1. Where to Stay
Start your morning with green juice and organic eggs at Casa Natalia (loft rooms from $99; deluxe rooms from $185), a contemporary Mexican hideaway in downtown San Jose del Cabo. There’s no beach, but the small pool is blissfully child-free, and the hotel offers free service to El Ganzo’s beach club in nearby Puerto Los Cabos. All nineteen rooms have private terraces (most with hammocks), but ask for either of the new, local-artist-designed “loft” rooms—Francois Paris’s understated “Gemelo” room makes creative use of found objects, such as a lamp fashioned from seashells and bedside tables made out of wood from the San Jose Estuary. Stop into the hotel’s Mi Cocina restaurant for a serene dinner of roasted organic chicken with chocolate sauce ($18, a specialty of chef Loïc Tenoux) or risotto with local shellfish ($24).
Laze on shaded daybeds by the long rooftop infinity pool while admiring the tranquil Puerto Los Cabos marina at El Ganzo (doubles from $300). The hotel, which opened last year, has 72 airy rooms with 400-thread-count Italian linens, Frette robes, and organic bath products. The arty crowd (more Olasul trunks and Liberty print bandeaus than skinny jeans) loves the hotel’s new daily yoga and meditation classes ($15 per person), but there are also kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) lessons at the nearby private beach club, accessed via complimentary ferry—and the water is calm enough for swimming.
Rethink all-inclusives at the Zoetry Casa del Mar (doubles from $650). Swathed in neutral hues and teakwood, it feels more like a chic boutique hotel (if a particularly expansive one) where all your meals, plus a quickie wellness consultation, mini–spa treatment (a neck, back, and shoulder rub, perhaps, or deep-cleansing facial), and daily yoga classes are included. Each of the 63 suites have private terraces with views of the cerulean Sea of Cortes, Bulgari toiletries, and aromatherapy-scented pillows and linens. The five sea-facing pools (one is adults-only) ensure you’ll never have to wake up at 6 a.m. to reserve a secluded lounge chair, and while the wellness-tailored Zoetry brand is open to families, the overall vibe is chill rather than frenetic (read: no screaming tykes).
2. Where to Eat
Schedule a farm tour before a refreshing Mediterranean-Mexican meal at Huerta Los Tamarindos, an organic farm, cooking school, and restaurant just outside San Jose del Cabo. Chef-owner Enrique Silva grows more than twenty varieties of tomatoes, plus zucchini, carrots, kale, and (naturally) tamarinds on the fourteen-acre property. Hands-on classes ($85 per person plus gratuity) typically run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and include a walking tour of the gardens and a four-course lunch. The menu changes according to what’s seasonal, but might include just-picked greens with tamarind dressing ($8) and baked pargo (red snapper) with sundried tomatoes, olives, and eggplant ($17).
Brave the bumpy dirt road leading to Flora Farms. Set amid ten acres of organic produce, the space has evolved from a farm stand and market to a full-fledged restaurant and bar with specialty cocktails like the heirloom carrot Farmarita ($13). Go for family-style brunch ($35 per person), which might include lemon-ricotta pancakes, herb-scrambled farm eggs, and housemade breakfast sausage; lunch standouts include heirloom radish ravioli ($14) and grilled eggplant and zucchini sandwiches ($14). Reserve well in advance: The restaurant books up weeks out.
Sip hibiscus water or cucumber-mint lemonade beneath the shade of the mango trees at San Jose del Cabo’s arts-district newcomer Café de Lolita. Healthy options abound, like La Playalita, an herb-marinated fish salad with amaranth, toasted almonds, and tropical fruits over mixed greens ($13), though it’s certainly tempting to splurge on the cerritos sandwich ($8): poblano chile stuffed with cheese and fresh vegetables like red peppers, corn, and eggplant on housemade bread.
Pair just-caught fish with Mexican wines at El Farallón, the bluffside restaurant at Capella Pedregal. Whatever you order—dorado, marlin, mahi mahi, parrot fish—is grilled a la plancha and simply served with fresh herbs and a selection of sauces. Soup, a trio of family-style appetizers that might include sea bass ceviche, lobster tostadas, and bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad, plus sides like grilled asparagus and cilantro rice, and Mexican doughnuts are included (market price).
3. What to Do
Work your core while learning stand-up paddleboarding from Academy of Surfing Instructors–certified teachers at Cabo SUP, a club started by Montauk expats in 2009. Operating out of the Bahia Hotel & Beach Club on Medano Beach, the outfitter offers a free introductory lesson with your rental ($25 for one hour; $40 for a half day). Paddle out early when waters tend to be calmer, and try not to fall off your board as you marvel at rock formations like the Arch, Scooby Doo Rock, and Neptune’s Finger that jut out of the water where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.
