Rolling out the Red Carpet: Baja International Film Festival Announces Event Schedule

by Chris Sands

Event Schedule Announced by Baja International Film Festival

Anticipation continues to build for the First Annual Baja International Film Festival, which will be held in Los Cabos from November 14th – 17th. The festival’s organizers, who include Vail Film Festival and Colorado Film Institute co-founders Sean and Scott Cross, hope the inaugural four-day fête will strengthen ties between the U.S. and Mexican film industries, and that the cinematic celebration will become an annual event on the level of the Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, and Sundance Film Festivals.

Event scheduled announced by the Baja International Film Festival at a press conference.

In the last several weeks, organizers have released information on the festival’s advisory board, its hotel and travel partners, the list of films to be screened at the festival, competition categories, cash and prize information, the event schedule, and, most recently, the subjects to be discussed at the filmmaker panel discussions. An announcement has not yet been made of the three finalists in the screenplay competition.

The festival will begin on Wednesday, November 14th, with an activities slate that includes a film screening and an opening night cocktail party. The kick-off events will take place at the new Los Cabos Convention Center, an expansive 75,000 square foot facility built for June’s G-20 summit of world leaders. The convention center is scheduled to host the majority of the festival’s events and screenings, although selected films will also be shown at Puerto Los Cabos, Plaza Mijares in San Jose del Cabo, and the Cultural Pavilion in Cabo San Lucas.

In addition to the opening night excitement, other festival highlights are expected to include Thursday’s Filmmaker Reception at Puerto Los Cabos’ Wirikuta Cactus Garden, the largest cactus garden in the world, and Friday’s Art Walk and L.A. Hotel Cafe Concert featuring singer-songwriter Sara Barreilles, the Grammy award-winning Cary Brothers, popular indie band Harper Blynn, as well as singers Madi Diaz and Holly Conlan.


Los Cabos Convention Center will most most of the Baja International Film Festival's events and activities.

Closing night begins early, with a 5 p.m. red carpet event at the Los Cabos Convention Center featuring some of the festival’s celebrity attendees, followed by the festival’s final film, and a post-screening Q & A session. Red carpet festivities will then continue with a walk up to the VIP cocktail reception and subsequent awards ceremony dinner. The guest list at the sit-down dinner will include some of the U.S. and Mexican film industrys’ most acclaimed filmmakers, with awards handed out in several categories, including Feature Films, Short Films, and Documentaries. After dinner and the awards presentations, the festival will conclude by honoring selected actors and directors with achievement awards.

An announcement has also been made about the subjects and schedule for the festival’s panel discussions, which will feature distinguished groups of actors and directors discussing topics relevant to the industry. The panel discussions will be part of Friday’s Film Forum Mexico-USA, and  will primarily touch on challenges associated with investment and funding. The forum is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Los Cabos Convention Center, with specific issues to include tax incentives, investment mechanisms for producing in the U.S. and Mexico, production costs, locations and facilities in Mexico, distribution in the U.S., and opportunities for Mexican talent in the U.S.

Still pending is information on the winner of the screenplay contest, which is being co-sponsored by Virgin Produced, the film and television division of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.The grand prize winner of the screenplay contest will receive a complimentary stay at a local luxury resort for the duration of the festival, as well as two all-access VIP passes for screenings and events. The winning screenplay will also be given production consideration by Virgin. The submission deadline was October 26th, and information on the top three finalists will be announced via press release during the run-up to the festival.

For more information about the First Annual Baja International Film Festival, visit, or email

All photos courtesy of the Baja International Film Festival.

Want to find out where to have a great pre-film festival dinner?  Where to stay in Los Cabos? 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 restaurants, hotels 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.

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Inaugural Los Cabos Open Golf Tournament Set to Tee off at Puerto Los Cabos and Palmilla Golf Club

Los Cabos Open Golf Tournament

by Chris Sands

Local golfers are working on their waggles, and smoothing out the kinks in their putting strokes.  The Open is coming to Los Cabos.  No, not the US Open. Not the British Open. The Los Cabos Open Golf Tournament. If Bobby Jones were alive, he’d be shoving his plus fours in a steamer trunk, because the inaugural event is for amateurs only. The golf tournament will be held from October 4th through the 6th, with rounds scheduled at Puerto Los Cabos and Palmilla Golf Club. Winning the Los Cabos Open may not guarantee the golfing immortality enjoyed by course designers Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, but it’s a good start.

Inaugural Los Cabos Open Golf Tournament Set to Tee off at Puerto Los Cabos

The Los Cabos Open Golf tournament will be comprised of 36 holes of stroke play on two of Los Cabos’ most celebrated courses, with players being grouped by handicap into three separate categories. Category A is reserved for players with handicaps ranging from scratch to 10, Category B for bogey golfers in the 11 to 18 range, and Category C for high handicappers whose number is between 19 and 36.  Although each player is responsible for his own handicap, the tournament committee reserves the right to adjust the handicaps of sandbaggers, even if the sandbagger’s playing partners have already thrown him in a water hazard.

The opening round to be held October 5th at Puerto Los Cabos, with the first group teeing off at 8:30 a.m. The course is a collaborative effort between Norman and Nicklaus. The Great White Shark designed the front nine Mission Course, the Golden Bear the back nine Ocean course. Eventually, each designer will expand his nine hole layout into a full loop, but for now, golfers can check out the contrasting design styles of these living legends. Prizes will available on several of the holes. Closest to the hole on the par 3 6th gets a free car, so participating golfers will want to tighten up their iron play. All they have to do is hold the green after a hundred foot drop from an elevated tee box, and they can drive home in a new Jetta.

Hole #8 at Palmilla Golf Club will present challenges at the Los Cabos Open Golf Tournament

The action shifts to Palmilla Golf Club on October 6th, with the first golfers going off at 7 a.m. Jack Nicklaus, the godfather of golf in Los Cabos, also designed Palmilla, and the championship-level course has been ranked among the 100 best in the world. Palmilla consists of Mountain, Arroyo, and Ocean nines, but for a little consistency, only the Ocean and Mountain layouts will be used for the tournament. Prizes include another new Volkswagen model, a Movado watch collection, and a three night stay for two at the fabulous Sheraton Hacienda del Mar. Courtesy food and beverages will be available for participants at both Palmilla and Puerto Los Cabos.
A welcoming cocktail reception is scheduled for the evening of October 4th at Sheraton’s Pitahayas Restaurant, with festivities to begin at 7 p.m. The closing awards dinner will also be held at Pitahayas, and in addition to the restaurant’s excellent Pacific Rim cuisine, will include prizes, awards, raffles, and live music courtesy of Cabomax and The Twins. Sponsors for the inaugural event include Sheraton, Puerto Los Cabos, Palmilla, Telmex, Avaya, Cuervo Tradicional, Cabo Faces, Bisbee’s, Volkswagen, and Diamonds International. For more information, visit

Don’t forget!  The Inaugural Los Cabos Open Golf Touranment is Set to Tee off at Puerto Los Cabos and Palmilla Golf Club…make your plans now! 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

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Cabo Catamaran Sails from Sea to Sea

By Chris Sands

The Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean just beyond the granite rock formations at Land’s End, and unlike sailing in Cabo San Lucas Bay, which provides superb views but only moderate breezes, the winds blow with a bit more authority outside the protected bay. I rediscovered this phenomenon on a recent tour aboard the catamaran Tropicat, when I could hear the creaking of rigging and feel the boat shifting beneath my feet as the sails filled and we ran downwind away from the luxury resorts above Solmar Beach.

Sunset from the Sunderland. Image: Chris Sands

Sailing is a popular pastime in Cabo San Lucas, and although there are several companies that will charter boats by the day, most of the larger sailboat operations specialize in public tours, usually for snorkeling, seasonal whale-watching, sunset, or dinner.

There are a wide variety of boats from which to choose, from the gaff-rigged schooner Sunderland, built in 1885 and one of the last remaining tall ships, to more modern vessels like the gorgeous 65-foot catamaran Tropicat, known for its Sunset Jazz & Wine tours. I’ll cover Sunderland and some of the other top sailboats at a later date, but for now I’d like to focus on Tropicat, which I think provides a good example of the type of sunset cruise commonly available for visitors to Cabo San Lucas.

Tropicat, like the majority of local cruisers, is a catamaran, and this type of boat is popular for two reasons. Because of their tandem hulls, catamarans provide a steady ride. They are also very fast (catamarans have little draft, so they often seem as if they are gliding over the water). These characteristics make cats very attractive to visitors, particularly those who have spent little time on the water or become easily seasick, because there is almost no rocking motion, and a lot of local landmarks can be covered during the guided tour portion of the cruise.

What sets Tropicat apart from the competition is that the food and beverage selections, service, and sailing are all of superior quality. In addition to enjoying stationary platters of fruit and crudités, my fellow passengers and I tasted fine wines and nibbled on delicious hors d’oeuvres as the boat cruised under power for photo opportunities of local landmarks like Medano Beach, Lover’s Beach, and The Arch.

Once clear of Land’s End, Tropicat’s crew raised the sails and put the boat through her paces amidst the brisk Pacific Ocean breezes, showing off her speed during an exhilarating downwind run into open seas. Later, after the sun descended into the Pacific, Tropicat’s cabin area was transformed into an impromptu cocktail lounge, with a backdrop of cool jazz and rhythm and blues music, and a final round of Dirty Monkeys (in addition to wine, Tropicat also offers a selection of tropical drinks), as the boat returned to the marina, giving us one last memorable view — the city lights tracing the hillsides of Pedregal as night fell.

View of El Arco from Tropicat. Image: Chris Sands

General Information

How to Get There: Tropicat is at the Cabo San Lucas Marina, Dock #4, across from Gali Plaza. Check-in time is 5:30 p.m. for the sunset tour, and the boat returns at 8 p.m.

What to Bring: Sunscreen and sunglasses are both highly recommended, as the sun is brighter and more intense when reflected off of water. A sweater or light jacket is suggested for the sunset sail, especially during the winter months, as the weather can cool considerably after the sun goes down.

Cost: $59 dollars for adults, $29.50 for children ages 5 to 11.

How to Book: You can book online at, or call (624) 143-3797 for reservations.