San Jose del Cabo: A Family Vacation in Mexico

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If the phrase “going to Cabo” reminds you of your college days, think again!  San Jose del Cabo (about 25 minutes away from Cabo San Lucas) is  full of family friendly beaches and kid-friendly adventure. Here are just a handful of possibilities.

Lover’s Beach in Los Cabos is one of the most spectacular beaches you’ll encounter, a place where the Pacific and Sea of Cortez meet. Families flock to its friendly bay with calm, clear water filled with fish. Kids will love the fact that the only way to get to this beach is by boat, and along the way, your guide will show you the famous images hidden in the rock formations, from the face of Scooby Doo to a witch’s profile. Once you arrive, your tiny tidepoolers, taking a break from the sea, will love playing with the many hermit crabs floating in and out of their rocky homes.

Ever wondered if  “Hotel California”–made famous by the Eagles– is real?  Truth is, the song’s inspiration is based in Todos Santos, a small artist town in Baja California, just a short day trip from San Jose del Cabo. Share this trivia with the kids as you snap photos of them in the Hotel California lobby. Then, spend the day walking in and out of beautiful galleries, gift shops, plazas, and cobblestone streets.

If you’re a family of water lovers, an excursion to Cabo Pulmo is a must. It’s home to the only living coral reef in our hemisphere and an easy day trip from San Jose del Cabo. You won’t find a big strip here, just a few hometown restaurants and a convenience store, so be prepared to spend all your time making sandcastles along miles of secluded beaches, snorkeling, or swimming with the dolphins.


When you want to spend a leisurely day near the hotel, you’ll be able to walk to the Centro Historico from wherever you’re staying in San Jose del Cabo. This historic downtown is less crowded and modernized, giving the whole family a feel for the past while enjoying the area’s contemporary art and dining scene. Watch your little ones run up and down the steps of the old Cathedral, dance along to a traveling performer at the central plaza, or cool down with some creamy dulce de leche ice-cream.

The new Desertica Multi-Adventure Park is based in a San Jose del Cabo ghost town. The ziplines here are some of the longest in the world, but don’t worry, kids 7 and older can still take part in a shorter ride. The whole family can explore on horseback, finding cacti and fossils along the way before taking a swim then relaxing in the park’s town square.

To Stay


There’s a big range of convenient accommodations, from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts. Here are some options with kid-friendly amenities:

The Royal Solaris Los Cabos This Mexican hacienda-style resort is smaller and quainter, just five stories high and surrounded by garden grounds, with swimming pools, a mini-water park, and a Kids Club.

Cabo Surf Hotel & Spa. It’s eight minutes from downtown San Jose, and if you don’t want to cross the sand into the Sea of Cortez, there are swimming pools and hammocks waiting for you at this luxury spot.

Hotel Cielito Lindo. This bed and breakfast is more suited to families on a budget. Economical and with classic, old-world style, you’ll enjoy being situated in the town’s historic center, with eggs and pancakes, as well as chilaquiles, waiting for you in the morning breakfast buffet.

To Eat


Some of the best places in San Jose del Cabo are small, local spots where the prices are super low and the locals fill the booths. Other spots to look out for cater to vacationers, with ambiance and good food to guide you. Here are a few many possibilities:

El Matador: The chef here is also a matador; thus, the name. The walls here are covered with colorful murals, and there’s an outdoor patio for families who like to dine al fresco. Fusion food combines the best of Mexico and the Mediterranean.

La Fonda: This restaurant feels traditional, with authentic food, folkloric influences, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a beautiful fountain for small eyes to feast on near the outdoor tables.

Habanero’s:  Tacos and burritos along with Mexican fusion dishes infused with honey and fruit sauces, and a long list of yummy desserts make this a family favorite.

Red Tricycle actually wants to send you on your own Cabo vacation getaway! Read more for details.

—Renee Rutledge