Lace up your sneakers and head for Cañon de la Zorra, a.k.a. Fox Canyon Falls, one of the area’s most popular hikes. The falls themselves are less than a half mile into the valley, but you can hike for as long (or as little) as you like, bouldering, discovering (and taking a chilling dip in) secluded pools, and keeping your eyes peeled for roadrunners, gray fox, and geckos. It’s about an hour’s drive to the trailhead and the route is well marked if you feel like venturing out on your own; just follow the signs to “Sol de Mayo,” a small community near the falls. Alternately, enlist the help of Cabo Outfitters ($120 per person), which provides hotel pickup and drop-off, park entrance fees, water, and lunch at a local restaurant. The mom-and-pop company specializes in small group tours led by guides well-versed in the region’s geography, flora and fauna, and folklore (the half-day kayak-and-snorkel tour of the Arch and Lover’s Beach is especially great; $70 per person).
Start off the New Year with one of the cleansing new spa offerings at the Auriga Spa at the Capella Pedregal ($180 for each treatment). The “Detox Treatment” gets your gut on track with a colon massage, seaweed mask for your belly, and hydrating face mask, while the 60-minute “Stress Relief” starts with an Epsom-salt soak and is followed by acupressure and a gigartina algae massage. Whatever you choose, linger by the ocean-facing saltwater spa pool for as long as you like—and check out the neighboring AlmArte boutique (also part of the Capella), which has a well-curated collection of handcrafted wares from Mexican artisans like Marisa Porrua, Roberto Tirado, and Dalia Pascal, plus Lafco candles and boho resort wear from Johnny Was.
4. Insider’s Tip
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a go-to for A-listers from Jennifer Lopez to Jennifer Aniston, just got even more exclusive with the addition of twelve sprawling oceanfront villas (from $4,500). But you don’t have to be a celebrity to get access to the resort’s unparalleled service and ocean views. Instead, book a treatment or a meal on the property, and you’ll be able to roam around at your leisure (or spread a towel on the beach for some high-class napping). Try a customized fusion massage or Tata Harper organic facial at the spa (both treatments are $220), now under the direction of French-born Maxime Cormier (a thalassotherapy specialist) and spend the afternoon relaxing in the spa gardens while sipping cinnamon tea with agave honey. Or lunch at the poolside Sea Grill, where you can watch the pool butlers’ amusingly extravagant routine in action (everything from towel fluffing and Evian-mist spritzing to midday-nap wake-up calls with a teponaztle).
5. Oddball Day
Take a break from spa time and perfecting your downward dog to explore downtown San Jose del Cabo’s art district. Start your tour at Casa Dahlia, a café-cum-gallery that pairs contemporary art, including abstract paintings by co-owner Leah Porter, with French-press organic coffee and homemade pastries in a tranquil garden setting. The spot also hosts weekly movie nights, with wood-fired pizza, flan, and classic flicks (about $23; café is open Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; movie nights are Wed.–Fri., 7–9 p.m.). Around the corner, take in graphic works by Victor Mora, Lucille Wong, and Joao Rodríguez at Patricia Mendoza’s museum-quality gallery, and Frank Arnold’s abstract expressionist paintings and sculptures (which have been compared to the works of Gorky and De Kooning) at his eponymous studio. For Mexican folk art and custom jewelry, try Silver Moon, and find handcrafted, hand-painted ceramics at Mata Ortiz. If it’s open, swing by the organic market on the edge of town (Saturdays, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.) for an agua fresca, and all-natural soaps and sun balms by Todos Santos–based Heartsease. Take a breather amid fruit trees and billowing white drapes at Chef Enrique Silva’s (of Huerto Los Tamarindos) Tequila Restaurant for lunch, where simply prepared fresh seafood is the focus (think sautéed octopus and clams); while you’re waiting for your food, inhale the fragrant rosemary, lemongrass, and basil in the chef’s own herb garden. Post-lunch, make the five-minute drive just outside town to Puerto Los Cabos, a sprawling mixed-use development positioning itself as a more sophisticated alternative to Cabo San Lucas. Just to the right of the entrance, stop at the Wirikuta Botanical Desert Garden, where you can wander through orderly rows of bonsai bougainvillea and cacti, or take in the view from the pergolas. Continue past Wirikuta to the adjacent Sculpture Garden, which features the massive stone sculptures of Guadalajara-born artist Gabriel Macotela and Manuel Felguérez’s abstract geometric works. Rent a bike back at the entrance to the botanical garden ($20 for a half day) to poke around the marina (there’s a 3.2-mile path) before heading down the road for dinner at El Marinero Borracho (a.k.a. the Drunken Sailor), for shrimp-stuffed falafel tacos with beet hummus and tabbouleh, or Baja-style ceviche. End your day at El Ganzo, where the hotel’s musicians-in-residence play on Saturdays (upcoming performers include Grammy winner Natalia Lafourcade and American folk-singer Lissie) or local acts Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
All About Baja is full of useful information about everything from driving in Baja to the secluded beaches of the East Cape.
Find digital editions as well as a guide to the best local outfitters and beaches at Los Cabos Magazine.
Blogger Adam Goldberg detailed his adventures eating in Los Cabos on A Life Worth Eating.
Artcabo.com has information—and a printable map—of San Jose del Cabo’s art galleries.