When you arrive in San Jose del Cabo the first thing you notice (apart from the heat perhaps) are the colonial buildings and tranquil street-café atmosphere. You know that the main attractions are the beach, the surf, and the weather, but you can sense that San Jose has a more refined and cultural side to offer too. The historical buildings set the tone, with the parochial church of San Jose, the seat of the original Spanish Jesuit Mission dating from 1730, being the center point in a charming square.
As you stroll around town, you notice that not only are there plenty of attractive restaurants, cafés, and stores, but also that there is an unusually large number of art galleries. In fact, there is an art district where the galleries are concentrated – just behind the church, in pleasant quiet streets. To my delight, I discovered that there is an art walk every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. from November to June.
Art lovers, and the merely curious, stroll around the art district, popping in and out of galleries, sipping a little wine, and chatting with the owners and sometimes the artists. The art district is also home to many really nice restaurants, so once you’ve checked out the galleries you’re in the perfect spot for dinner. As well as original paintings, the galleries also display photography, prints, sculpture, ceramics, glass work, and jewelry in attractive settings.
The art scene in San Jose is constantly growing and there are now so many galleries, each with its own charm and character, that it’s difficult to know which to mention. One of my favorites is El Lunario, a gallery which features works by some of Latin America’s finest painters. I was struck by the vivid colors and surreal themes in many paintings, so typical of Spanish and Latin American art. The Pez Gordo Gallery has a similarly striking and eclectic collection which primarily showcases Hispanic art with a more Mexican flavor.
The Ida Victoria Gallery is housed in an elegant three-story building with impressive artificial and natural light and features a remarkable range of artwork of varying styles and techniques by both renowned and relatively unknown artists. Corsica Gallery was a pleasant surprise, due to its creative collection of abstract and figurative paintings and sculptures, all beautifully presented and not a whiff of anything commercial. To view or buy exquisite pottery with an indigenous and regional aesthetic, visit the Mata Ortiz Gallery.
The Muvezi Gallery exhibits fine African sculptures and is linked to charitable initiatives. Check out the Patricia Mendoza Gallery to see the paintings of some of Mexico’s most renowned contemporary artists, and at the Wentworth Porter Studio you can view some beautiful Mexican landscapes on canvas. And that’s cutting the list really short. If you’d like to go on an artistic day trip, Todos Santos is a small town with great art and culture just an hour from San Jose del Cabo. It’s a beautiful drive and the town is full of art galleries and other cultural activities. Each year Todos Santos hosts an excellent art festival in early February.