Mexican Afrodisiac: San Jose Takes on San Lucas

When I first announced I had accepted a trip invitation to Cabo a few weeks ago, some people wrote me, called me.

San Jose del Cabo.

The randoms congratulated me – they told me how awesome it was, how much fun they had when they went to San Lucas for spring break (or whatever).

But my friends laughed at me. They said, “What the hell you going there for? You’re going to hate it.”

I couldn’t say much – they were right. I’m not saying it was always this way, and I’m not saying it will always be this way, but right now Wake and Wander is not into the club scene: the dancing, the loud music, the lack of conversation, the excessive consumption of boring beer and bad booze.

There’s nothing wrong with that scene – everyone do your thing – but it’s not my scene. When we went snorkeling, we spent the day in San Lucas, walking around the harbor area and checking out the town. The harbor is beautiful, yet the town lacks character and local flair – all the restaurants and bars are noticeably similar, and you are constantly haggled to stop in each shop as you stroll through the town.

San Lucas offers cheap drinks and plenty of places to party at night, and it’s also where you want to be to catch an off-shore excursion out of the harbor. The coastline and beaches are beautiful, for sure, just make sure you have a plan when you visit. I didn’t find it that great a place to wander about – not much to see there in town.

I had done my research before accepting the trip, though, and I knew I wouldn’t be staying in San Lucas. The Barcelo is located minutes from San Jose del Cabo, a small town of about 70,000 (fifteen minutes from the airport, San Lucas is 30 minutes further down the coast).

There is no “spring break” feel in San Jose – you’ll find tons of local art galleries, a town square (that hosts festivals and shows), history (an old mission church), and the bars and restaurants were more unique and less commercialized. There’s still a little bit of haggling on the part of the shop owners, but it’s not nearly as frequent and they make up for it by serving you free booze.

They call them “welcome drinks” – I had a beer in a jewerly store, a vanilla liqour sipper in a craft store, and several tastings of tequila in a souvenir/antique shop.

The highlight was trying the Mexican afrodisiac Damiana in one shop, hearing the owner joke about it’s effects in Spanish.

It tasted sweet and is meant to be sipped after dinner. It’s not a dominate flavor like Sambuca or Pernod – it’s very easy to drink because the sugar is more evident.

I did not purchase a bottle – I was not there with a woman – but I would absolutely recommend grabbing some and trying it out on your next dinner date.

Maybe order some oysters, chocolate – you know, the works.

Photos of San Jose del Cabo (see more on Facebook):

Our tour guide posing with a Day of Dead skeleton.

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