Although first-time visitors to Los Cabos can’t help but notice the area’s oversupply of jewelry shops–Taxco silver and Mexican fire opals are the most sought after commodities–cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo do indeed offer a wide variety of shopping options, ranging from upscale clothing boutiques and art galleries to colorful flea markets and souvenir stalls.
Those seeking to adopt the local style will find regionally appropriate resort clothing available at several excellent boutiques. Magic of the Moon is probably the best known, with original fashions for women from owner and designer Pepita Nelson displayed in downtown Cabo San Lucas. Puerto Paraíso based shops like Zingara and Bari, meanwhile, are among the top stops for bikinis and beachwear.
Plaza Artesanos is souvenir central in San José del Cabo, with dozens of vendors selling authentic Mexican handicrafts, including ceramics, jewelry, rugs and blankets. The colonial-style city is also known for its many fine art galleries, clustered around the charming cobblestone streets of its historic Distrito del Arte. Thursday night Art Walks are a staple of San José’s seasonal events calendar, but the galleries are open on a daily basis, showcasing paintings and sculptures from talented local artists, as well as arts and crafts (Mata Ortiz pottery, beaded Huichol art, etc.) from around México.
Not just a plaza but an event space, Plaza del Pescador has become a major shopping, dining and entertainment attraction in San José del Cabo in the space of a few short years. Jazz Weekend in February is the single biggest annual event, but the plaza packs in the crowds on a daily basis due to restaurants like the Italian themed La Forchetta, Jazz Tapas Bar, and comfort food specialist Rock & Brews (the chain started by KISS stars Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley); and shops such as beachwear boutique MareMio, clothiers Mr Buho and Tiki Bar (a showcase for Tommy Bahama resort clothing), surfer mecca Surfsipuedes, and jewelry outlet Solid Silver. The plaza is set across the street from the Playa Hotelera, a beachfront stretch that is home to many of the city’s largest hotels and resorts.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Plaza del Pescador is the best shopping mall in San José del Cabo.
Chris’s expert tip: The plaza hosts an outdoor music festival, Jazz Weekend, each February.
The walk-in humidor at J&J Habanos (AKA La Casa del Habano) smells like a cigar aficionado’s idea of heaven, not surprising since the store is the most reliable place in Los Cabos to buy Cuban cigars. Authenticity may be questionable at best at other local tobacconists, but J&J offers nothing but genuine stogies, singly or by the box, from premier Cuban producers like Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta. Prices aren’t cheap for top brands, and in fact have increased significantly since the U.S. relaxed import limits. Affordable cigars are available, however, and J&J also boasts one of the largest local collections of premium 100% blue agave tequilas. Big Papa mojitos cocktails and top-shelf tequila tastings are popular fixtures at the store’s gorgeous old wooden bar, and espresso drinks are also available.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: J&J Habanos is home to the best cigars in Los Cabos.
Chris’s expert tip: Cigars are the focus here, and their fine staff knows etiquette and amenities. Matches and cedar strips are provided with every purchase.
Welcome to souvenir central. Set in downtown San José del Cabo, Plaza Artesanos is home to dozens of vendors selling authentic Mexican jewelry, clothing, tote bags, rugs and ceramics. This is one-stop shopping for tourists looking for high-quality, yet affordable keepsakes in a comfortable atmosphere without any hard sell tactics. There is plenty of gold and silver jewelry, as well as hand-stitched dresses, hats, masks, religious iconography, tequila, and just about every kind of trinket imaginable. The plaza itself is clean and airy, and a great place to spend an afternoon, with plenty of benches and shade-giving umbrellas. The complex also houses a coffee shop and pharmacy.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This is the best souvenir shopping stop in Los Cabos.
Chris’s expert tip: The plaza is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Plaza San Lucas is best known to locals as the home of Walmart. The shopping center is located just outside of Cabo San Lucas, and in addition to larger stores like Walmart, also houses La Europea, a well-stocked deli and premium wine and liquor store, as well as Radio Shack, GNC, and numerous clothing, swimwear and sunglasses boutiques. La Europea serves food and drinks outside in umbrella-shaded comfort, but visitors can also wander to over to the food court for more varied options. This is one of the best “find anything” shopping centers in Los Cabos, and from time to time there will be a circus set up across from the parking lot, or a bungee jumping crane. There’s even a medical office onsite, featuring specialists (an ENT, dermatologist, urologist, etc.) from the nearby hospital, H+.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This is the best “find everything” shopping destination in Los Cabos, with clothes, groceries, electronics, wines and liquors…even a medical office.
Chris’s expert tip: Plaza San Lucas is open from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., although individual store hours may vary.
