Experience Los Cabos
Each of these fills one day. Together they touch on some of Los Cabos' most quintessential experiences from boating to El Arco and visiting the blown-glass factory, to grabbing a beer at a local brewpub and discovering Cabo's Marina Golden Zone.
Learn the Lay of the Land
On Day 1 take it easy, enjoy your hotel, take a swim in the pool, and get to know the beach in your general area. If staying in Cabo, meander around town, mentally noting the many restaurants and shops on the way that you might wish to sample later. Walking the length of the marina boardwalk will introduce you to Cabo's notorious party central: From the boardwalk's western end beginning near the Marina Fiesta Hotel, you'll pass through the marina's Golden Zone (along which is the infamous Nowhere ¿Bar?). If you make it all the way to the Wyndham Hotel, you've essentially completed the marina walk. Note that it's here where you can catch a boat for sunset cruises, whale-watching, and sportfishing.
Traversing the Corridor
To see the Corridor and make it over to San José del Cabo from Cabos San Lucas, it's most convenient and least expensive if you rent a car for a couple of days. (Taxis are frightfully expensive, and buses limit you to their schedule and stops.) Shop around for rentals and you'll be amazed at the range; Alamo and Cactus Car include insurance in their rates. Take your time driving along the Corridor, both to enjoy the sights of the coast, as well as to become accustomed to the unique traits of this quirky highway. On and off ramps are challenging, as you'll see. About mid-Corridor you pass Playa Santa María and Chileno Bay, fun for stops to sun, swim, and snorkel. Bring your own equipment and refreshments.
As you near San José del Cabo, you can't miss the Tiendas de Palmilla (Palmilla Shopping Center) across from the One&Only Palmilla Resort. "Tiendas" comprises upscale shops and some excellent restaurants, including Nick-San. (Walmart, Costco, and Sam's Club have also set up shop along Highway 1 for more basic shopping needs.) Heading farther east, you'll shortly see a turnout and large parking lot—a great panoramic overlook of the Sea of Cortez. It's a lovely spot to watch the surf at the Old Man's break, to your right, in front of the Cabo Surf Hotel.
Beachy, Happy People
For a small deposit, many hotels provide beach towels, coolers, and umbrellas, or you can rent these from Trader Dicks, near the Costa Azul beach. Dicks also fixes good box lunches. The 7 Seas restaurant at Cabo Surf Hotel will deliver cocktails beachside, meaning you don’t even have to leave your sunning spot for a margarita. To get to the most pristine beaches along the Sea of Cortez, head east out of San José del Cabo by car. At the corner of Boulevard Mijares and Calle Benito Juárez in San José, turn east at the sign marked "pueblo la playa." The paved street soon becomes a dirt road that leads to the small fishing villages of La Playa (The Beach) and La Playita (The Little Beach), about 1½ km (½ mile) from San José. As the gateway between San Jose del Cabo and the East Cape coastline, this area known as Puerto Los Cabos is marked by a series of roundabouts that branch to the marina, Cacti Mundo (cactus world gardens), organic farms (Flora Farms and Los Tamarindos), and luxury resorts like Secrets and JW Marriott.
From La Playita, drive 60 km (37 miles) up the coast to the ecological reserve Cabo Pulmo, home of Baja Sur's largest coral reef. Water depths range from 15 to 130 feet, and colorful marine animals live among the reef and shipwrecks. When hunger pangs call, stroll up the beach from Cabo Pulmo to Tito's for a fish taco and an ice-cold cerveza. Try to get back to La Playa by late afternoon to avoid driving the East Cape's dirt road at night. Stop for some fresh seafood and a frozen margarita at Buzzard's Bar and Grill right near the beach just north of La Playa. San José is 10 minutes away.
Artsy Los Cabos
Set out from Cabo San Lucas for the Fábrica de Vidrio Soplado (Blown-Glass Factory)—a bit hard to find if you're driving yourself. First head toward San José on Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas, which becomes Highway 1. Turn left at the stoplight and signs for the bypass to Todos Santos; then look for signs to the factory. It's in an industrial area two blocks northwest of Highway 1. At the factory, you can watch the talented artisans use a process little changed since it was first developed some 4,000 years ago.
From the factory, head east for the 20-minute drive to San José del Cabo. Park at the south end of Boulevard Mijares near the Tropicana Inn, since parking is limited from here on in. Grab some lunch at Baja Brewing Company, located on Avenida Morelos. The pub has a tasty San José Especial cerveza, and offers international fare to go along with it. Then stroll through the central plaza, or zócalo, directly in front of the Mision de San José del Cabo Anuiti (mission church) and take in the several art galleries north and west of the church.
For dinner, try Don Sanchez’s in San Jose proper, where Canadian-born chef Tadd Chapman is elevating the presentation of local ingredients and Mexican wines.
Alternatively, from the glass factory, head north on Highway 19 for the one-hour drive to the laid-back town of Todos Santos. Lunch at El Gusto! restaurant in the Posada La Poza hotel promises to be one of the most sumptuous you'll get in Baja. (Reservations are a must.) Spend the afternoon visiting in-town galleries near the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Pilar (Mission of Our Lady of Pilar) church.
Organic, Green, and Good
Start off your morning with green juice and homemade granola at Lolita Café in the heart of San José del Cabo. Before the afternoon sun beats down, head to chic Hotel El Ganzo at San José’s Marina where you can rent beach cruisers and bike through Cacti Mundo’s botanical gardens. Just in time for lunch, join a cooking class at Los Tamarindos organic farm, which includes a property tour and four-course meal. If you’re in the area on Saturday, be sure to visit Mercado Organico, the farmer’s market that takes place in San José from 9 to 3. End the day with a sunset surf session with Costa Azul Surf Shop or participate in Baja Outback ’s evening turtle release program (August to November only). Finish with a healthy dinner at 7 Seas Restaurant, known for their local products, organic oils (instead of butter), and sustainable seafood that has not been impacted by commercial overfishing.