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Pan-Pacific Mix – Fusion Cuisines Enliven Los Cabos Dining Scene

The most important peninsular culinary movement of the past few decades is Baja Med, a fusion of fresh local organic ingredients and Mediterranean accents that has since achieved a measure of international acclaim, and is currently being celebrated in the Roberto Najera directed documentary Baja Taste.

fusion cuisine Los Cabos

Nick-San was the first restaurant in Los Cabos to fuse Japanese cuisine with Mexican ingredients and accents.

El Taller in Tijuana is considered ground zero for the this fusion – the restaurant’s chef, Miguel Angel Guerrero, has since trademarked the name – but in its broad strokes the Baja Med movement was an outgrowth of many talented chefs creating a recognizable regional cuisine at restaurants in Tijuana, Ensenada, Rosarito and the Valle de Guadalupe.

The principles of Baja Med also proved influential in Baja California Sur, specifically in Los Cabos, which enjoys many of the same natural advantages: notably, high-quality seafood and organic produce that can be sourced from within a few miles of their ultimate destination.

In recent years, however, some of the best restaurants in cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo have been increasingly moving away from Baja Med fusions to a more pan-Pacific approach, incorporating flavors, ingredients and cooking techniques from countries as diverse as Japan, Peru and Mexico.

The philosophy behind this sort of fusion is rather simple, at least according to Enrique Olvera, whose restaurant Manta recently opened at The Cape – A Thompson Hotel: “We’re playing around with Peruvian and Japanese flavors because a sashimi, a tiradito and a Mexican ceviche all share a common language.”

fusion cuisine Los Cabos

Chefs Mariano Takinami of Templo (left) and Enrique Olvera of Manta (right) have helped to popularize Pacific Rim fusions in Los Cabos. Photo courtesy of Templo.

Here’s a look at a few of the most important local practitioners and places to sample this evolving approach to Pacific Rim fusion cuisine.

Angel Carbajal and Masayuki Niikura, Nick-San

Chefs Carbajal and Niikura pioneered fusion cuisine in Los Cabos when they opened Nick-San in 1994. The original concept of Japanese cuisine with Mexican ingredients has evolved over the years to a more integrated fusion, evident in signature dishes like the sashimi serranito with 4 oz. of fresh catch of the day in a serrano chile sauce topped with thin slices of pepper, and the lobster curry in sesame sauce with shiitake mushrooms, chives and habanero chile pepper. This fusion has proven so popular over the years that there are now six Nick-San’s across Mexico, with a clothing line generating additional revenue. There are two locations in Los Cabos: the original at Plaza de la Danza in downtown Cabo San Lucas, and another at the upscale Shoppes at Palmilla near San Jose del Cabo.

Enrique Olvera, Manta

Olvera made his name at Pujol, a Mexico City based restaurant that’s annually ranked as one of the best in the world, but the chef has also been in news recently with the opening of Manta, a restaurant in the Los Cabos tourist corridor that boasts spectacular views of Land’s End. Manta, which premiered in June 2015, specializes in Pacific Rim fusion cuisine, with Japanese and Peruvian accents added to regionally sourced seafood and traditional Mexican ingredients. Olvera’s fascination with Mexican street food – “I love the precision of fine dining, and I love the power of street food. The flavor of it. The soul of it.” – so evident at Pujol, is likewise represented in Manta’s rotating menu concept, in which 15 to 18 of the restaurant’s 30 dishes are available on a nightly basis. So too is the chef’s humor, attention to detail, and ability to generate surprising flavor combinations.

fusion cuisine Los Cabos

Nobu Matsuhisa pioneered Japanese – Peruvian cuisine in the 1970s.

Mariano Takinami, Templo

That Templo, which opened in 2014, has one of the most innovative fusion concepts in Los Cabos is almost completely attributable to the heritage and well-traveled career of co-owner and executive chef Mariano Takinami. Born to a Japanese father and Argentine mother, and married to a Brazilian, Takinami has taken his family influences and forged them with work experiences in Peru and Mexico (like Olvera, Takinami loves Mexican street food) to create a diverse and consistently satisfying dining experience. Menu options range from Peruvian style quinoa risotto featuring octopus, sausage and piquillo pepper emulsion to a wok seared flank steak á la Szechuan with carrot, celery and bean paste. The chef likes referring to his restaurant as a “grill, wok and bar,” with the latter serving up signature cocktails and a wide array of wine pairing options.

Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu Los Cabos

The local fusion scene will get a bit more interesting in 2017 with the arrival of Nobu Los Cabos, a 200-room beachfront resort and restaurant from the hospitality company owned by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro, and film producer Meir Teper. Matsuhisa is of course the progenitor of Japanese – Peruvian fusion cuisine, which he developed out of necessity while working in his Lima restaurant Matsuei in the early 1970s. Nobu Los Cabos will be the first hotel of its kind in Mexico, although a Nobu restaurant opened in Mexico City in 2009, and has already added a bit of national spice to the brand’s fusion recipe in offerings like yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. Whether the Los Cabos based Nobu pioneers additional fusions utilizing Japanese, Mexican and Peruvian cuisines remains to be seen, but the restaurant should be a popular addition to a dining scene focused on taking Pacific Rim fusion cuisine to new and interesting places.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) -855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Tranquilo Scores Again, Wins Record $2.51 Million Payout in the 2015 Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament

It takes confidence to bet when the stakes are so high. Yet that’s exactly what Team Tranquilo did this past week during the 35th edition of the Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament. The first-time crew from Costa Rica parlayed a hot streak with a hunch and the move paid off in record fashion.Tranquilo earned $2,511,462, the second-highest single team payout in Black and Blue history, with a blue marlin weighing 327 pounds. That fish was good for third place overall, sweeping all but one optional jackpots on the first day. Michael Moretti was the angler, with Captain Victor Julio Lopez at the helm of the 57-foot Spencer. The overall purse this year was more than $3.5 million.

Bisbee's Black and Blue Marlin Tournament“This is the best third-place finish ever. It really means a lot, coming from Costa Rica with the boat and the team,” Moretti explains. “The competition here is the best in the world. It’s a different style than what we’re used to, but it’s very tough. The whole experience has been top notch and we’re already making plans to fish the Black & Blue again next year.”

Moretti & Company are coming off a first-place win in the Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament earlier this month. A 399-pound black marlin then earnedTranquilo $460,200, another tournament record, for a combined payout of $2,971,662 for the two tournaments. The team caught a Pacific slam consisting of a black and blue marlin, a striped marlin and sailfish during the contests. The winning marlin were both fooled by the same green/black plunger lure.

The international flavor of 2015 continued with a Canadian contingent from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Team Catching A Buzz, led by angler Tyler Squier, caught the heaviest fish of the week. The 500-pound blue marlin, Squier’s largest, earned the buddy team a check for $356,225. The awards included first-place team and jackpot, first-place captain and crew and the $1,000 daily for Day Three. Carlos Dominguez guided the team to the victory aboard the charter boat Rondinella.

Bisbee's Black and Blue Marlin Tournament

Five More Minutes, another buddy team from Texas, is taking home $156,937 after landing a 356-pound blue marlin on the first day of fishing. The team won second-place honors and the $1,000 Daily with that catch. Jave Abaroa was the skipper of Whata Journey.

In the tight release division, Team Nice Ride came out on top after releasing two blue marlin. Those efforts earned Capt. Tyson Valli and the team a $76,295 payout.  Fantasma, with Maricio Wenges at the wheel, took second-place honors with two blues released. Fantasma earned $26,392 based on time.Predator, led by Capt. Morgan North, came in third place with a single blue, good for a check totaling $14,662. Only blue and black marlin are eligible in the release division, which is sponsored by Costa.

One-hundred and twenty-one teams competed in the 35th edition of the Black and Blue, the richest tournament in sport fishing. A total of 945 anglers fished hard for three days and caught 44 blue marlin and one black. Teams had to contend with a noticeable absence of baitfish due to the warmer El Niño conditions. Squid were prevalent in certain areas, however, and all three qualifying marlin were caught on lures. The minimum size in the weight division is 300 pounds.

“Congratulations to all our winners,” said Tournament Director Wayne Bisbee right before the customary fireworks show at the conclusion of Saturday’sawards banquet. “Thank you for joining us for our 35th edition, and thanks to all our wonderful sponsors for making this possible. It’s been another one for the history books, and my family and I look forward to welcoming everyone back again next year. Bueños noche and safe travels home.”

The Black and Blue is the last of three tournaments in the Bisbee’s Baja big game series. It is the richest sport-fishing tournament in the world with more than $72 million in prize money awarded in its 35-year history. The 2016 B&B will be held October 25-29 in Cabo San Lucas. Major sponsors include the Tesoro Resort Los Cabos, Pelagic High Performance Offshore Gear, Baja Cantina, Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort, Costa, Los Cabos Tourism Board, Oil Boom USA, Sevenstar Yacht Transport, David Wirth, National Car Rental, American Fishing Wire/Hi-Seas and the Bisbee’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) -855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Los Cabos Scores Two of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World

Diamante Dunes and Cabo del Sol´s Ocean Course Make GOLF Magazine List

GOLF Magazine has selected Los Cabos layouts Diamante (Dunes) and Cabo del Sol (Ocean) for inclusion on its prestigious “Top 100 Courses in the World” list, as featured in the publication’s October issue.

“To flip through our 17th biennial rankings is to travel the globe,” wrote Top 100 chairman Joe Passov, noting that the “rankings are determined by a 100-strong international panel whose members include major championship winners, architects, journalists and a cadre of connoisseurs who have played all of the world’s top 100 courses.”

Chosen from a ballot of nearly 500 golf courses worldwide, Diamante Dune shot up 14 spots in the 2015 rankings. It now stands at No. 38.

Top 100 Golf Courses

The Davis Love III designed Dunes Course at Diamante is ranked 38th best in the world by GOLF Magazine.

