By Alex Navarro
The flight into San José del Cabo is one of the most beautiful experiences. I love looking down and seeing the beautiful land and sea. I try to spot places like Cabo Pulmo bay on the shoreline, and also my home in San José del Cabo and other buildings too. The first time I drove past San José on the way to my destination in Cabo San Lucas, it caught my eye. It looked so peaceful, and the bright blue ocean views from the highway literally took my breathe away. I moved to San José del Cabo one month after that unforgettable day.
At this moment, I live in downtown San José and I really love it, so let me list for you some fun facts about enchanting San José del Cabo. And I really hope you visit it during your vacation.
A little bit of history:
The first inhabitants in the area of San José del Cabo were the Pericues from about 3,000 to 11,000 years ago, with some estimates of even 40,000 years ago.
– They had a different language than any other aboriginal people in Mexico.
– Skull morphology and recent genetic studies suggest the Pericues are related to ancient populations of southern Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific Rim.
– A similar skull configuration is also found at Lagoa Santa in Brazil and in the Patagonia.
– They were taller and stronger than the average indigenous Mexican people.
– They were divers and had complex marine technology, using wooden rafts and double paddles.
– Their diet was fish, shellfish and marine mammals from the Gulf of California and also land foods like deer, small animals, wild seeds, pitaya, agave, and wild plums.
– The Pericues smoked tobacco but didn’t drink alcohol.
– They made wooden arches, stone arrows, nets, spears, harpoons and fishhooks.
– They lived in caves and rock shelters. They had fire and made stone and woven palm containers and baskets.
– The men were nude and mostly painted, and the women covered their bodies with a skirts and cloaks, and both sexes had long hair.
– Violence, including homicide, went unpunished.
– Some practiced monogamy, but most were polygamists.
– Wives were slaves and property.
– The shaman was a key part of the community. They used herbs, tobacco juice and burning coal to heal the wounded and the sick.
– In 1730, Jesuit Padre Nicholas Tamaral founded the Mission in San José del Cabo as there was a need for a permanent Spanish settlement at the tip of the cape because there were many pirates in the area to capture Spanish and French galleons that were traveling from the Philippines to Acapulco.
– Padre Tamaral and the Pericues had problems when he pronounced an injunction against Polygamy. And when Tamaral punished a Pericu Shaman for violating the anti-polygamy law, the Pericues rebelled and burned the San José and Santiago missions in October 1734, and Padre Tamaral was killed in the famous rebellion.
– That is when San José del Cabo was founded to serve the dual purpose of protecting the people from insurgent Pericues and pirates.
– By 1767, all the Pericues had died from European diseases or war with the Spanish. San José del Cabo remained an important Spanish military outpost until the mid-19th century when San José was turned over to Mexico.
– There were pirates in San José del Cabo from 1578-1750 approximately. They were English and Dutch that between Cabo San Lucas bay and San José’s Estuary were looking for Spanish galleons to loot.
– The Manila galleons getting water in Aguada Segura and other boats getting pearls near La Paz were their main victims.
– The pirates had good relationships with the Pericues and received food and gifts from them.
– Famous pirate Francis Drake was known for inaugurating the “Pirates in San José del Cabo” era.
– One of the most successful and famous pirates in San José del Cabo was Thomas Cavendish who was known for assaulting the Spanish galleon Santa Anna where 200 Spaniards lost their lives. He took 122,000 gold pesos, jewels, pearls, spices, wines and ship’s supplies, leaving on board more than a million pesos worth of goods.
Since the 1970’s, FONATUR (National Foundation for Tourism Development) has made several tourist development projects along San José del Cabo’s shoreline.
– San José del Cabo is the administrative head or municipality of Los Cabos County, in Baja California Sur.
– Many U.S and Canadian citizens make it their second home or live and work here.
– San José offers the freshest fish and seafood, but some traditional foods of the town are machaca burritos which are prepared with shredded beef, onion, tomato and chili peppers wrapped in flour tortilla, queso fresco (fresh cheese) and mango jelly made at local ranches.
– The traditional beverages are Damiana Liqueur and Damiana tea. Damiana is a small local bush that has aphrodisiac and stress reliever properties.
– San José del Cabo has a big celebration called Fiestas de Marzo that span for a week because March 19th is Saint Joseph Day. On the morning of the 19th a parade is held in the streets of the Historic District.
– The famous San José estuary spans a large area of the city. There are more than 100 species of birds that inhabit the estuary, plus turtles, fish and a few marine mammals. Bird watching is amazing here.
– The San José del Cabo town hall is one of San José del Cabo’s historical landmarks. The building has San José government offices and the Mayor’s office.
– San José del Cabo’s main square is officially called Plaza Mijares. Jose Antonio Mijares was a Mexican Lieutenant that fought bravely in the Mexican-American war and in a battle in San José del Cabo in 1847. He is considered a Mexican hero.
– In the neighboring streets of Plaza Mijares in downtown San José del Cabo, every year from November to June, every Thursday night the famous and magical Art Walk takes place, where the art galleries, bars, restaurants, and shops invite you to have a memorable time. This art district is wonderful!
– Just a couple blocks away from downtown is the also famous San José Organic Market which runs from November to May on Saturday mornings. The most amazing foods and things can be found!
– Fiesta de la Musica also happens in downtown San José every year in the month of June. Dozens of stages and hundreds of acts put on a unique festival.
– San José Jazz Weekend is every February in Plaza del Pescador on the hotel corridor of the town.
– Also on the hotel corridor is part of the new bike path (ciclovia) which also runs on the main Transpeninsular highway and parallel to the estuary too. There is a small dirt access to the estuary on part of the path.
– The Ironman triathlon takes place in Cabo every year and part of its course runs through San José del Cabo.
– San José is a surfing community as well. Locals enjoy riding waves at the numerous surf breaks around. And in the summer San José hosts the Los Cabos Open of Surf which is an official event and takes place in the awesome Zippers wave at Cost Azul beach.
So as you can see San José del Cabo is a pretty cool place. Try to come visit if you are in Cabo. Plaza Mijares was just remodeled and turned out beautiful and there are many new shops and restaurants downtown.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Cabo and thanks for your time and your visit!