Style Jaunt Cabo (and win a subscription to FLARE!)

For a stylish stay, consider Cabo Surf Hotel

One travel trend we see a lot of now is fashion influencers giving the DL on shopping and unique neighbourhoods in cool destinations. Who doesn’t want to escape their hotel and hit up real local hot spots? Trouble is, you can’t always trust the concierge – or fashionistas who are’t savvy travellers. So here I go, channeling my own inner diva to give you guys a La Comer, one of my favourite destinations. 

The Arches Cabo

You can take a boat right up to Cabo’s famed Arches

Sure Cabo is famed for its championship golf courses, uncommon aquatic life and a dizzying array of ocean activities, but it’s also boasts a stylish scene (with a capital S). If that is, you know where to find it. Here’s a look at some of my favourite addresses to suss out on your next visit.

mango margarita

Where to Shop in Cabo

Leave touristy Cabo San Lucas behind and head down the corridor to San Jose del Cabo. Their historic art district is full of Spanish Colonial character, not to mention quaint shops and galleries featuring the works of Mexico’s leading artists. Expats live for the weekly art tours on Thursday nights. And with works by Mexico’s most famous artists 20% lower here than in the US or Canada who wouldn’t?

Colourful buildings are laced throughout San Jose's art district.

Colourful buildings are laced throughout San Jose’s art district.

For contemporary paintings and sculpture, head to Corsica Gallery for the works of Diego Rivera’s god son, Augustin Castro Lopez. Or snap up some Manuel Feiguerez, Mexico’s most famous abstract painter. Some galleries also offer artisanal tequila tasting. Forewarned is forearmed!

True shopaholics will want to hit up ex-pat fave Artesano’s. You know you can’t leave Mexico without toting home a margarita pitcher, don’t you? This massive boutique bulging with treasures is conveniently situated between San Jose and Cabo San Lucas. It’s here you’ll want to stock up on beautiful glass stemware, pewter platters, colourful handicrafts and other unique souvenir items. (I bought a schwack of pretty Christmas decorations for next to nothing.)

Farmer's market Cabo

Just look at the bounty from Flora Farms! (Photo credit Calgary Herald)

Then there’s Flora Farms. Not only is this the spot where Adam Levine wed his Victoria Secret angel, but it’s a salubrious spot for lunch and you guessed it, shopping! Organic produce is picked fresh daily and you can snap up awesome preserves and crafts from local artisans.

My favourite sot for food shopping is La Comer (formerly MEGA) in San Jose. Budget two hours to comb these aisles.

Where celebrities stay in Cabo

Part of the fun of being in Cabo is running into the jet set. Chelsea Handler and her posse of writers and friends are known to dance the night away at Squid Roe in downtown Cabo San Lucas. (I ran into Heather McDonald there on my last trip.) And we all know Courtney Cox and Jen Anniston bed down at The One&Only Palmilla, ranked as the#1 best resort in Mexico by Condé Nast Traveler for several years.

beach front hotel

Cabo Surf Hotel also boasts an amazing seafood restaurant. Even if you’re not staying, swing by 7 Seas Seafood Grille for lunch. (Photo credit: Cabo Surf Hotel)

For more of a funky, boutique feel, try The Cabo Surf Hotel. Reminiscent of a laid-back California beach house, it’s located on one of the top surfing beaches with board rentals available through their surf school. Naturally, this is where pro surfers get married (and my girlfriend Susan!), and recent celebrity guests include Sarah McLachlan and Annie Leibovitz.

fish tank swimming pool

Besides this funky pool, El Ganzo sports a swish private beach. (Photo credit: El Ganzo)

Another hot spot is Hotel El Ganzo. Charlie Sheen made waves when he partied at their 2012 opening with Slash. Ganzo has been quiet of late after getting hit pretty hard by last year’s hurricane, but they’ve just reopened. Creative types flock here because they’ve got a cool artist in residence program (including musicians and videographers) that lets them use the hotel as their canvas. They’ve also got their own recording studio (what hotel offers that?) which ups the hipster factor.

My girlfriend spotted Sammy Hagar and his family at Habanero’s, a totally chill, traditional Mexican restaurant in San Jose. Naturally I made her take me there, and I adored their savoury chilli relenos and carne asada. (Bonus: their wait staff is awesome with kids.)

Have you ever been to Cabo? Where are your top tips for where eat, stay and play?