Designed by PGA Tour star and Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, with assistance from brother Mark Love and architect Paul Cowley, the captivating Dunes Course is unlike any other venue in Los Cabos. Located six miles north of downtown Cabo San Lucas on the Baja California peninsula´s west coast, the Dunes Course is the centerpiece of a 1,500-acre private resort community.

Fairways, tees and greens are carved into huge Sahara-like dunes above the Pacific Ocean, where breaching whales are a common sight during the winter months. Five sets of tees, three of them rated for women, provide admirable versatility on the Dunes Course, which is surfaced from tee to green in sustainable, salt-tolerant paspalum grass.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Diamante brought back Love and his design team to replace the inland 12th and 13th holes with a new pair of holes (a downhill par 5 and a short par 4), each sculpted from vast white sand dunes within earshot of the thundering surf. These holes, opened last year, greatly enhance the golf experience and likely were a strong factor in the rise of the Dunes Course on the Top 100 list.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Diamante developer Ken Jowdy of his facility’s improved ranking. “The changes at 12 and 13 certainly had quite a bit to do with it (the promotion), as we took out two inland holes and replaced them with links-style holes that fit in better with the overall theme of the course. To be ranked so prominently on GOLF Magazine’s list is a validation of everything we do. We’re thrilled.”

Jack Nicklaus, golf’s greatest champion, built the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol on a parcel of land he described as “the best piece of golf property I’ve ever seen.” With seven holes touching a coastline marked by golden beaches washed by the turquoise-blue sea, this stellar resort layout, stretched across a rugged desert landscape and backdropped by tall stony mountains, is the course that put Los Cabos on the international golf map when it opened in 1994. Clinging to the No. 100 spot on the list, Cabo del Sol’s Ocean Course, featuring an ebb-and-flow routing that delivers players to the sea on both nines, is the most celebrated international course on Nicklaus’ extensive design resume.

Top 100 Golf Courses

The Jack Nicklaus designed Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol was awarded the final spot in GOLF Magazine´s top 100.

“It is an honor to once again be voted among the “Top 100 Courses in the World” by the esteemed panel at GOLF Magazine,” said Greg Tallman, Cabo del Sol’s director of golf. “We take great pride in having been named to the list for the last 20+ years and, as a facility accessible to the public, we are excited to share such a great course with visitors seeking out a truly special golf experience in Los Cabos. The Ocean Course has endured the test of time and remains one of the very best golf courses in the world.”

It is said that great land produces great courses. Diamante´s Dunes and Cabo del Sol´s Ocean are the only courses in Mexico on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 list, a tribute to the topographical uniqueness of the ocean-mountain-desert environment in Los Cabos.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) -855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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The Art of Taste – Palate Pleasers Galore on Display at The Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

Benchmark Cabo San Lucas Property Hosts 4th Annua Food and Wine Showcase

July proved to be a banner month for food and wine lovers in Los Cabos.

After a memorable starter from Enrique Olvera – the acclaimed chef of Pujol in Mexico City, currently ranked as the 20th best restaurant in the world, opened his first Los Cabos restaurant, Manta at The Cape Hotel, on the first day of the month – The Resort at Pedregal provided the main course, offering fine food, wine and spirits from an array of internationally acclaimed chefs and beverage experts at its annual summer culinary fête.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

This year, for the first time, The Resort at Pedregal made tickets available to the general public for its celebrated summer food and wine festival.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

Delicious hors d’oeuvres were one of many highlights at the opening Art of Pairing reception, hosted against a backdrop of crashing Pacific Ocean waves.

The 4th iteration of the The Art of Taste Food and Wine Festival took place July 15 – 19, 2015, at various venues around The Resort at Pedregal, an 84-room boutique luxury property situated in the exclusive hillside neighborhood of Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas.

Accessible only through the longest privately owned tunnel in Mexico, the intimate, scenically set 24-acre resort has been considered one of the world’s best since it opened in 2009. But this year’s festival was a particularly notable one, since it was the first major event held at the property since it reopened following renovations post Hurricane Odile, and the first since it changed its name and declared independence from the Capella brand.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

To paraphrase Brillat-Savarin: An event without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

Highlights from El Mercado (The Market) included mariachis, margaritas, traditional Mexican food and wine, and custom rolled cigars from The Castle in Veracruz.

Also for the first time this year, event tickets were available to the general public as well as to guests at the resort, with the latter paying upwards of $1,290 U.S. per night for accommodations and complete access to food and wine related festivities. And the 2015 festival had a more international feel than in previous years, as European winemakers and mixologists showcased their skills alongside similarly esteemed brethren from Mexico and the U.S.

Master mixologist Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only in New York City, and tiki cocktail expert Danielle Dalla Pola of Nu Lounge in Bologna, Italy proved a popular bar pairing at nightly events like the opening Art of Pairing reception – where elegant and colorfully clad guests chatted amiably over cocktails as massive Pacific Ocean waves generated by an offshore storm exploded dramatically over the rocks below – and El Mercado, an upscale version of a traditional Mexican market, complete with food, wine, candy and cigar stalls, and music from wandering mariachis.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

Yvan Mucharraz, Executive Chef at The Resort at Pedregal, shows off his carving skills at El Mercado.

