From souvenirs to collectible furnishings, you can find a little of everything along the streets of San José. And unlike in Cabo San Lucas, here you can browse at a leisurely pace without worrying about aggressive shop owners encouraging you to make a purchase.
Arts, Crafts, and Souvenirs
A handicraft market has opened on Boulevard Mijares near Plaza La Misión. About a dozen vendors sell reasonably priced arts and crafts, including hammocks, handmade toys for children, T-shirts, ceramics, sombreros, and more.
Another handful of vendors sell inexpensive arts and crafts along the north side of Boulevard Mijares, between Calles Coronado and Juárez. These stands are open 11 A.M.–9 P.M. daily. For better selection and quality, at higher prices, check out the shops that are closer to Plaza Mijares and the art district.
Antigua Los Cabos (Mijares 5, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/146-9933, antiguabcs [at] yahoo [dot] com) has some antiques as well as handmade rugs, folk art, ceramics, and tequilas.
Sol Dorado (Mijares 33, across from the Tropicana, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-1950) is a multilevel store filled with ceramics, glassware, ironworks, mirrors, and furnishings. For large or fragile items, the store ships via DHL (fully insured). It will also deliver purchases to your hotel for US$10–85, depending on the location.
The smaller Mejicanisimo (Zaragoza 8, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-3090, 9 A.M.–10 P.M. daily), next to the plaza, has much of the same.
Cinthya Castro stocks El Armario (corner of Morelos and Obregón, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/105-2989, elarmario [at] gmail [dot] com, 10 A.M.–8 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) with an artistic mix of ceramics, paintings, locally made Baja Desert soaps, and other crafts made in Mexico.
Shop 12 Leather Factory (corner of Mijares and Coronado, no tel., 9 A.M.–8 P.M. daily) has been in business since 1927 with a large selection of leather goods, including purses, shoes, belts, and even shotgun cases.
Several stores sell high-quality Mexican fire opals and other gemstones. Ask to see the opals in natural light—the more “fire,” the higher the price. If you don’t see what you want, ask to see individual stones. Most stores offer 24-hour turnaround for custom settings, but don’t plan your pickup time to the minute or you may be late to catch your flight home.
Martha Rodriguez at El Rincón del Ópalo jewelry factory (Mijares 6, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-2566, beltran_018 [at] hotmail [dot] com, 9 A.M.–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat., till 2 P.M. Sun.) can help you choose a stone and setting in a pleasant gallery off the main plaza.
Jewelry Factory (Mijares 5, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-6394, 9 A.M.–8 P.M. daily), on the plaza next to Antigua Los Cabos, has some of the highest-quality jewels in town, and service to match.
La Mina (Mijares 33, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/143-3747, lamina788 [at] hotmail [dot] com, 9 A.M.–8 P.M. daily) displays costume jewelry on the porous walls of a small cave and has a second location in Cabo San Lucas.
San José has a thriving art district that is home to about 20 galleries, many of them first-rate. Galleries tend to be run by expats, but the artists are a fairly even mix of Mexicans and foreigners.
Run by a graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City and a full-time Los Cabos resident, the three-story Galería de Ida Victoria (Guerrero 1128, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-5772, www.idavictoriaarts.com, 10 A.M.–7 P.M. Mon–Fri.) has been recognized as one of the finest art galleries south of Los Angeles. State-of-the-art lighting and hanging systems were custom designed to showcase paintings, photography, sculpture, and other works of art.
The Old Town Gallery (Obregón 20, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-3662, www.oldtowngallery.net, 10:30 A.M.–7:30 P.M. Mon.–Sat., till 9 P.M. Thurs.) displays works by contemporary Mexican, American, and Canadian artists.
Galería Arenas (Obregón 10, San José del Cabo, vicjorge71 [at] hotmail [dot] com, 10 A.M.–2 P.M. and 4–8 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) has original Mexican pottery.
Amber Gallery (Obregón 18, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/105-2332, www.amberart.net, 10 A.M.–6 P.M. daily) features the work of artist Ronsai, who travels to Chiapas, where the gem is mined by hand, to select raw stones to make jewelry, sculptures, and perfume bottles. The most unusual part of his collection features perfectly preserved fossils of various flowers and insects such as cockroaches, crickets, spiders, and termites.
Second-home owners looking to furnish their new condos and villas with authentic Mexican design elements will find just about everything they need in San José. For a rustic look, head to Galería Los Cabos (Hidalgo north of Obregón, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-0044, 9 A.M.–8 P.M. Mon.–Fri.), which has some antiques as well as rattan pieces, and barrel-back chairs made by local craftsmen.
Casa Paulina (Morelos at the corner of Comonfort, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-5555), across from El Encanto Suites, is a beautiful store to browse, even if you aren’t in the market to buy. It has wood and upholstered pieces as well as ceramics and other decorative items displayed on two levels.
Adobe Design (Plaza San José, Km. 32, Carr. Transp., San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-4281) carries furniture and interior design materials for both antique and modern home styles.
On the north side of Mexico 1 in a small shopping plaza, the Costa Azul Surf Shop (Km. 28, Carr. Transp., San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-2771, www.costa-azul.com.mx, 8 A.M.–7 P.M. Mon.–Sat., 9 A.M.–5 P.M. Sun.) has board rentals and surf and snorkel maps. You can also have your board repaired after a rough day in the water.
The Cabo Surf Shop (Km. 28, Carr. Transp., San José del Cabo, tel. 624/178-6188, www.cabosurfshop.com, 8 A.M.–8 P.M. daily), located at the Cabo Surf Hotel, offers board rentals.
Deportiva Piscis (Castro, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-0332, 8 A.M.–7 P.M. daily), on the south side of Calle Castro near the Mercado Municipal, has fishing tackle, bait, and fishing-related books and gear.
The most comprehensive selection of English-language titles related to Baja California anywhere on the peninsula is to be found at Baja Books and Maps (Camino a La Playa, La Choya, tel. 624/165-5596, U.S. fax 415/962-0588, 9:30 A.M.–6 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) in the pueblo of La Choya on the way to La Playita. Owner Jim Tolbert is a distributor of English-language books to shops throughout the central and southern peninsula. He also sells inventory online at www.bajabooksandmaps.com. A true bibliophile, Jim is a wealth of information on all things Baja.
At the conveniently located Spider Web (tel. 624/105-2048, bajabookcenter [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] mx, 9 A.M.–6 P.M. Mon.–Sat.), you can trade used paperback books and browse a limited selection of new titles. Used pocket fiction books cost US$3. There are a few PCs available for Internet access (US$4/hr.). The store is located on an alley just west of the Mega shopping plaza.
Deportiva Pisces (Castro, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/142-0332, 8 A.M.–7 P.M. daily) stocks a few books related to sportfishing, El Armario (corner of Morelos and Obregón, San José del Cabo, tel. 624/105-2989, elarmario [at] gmail [dot] com, 10 A.M.–8 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) has a small selection of design books, and the gift shop at Buzzard’s (Laguna Hills, U.S. tel. 951/302-1735, www.buzzardsbar.com) has a few books for sale as well.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition