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Three Los Cabos Golf Courses Voted to Golf Digest’s “World 100 Greatest” List

Diamante (Dunes), Cabo del Sol (Ocean) and Querencia crack magazine’s exclusive roster

LOS CABOS, Mexico (Jan. 22, 2016) Three spectacular courses in Los Cabos, Mexico’s premier golf destination, have been selected by Golf Digest’spanelists for the second biennial edition of the publication’s “World 100 Greatest Golf Courses” roster.

“The trend is clear: Seaside venues bring out the best in golf architecture,” said Ron Whitten, Golf Digest’s Senior Editor / Architecture. “The trio of Mexican courses on the World 100 are right on an ocean.” He added that while precious few seaside settings are available to designers in the United States, “elsewhere on Planet Earth, ocean waves lap up against some of the most gorgeous layouts ever seen.”

That includes the three acclaimed courses in Los Cabos – Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the connecting 20-mile seaside corridor – featured on the 2016-2017 list.

Los Cabos Golf Courses

The spectacular links style Dunes Course at Diamante has been ranked as one of the best in the world by both Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine.

Diamante (Dunes) moved up three spots and now sits at No. 52 on Golf Digest’s elite roster. “Mexico’s first true links (was) fashioned by Davis Love III and his design team along the Pacific Ocean from a fantastic set of white sand dunes, huge portions of which are without vegetation and seem like enormous snow drifts,” Golf Digest’s digital edition reported. “Holes hug the flowing terrain with little artificiality. Two holes on the back nine…but have been replaced by new 12th and 13th holes on the beach. So now the entire second nine is adjacent to the ocean, amidst the tallest dunes. How unique is this course? No other links in the world has cactus.”

The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, the venue generally credited with putting Los Cabos on the international golf map, is ranked No. 70 on the list. “When Jack Nicklaus first saw this Baja Peninsula site, what can best be described as Scottsdale-meets-the-Sea of Cortez, he told reporters, `This is my chance to design a Pebble Beach,’ the report stated. “He took full advantage of that chance, routing an exciting 18 that plays from highlands of desert cacti, over dry washes and down to the sea on both nines. When the layout opened in 1994, Nicklaus said it had the three finest finishing holes in golf. That might still be true 22 years later, given that the greens at 16, 17 and 18 are all perched atop rocks above the crashing surf of Whale Bay.”

Ranked No. 98, Querencia, like Cabo del Sol, is a newcomer on the World 100 list. “Located several miles up the road from Cabo del Sol and adjacent to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Palmilla Golf Club, this Tom Fazio design opened in 2000,” Golf Digest reported. “The routing wanders the rugged high desert plateau on the outward nine, toward the Sea of Cortez, hopscotching a dramatic canyon on the par-3 eighth. Other holes have humpbacked fairways and greens tucked beneath huge rock outcroppings.”

Los Cabos Golf Courses

The Jack Nicklaus designed Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol is currently rated the 70th best course in the world by Golf Digest. Photo courtesy of Nicklaus.com.

Jorge Carrera, CEO of Querencia, said, “This important achievement is the recognition of a job well done by many, starting with Tom Fazio and his team during the design and construction process. Being voted onto this list is a great honor for Querencia and fantastic news for Los Cabos. The 100 Greatest ranking is an acknowledgement of the great things we have to offer as a club, a community and as a world-class destination.”

According to Greg Tallman, director of golf at Cabo del Sol, “The inclusion of three courses on Golf Digest’s recent World 100 Greatest list reinforces just how special Los Cabos is as a golf destination. I cannot think of another warm-weather destination that compares when it comes not only to top level golf, as represented by these three outstanding layouts, but an additional 10 or so excellent golf facilities, all awash in warm sunshine. The simple truth is, nothing compares.”

In addition to the World 100 Greatest feature, Golf Digest also produced “The Best Courses in 206 Countries” as part of its Planet Golf report. Not surprisingly, Los Cabos dominates the Mexico entry. Seven of the top 11 spots on the 15-course roster, selected from a total of 220 facilities, are located in Los Cabos, the hemisphere’s most celebrated golf getaway. Diamante (Dunes), Cabo del Sol (Ocean), Querenica and Quivira command the four top slots on the list, respectively, followed by El Dorado (No. 7), Chileno Bay (No. 9) and Diamante – El Cardonal (No. 11).

