Discovering the stunning art scene of Los Cabos (and beyond!)

aztec face, public art, todos santos, Baja California Sur, Los Cabos,mexico, arts, art scene, san jose del cabo, travel photography, culture, lesbian photographer

The following article about the Los Cabos art scene appeared with minor modifications appeared in Outword Magazine on December 27, 2023.

¡Viva el Arte! : Los Cabos’ art scene is a stunner

Photos and text by Chris Allan

While most of us won’t turn down a relaxing day gazing out at emerald waves on the golden sands of a Baja beach, it turns out that’s not the only thing to do in Los Cabos. Yes, the southern tip of Baja California has resorts and water sports galore, all-night clubs and top-notch culinary delights. But if you’re a discriminating traveler looking for some human-made beauty on your spontaneous winter getaway, consider the Cabos.

The Sistahs 

Los Cabos (“the capes”) refers to the two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo (SJD). The Tourist Corridor connects the sister cities – a 20-mile scenic stretch of coastline that includes some of the area’s chichiest all-inclusives. Cabo is the party gal, the younger of the two, while San José del Cabo is the more mature, stylish sistah, the smoky mezcal to the tangy tequila.

San José’s Art Scene

The area’s obras de arte are found in the historic district near Plaza Mijares. The walkable area oozes with charm, complete with cobblestones, colonial architecture and vibrant papel picados (colored flags). Its dozen blocks are filled with artist-owned galleries and shops with curated collections of folk and fine art from all over Mexico. Artworks include painted and yarn canvases, ceramics, papier-mâchė, metal and wooden alebrijes sculpture, beadwork, blown glass, jewelry and more. The Baja region itself does not have any significant indigenous art styles, so shops select works from all over the country, and galleries often feature exhibits from visiting artists.

Each Thursday from November to June, the city hosts an art walk. It’s a busy, fun event that gives you the chance to wander the area eating stuffed caramel churros. You can meet lesser-known artists at their outdoor stalls, as well as sip cócteles with the more prominent Mexican or international creatives featured in the storefront galleries. While there is no shortage of tourist-grade souvenir shops, there is a lot of world-class art to be found.  

Some of our recommendations:

  •  Frank Arnold Gallery: Most notable international artist in the area, huge collection of abstract/figurative oil paintings and sculptures in stunning gallery/studio/home space
  •  Silvermoon: Top-notch Mexican art curated by uber-knowledgeable Director Armando Sánchez Icaza
  • Jonathan Sánchez Jewelry: The Sánchez family are generational artists with multiple shops in the area, including stunning wearable art pieces
  • Emotions by Corsica: High-end, contemporary Mexican art 
  • Sacristia: Large, well-curated shop representing 20 artists from eight regions
  • Sotomayor Sculptor Gallery: Whimsical hand-welded metal sculptures from Juan Sotomayor

Blowing by Cabo San Lucas

On our recent trip to Baja, we spent all of one night in CSL. Sure, after dinner and drinks at Playa El Medano, you can cruise to Chandeliers, the only queer nightclub in the area. While colorful, Cabo lacks charm and artistic aesthetic, but if you’re staying in the area there are a few spots you may want to visit:

  • The Glass Factory: On-site artisans creating hand-blown glassworks in a beautiful building
  • Authentica: Well-curated gallery representing 18 artists from eight states
  • Hector Estrada Gallery: Estrada is a Panamanian painter, sculptor, art professor who exhibits across Latin America

Adventuring out to Todos Santos

Not technically in Los Cabos, Todos Santos is one of the main cultural points of interest in Southern Baja.  It’s also a great excuse for a trip out to the surprisingly verdant desert hillsides and scruffy beach towns. (Who doesn’t love buying Mexican blankets and hand-mixed margaritas under a palapa?)  Originally more of a funky surf spot, Todos Santos started attracting artists in 1984 when the road from Cabo San Lucas was paved. 

Today, it’s located an hour north of Cabo on a four-lane highway. The town is one of only 122 designated by the Mexican government as a “pueblo magico,” meaning that it  offers visitors “cultural richness, historical relevance, cuisine, art crafts, and great hospitality.” The program has helped increase tourism to smaller towns in rural areas like Todos Santos.

The pueblo offers a relaxing tourist-friendly village to explore. Like old town San José del Cabo, the central core features numerous galleries and shops, as well as restaurants with hidden courtyards that include desert-inspired landscaping and colorful bougainvillea.

The slower pace and generally smaller art spaces make it easier to chat with the gallerists and artists in the town. We would particularly recommend:

  • Gallería Logan: Beautiful gold and silver leaf canvases and rural Mexico-inspired paintings
  • The Arturo Mendoza Gallery: Sophisticated Dali-meets-Rothko paintings with enigmatic small figures 
  • Rafael Brilanti Fine Art: Generational master silversmith in the Taxco tradition who makes his jewelry by hand on site
  • La Sonrisa de la Muerte: Unique small graphic art production and exhibition space featuring Latino artists


Here’s the equipment I brought:

  • Nikon D780 body
  • Nikkor 20mm, f/1.8D
  • Nikkor 35mm, f/2D
  • Nikkor 50mm, f/1.8D
  • Nikkor 28-70mm, f/3.5-4.5D
  • Nikkor 70-200, f/4G
  • Lensbaby Composer Pro

* * *

All photos are copyright Chris Allan and cannot be used without my written permission. Please contact me for usage rights. Thank you for reading my blog post “Discovering the stunning art scene of Los Cabos (and beyond!)” To learn more about me and my work, please see my About page.

« of 2 »

Comments are closed.