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Guidebook for San José del Cabo & Southern Baja Sur

Peter

Guidebook for San José del Cabo & Southern Baja Sur

Restaurants
These are some of my favorite restaurants of southern Baja Sur, all for different reasons, but most are for the budget conscious. - Of course there a numerous others, some I have yet to discover. Enjoy your own exploration! It's hard to go wrong here.
Zac's is a fairly decent restaurant serving Mexican & North American food ($$). The clientele is mostly local American & European expatriates and their guests under an upstairs, open palapa or in an enclosed dining room/bar. This place is currently only accessible via a 4km (2.5 miles) dirt road, negotiable with a sturdier 2-wheel drive vehicle! - Occasional weekend live music. - American sports on monitors and/or piped in music.
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Zac's
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Zac's is a fairly decent restaurant serving Mexican & North American food ($$). The clientele is mostly local American & European expatriates and their guests under an upstairs, open palapa or in an enclosed dining room/bar. This place is currently only accessible via a 4km (2.5 miles) dirt road, negotiable with a sturdier 2-wheel drive vehicle! - Occasional weekend live music. - American sports on monitors and/or piped in music.
The very friendly and mostly bilingual staff serves delicious Mexican food prepared in an open kitchen (mainly meat dishes) for lunch and dinner ($+) in a rustic, authentic setting under an open palapa with colorfully decorated walls! Serves alcoholic drinks. - Live music on occasional nights. - Street parking.
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Las Guacamayas Sucursal Chamizal
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The very friendly and mostly bilingual staff serves delicious Mexican food prepared in an open kitchen (mainly meat dishes) for lunch and dinner ($+) in a rustic, authentic setting under an open palapa with colorfully decorated walls! Serves alcoholic drinks. - Live music on occasional nights. - Street parking.
The Vidasoul Hotel/Restaurant is an ultra-modern boutique hotel serving good Mexican & mediterranean cuisine ($$+) in a very unique ocean-front setting, far from city bustle. Serves alcoholic drinks. NOTE: You need a sturdy vehicle to negotiate the long dirt-road drive there! - Live music most weekends. - Large off-street parking lot. - Very modern accommodations with stunning ocean views! ($$$)
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VIDASOUL Hotel
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The Vidasoul Hotel/Restaurant is an ultra-modern boutique hotel serving good Mexican & mediterranean cuisine ($$+) in a very unique ocean-front setting, far from city bustle. Serves alcoholic drinks. NOTE: You need a sturdy vehicle to negotiate the long dirt-road drive there! - Live music most weekends. - Large off-street parking lot. - Very modern accommodations with stunning ocean views! ($$$)
The El Toro serves a good variety of Mexican tasty seafood dishes (don't try asian inspired food here!) served under a large palapa roof with many tables packed in (lunch & dinner). This is a busy place, lively and has mostly Mexican clientele ($$). Serves alcoholic drinks. - A TV monitor and/or piped music provide background entertainment. - Off-street parking in adjacent lot.
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MARISCOS EL TORO GÜERO
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The El Toro serves a good variety of Mexican tasty seafood dishes (don't try asian inspired food here!) served under a large palapa roof with many tables packed in (lunch & dinner). This is a busy place, lively and has mostly Mexican clientele ($$). Serves alcoholic drinks. - A TV monitor and/or piped music provide background entertainment. - Off-street parking in adjacent lot.
The Tropicana Hotel/Restaurant is an beautiful boutique hotel serving good Mexican & North American cuisine ($$++) in a very stunning, Spanish/Mexican architectural detail laden, environment. The sidewalk seating provides for easy people watching. Extensive Bar serves alcoholic drinks.- Live music most weekends nights. Guarded parking in back.
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Tropicana Inn Los Cabos
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The Tropicana Hotel/Restaurant is an beautiful boutique hotel serving good Mexican & North American cuisine ($$++) in a very stunning, Spanish/Mexican architectural detail laden, environment. The sidewalk seating provides for easy people watching. Extensive Bar serves alcoholic drinks.- Live music most weekends nights. Guarded parking in back.