 

 

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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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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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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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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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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Letting it All Hang Out at Land’s End: 5 Great Los Cabos Adventures

Letting it All Hang Out at Land’s End: 5 Great Los Cabos Adventures

One of the best things about Los Cabos is that the area offers an incredible array of activities for all ages and all tastes. If you like relaxing pursuits like golf or sailing, shopping or seaside spa treatments, you’re in luck. There is certainly no shortage of tropical, sun-soaked diversions.

Then again, if your idea of fun isn’t par putts and umbrella-shaded lounge chairs, but exciting excursions and outdoor expeditions, you’re definitely in luck. The region’s incredible geographic diversity—from desert and mountain terrains to the confluence of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean—is perfect for both land and sea based adventures.

Here are five of our summer favorites, guaranteed antidotes to the dog days of August.

Los Cabos Adventures

Looking for summer adventure? Try soaring like a superhero with Cabo Flyboard.

Flyboarding

Flyboarding was invented in 2011 by a French jet ski champion named Franky Zapata (no relation to Emiliano), and if you’ve yet to try this popular new pastime, here’s how it works: you strap yourself into a pair of boots attached to a board, which itself is attached to a jet ski by means of a long hose. The jet ski driver/instructor throttles to generate power through the hose, enabling  you to twist, turn, and levitate up to 35 feet above the water. Cabo Flyboard is the top outfit in Cabo San Lucas, and after a few test runs with their instructors, you’ll be ready to try a few flips and other maneuvers perfect for impressing the bikini and board shorts clad crowds on Medano Beach.

Los Cabos Adventures

Cabo Adventures’ mountain biking tours offer a perfect introduction to the flora and fauna of Baja California Sur.

Mountain Biking

Want a great workout and a perfect introduction to the flora and fauna of Baja California Sur? Try top tour provider Cabo Adventures’ mountain biking excursion through a protected nature preserve 30 miles north of Cabo San Lucas. The desert terrain is challenging, but intrepid participants are rewarded with spectacular scenery, ranging from 50 foot high Cardon cactus to gorgeous Pacific Ocean vistas. Bikes, helmets, gloves and water bottles are all provided, and knowledgeable guides are on hand to point out indigenous wildlife and unique properties of local plant life.  Afterwards, take the gloves off for a traditional Mexican feast, followed by a celebratory tequila tasting.

Los Cabos Adventures

The 6 star ASP sponsored Los Cabos Open of Surf is held each June, but good waves can be found year round.

Surfing

Surfing is a year round pursuit in Baja Sur, although the top spots varying from season to season. Summer is the perfect time to ride the waves off Tourist Corridor beaches like Acapulquito, Monuments and Playa Costa Azul, the latter home to the Zippers surf break that draws the world’s best each June for the 6 star ASP sponsored Los Cabos Open of Surf. Summer and autumn also see excellent waves at East Cape gems like Shipwrecks and Nine Palms, while winter visitors will want to grab their boards and head for Pacific Coast beaches like Los Cerritos, La Pastora, and San Pedrito. Los Cerritos is the most popular place for beginners, with lessons offered by Mario Surf School and High Tide Sea Expeditions (instructor Alan Blyth is the former surf champion of Mexico).

Los Cabos Adventures

A snorkeler explores the fish rich waters of the Sea of Cortez with High Tide Sea Expeditions.

Snorkeling and Diving

From colorful puffer and parrot fish to manta rays, dolphins, sharks and whales, the incredible underwater diversity of the Sea of Cortez—it’s home to over 800 species of marine life—famously led Jacques Cousteau to dub it “the aquarium of the world.” Cabo Pulmo, a protected marine sanctuary with eight fingers of living coral reef, may be Baja Sur’s best known dive destination, but outstanding snorkeling and diving conditions may be found at dozens of Los Cabos sites, most notably Pelican’s Rock, Neptune’s Finger and The Point near Land’s End. Many local boats offer afternoon snorkeling expeditions, including “three bay” tours that showcase the fish rich waters of Cabo San Lucas, Chileno and Santa Maria Bays. 

Los Cabos Adventures

At Baja Buggys, off’-road adventurers must tackle beach, desert and mountain terrains.