The lushly bearded Dalla Pola was an irrepressible force – from his 360 degree cocktail shaking spin moves to potent tropical quaffs served in hollowed out pineapples – while Vidal brought a cosmopolitan flair, and an encyclopedic knowledge of spirits, which he exhibited during a Saturday afternoon seminar on the history of American whiskey. Samples were provided, of course, both at the whiskey tasting, and at a tequila tasting featuring noted small batch distiller Casa Dragones, and attended by the country’s first female master tequilier, Bertha Gonzalez.

Fermented grape gurus from Champagne house Ruinart, and French wineries Chateau La Tour L’Eveque and Chateau Climens were on hand for the first time, pouring alongside North American colleagues. Jay Schuppert and Pete Pryzbylinski of Cuvaison and Duckhorn, respectively, shared regional knowledge and wine flights during their well-attended New Movements in Napa Valley tasting, as well as at nightly events. And Adobe Guadalupe, Hacienda La Lomita and Roganto were among several Mexican producers representing Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

Flights of fine wines from Duckhorn and Cuvaison at The New Movement in Napa Valley tasting.

The French Laundry was also well represented, if not directly. Tim Hollingsworth of Barrel and Ashes, was formerly Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry. And Devin McDavid, the newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef at Resort at Pedregal, also burnished his resume at the landmark Napa restaurant. Rory Herrman, of Barrel and Ashes and Sprout LA, and Brian Malarkey, of Searsucker and Herringbone, also joined Resort at Pedregal Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz for four days of dinners, tastings, receptions and cooking seminars.

The festival highlight, as usual, was the concluding dinner, in which each of the five courses was prepared by a different chef, and custom pairing options were chosen by the all-star cast of visiting winemakers.

Resort at Pedregal Food and Wine Festival

Master mixologist Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only in New York leads an interactive tour of American whiskeys.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Sweet Spot! Nicklaus’ Quivira Golf Club Headlines the Amenities at the Copala Luxury Development in Cabo San Lucas

Sweet Spot! Nicklaus’ Quivira Golf Club Headlines the Amenities at the Copala Luxury Development in Cabo San Lucas

Since its opening last December, the Jack Nicklaus designed Quivira Golf Club has been showered with awards and acclaim.

GOLF Magazine called the stunning 7,139 yard layout – set on the Pacific Coast of Cabo San Lucas – the “Best New International Course” in its January 2015 issue, and hailed Nicklaus as “Architect of the Year.” The luxury Quivira community, meanwhile – residents of which, along with those of neighboring luxury developments Copala, Novaispania and Montecristo Estates, as well as guests at Pueblo Bonito’s Blanco, Pacifica, Rosé and Sunset Beach Resorts, have exclusive access to the course – was named “Development of the Year” by Golf Inc., and the “Best for Living Abroad” by LINKS Magazine.

Quivira Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas

The cliffside 6th is one of the signatures holes at the newly opened Quivira Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas. Photo: Nicklaus Design

These early accolades hint at the excitement that surrounds the opening of Nicklaus’ latest offering – his sixth design effort in the Los Cabos area – and suggest the world-class challenges in store for those lucky enough to tee it up at Quivira. But no amount of awards or encomiums can adequately prepare one for the majesty of the course itself, and the breathtaking beauty of some of its signature holes.

The par-four 5th, for example, features a tee box that seems carved out of sheer cliff above the crashing waves of the Pacific – and can only be reached after a long switch-back drive up a mountainside. The 7th is framed by El Faro Viejo, a 19th century lighthouse that also happens to be the oldest structure in Cabo San Lucas, and the seasonal sight of breaching whales.

Quivira Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas

Scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and El Faro Viejo (The Old Lighthouse) greet golfers at the 7th hole tee box. Photo: Quivira Golf Club

Named for one of the lost cities of gold sought by 16th century explorer Francisco Vazquez, Quivira is a memorable mix of windswept dunes, rolling foothills, and gorgeous views – it has more oceanfront holes than any course in Los Cabos – and certainly a match for Davis Love III’s magnificent Dunes Course at Diamante, which is currently ranked 52nd best in the world.

Nicklaus himself may have said it best: “Our team worked with the canvas Mother Nature provided to create one of the most spectacular courses in the world.”

Quivira Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas

The 12th and 13th holes at Quivira Golf Club are spectacular, seen from air, land or sea. Photo: Nicklaus Design

As one might imagine, access to Quivira is a main selling points for Copala, the gated home and condo community from Pueblo Bonito founder Ernesto Coppel Kelly that’s slated to be ready for occupancy by June of this year.

Following a robust pre-sale period, the project is more than 60% sold out. “Copala has sold three times faster than we imagined,” said Maria Norton, the development’s Chief Marketing Officer.