The El Ganzo Hotel/Restaurant is an ultra-modern, larger boutique hotel serving good Mexican, North American & mediterranean cuisine ($$+) in a very unique harbor-front setting, a little away from city bustle. Serves alcoholic drinks. It caters to the art/music scene and has it's own recording studio! - Live music most weekends. - On-street parking. - Very modern accommodations and roof-top pool with stunning harbor/ocean views! ($$$)
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Hotel El Ganzo
S/N Tiburón
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The El Ganzo Hotel/Restaurant is an ultra-modern, larger boutique hotel serving good Mexican, North American & mediterranean cuisine ($$+) in a very unique harbor-front setting, a little away from city bustle. Serves alcoholic drinks. It caters to the art/music scene and has it's own recording studio! - Live music most weekends. - On-street parking. - Very modern accommodations and roof-top pool with stunning harbor/ocean views! ($$$)
Rossy's serves a variety of simple but tasty Mexican seafood tacos and you add the toppings from a buffet of salsas served in a cafeteria style setting, with many tables packed in (lunch & dinner). This is a busy place, lively and has a mixed clientele, but mostly Mexican ($+). Serves alcoholic drinks. - TV monitors & piped music provide background entertainment. - Parking in lot up front is usually very packed, so on-street parking on side streets is recommended.
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Taqueria Rossy
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Rossy's serves a variety of simple but tasty Mexican seafood tacos and you add the toppings from a buffet of salsas served in a cafeteria style setting, with many tables packed in (lunch & dinner). This is a busy place, lively and has a mixed clientele, but mostly Mexican ($+). Serves alcoholic drinks. - TV monitors & piped music provide background entertainment. - Parking in lot up front is usually very packed, so on-street parking on side streets is recommended.
There are a few little restaurants here. My favorite is Tito's. It's a funky little place that serves home cooked Mexican fare and Margarita's, where they crush the ice with a wooden mallet! It has somewhat evolved the years from only a little road-side palapa. And with any luck they are open when you get there! But, like I said, there are others, some also nice and/or funky. - Cabo Pulmo also has a few bungalows to rent.
Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort
There are a few little restaurants here. My favorite is Tito's. It's a funky little place that serves home cooked Mexican fare and Margarita's, where they crush the ice with a wooden mallet! It has somewhat evolved the years from only a little road-side palapa. And with any luck they are open when you get there! But, like I said, there are others, some also nice and/or funky. - Cabo Pulmo also has a few bungalows to rent.
The Palomar Restaurant is in the tranquil and picturesque town of Santiago. Traditional Mexican food is served in a shady courtyard setting looking into a lush garden ($+). It's a simple little place that also rents rooms, although I've never spend the night there yet. - From here you can make your way into the surrounding mountains in search of the elusive HOT SPRINGS.
Palomar
The Palomar Restaurant is in the tranquil and picturesque town of Santiago. Traditional Mexican food is served in a shady courtyard setting looking into a lush garden ($+). It's a simple little place that also rents rooms, although I've never spend the night there yet. - From here you can make your way into the surrounding mountains in search of the elusive HOT SPRINGS.
The SJD Public Market is actually a great cultural experience. You can go there and have an inexpensive Mexican breakfast or lunch in any number of small diners in the 'food court' ($-). The adjacent market building houses little booths selling trinkets & nick-nacks, leather goods, fresh seafood, groceries, cheeses and meats.
MUNICIPAL MARKET A. ALBERTO ALVARADO ARAMBURO
The SJD Public Market is actually a great cultural experience. You can go there and have an inexpensive Mexican breakfast or lunch in any number of small diners in the 'food court' ($-). The adjacent market building houses little booths selling trinkets & nick-nacks, leather goods, fresh seafood, groceries, cheeses and meats.
It isn’t easy getting to Flora Farm Restaurant/Market ($$$) by the San José del Cabo marina, down a dirt road. But once you arrive, you see what looks like a mirage amid the Mexican desert: 10 acres of organic herbs and heirloom vegetables. This is somewhat of a culinary hot spot for the better off alternative epicurean. Meals are homemade including produce and meats grown on the property and bread baked on-site. These organic meals are served family style at communal tables, and the dishes include favorites like fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, pork chops and a selection of pizzas fired in the wood-burning oven and seasonal salads. The Farm Bar serves unique cocktails in jars.
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Flora Farms
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It isn’t easy getting to Flora Farm Restaurant/Market ($$$) by the San José del Cabo marina, down a dirt road. But once you arrive, you see what looks like a mirage amid the Mexican desert: 10 acres of organic herbs and heirloom vegetables. This is somewhat of a culinary hot spot for the better off alternative epicurean. Meals are homemade including produce and meats grown on the property and bread baked on-site. These organic meals are served family style at communal tables, and the dishes include favorites like fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, pork chops and a selection of pizzas fired in the wood-burning oven and seasonal salads. The Farm Bar serves unique cocktails in jars.