Off-Road Racing

The peninsula is famed for punishing off-road races like the Baja 1000, and those keen to experience high-speed runs in rugged conditions will find opportunities aplenty in Los Cabos. Wide Open Cabo offers arrive and drive racing programs, as well as single and multi-day jaunts in authentic, custom made Baja Challenge race cars. Tour highlights include lunch runs from Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos, with memorable pit stops at the legendary Hotel California. Thrill-seekers will also want to buckle their seatbelts for Baja Buggys’ All Terrain Xrail Adventure, an exhilarating  jaunt across disparate terrains that that begins on the beach in Migriño and winds through a 300 year old mountain village.

 

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 Best of Baja: Luxury Vacation Villas in Los Cabos

The Best of Baja: Luxury Vacation Villas in Los Cabos

If you’re one of the privileged few who demand the absolute best in service, style and extravagant surroundings, then forget about five-star hotels…You’re ready to enter the exclusive world of villa rentals in Mexico’s most spectacular setting, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, and lavish Land’s End luxury lodgings overlook the dramatic coastline of Los Cabos at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula.

Luxury Villas Collection

Luxury Villa Collections Vacation Rental and Property Management offers an elegant collection of private residences in some of Los Cabos’ most exclusive communities, including three stunning properties near Punta Ballena, an upscale neighborhood in the Tourist Corridor which connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Access to world-class golf courses and spas may be arranged through your round the clock concierge, with optional amenities that include private chefs and private transportation services, like a driver to meet you at the Los Cabos International Airport and whisk you away to your seaside aerie.

Villa Victoria

Villa Victoria

Villa Victoria

Boasting a privileged location among the Auberge Private Residences at Esperanza near Punta Ballena, this immaculately appointed 3750 square foot, three bedroom villa sleeps up to eight at rates that belie the luxurious surroundings. Upscale amenities include spectacular poolside views, temporary membership in the Auberge Private Residences at Esperanza Owners Club and Punta Ballena Beach Club, as well as convenient access to the Spa at Esperanza, which has been ranked the best spa in Mexico by Travel and Lesiure Magazine.

Villa Rendezvous

Villa Rendezvous

Villa Rendezvous

A nearby neighbor of Villa Victoria, the three bedroom penthouse at Villa Rendezvous offers many of the same Auberge Residences amenities: a fully equipped kitchen, luxurious living areas, jetted tubs and marble walk-in showers, and of course gorgeous views of the Sea of Cortez. Feel like a round of golf? You’re a stones throw from Jack Nicklaus’ stunning Cabo del Sol Ocean Course, which has been ranked among the world’s 100 best golf courses. Need a massage? Visit the Spa at Esperanza, or arrange for a visit from a highly-trained masseuse. Villa Rendezvous offers penthouse living at its opulent best.

Villa Las Arenas

Villa Las Arenas

Villa Las Arenas

Las Arenas means “the sands,” and this magnificent four bedroom, 3300 square foot villa is the perfect introduction to life at Land’s End. Watch the sunrise over the Sea of Cortez, or the sun sink into the sea beyond Cabo’s famous Arch, but by all means do so from the comfort of your Infinity pool, jacuzzi, or private, secluded cove. Everything at Villa Las Arenas is top of the line, from the furnishings and appliances to the the marble floors and floor-to-ceiling sliding doors which when opened blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

Cabo Villas

Los Cabos’ most exclusive addresses are found in the hillside enclave of Pedregal, the Cabo San Lucas community that is home to the seasonal residences of billionaires and movie stars. Cabo Villas’ Pedregal rental collection is non pareil, and includes breathtaking properties with sumptuous surroundings and awe-inspiring views of Land’s End, the Sea of Cortez, and the Pacific Ocean. Amenities include personal concierge service from onsite staff; private chefs, butlers and housekeepers; and customized event planning. Private jet charters are also available, of course.

Villa Joya del Mar

Villa Joya del Mar

Villa Joya del Mar

This roomy 3500 square foot, four bedroom villa is awash in elegant accents: classical stone columns, slate and marble floors, tile roofing, unique artwork, granite outcroppings that accentuate the pool and spa areas. Perched high above the Pacific Ocean, the panoramic vistas at Joya del Mar are to die for – during the winter migrating whales are visible as they head to their seasonal breeding grounds – and the expansive terrace is the perfect place for a cocktail party, or a romantic dinner for two.

