Los Cabos hosts many iconic events, the largest of which often feature proceedings at various locations around the southernmost municipality on the Baja California peninsula.
Some of the best and most memorable, however, are the smaller festivals and fiestas held in one specific place. These are usually dedicated to the special qualities for which the community is known, be it fishing in Cabo San Lucas, organic farming in Miraflores, or the like.
San José del Cabo, which with sister city Cabo San Lucas forms the heart of the municipality, has two real claims to fame: art and food. And since the latter is on full display right now with the second annual Restaurant Week, this seems like as good a time as any to present our top 5 festivals and fiestas in San José del Cabo. If you’re able to plan your next vacation around one of these signature celebrations, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Restaurant Week in San José del Cabo – October
There aren’t many opportunities to enjoy tasty offerings from 41 of the best restaurants in San José del Cabo, all together at the same time and in the same place. But Saturday, Oct. 19 is that opportunity, and the town square, Plaza Mijares, is the place where it happens… “It” being the launch party for the second annual Restaurant Week in San José del Cabo. Enjoy bites from all 41 participating restaurants and decide which ones you want to have dinner at during the following week–Oct. 19th to 26th–when each of the 41 will offer 3-course prix fixe dinner menus for only 800 pesos. Participating restaurants include a who’s who of the finest dining establishments in the city, including specialists in fresh local seafood, farm-to-table fare, traditional Mexican cuisine, and a wide array of other delicious culinary styles. This is not the time, needless to say, to start your new diet. Rather, it’s a unique opportunity to take a gastronomic tour of one of the finest food cities in México, and to do so without breaking your budget.
Art Walk in San José del Cabo – Thursdays, November through June
On the surface level, the weekly Art Walks in San José del Cabo are a celebration of the town’s talented artists and its dozens of colorful art galleries. But on a deeper level the Art Walks–held each Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., November through June–are a celebration of San José del Cabo itself. The event is, in a very real sense, a small-scale canvas upon which an entire community and its rich culture and history are presented to the world. The weekly Art Walks welcome visitors into the heart of this special place for romantic perambulations, not only through the officially designated Distrito del Arte–with its charming cobblestone streets–but throughout the historic downtown area at large. Artists and art lovers open their galleries to showcase their latest offerings, downtown monuments like City Hall and Parroquia San José are outlined by colorful lights, arts and crafts makers spread out their wares on tables or along the sidewalks, wandering musicians serenade passersby sipping wine, or those taking a breather at local bars and restaurants.
San José Jazz Weekend – February
Jazz Weekend welcomes local, national and international musical artists for two days of music each February celebrating the freewheeling style pioneered in the U.S. during the first decades of the 20th century, with an outdoor stage set up, and chairs and ample dancing room for the over 5,000 attendees who have enjoyed the event in recent years. The Jazz Weekend also celebrates art, including paintings demonstrated by a parade of top local artists. Admission is free on both days, with music scheduled from 5 to 11 p.m. Headliners represent the full spectrum of jazz, with a natural emphasis–given the Baja setting–on Latin jazz, including performances in 2019 from Tribu Jazz Quintet, Marco Milagres Jazz Band, Jorge Tito Rodriguez Jazz Band, Jonathan “El Viejito” Ruvalcaba, Guitarras Magicas, Doowap and Gruv Machin. Unlike most of the city’s cultural festivals, which are held in the historic downtown district, Jazz Weekend is hosted by Plaza del Pescador, an upscale shopping and dining center located across from the Playa Hotelera, the long golden sand beach which is home to many of the city’s most luxurious resorts. No dates have been announced as yet for 2020.
Fiestas Tradicionales in San José del Cabo – March
During the Spanish colonial period, many towns in Baja California and elsewhere in México and Latin America were named according to the Catholic calendar. San José del Cabo’s first Spanish name, for instance, was San Bernabé, so named by Sebastián Vizcaíno when he landed there on June 11, 1602, during the traditional Catholic feast day for Saint Barnabas. San Bernabé replaced Añuití, the name given to the place by the indigenous Pericúes, and was itself later replaced by San José del Cabo, the name of the Jesuit mission that opened in 1730. The city’s fiestas tradicionales, or fiestas patronales (as the patron saint festivals are typically known in Spanish), encompass nearly a week of celebrations, and include parades, live music, regional food and drinks (the ceviche preparation contest is an annual highlight), plus the coronation of an event king and queen. The festivities culminate on March 19, the official feast day of Saint Joseph.
Fiesta de la Música Los Cabos – June
In 1981 a French director of music and culture, inspired by a statistic that claimed half the country’s children played a musical instrument, began dreaming of a way to engage this musical spirit en masse. Soon after, in 1982, the first Fete de la Musique was held in Paris, where it was scheduled to coincide with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Flash forward 38 years, and the Fete de la Musique is no longer solely a French celebration, but a worldwide phenomenon that takes place annually in over 450 cities in 120 countries around the globe. For the past 10 years, that list of cities has included San José del Cabo, where the summer fiesta is free and open to all musicians who’d like to participate, from amateurs to professionals, across all musical genres. The only prerequisite for participants and spectators–for whom admission is also free–is a love for music, a passion that’s so pervasive internationally that music is often referred to as the universal language. This year, over 100 musical acts performed.
Saludos from Co-Founders…
Chris Sands – Writer and Michael Mattos