The Hotel California is a landmark. It's probably the biggest structure in town beside the Church next door. No, it isn't the 'Hotel California' of 'The Eagles' fame! But famous it none-the less is - down here anyway. I've never stayed there yet, but got stranded in the bar a few times. The nicely appointed restaurant itself didn't impress me that much though. Years ago, I think we even had lobster there with some friends. Don't remember much about that though but the steamed artichoke we'd also ordered was served with lime juice instead of garlic butter! It didn't work for any of us and the staff couldn't even produce any garlic butter! But that was then. Now they often have great concerts!
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Hotel California Todos Santos
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The Hotel California is a landmark. It's probably the biggest structure in town beside the Church next door. No, it isn't the 'Hotel California' of 'The Eagles' fame! But famous it none-the less is - down here anyway. I've never stayed there yet, but got stranded in the bar a few times. The nicely appointed restaurant itself didn't impress me that much though. Years ago, I think we even had lobster there with some friends. Don't remember much about that though but the steamed artichoke we'd also ordered was served with lime juice instead of garlic butter! It didn't work for any of us and the staff couldn't even produce any garlic butter! But that was then. Now they often have great concerts!
Art & Beer, located near Pescadero on Mexico 19 at Km 69 on the beach side of the highway, a few miles south of Pescadero Mexico, is easily missed if you are speeding by on the four-lane highway. So slow down and keep an eye out for it, it's definitely worth it! Art & Beer is a very unique and fairly guarded secret of a little restaurant, run by a well traveled couple, Señor Alfredo and Señora Lourdes, originally from Mexico City. They serve delicious food and equally delicious drinks in a funky, outdoor desert environment. It is hands-down one of the most romantic, eclectic and quirky little restaurants I know. However, leave your attitude outside, relax and enjoy the zany environment. $$
Art and Beer
Art & Beer, located near Pescadero on Mexico 19 at Km 69 on the beach side of the highway, a few miles south of Pescadero Mexico, is easily missed if you are speeding by on the four-lane highway. So slow down and keep an eye out for it, it's definitely worth it! Art & Beer is a very unique and fairly guarded secret of a little restaurant, run by a well traveled couple, Señor Alfredo and Señora Lourdes, originally from Mexico City. They serve delicious food and equally delicious drinks in a funky, outdoor desert environment. It is hands-down one of the most romantic, eclectic and quirky little restaurants I know. However, leave your attitude outside, relax and enjoy the zany environment. $$
Zai's, in La Fortuna, is a beautiful and excellent Sushi Restaurant ($$+) only about 3 Miles from the property. Really a gem all the way out here, they have a surprisingly large dinner and drinks menu, and can easily rival any good sushi restaurant in a metropolitan city.
Zai Sushi Surf Bar
Zai's, in La Fortuna, is a beautiful and excellent Sushi Restaurant ($$+) only about 3 Miles from the property. Really a gem all the way out here, they have a surprisingly large dinner and drinks menu, and can easily rival any good sushi restaurant in a metropolitan city.
This little gem is located in the middle of the Art District of San Jose del Cabo. Many of their authentic Mexican dishes ($$) are Farm-to-Table creations and are deliciously served in an open, treed and rustic courtyard setting. The romantic atmosphere is to be experienced, and the quaint trinket shop attached an adventure. Extremely affordably priced, this is by far my most favorite restaurant in all of Baja Sur. Don't pass up the excellent margaritas.
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Mi Casa Restaurant - San José del Cabo
19 Alvaro Obregon
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This little gem is located in the middle of the Art District of San Jose del Cabo. Many of their authentic Mexican dishes ($$) are Farm-to-Table creations and are deliciously served in an open, treed and rustic courtyard setting. The romantic atmosphere is to be experienced, and the quaint trinket shop attached an adventure. Extremely affordably priced, this is by far my most favorite restaurant in all of Baja Sur. Don't pass up the excellent margaritas.
Sightseeing
The gate to the East Cape Road (or 'Camino Cabo Este') is the bridge leading out of San Jose del Cabo. It's beginning is newly paved for about 19km (or 12 miles), from there it continues as a dirt road (4-wheel drive vehicle recommended) about 80km (or 50 miles) following mostly the shoreline. This drive is highly recommended! There are absolutely stunning views and solitary beaches, hidden coves and generally beautiful and deserted landscapes. Occasional small communities with little restaurants will keep you from going thirsty or hungry. NOTE: There are no fueling stations for about 120km (or 70 miles) till La Ribera, shortly before there the pavement starts again! ROUND-TRIP recommended!