Villa Marcella

Villa Marcella

Villa Marcella

Villa Marcella has played host to some of Los Cabos’ most elegant soirees, and it is the perfect villa rental for visiting royalty, or at the very least those with regal standards. The 10,000 square foot luxury estate opens directly onto Pedregal Beach, steps from the Pacific Ocean, and features a graceful mixture of amenities old and new: a massive marble fireplace and billiard room; a swimming pool, jacuzzi, and wet bar; state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems; and enough room to entertain up to 200 of your closest friends.

Villa Turquesa

Villa Turquesa

Villa Turquesa

The best of the best. For a mere $3500 per night you can enjoy the height of Land’s End luxury at Villa Turquesa, an incredible property perched 350 feet above the beach. Words like spacious and expansive are inadequate to describe the myriad comforts offered at this sprawling 10,000 square foot, four bedroom ne plus ultra dream estate. The main terrace includes a lap pool with a swim-up bar, and the outdoor dining area can accommodate up to 60 guests. With the addition of the lower lever, Villa Turquesa can be expanded to nine bedrooms, making it the ultimate destination wedding party accommodation option.

 

Planning a trip to Los Cabos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from  Tijuana  to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Go Whale Watching in Los Cabos

Have a Baja Moment! Go Whale Watching in Los Cabos

Whale watching is one of the most popular seasonal activities in Los Cabos. Each year roughly 10,000 whales migrate to the warm waters of Baja Sur to breed, from humpbacks and gray whales to blues, fins, sperms, and orcas. Humpbacks and gray whales are the most commonly sighted cetaceans in the waters off Los Cabos, and humpbacks are the unquestioned stars of most local whale watching tours. The season officially runs from December 15 to April 15, although whales often begin arriving as early as November, and frequently begin the long journey to their summer homes by March. During the winter whale watching season, virtually every seaworthy craft in Los Cabos offers some sort of whale watching excursion, from small pangas to enormous luxury yachts.

Humpbacks make the world’s longest mammalian migration, traveling over 10,000 miles from the Bering Sea to their breeding grounds in Baja Sur. Certainly, they are the most photogenic of whales, indulging in a variety of flamboyant behaviors, including spectacular breaches (lifting their enormous bodies almost completely out of the water), spyhopping (lifting their heads out of the water for a quick look around) and lobtailing (smacking the water with their tail flukes). The best photo opportunities for tourists are typically of humpback whales, but grays are also seen regularly. Grays migrate to their traditional breeding grounds in Magdalena Bay, about 170 miles up the Pacific coast from Cabo San Lucas, and often do a bit of Land’s End sightseeing before leaving for the summer.

Whale Watching in Los Cabos

A breaching humpback is the highlight of any whale watching excursion.

Since the whales were born in Mexico, it’s is commonly joked that they’re Mexican citizens, and certainly the leviathans do enjoy some legal protections, particularly in regards to the approach distance of tour boats. Small, fast boats like Zodiacs are probably the best way to see whales at relatively close range, although visitors prone to mal de mer may prefer a more stable or luxurious ride. There are several fine sailboats and catamarans offering whale watching cruises out of Cabo San Lucas, and these craft are equipped to provide fine food, fine wines and cocktails, and a host of other amenities during their daily cruises.

The top tour options for fast boats, sailboats, and luxury cruisers are listed below:

Whale Watching in Los Cabos

A spyhopping humpback provides a great photo opportunity for guests aboard one of Cabo Adventures’ Apex inflatables.

Cabo Adventures

It should come as no surprise that the area’s premier outdoor adventure company offers some of the most memorable whale watching tours. Cabo Adventures uses inflatable Apex boats, and their experienced captains have the speed and maneuverability to anticipate the movements of whales and get their guests some great photo opportunities. For those who want to get as close as possible, this is the way to go. Bilingual guides are on hand to assist in identifications of whales and other local marine life, and the photo safaris also include hydrophone listening technology.

Whale Watching in Los Cabos

Want to whale watch in style? Charter a sailboat from Cabo Sails.