At full completion, Copala will comprise a total of seven six-floor towers containing 36 condominium units per building. Attractively priced at roughly $230 per square foot, Copala’s condos range in price from $280,000 to $600,000. First-floor units feature a garden in front of a terrace; penthouse condos offer a rooftop terrace with a splash pool, fire pit, outdoor grill and other amenity upgrades.

The custom homes at Copala, ranging in size from 1,800 to 2,400 square feet, are available in multiple layouts and six different floor plans to suit individual lifestyle preferences. Each residence boasts Spanish Colonial, hacienda-style charm that honors the region’s Mexican heritage. Copala’s homes are priced from $480,000 to $1 million. A total of 86 houses will be built on a lovely ocean-view site terraced below the condos.

Quivira Golf Club

The gated and scenically situated Copala community will be ready for occupancy in June 2015.

In addition, a 60,000-square-foot clubhouse is under construction to serve the needs of Copala residents. The handsome hangout will offer two infinity-edge pools, a spa, business center, children’s playroom, restaurants and banquet space. Natural conservation areas, walking and hiking trails, and gardens will be situated nearby. Another feature of Copala ownership is beach club membership, with a soon-to-be-built beach clubhouse in the works.

“We’re not only selling homes and condos, we’re providing access to a full range of amenities within the entire development,” Norton stated. “It’s rare to have a project of this magnitude that’s situated only 10 minutes from the marina in downtown Cabo San Lucas.“ Moreover, the completion later this year of a new interior highway linking San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas will reduce the drive time from the airport to the property to 35 minutes. The new highway will also shorten the driving time to Todos Santos, the thriving arts colony that’s approximately a one hour drive from downtown Cabo San Lucas..

Copala’s target market is primarily families ages 35 to 60. Nearly 80% of the buyers hail from the U.S., with the balance drawn from Mexico (10%), Canada (5%) and from international locales ranging from Australia to Singapore.

Norton noted that Copala is offering direct financing unaffiliated with a banking institution. Five-, 10- and 15-year programs are available at fixed interest rates ranging from 6.0% to 6.5%, a very competitive rate in Mexico.

For reservations or further information, visit Quivira Los Cabos and Quivira Golf Club, call (619) 677-5750, or email dortega@quiviraloscabos.com.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Southern Rock Stars to Headline Beachfront Music Festival in Cabo

Southern Rock Stars to Headline Beachfront Music Festival in Cabo

Fans of classic Southern rock n’ roll are in for a treat, with veterans of legendary outfits like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and the Marshall Tucker Band slated to headline a beachfront music festival on Saturday, April 4, in Cabo San Lucas.

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Southern Rock Stars to Headline Beachfront Music Festival in Cabo

The festival proper kicks off at noon, with vendors selling beer and cocktails; comfort food favorites like hot dogs, burgers, and cotton candy; and face painting and other activities for kids. But the music itself does not begin until 4 p.m., with a few local performers – what better place to be a would-be Southern rocker than the southernmost point of the Baja California peninsula? – followed by Miguel Hill & the Cabo Cowboys, Strogeno (a long-time local draw as house band at the Jungle Bar), Jay Johnson, Mike Estes, and the Brian Flynn Band and Friends.

Flynn, of course, is a long-time fixture on the local music scene, but cut his teeth playing with bands like Molly Hatchet and The Marshall Tucker Band. Mike Estes and Jay Johnson currently front modern Southern rock standard bearer Skinny Molly, but Estes also performed with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot, while Johnson had stints as vocalist for Blackfoot and member of the Southern Rock Allstars.

 

The festival is sponsored by local restaurant La Palapa – home to the best chili and chicken fried bacon in Los Cabos, as well as other Texas style favorites – and will take place on a gorgeous 300 acre property with a private beach and spectacular views of Land’s End. The property – dubbed La Palapa Beach for the duration of the event – is located behind Office Max in the tourist corridor (Km. 4.5). Free parking is available for the first 100 cars, with overflow slotted to a nearby lot.

For those interested in a sneak peek, La Palapa is hosting a meet and greet at 7 p.m. on Friday night with Johnson, Estes, and Flynn; and the headliners are expected to perform a few songs together. Flynn is a seasonal mainstay at La Palapa (located on Calle Ninos Heroes, behind El Squid Roe), and typically performs at the restaurant Thu. – Sat. nights.

Tickets for the festival are $20 in advance – call La Palapa at (624) 141-9569 – or $25 day of show, with a percentage of each ticket sale going to support medical costs for local bar owner Juan Tatemura Quesada, who is currently fighting cancer (The night following the festival – Sunday, April 5 – Cabo San Lucas bar Baja Maria will also host a fundraiser for the popular proprietor of Cabo Lounge. Call 624-105-0477 for details).

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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March Madness: A Local Answers FAQs about Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas

March Madness: A Local Answers FAQs about Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas

Each year herds of North American college students head south to warm weather climes to participate in that seasonal rite of passage known as Spring Break. Baja California Sur’s southernmost resort destination, Cabo San Lucas, is a prime beneficiary of this mass migration, hosting thousands of bikini and board shorts clad collegians annually for mid-semester fun in the sun.