East Cape Road
The gate to the East Cape Road (or 'Camino Cabo Este') is the bridge leading out of San Jose del Cabo. It's beginning is newly paved for about 19km (or 12 miles), from there it continues as a dirt road (4-wheel drive vehicle recommended) about 80km (or 50 miles) following mostly the shoreline. This drive is highly recommended! There are absolutely stunning views and solitary beaches, hidden coves and generally beautiful and deserted landscapes. Occasional small communities with little restaurants will keep you from going thirsty or hungry. NOTE: There are no fueling stations for about 120km (or 70 miles) till La Ribera, shortly before there the pavement starts again! ROUND-TRIP recommended!
La Ribera is a town along your circular route (if you choose to do that) where you also find little Mexican restaurants to eat at. I've stopped there a number of times through-out the years, but no particular place comes to mind. With so many little restaurants in Mexico, the owners usually serve delicious, tasty, home cooked, traditional dishes to mostly their fellow Mexicans. These are always freshly prepared and quite satisfying, to me anyway. So, go ahead and EXPLORE, you won't have to speak the language in order to satisfy your hunger or thirst! The Mexican people will always treat you with warmth and respect and go the extra mile! I have NEVER regretted dropping in on any of them.
La Ribera
La Ribera is a town along your circular route (if you choose to do that) where you also find little Mexican restaurants to eat at. I've stopped there a number of times through-out the years, but no particular place comes to mind. With so many little restaurants in Mexico, the owners usually serve delicious, tasty, home cooked, traditional dishes to mostly their fellow Mexicans. These are always freshly prepared and quite satisfying, to me anyway. So, go ahead and EXPLORE, you won't have to speak the language in order to satisfy your hunger or thirst! The Mexican people will always treat you with warmth and respect and go the extra mile! I have NEVER regretted dropping in on any of them.
Todos Santos is almost in a class by itself. This somewhat larger town houses many Mexican families, often working in agricultural related jobs, as the area is rich in ground water resources. It is surrounded by agriculture. T.S. is a very quaint town with many historic buildings. The North American artist community has discovered it many years ago and it therefore attracts a fair amount of tourists. Buses, hauling cruise passengers - on land-break off giant ocean-liners anchoring in Cabo San Lucas - , have made this a regular place to call for a few years now. It, however, is still a place to visit. There are quite a few galleries, trinket shops etc., but also some great eateries.
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Todos Santos
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Todos Santos is almost in a class by itself. This somewhat larger town houses many Mexican families, often working in agricultural related jobs, as the area is rich in ground water resources. It is surrounded by agriculture. T.S. is a very quaint town with many historic buildings. The North American artist community has discovered it many years ago and it therefore attracts a fair amount of tourists. Buses, hauling cruise passengers - on land-break off giant ocean-liners anchoring in Cabo San Lucas - , have made this a regular place to call for a few years now. It, however, is still a place to visit. There are quite a few galleries, trinket shops etc., but also some great eateries.
Parks & Nature
Los Frailes is a tiny community in a large Nature Preserve. There are NO accommodations here! Depending of the time of year, you can find a number of Gringos camping along a beautiful bay. The renowned CORRAL REEF is a popular destination for divers (A diving school and equipment rental place is in close by Cabo Pulmo!). This is also an expansive (as in wiiide) and fantastic family swimming beach (nothing private about it though).
Villa los Frailes
Los Frailes is a tiny community in a large Nature Preserve. There are NO accommodations here! Depending of the time of year, you can find a number of Gringos camping along a beautiful bay. The renowned CORRAL REEF is a popular destination for divers (A diving school and equipment rental place is in close by Cabo Pulmo!). This is also an expansive (as in wiiide) and fantastic family swimming beach (nothing private about it though).
Santa Rita hot springs (these I like best among others close by) are near the small village of Agua Caliente. It is nestled in the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, a biosphere set aside and protected by the Mexican government. From Santiago drive to Agua Caliente and look for a sign on your left directing you to the small village of San Jorge about 15 minutes north. If you don’t see one, don’t hesitate to ask someone! The local residents are always very helpful. After you cross the Agua Caliente and San Jorge arroyos, proceed up a hill which takes you into the village of San Jorge. Continue on until you come to a left hand turn which takes you to the Santa Rita Hot Spring. (Small fee!)
