With seafood, surf breaks and spectacular sandy shores, Mexico’s casual beach town has a relaxed atmosphere that appeals to golfers, scuba divers and anyone who loves an artsy vibe. Find the best hotels for your next trip to San José with our helpful round-up.
This orange adobe child-friendly resort is built into a cliffside right on the beach. Migratory whales and dolphins gather just off the coast where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean; from November to March, guests get a ringside view from the ocean-front balconies in all 150 (slightly dated) rooms. Riptides – common along the Cabo coast – rule out sea swimming, but you can still enjoy sunset walks on the sands. There are also four pools, one of them for adults only.
With just 18 rooms, European-owned Casa Natalia is very much a Mexican hacienda in style: grey-and-white tiled floors meet whitewashed walls and local art, with splashes of hot pink, cobalt blue and sunflower yellow. It’s a 15-minute walk to the beach, but there’s a small palm-edged pool to cool off in. Thursdays are for roaming the local galleries, tequila in hand, on the weekly Art Walk – and it’s fish taco day every day in the hotel’s European-Mexican brasserie Mi Cocina.
Acre is a quirky, solitary retreat in the desert beyond San José. Its 10 head-turning tree houses, built with timber from the Palo de Arco tree, rise among palms like cubist birds’ nests. The rooms are snug and can be noisy (given the roosters, and lots of wedding parties); an alternative is one of the luxury villas, in polished concrete and neutral tones. There’s a lovely pool, or you can access the gentle waters of nearby El Ganzo Beach Club. Don’t forget to try Acre’s fabulous small-batch mezcal.
It’s cheap, it’s cheerful and it’s among the better budget beds in San José. Three-star Posada Terranova is small (25 rooms) and friendly, its clientele mostly Mexican. La Terraza restaurant is a hit with locals for seafood, and guests love the hearty breakfasts. There’s no pool or beach, as it’s in San José’s historical center, a few blocks from the downtown shops, restaurants and art galleries.
This friendly, affordable boutique hotel is 15 minutes from the art district. Across the street from the beach, it has 24 rooms and suites, some with sea views. Decor is easy-breezy: terracotta floors, white woven bedspreads and chunky dark furniture. Striped loungers hug a small pool, and George’s fairy-lit al fresco restaurant is the local go-to for sea-to-table octopus and tuna – even your own catch can be cooked for you. After dinner, wander the marina to spy on the yachts as pelicans flit by.
Come once and you’re sure to return to the Cabo Surf Hotel, as many do. You can almost feel the sea spray from the balcony of your ocean-view room, as the hiss of the waves lulls you to sleep. Year-round surf breaks explain the hotel’s excellent surf school, and while there are two infinity pools, the beach is one of Cabo’s safest for swimming. The Sea Spa does an invigorating sea-salt scrub, and the waterfront 7 Seas restaurant rustles up delicious blue crab and grouper.
Bargain hunters love the all-inclusive option at this mid-range favorite, and loyal clients adore the volleyball and tennis courts – when they’re not golfing and scuba diving nearby. The 148 rooms and suites (all with balcony or terrace) could do with some TLC, but this place isn’t aimed at design fiends. Guests come to be on the white sands, which are spectacular at peachy dusk. Treacherous currents mean no dips in the sea, but there’s a beachfront pool where you can also snack on tacos and ceviche.
If you’re after a party, forget it: the waterside El Ganzo may have a recording studio on-site, but the vibe is chilled and surfy. Spaces are peppered with sculptures, graffiti and cute goose motifs. The 60 rooms and suites have soft beds and either sea or marina views; upgrade if you fancy yacht watching from your very own balcony hammock. Lounge by the pool, with its restaurant, bar and white-draped daybeds, or take a 10-minute shuttle to the hotel’s sheltered private beach.