With that in mind, here are a few answers to frequently asked questions about Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas.

Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas

Photo by Camilla Fuchs.

Where does Cabo San Lucas rank as a spring break destination?

Cabo San Lucas is consistently ranked as one of the most attractive and popular destinations in North America. The city draws particularly well from the Western part of the United States and Canada (those on the Eastern seaboard tend to see Cancun as the Mexican destination of choice). Although exact numbers are not available, anecdotal evidence suggests there are at least several thousand youthful partiers present at all times during the month of March.

When is the peak time for Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas?

March is THE Spring Break month, but the mid-semester vacation period in Cabo San Lucas stretches from late February into early April, and involves three distinct waves of Canadian, U.S., and Mexican college students.

Canadian students traditionally break a little earlier than their counterparts in the U.S., and are often the first to flood area hotspots like Medano Beach (see below). U.S. students begin arriving en masse in early March, with peak occupancy during the middle part of the month.

The third wave is contemporaneous with Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week that precedes Easter. Semana Santa is a popular vacation time across Mexico, and a standard mid-semester break period for students (it’s no coincidence that Semana Santa is colloquially known as “Mexican Spring Break”). The country’s collegians frequently take advantage of this time off by heading to major resort areas like Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.

What are the most popular gathering places?

Playa El Medano is ground zero for much of the Spring Break action. This two mile stretch of golden sand showcases popular party places like Mango Deck Cantina – AKA Cabo’s unofficial Spring Break headquarters, and the home of the sex position contest – as well some of Los Cabos’ best seaside resorts. After dark, the scene is primarily centered around Plaza Bonita, at the juncture of the main drag (Blvd. Marina) and the road that leads out of town (Lazaro Cardenas). This Marina adjacent area boasts many of the city’s most boisterous late night clubs, including El Squid Roe, Pink Kitty, Mandala, Baja Junkie, La Vaquita and Knotty Social Club.

Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas

Photo by Camilla Fuchs

When do students typically start making their Spring Break plans?

Students typically start discussing Spring Break plans during the preceding semester, 4-6 months in advance. For best results, they should book their flights, and confirm their Los Cabos accommodations at least three months in advance. The 90 day window also allows those without passports ample time to make the necessary arrangements.

Is Spring Break related tourism expected to suffer in Cabo San Lucas due to the aftermath of Hurricane Odile?

Los Cabos has made a rapid recovery from Hurricane Odile, and the outlook for the area, as well as México as a whole, is extremely positive for 2015 (translation: tourism numbers are expected to be up from 2014). There are a handful of local hotels that have yet to reopen, but these are by and large luxury properties that are well out of the budgetary reach of most Spring Breakers.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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A Legacy of Luxury: The History of Hacienda Beach Club and Residences in Cabo San Lucas

A Legacy of Luxury: The History of Hacienda Beach Club and Residences in Cabo San Lucas

For generations, this property has played host to Hollywood royalty, from John Wayne and the Rat Pack to Raquel Welch and Reese Witherspoon. Its owners over the years have included three of the area’s most historically important figures. Its excelsior-like evolution – from palm-shaded retreat to five-star enclave – epitomizes the growth of Cabo San Lucas as a tourist destination. And more than 50 years after its birth, it remains the cynosure of luxury in Cabo San Lucas.

In the Duke’s day, it was called the Hotel Hacienda. It was the brainchild of Abelardo “Rod” Rodriguez, son of a Mexican president and husband to an actress who twice danced with Fred Astaire in films. Rodriguez built Baja California Sur’s first fly-in fishing resort, Rancho Las Cruces near La Paz, as well as Los Cabos’ first benchmark lodging, Hotel Palmilla (now One&Only Palmilla).

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

An aerial view of Cabo San Lucas during the heyday of Hotel Hacienda (at the foot of Medano Beach).

But Hacienda may have been his masterwork, a gorgeous seaside getaway in the years when the hotels in Cabo San Lucas could be counted on one hand:  Finisterra, Hacienda, Mar de Cortez, Solmar Suites. That was the list. But there were two other resorts of note at that time, both located in what is now called the Tourist Corridor, the coastal stretch that connects cape cities San Lucas and San Jose. One was Rodriguez’s Hotel Pamilla, the other Bud Parr’s Hotel Cabo San Lucas.

Rodriguez, Parr, Luis Bulnes (Solmar Suites), Luis Coppola (Finisterra) and Don Koll were the faces of Cabo San Lucas development, the architects behind the transformation from fishing village to international tourist destination. Newport Beach-based developer Koll, among his many other accomplishments, was the man who brought links legend Jack Nicklaus to Cabo, spearheading the Los Cabos golf boom with world-class designs at Palmilla and Cabo del Sol.

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

Looking out towards Land’s End from the infinity pool at Hacienda Beach Club and Residences.