Santa Rita Hot Springs
7"N Sinaloa 4
Santa Rita hot springs (these I like best among others close by) are near the small village of Agua Caliente. It is nestled in the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, a biosphere set aside and protected by the Mexican government. From Santiago drive to Agua Caliente and look for a sign on your left directing you to the small village of San Jorge about 15 minutes north. If you don’t see one, don’t hesitate to ask someone! The local residents are always very helpful. After you cross the Agua Caliente and San Jorge arroyos, proceed up a hill which takes you into the village of San Jorge. Continue on until you come to a left hand turn which takes you to the Santa Rita Hot Spring. (Small fee!)
Entertainment & Activities
Here at Cabo Pulmo Watersports you rent your dive gear or can take classes, or dive trips to 'Los Frailes' coral reef, or 'Los Arbolitos' cove/beach. Unfortunately there is no place marker for 'Los Arbolitos', so you have to ask me how to get to this hidden gem we also call 'Cannon Ball Beach'. (The photo in my picture collection of the beach with a mountain of round borders is taken there!)
Cabo Pulmo Watersports
Here at Cabo Pulmo Watersports you rent your dive gear or can take classes, or dive trips to 'Los Frailes' coral reef, or 'Los Arbolitos' cove/beach. Unfortunately there is no place marker for 'Los Arbolitos', so you have to ask me how to get to this hidden gem we also call 'Cannon Ball Beach'. (The photo in my picture collection of the beach with a mountain of round borders is taken there!)
Arts & Culture
I've never had any food here. But there is a fine little leather shop along the main drag into town. It's on your left and you have to double back on a little parallel dirt track. The guy there makes his own leather and crafts beautiful Mexican belts and other little items. It's a very funky place but definitely worth the stop! Mairaflores is also known for another fine craftsman, he builts beautiful rustic, handmade furniture from 'organic' wood slabs, tree branches and trunks (local 'Palo de Arco' wood), rawhide and woven rush for chair & bench seats. True pieces of art! I have a few samples of his excellent work at my house. These I purchased from him at a street market in SJD though.
Miraflores
I've never had any food here. But there is a fine little leather shop along the main drag into town. It's on your left and you have to double back on a little parallel dirt track. The guy there makes his own leather and crafts beautiful Mexican belts and other little items. It's a very funky place but definitely worth the stop! Mairaflores is also known for another fine craftsman, he builts beautiful rustic, handmade furniture from 'organic' wood slabs, tree branches and trunks (local 'Palo de Arco' wood), rawhide and woven rush for chair & bench seats. True pieces of art! I have a few samples of his excellent work at my house. These I purchased from him at a street market in SJD though.
Here at the cultural center there are frequent performances of local dance troupes and other cultural events. At the adjacent SJD town square you will also find many performances, life music, dances, artisan markets, etc, particularly on weekends. These are all fee free!
Casa de la Cultura "Profr. Alfredo Green González"
Here at the cultural center there are frequent performances of local dance troupes and other cultural events. At the adjacent SJD town square you will also find many performances, life music, dances, artisan markets, etc, particularly on weekends. These are all fee free!
Getting Around
Here you find the highest concentration of car rental/hire places. Their offices are all scattered in the proximity of the airport. Representatives will be right at the Terminal's exit and take you in their mini buses to the respective offices and vehicles.
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Los Cabos International Airport
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Here you find the highest concentration of car rental/hire places. Their offices are all scattered in the proximity of the airport. Representatives will be right at the Terminal's exit and take you in their mini buses to the respective offices and vehicles.
Shopping
Saturdays from 9 - 3PM is organic market day. Aside from local farmers selling their fresh, organic produce, you will find artisan breads, home cooked organic foods & ice cream, handcrafts, tinctures, coffee, fresh flowers and plants for sale here. You can get a massage out in the open, listen to life music or watch artistic performances. This market is well established and visited by locals and foreigners alike.
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San José del Cabo Mercado Orgánico
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Saturdays from 9 - 3PM is organic market day. Aside from local farmers selling their fresh, organic produce, you will find artisan breads, home cooked organic foods & ice cream, handcrafts, tinctures, coffee, fresh flowers and plants for sale here. You can get a massage out in the open, listen to life music or watch artistic performances. This market is well established and visited by locals and foreigners alike.