So many people visit Cabo without taking in the town. I mean, what is Cabo, if it's not Cabo? Sure, you can hide in an all-inclusive resort and forget that you're a temporary part of a greater community, but that would suck.
That picture to the right? It's the view of calle Jose Ma. Morelos from a table full of tacos. Look closely to notice another taco stand across the street!
Here's the bottom line: Unless you're a chump who fears an awesome sense of otherness, you should spend part of almost every day exploring Cabo. If you're a chump, stay at the resort.
Did you know
Cabo's child labor laws aren't particularly stringent? You'll encounter throngs of young kids trying to sell you useless trinkets.
They're affectionately called 'chicklets' by locals, but we're not sure if they're talking about the kids or their schlock.
If peddlers bug you, pull a Nancy Reagan and just say, "No!" Or you can invent your own special buzz-off language. That's fun!
Taking the time to walk around Cabo allows you an extended dip in a river of culture, enabling you to better recognize patterns so unified as a whole that their properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of those parts.
But what does that mean? It means don't be a fat, lazy chump. Walk around Cabo. Take it all in. But where to start? Start here, and then get a map! There are several different places to grab many different maps of Cabo. We recommend grabbing several map-opinions. Toss the failures and savor the treasure maps.
Other than the town itself, there are two other key areas to hit. Explore the marina and beach on foot. Both are particularly knockout gorgeous during a sunset. They're also safe bets for attentive service during the daily siesta, which leaves much of the city devoid of activity for an hour or so after the midday meal. Siestas are cool. Give'm a shot.
A whole section for candy? No, not really, but the dulcerias in Cabo are sweet! Wander around town until you find a school. The candy stores won't be far or few. (Somebody's got a decent marketing plan!) If you can't find a school, then just look for a candy stand. The two go hand in hand.
Mexican candy takes the whole 'sugar and spice' thing to the next level. We heartily recommend the many chili / fruit products available. (Tamarinds are hot in Cabo this time of year.) It's like a party in your mouth and all your best friends came! Ah... but seriously, there are countless creative and seemingly frightening candy options. Spend a few pesos and see what you like. Buy several of the nastiest samples you discover and bring them home as cheap gifts for 'friends.'
Speaking of school kids, when they're not in school, we found high concentrations of them on the rocks between the old tuna factory and Lovers Beach. It's a breathtaking moderately easy hike/climb, and you get to see where the kids go to eat their candy. Is that a euphemism? We don't know! But candy or not, food should be a huge part of your walking tour, so head over to the food section when you're done here.
Some say that Cabo San Lucas is the fiesta to San Jose Del Cabo's siesta. They might be talking about the nightlife, but we think it's all about the shopping. The closer you stay to the ocean, the more touristy (and therefore expensive,) the shopping. That's not to say there aren't gems in the well-traveled rough, but the further you stray, the more bargains you'll find.
It's especially wise to purchase your groceries and sundries in town if you're staying at a house or a resort. Boutique stores can get away with charging up to ten times as much as the neighborhood hole in the wall. Our favorite street for, well, just about everything, is Jose Ma. Morelos.
There are a few fun flea markets in Cabo too, and while they're fun to visit, you'll sometimes get a sense of deja vu because of the repetittion. Wares vary from stall to stall but you'll notice that some suppliers deliver goods to dozens of merchants.
If you're looking to purchase jewelry or scarves, there's nothing like beach shopping. As you can see in the picture at left, there are literally thousands of bracelets, necklaces and rings available on the beach. Each blurry mound at Carmen's feet is a few hundred bracelets!
The Cabo Marina area is chock-full o' shops awaiting your pesos. There's even an honest to goodness first-run movie theater megaplex at the marina. No matter where you shop, remember to dicker. Read our section about bargaining on the Cabo Basics page.
Our attorneys would fly into conniptions if we didn't include this section. As much as we're telling you to walk and then walk some more, we're not necessarily telling you to stick to the sidewalks. Then again, we're not going to suggest specific alternatives either. Sidewalks are passé in Cabo for a few reasons. Look twice, step once. That's our motto!
While some sidewalks are seemingly maintained by a capital, bang-up crew of infrastructural expertos, you'll encounter dirt pits, rusty pipes, holes, steps, pillars and all sorts of whatnot every once in a while. It's inevitable. Just pretend that it's a video game and you'll be swell.
Sidewalks surrounding parks and other areas are frequently lined with coconut trees. Ask around town about the legend of the unfortunate gringo who didn't look up often enough. It's a real knee-slapper and it helps to explain why our litigious society doesn't allow the same ornamentation!
Be careful when crossing streets too. Cars are big and fast and stop signs are a rare pedestrian's luxury. But the greatest walking hazards in Cabo are the timeshare/activity pitchers. They're animals! Stray a few blocks from the touristy areas and you'll quickly ditch those chumps.
Cabo is a garden lover's paradise. If we knew more about the exotic plants we saw, we'd tell you about them. Instead, we're just going to tell you to find them on your own! Walk down any side street for a few blocks and you'll catch an eyeful. Our favorite plant-watching spot is somewhat ironically on the roof of the Cabo Inn. Make like you're interested in renting a room and head up the stairs. Even the "roof" of the lobby is a giant plant! (above)
If you're looking for Cabo's animals, you don't have to look far. The dogs of Cabo exhibit the chill attitude of an all-day siesta. We think the demeanor of a city's four-legged population tells you something about the city itself. You'll see plenty of dogs, but they won't bother you. The US State Department advises against touching furry things in Cabo by the way.
Dogs aren't the only animals you'll see. Chickens and other birds live side by side with their human Cabo counterparts and we've heard tales of giant squids and lions near the marina. If you want more in the way of winged creatures, there's a decent bird sanctuary and estuary up the coast near San Jose Del Cabo.
Our favorite park is one we affectionately call El Pollo Parque, because of its giant chicken-shaped bush-sculpture. Yep, that's our web site mascot! He resides in an area that's alternately called town square and Plaza Amelia Wilkes. There's a huge gazebo (you must face the gazebo alone!) and plenty of benches for relaxing. The people-watching is second to none. There's also a natural history museum and an outdoor whale skeleton. What a park!
The other remarkable park in downtown Cabo surrounds La Casa de la Cultura, a museum of sorts on a lonely little hill. You can see most of the city and the sea from this excellent vantage point. Don't bother trying to go after dark though, as they keep sissy hours.
If you feel like knocking back a few beers while you're at a park, go ahead. The five-0 leave the gringos alone for the most part.