Cabo Sails

Cabo San Lucas offers great sailing outside its protected bay, and there is no more elegant way to whale watch than with sails up and Champagne flutes in hand. Cabo Sails is the top sailboat charter operation in the area, with 28′ to 44′ food cruisers, and expert captains and bilingual crew knowledgeable in both whales and sails. See all the local landmarks en route, enjoy delicious appetizers and fruit and vegetable platters, sip fine wines or premium cocktails, and settle in for an unforgettable whale watching experience.

Whale Watching in Los Cabos

Looking for comfort and a smooth ride? The triple-decker catamaran Caborey is the top option.

Caborey

If you’re used to traveling in high style, it’s hard to beat the Caborey experience. This enormous triple-decked catamaran offers the best dinner cruises in Baja – lavish five course meals and Las Vegas style floorshows – and their whale watching tours provide such a smooth, easy ride that even the most landlubbery of guests will be able to enjoy the magnificent sights, which not only include leviathans of the deep, but Land’s End and Lover’s Beach. Whale watching tours are offered three days a week during the season, and feature a delicious breakfast buffet and an open bar with over 50 types of tropical drinks.

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Planning a trip to Los Cabos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from  Tijuana  to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Cabo San Lucas’ Hidden Beach: Playa Coral Negro

Cabo San Lucas’ Hidden Beach: Playa Coral Negro

There is a beach in Cabo San Lucas that goes by many names – Playa Coral Negro, Cannery Beach, and Old Peoples’ Beach, to name just a few – yet seems to be little known by any of them. Playa Coral Negro is the name I have heard most often, although Playa Escondida, the name of neighboring sands in the collective group of so-called Cannery Beaches, is perhaps more accurate: Hidden Beach. Hidden in plain sight.

Playa Coral Negro

The sands of Playa Coral Negro slope gently away from the old Cannery.

I have never seen this beach mentioned in guidebooks or articles about Los Cabos, although it has more tradition than most, and is often thronged with people on weekends. The sandy stretch offers safe swimming and good snorkeling, enjoys a privileged location between the Cabo San Lucas Marina and Lover’s Beach, and looks out across the restaurants and resorts that line Playa El Medano.

Why isn’t Playa Coral Negro better known, or written about in travel guides and round-ups of the best local beaches? Perhaps because it is the traditional Mexican beach–the one that hasn’t been given over to tourists. There aren’t a lot of white faces to be seen here, particularly on weekends, and the beach lacks the amenities associated with the more popular seaside tourist haunts.

Every Sunday, Playa Coral Negro draws huge crowds of Choyeros (the name comes from the cholla cactus, and is used to describe natives of Baja Sur), with umbrella-shaded vendors selling food and drinks, and families sitting together near the shore. A wooden deck winds around the walls of the old cannery, and serves as a sort of makeshift pathway from the vendor carts to the rocks rimming the far side of the beach.

If you look out toward the rocks guarding Lover’s Beach on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll see enterprising youths carefully climbing around them, making a fairly difficult if not very dangerous traverse past the remaining Cannery Beaches to Playa del Amor. There is a reason guidebooks often claim that Lover’s Beach is only accessible by boat or water-based transportation. Local officials don’t want tourists hurting themselves. But this climb is something of a rite of passage for many who live here, and falling into the calm waters of the bay isn’t the worst thing that could happen (unless you’re run over by a rogue wave runner).

Playa Coral Negro

A lifeguard stand and some palapa-topped umbrellas are all the amenities you’ll find at Coral Negro Beach. Playa Grande is seen in the background.

For many years, the cannery was the center of commerce in Cabo San Lucas. In fact, as recently as fifty years ago – when the population numbered about 300 people – it was about the town’s only industry. Playa Coral Negro was the town’s most important beach. Visitors may notice that the entrances to two of Cabo’s earliest hotels, Finisterra and Solmar Suites, are only  a hundred yards or so from Coral Negro beach. The early developments moved incrementally inland, slowly edging away – both commercially and geographically – from the old cannery and its beach.

Nowadays, the cannery is in ruins, and the beach is virtually deserted for most of every week. Still, it’s a pretty place, and a strategic spot to watch all the boats motor in and out of the bay. It’s within easy walking distance of Pedregal and the Marina, and well worth a visit for those who like hidden treasures.

 

Planning a trip to Los Cabos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from  Tijuana  to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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