Minerva’s has been in Cabo San Lucas for over 35 years, and it remains one of the most trusted charter fishing operations in the area. The company also maintains a well-stocked downtown tackle shop, Minerva’s Baja Tackle, that carries the area’s largest supply of fishing rods, reels, lures, terminal tackle, and fishing gear and apparel. Charter fishing can be arranged from the store, including fishing licenses and boxed lunches, and this is also the go-to place for rod and reel maintenance, repair and respooling. The store stocks many top lures, such as Black Bart, Zuker, Williamson, Rapala, Braid and Yo-Zuri.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Minerva’s is the top stop for fishing gear in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris’s expert tip: The store stocks many top lures, including Black Bart, Zuker, Williamson, Rapala, Braid, and Yo-Zuri.
Luxury Avenue is a high-end, boutique mall situated next to Puerto Paraíso on the Cabo San Lucas Marina. The mall is accessible from Puerto Paraíso, but it is much more fun to walk the red carpet that is frequently used to guide the chosen few from the marina boardwalk up the stairs to Cabo’s most prestigious address. Luxury Avenue is located in the heart of what is referred to as the Marina Golden Zone, and it is certainly the area’s most expensive shopping center. If you need to pick up a trendy Fendi Bag or the latest fashions from Salvatore Ferragamo, this is the place to go. Luxury Avenue is home to chic boutiques from around the world, including Chopard, Cartier, Montblanc, Ultrafemme and Ultrajewels. There is another Luxury Avenue location in Cancún.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Luxury Avenue is the most exclusive and expensive shopping mall in Los Cabos.
Chris’s expert tip: Shops and boutiques are accessible from the interior of Puerto Paraíso.
Baja California Sur suffers no shortage of regional art and artists. Pacific Coast pueblo mágico Todos Santos has been home to a thriving artists’ colony since the mid-1980s, and San José del Cabo, the traditional cultural hub of the Los Cabos municipality, has long nurtured its own fertile bohemian scene. In San José, the colorful imagination and skill of local artists is evident in the many galleries clustered in the city’s Distrito del Arte, a charming and beautifully maintained old neighborhood located only a few blocks from the main square, Plaza Mijares. The Art District famously hosts a Thursday night Art Walk (every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., November through June), with galleries throwing open their doors to the public, and artists, musicians and other street performers crowding the cobblestone lanes of the historic neighborhood to showcase their talents. Art Walk is a signature “must see” event, but the truth is that the galleries are open virtually every day, spotlighting vibrant paintings and sculptures from top area artists, as well as notable arts and crafts from around México.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: San José del Cabo’s historic Art District is one of the best neighborhoods in Los Cabos for arts and crafts shopping.
Chris’s expert tip: For a listing of the top local galleries and their specialties, visit the Art District’s website at www.artcabo.com.
Las Tiendas de Palmilla is better known among American and Canadians as The Shoppes at Palmilla, but under either name it’s one of the better upscale commercial complexes in Los Cabos. The small shopping center is located in the Palmilla resort community just outside of San José del Cabo, near the exclusive ultra-luxury resort One&Only Palmilla, and it is home to fine food (Nick-San, Cream Café, Chin’s Chinese, Blue Fish Seafood), fine furnishings (Antigua de México), and high-end real estate offices (Engel and Volkers, Snell Real Estate), as well as galleries (Pez Gordo Galería) and boutiques (Casa Vieja, SAX), and the only U.S. consular agent in Los Cabos.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Las Tiendas de Palmilla is the best upscale shopping complex in the Tourist Corridor that connects Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.
Chris’s expert tip: The local U.S. Consular Agency is located at The Shoppes at Palmilla. For after hours emergencies, call the U.S. number (619) 692-2154.
Magic of the Moon is Los Cabos’ best designer boutique, with ladies’ fashions since 1991. Owner and designer Pepita Nelson offers original custom creations, ranging from beachwear and lingerie to skirts, slacks, formal dresses and everything in between. Designs are available in all sizes and for all ages. Matching designs for mothers and daughters are available, as is virtually everything else under the Baja sun. But it isn’t just the clothing that is customized. So is the shopping experience, with each visitor walked through a series of questions, colors, fittings until they have something completely unique, and perfectly tailored to their complexion and personality.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Magic of the Moon is the best women’s fashion boutique in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris’s expert tip: There are two locations: one in downtown Cabo San Lucas, the other at tourist corridor shopping plaza The Shoppes at Palmilla.
Cabo San Lucas’ large Marina-based mall is a multi-level complex with an excellent variety of shopping destinations. Puerto Paraíso hosts many fine arts and crafts galleries offering handmade goods from México and beyond, plus a large number of clothing boutiques featuring the latest swimwear and resort style clothing. Drinking and dining options are also noteworthy: Baja Brewing Company and other marina facing restaurants, as well as a recently installed food court on the mezzanine level. Entertainment includes a casino and 10-theater cinema, the latter of which is a host site for the annual Los Cabos International Film Festival. General services and sundries are also available, from an onsite bank branch with ATMs to a money changing station.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Puerto Paraíso is the most popular tourist mall in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris’s expert tip: The third-floor theater, Cinemex, shows movies in both English and Spanish.