looking for a fun road trip? Doing the Cape "Circle Tour" might be just the thing for you! Heading north from San Jose del Cabo you can take a driving adventure that includes the East Cape and Buena Vista (breakfast anyone?) and then loop up and around to the quaint town of TODOS SANTOS (fish tacos and a cold soda) and then drop into Cabo San Lucas to slip your toes into the sand on El Medano Beach while nursing a mango margarita and some nachos!
To contact the San Jose del Cabo Tourism Office call 011-52 (624) 142-2960 extension 154. Canadians can call the CANADIAN CONSULATE at 011-52 (624) 142-4333 or fax at 011-52 (624) 142-4262. from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For information on Real Estate in Paradise drop by our REAL ESTATE section.
For more information on what's happening in other parts of Baja check out the web sites of BAJA TOURIST GUIDE and BAJA INSIDER.
If you would like to see what San Jose del Cabo looks like FROM SPACE check it out!
Thinking about moving south of the border? Visit the web site of BAJA RELOCATION for a head's up for what awaits you.
Before you head south check out today's CAPE WEATHER!
San Jose del Cabo was one of the coastal stops for Carlos Fiesta on his 2,000 mile BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION!
For additional information on Mexico's plan to place marinas around Baja visit our MEXICO'S NAUTICAL LADDER page.
Pulling up the book SEA OF CORTEZ REVIEW is a fun way to visit Baja when you don't have the time to head south!
For more information on what's happening south of the border drop by the MEXICO EXPO EVENT CALENDAR.
To purchase a good map of the Baja Peninsula visit the web site of MEXICO MAPS.
If you know of a company, web site or event that is not included here we would love to hear from you on our SUBMISSION PAGE.
San Jose del Cabo is the perfect mix of locals and gringos! Most visitors head down from the main Baja Highway to the area just east of the town square. Downtown San Jose offers a multitude of restaurants and shops that make strolling the streets a very pleasant way to soak up the warm Baja sun. Gringos also enjoy the affordable prices of the 9 hole golf course just outside town, and the spectacular beaches are just a 5 minute drive from the town plaza. For gringos looking for a faster pace CABO SAN LUCAS is less than 30 minutes down the coast at land's end.
San Jose del Cabo is a big town, and it's getting bigger every year. As a visitor in town, you can't do wrong heading for the downtown area, specifically the main tourist area near the town square. This charming area is full of restaurants and shops, and walking the squeaky clean streets is a very relaxing experience. Looking for a nice place to indulge in a cold drink and maybe a bite to eat? For a nice in-town setting head straight for the Tropicana, mid block on the east side of the street. The garden terrace is a great place to pull up a chair and relax. If you want to hang your hat at a place that allows you to hear the waves crash from the spectacular Sea of Cortez, take the Baja Highway about 2 miles south of town to Zipper's on the beach. It's a casual open-air environment perfect for relaxing, listening to music and generally being non-productive!
San Jose Del Cabo visitors looking for a spectacular place to stay will not find anything nicer than the residences at VILLAS DEL MAR. Want to be impressed? Visit their web site! Even Bill Gates loves staying here. Campers and RV's looking for the best place to set up camp in a natural environment usually head 30 minutes northeast of town on the coastal dirt road to the postcard-perfect beaches of the EAST CAPE. There are no RV or camping services, just mile after mile of pristine beach and clear ocean waters. San Jose visitors looking for a first class ocean view dining experience will appreciate the food, service and views of ARRECIFES RESTAURANT at the Westin Resort just south of town. The deserts are to die for! And the best place in town to enjoy an oceanfront margarita and watch the waves crash on the shore is ZIPPER'S BAR AND GRILL on the beach at the south end of town. This is where they serve that Cheeseburger in Paradise that Jimmy Buffet sings about! The best place in town to pull up a cold cervesa and listen to evening music is TROPICANA BAR AND GRILL on the main street in the heart of downtown San Jose del Cabo, east side of the street. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining and a very fun environment. The best road trip from San Jose del Cabo is the one hour road trip north of town to the quiet Baja seaside town of BUENA VISTA. It's an easy excursion for breakfast or lunch! Fishermen in search of tight lines will love the affordable rates and easy access of the panga fishing just east of the estuary at LA PLAYITA. It's best to go to this beach the day before to make reservations with a skipper. The best place to snorkel? Hand's down the best place to dip your mask near San Jose is the protected beaches, reefs and coves of PLAYA CHILENO. The parking is close by, cold drinks are available and the friendly fish swim right up to check out the tourists! And if you came to the Cape to shred waves the best place to surf in San Jose del Cabo is COSTA AZUL just 10 minutes from downtown. It's mostly a right reef break with some left shoulders at the south end. Boards are for rent and wax is available at the Costa Azul Surf Shop just up the street.