Three of those five project pioneers, those titans of the local tourist age, helmed Hacienda during its first half-century as San Lucas’ luxury lodging non pareil. Rodriguez built the original hotel in 1963 and sold it to Parr in 1981. Koll bought it from Parr’s heirs in 2005, and transformed it from Hotel Hacienda to Hacienda Beach Club and Residences, from upscale seaside resort to a gated enclave of luxury villas.

What attracted so many important and influential people to this iconic property?

The answer is the first law of real estate:  location, location, location.

Simply put, there is no better address in Cabo San Lucas. Hacienda sits at the very foot of Medano Beach, presiding over a full quarter mile of golden sands, with commanding views of Bahia San Lucas and the evocatively shaped granitic monuments at Land’s End. Villas and residences are mere steps from acres of privacy on the area’s biggest and most popular beach, a stone’s throw from the marina – which terminates at Medano Beach – and a five minute walk from downtown shopping, dining and nightlife.

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

Moonlight view of Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

Today, the five star service, accommodations and amenities synonymous with Hacienda Beach Club and Residences are available to owners, or as vacation rentals for those seeking the ultimate in resort style living. Two and three bedroom residences and expansive beachfront villas showcase fashionable contemporary décor in a seamless flow of elegant indoor and outdoor spaces.

The amenities, like the views, are world-class, and range from an infinity pool and kid’s club to concierge and catering services and spa and fitness facilities. And the onsite restaurant, Hacienda Cocina y Cantina, is considered one of the best in Los Cabos, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner menus filled with traditional regional Mexican specialty dishes and hand-crafted cocktails. Prefer a light nosh? The Spa Café serves up healthy snacks, espresso style coffee drinks and fresh fruit smoothies.

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

Mastering the fine art of living at Hacienda Beach Club and Residences.

With its privileged and unparalleled location, Hacienda Beach Club and Residences is not just a favored hideaway for celebrities and captains of industry, but also a much sought after site for special events like weddings and renewal of vows ceremonies. Hacienda’s events specialist is on call for such occasions to help with floor plans that take advantage of the property’s wealth of picturesque places  – including elaborately manicured grounds and festively bedecked terrace, pool and beachside areas – as well as “day of” details.

The backdrop? It’s the same as it was 50 years ago. The Sea of Cortez framed by sun, sky and the southernmost point of the Baja California peninsula.

 

The restaurant and spa are open to the public, but require advance reservations. For more information, visit www.haciendacaboresort.com, email reservations@cabohacienda.com.mx, or call +52 (624) 163-3100.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Ultimate Baja Playlist: The 5 Best Songs About Cabo San Lucas

Ultimate Baja Playlist: The 5 Best Songs About Cabo San Lucas

Sammy Hagar may have said it best  – “Land’s end, you have to see it/Ain’t no picture ever say it right” – but he’s not the only one to sing the praises of Cabo San Lucas.  The pleasures of life at Land’s End have been lauded by a host of famous musicians, including many of the hottest names on the contemporary country scene.

 

 

Cabo San Lucas by Toby Keith

Perhaps it was the 2003 duet by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, that proved country music’s compatibility with sultry sea breezes and golden sand beaches. What’s certain is that Cabo San Lucas has been a big beneficiary of this burgeoning subgenre of “permanent vacation” narratives extolling the simple pleasures of life in tropical latitudes. Oklahoma born singer-songwriter Toby Keith is a master of the form, and one of the biggest proponents of the Cabeño lifestyle in recent years. Stays in Mexico was his first nod to the area, but the baritone ballad Cabo San Lucas, off the 2008 album That Don’t Make Me A Bad Guy, is undoubtedly his best. The song perfectly captures the feeling of drifting down to the southernmost point of the 800 mile long Baja peninsula (and discovering you don’t ever want to leave): I’m leavin’ you this message and if you give a damn/And you wanna call me you know where I am/In Cabo, Cabo San Lucas/Way down in Mexico, way down in Cabo.

 

 

Beer in Mexico by Kenny Chesney

According to the liner notes for his album The Road and the Radio, country music superstar Kenny Chesney wrote Beer in Mexico while vacationing in Cabo, and hanging out with Sammy Hagar during the latter’s annual birthday bash at Cabo Wabo Cantina. The song peaked at 51 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart back in 2007, but has since become a classic of its kind, albeit with a bit of a twist on the standard “permanent vacation” narrative. Rather than being seen as a final destination, Mexico is posited as a sort of sun-soaked limbo: the kind of place where one can escape, regain some much needed perspective, and “Let the warm air melt these blues away.” The narrator, at a crossroads between getting married and settling down, or staying single and free, puts off any ultimate choice with the sensible decision to “Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico.”

 

 

A Lot to Learn About Livin’ by Easton Corbin

Easton Corbin likes to point out that the farming community he comes from in Florida is a long way from the swaying palm trees and bikini-filled beaches of Miami. But the popular country singer – his eponymous debut album featured two #1 hits, A Little More Country Than That and Roll With It – definitely understands the allure of scenic seaside getaway destinations: “Taxi driver took my two bags/He saw me lookin’ at my watch/He said, “You won’t need that here/’Cause time disappears/In paradise there ain’t no clocks.” While the above stanza is a semi-poetic summation of Cabo’s timeless appeal, You Got a Lot to Learn About Livin’s chorus suggests a long-time local explaining the area’s laid-back ethos to a recent arrival. “You got a lot to learn about livin’/It’s a different world down here/Our biggest problem’s decidin’ what fish we’re fryin’/Does it go with tequila or beer?”

 

 

Stays in Mexico by Toby Keith

Las Vegas gets a lot of publicity for promoting the “what happens here, stays here” philosophy, but such sentiments are taken for granted in Cabo San Lucas. The sea and oceanside playground – with its abundance of lively bars and clubs, and surfeit of romantic luxury resorts – has long been a haven for those who want to shake off their inhibitions, do things they’d never dream of back home. “His name was Steve, her name was Gina/They met at a bar called Cabo Wabo Cantina.” So begins Stays in Mexico, Toby Keith’s paean to whirlwind vacation romances. The song ends with the lovers at the airport, ready to return to their separate lives. But neither will ever forget the time “They walked down to the beach and started drinking again/Jumped into the ocean for a dirty swim/One more margarita they were falling in love/One more is never enough.”

 

 

Cabo Wabo by Van Halen

No celebrity is more closely associated with Cabo San Lucas than Sammy Hagar. The former Montrose and Van Halen frontman famously sang of the town’s charms on the latter’s 1988 album OU812There’s a sleepy town as south of the border/If you go there once, you’ll be there twice/Lots of pretty girls, coming by the dozens/The white sand sure makes a tan look nice – two years before the band opened up a cantina with the same name as the song: Cabo Wabo. Hagar eventually bought out his erstwhile bandmates, and turned the place into one of the area’s most successful clubs. He still shows up for his annual birthday bashes (this year the concerts were moved to Las Vegas in the wake of Hurricane Odile), and to this day, no one evokes (or embodies) the town’s party hearty atmosphere quite like “The Red Rocker.”

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Los Cabos Rebounding Quickly From Hurricane Odile

Los Cabos Rebounding Quickly From Hurricane Odile

Eleven days after Hurricane Odile made landfall in Los Cabos, it’s much easier to be optimistic about the area’s ability to bounce back quickly from the strongest storm ever to hit the Baja peninsula. Many shops and restaurants are now reopening in Cabo San Lucas, and thanks to determined efforts from Mexican military and resilient residents, the downtown area is beginning to look refreshingly familiar.

It’s quite amazing considering the initial devastation caused by the category 3 hurricane (she was category 4 at one point, but blessedly slowed down a bit before making landfall), which arrived locally on Sunday evening, September 14, with an average wind speed of 125 mph. Odile battered Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo until the wee hours of the morning, and went on to deliver widespread damages throughout many areas of Baja California Sur.

JCorona

Hurricane Odile caused widespread damage in Los Cabos. Image: Johnny Corona

The sound of the wind as the storm tore through it very hard to describe, although it’s something no one who heard it will ever forget. The same goes for the sights. By midnight, entire tin roofs were blowing down the middle of Marina Boulevard, mature trees were pulled up by the roots or broken in half, cars were flipped over, glass was blown out everywhere…it was a terrifying spectacle.

And it looked even worse the next day. Returning to downtown Cabo San Lucas to survey the damage, it seemed as if a bomb had gone off. An ambitious filmmaker tasked with portraying the aftermath of a serious natural disaster would be hard pressed to come close to recreating the scene.

Los Cabos Rebounds Quickly From Hurricane Odile

Image: Johnny Corona

Los Cabos Rebounds Quickly From Hurricane Odile

Image: Johnny Corona

But there was little time for local residents to take in the sights. Most were initially concerned with trying to repair the damages to their homes – if indeed they still had any – and adjust to life without any modern conveniences. All of Los Cabos was basically blown back into the 19th century. Buckets of water were filled from cisterns for makeshift showers, or from swimming pools or other sources to flush toilets. Candles were lit. Dinners were shared affairs, with neighbors pitching in supplies.

In retrospect, that is the thing I will remember most about Hurricane Odile: how generous so many people were, and how so many neighborhoods banded together to help and protect each other.

Los Cabos Rebounds Quickly From Hurricane Odile

Cleanup efforts in Cabo San Lucas. Image: Johnny Corona

Given that spirit and the huge amount of progress made with cleanup efforts, it’s easy to be optimistic as high tourist season approaches. Some rapidly approaching events, such as Cabo Comedy Festival and Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash, have been, respectively, postponed or cancelled. But Bisbee’s is proceeding with both its annual October fishing tournaments, Los Cabos Offshore and the lucrative Black & Blue, and the 3rd annual Los Cabos International Film Festival will take place as scheduled in early November.

Please feel free to visit.

Los Cabos Rebounds Quickly From Hurricane Odile

Day 6, post Odile: Rainbow over Pedregal. Image: Chris Shuler

All images courtesy of Caboholics.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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