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Exotic Estates Launches “Exotic Cabo Villa Escape Sweeps”

Exotic Estates International, Alaska Airlines, and Cabo Adventures join forces to offer the chance to win a $10,000 Luxury Villa Vacation in Los Cabos!

Exotic Estates celebrates the addition of over 90 incredible vacation villas in Los Cabos, Mexico, with the Exotic Cabo Villa Escape Sweeps! This sweepstakes prize includes a stay at Casa Cortez Beach Villa, a luxury villa overlooking the beach in San Jose del Cabo, and much more.

The lucky winner will receive four (4) round-trip coach-class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska’s US Mainland network to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) in Mexico.

Once in Los Cabos, guests will enjoy a luxury sailing excursion with Cabo Adventures, where they will explore the beautiful, rugged coastline and pristine waters of the Sea of Cortez.

All legal US residents over 21 can enter for a chance to win this incredible trip by November 14th 2016.

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For complete details, Official Rules and to enter, visit the Exotic Estates’ website: Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Escape Sweeps.

“What better way to celebrate and promote our expansion down to Cabo than by giving away an amazing Cabo villa vacation,” John Di Rienzo, the Marketing Director for Exotic Estates. “Casa Cortez Beach Villa is a beautiful home that delivers the mix of luxurious amenities, privacy and perfect setting that our discerning guests expect in a vacation villa. We are also thrilled to be working with Alaska Airlines again; their expansive network offers our guests excellent access to villas in Mexico and Hawaii. We are also pleased to introduce Cabo Adventures as an established local operator of quality tours and excursions.”

Exotic Estates’ Casa Cortez Beach Villa is a Mediterranean-style five-bedroom and five-bath Cabo villa that overlooks the Sea of Cortez, in the exclusive, gated community of Palmilla Sur and Cerro Colorado in San Jose del Cabo. The villa boasts spectacular views of the Sea of Cortez and the rugged coastline of Los Cabos, Mexico!

Among the charms of this luxuriously private villa are five glorious master suites and a large terrace with an infinity pool, hot tub and stunning views of the beach below.

About Exotic Estates
Founded in Hawaii in 2006, Exotic Estates International is a boutique luxury vacation villa rental agency representing a curated collection of villas in Mexico, Hawaii, Utah, the Caribbean and other in-demand vacation destinations. The Exotic Estates team works one-on-one with travelers to choreograph exceptional vacation experiences with a personal touch. The company is member of ASTA, IATA and the VRMA, and is a proud partner of the Travel Agent community, working with Agents to match clients with the ideal vacation villa.

Alaska Airlines offers convenient non-stops from the West Coast to seven beach destinations in Mexico, including Los Cabos. Your journey becomes part of the adventure as you watch free entertainment, snack on Pacific Northwest inspired food and beverages, relax in custom power-equipped seats, and enjoy award-winning service. Alaska Airlines ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America” in the J.D. Power North American Airline Satisfaction Study for nine consecutive years from 2008 to 2016.

Cabo Adventures is continually rated as Cabo’s #1 tour and activity company. The company has been delivering the widest selection of safe, fun and informative activities to people who want to discover all that the area has to offer for over nine years.

 

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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Southwest Airlines To Fly Nonstop Between Oakland And Mexico

Daily Service to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from Oakland Intl. Airport to begin Feb. 12, 2017

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today filed an application with the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to offer the first U.S. carrier nonstop service between Oakland International Airport and both San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, beginning in February 2017, subject to governmental approvals. Once approved, the carrier’s flight schedule and fares will be published on Southwest.com.

“Linking the San Francisco Bay Area to these popular Mexican beach resort areas with time-saving itineraries brings our Customers low-fare and high-value service that is an exciting addition to our growing international portfolio,” said Leah Koontz, Southwest Vice President  who announced the proposed flights to gathered guests and media near the carrier’s Oakland Ticket Counter. “We’re adding nonstop service that extends the reach of Oakland’s convenient airport experience to two top-ranking international destinations without a nonstop option.”

“Los Cabos, in particular, is the most requested international destination from the East Bay and North Bay that does not have a nonstop option,” said Bryant L. Francis, C.M., Director of Aviation for The Port of Oakland. “Southwest’s continual investment, especially with new medium-haul and long-haul flights has made Oakland International the fastest growing major airport inCalifornia in terms of passengers, and they’re enjoying unprecedented value and reliability.”

Southwest Airlines To Fly Nonstop Between Oakland And Mexico

The Port is undertaking a major renovation of Terminal One: a new security checkpoint and international check-in and arrivals area is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2017; a modernization and expansion of the airport’s passenger federal inspection station (FIS) for U.S. Customs & Border Protection services is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2017.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST & OAKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

According to the most recent figures available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest carries the most  passengers to and from the San Francisco Bay Area through its operations at the region’s three major commercial airports. Southwest’s 120 departures a day at Oakland International Airport comprise the carrier’s biggest operation in Northern California, transporting the majority of the airport’s 11 million annual travelers to nearly 30 destinations across the United States, with additional connecting or same-plane service to another two dozen cities.

Southwest has more than 2,600 Oakland-based Employees and has hired more than 750 locally based Employees since January 2014.

Oakland International is the fourth busiest airport in California and the second busiest in the San Francisco Bay Area, the closest airport for most local residents and to the region’s top tourism and entertainment venues. Oakland International is operated by The Port of Oakland, which also oversees the Oakland seaport and 20 miles of waterfront. For airport maps, and details on shopping, dining, transportation, and more, visit www.oaklandairport.com.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.

In its 46th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 50,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually.  Southwest operates more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season across a network of 98 destinations in the United States and seven additional countries with service to three airports in Cuba expected to begin later this year, subject to government approvals.

Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity.  That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as more than 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest created Transfarency℠, a philosophy which treats Customers honestly and fairly, and in which low fares actually stay low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free®  to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some airlines may allow free checked bags on select routes or for qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply. The airline proudly unveiled a bold new look:  Heart.  A new logo, aircraft livery, interior design featuring a new seat and Flight Attendant galley, Employee-designed uniforms, and an updated airport experience all showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees who connect Customers with what’s important in their lives.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic whenever the carrier enters new markets.  With 43 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2015 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at SouthwestOneReport.com.

Book Southwest Airlines’ low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.

 

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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Hospitality Group Invests $150 Million in San Jose del Cabo

Grupo Vidanta Partners With Hakkasan Group To Bring Nightlife, Daylife And Dining Experiences To Mexico

A long-term commitment, the partnership will first see three brand new concepts open in the second half of 2017, including two restaurants and a beach club at Vidanta Los Cabos in San Jose del Cabo. The beach club will offer an extravagant daylife experience and will evolve into a club-restaurant-cabaret by night.

Over the course of the subsequent five years, Hakkasan Group will introduce a new venue at a different Vidanta property each year, as well as a brand new hotel with Grupo Vidanta.

Grupo Vidanta is constantly expanding to introduce innovative entertainment experiences and destination attractions to key regions across Mexico. This includes forging partnerships with some of the world’s most renowned brands, one example being Vidanta’s collaboration with Cirque du Soleil to create JOYÀ.

“Our latest collaboration with the world-renowned Hakkasan Group further exemplifies our long-term vision and ongoing commitment to progressing the growth of tourism in Mexico and evolving the Vidanta brand,” said Iván Chávez, Executive Vice President of Grupo Vidanta.

Hospitality Group Invests $150 Million in San Jose del Cabo.

Rendering of Hakkasan Beach Club at Vidanta Los Cabos.

Founded in the UK, Hakkasan Group is headquartered in Las Vegas with over 50 establishments across the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Its stable of brands includes restaurants Hakkasan, Yauatcha, HKK, Sake no Hana, Herringbone, Searsucker and nightclub / day club brand Omnia; which is part of the Group’s diversification into a full-suite hospitality company offering both day and nightlife premium services to guests.

Commenting at the signing, Grupo Vidanta founder Daniel Chávez Morán said: “We are thrilled to partner with one of the most renowned global hospitality companies and create new opportunities and original experiences in Mexico. Through our partnership with Hakkasan Group we will bring world-class dining and entertainment offerings like no other in Mexico to destinations across the country.”

Hakkasan Group President Nick McCabe said: “As Hakkasan Group’s first venture into Mexico, we are delighted to partner with Grupo Vidanta – a company which shares our vision of unparalleled service, quality and experience. This partnership is the next step in Hakkasan Group’s ambitious global growth strategy and will position our business for further expansion across the region, via both our current portfolio of brands and new concept developments.”

About Grupo Vidanta
Founded in 1974 by the tourism industry’s leading visionary, Daniel Chávez Morán, Grupo Vidanta is the preeminent developer and resort operator in Mexico and Latin America specializing in vacation destinations, luxury hotel brands, golf courses, real estate, tourism infrastructure and entertainment. The company owns and operates multiple properties in Mexico’s most sought-after beach destinations including Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Puerto Peñasco, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlán. Vidanta’s portfolio is also comprised of six distinct resort hotel brands – Grand Luxxe, The Grand Bliss, The Grand Mayan, The Bliss, Mayan Palace, and Sea Garden. From AAA Five Diamond award-winning hotels to an internationally recognized collection of golf courses throughout Mexico, Grupo Vidanta continually pioneers innovative partnerships, including collaborations with Cirque du Soleil to create JOYÀ (a first-of-its kind experience in Riviera Maya); Nicklaus Designs to develop three renowned Jack Nicklaus golf courses; and Greg Norman Golf Course Design to debut the newest pro course in the collection at Nuevo Vallarta. In addition to being the largest golf course developer in Mexico, Grupo Vidanta has also developedMexico’s first privately built and owned airport in Puerto Peñsaco.

Frequently named among the “Best Companies to Work for in Mexico,” Vidanta maintains a strong commitment to its 15,000 employees, and surrounding communities, through its progressive mission dedicated to environmental and philanthropic efforts, including its long-established non-profit foundations, Fundación Vidanta and Fundación Delia Morán. For more information, visit www.grupovidanta.com.

About Hakkasan Group
Hakkasan Group is a worldwide hospitality company with establishments located across the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Its name is taken from its Michelin star restaurant that set the high-level standard for the group’s collection of diverse brands. Its ‘brand first’ philosophy builds restaurant, nightlife, and daylife into world-class lifestyle brands, all with a focus on service, design, innovation, and experience. For more information, visit www.hakkasangroup.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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One&Only Palmilla Partners with Laird Hamilton

Los Cabos Resort to Showcase Apparel of Big Wave Surfer Laird Hamilton

Luxury hospitality brand One&Only Resorts has announced an exclusive partnership deal with big wave surfer and all-around waterman Laird Hamilton – the former being the only resort company licensed to carry the latter’s new performance-based clothing line, Laird Apparel.  The launch recently took place at One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, with additional One&Only resorts expected to showcase specially curated collections by the end of the year.

The newly-debuted line of stylish yet performance-based apparel for men is inspired by the adventurous lifestyle of Hamilton himself. Hamilton, of course, is a legendary figure in the surf world, and generally regarded as the best big wave surfer ever. He pioneered the foilboard and tow-in surfing – using PWCs (personal water craft) to tow into waves too big to reach by paddle power – and has also been an active participant and proponent of wind and kitesurfing,  waterskiing, and even stand up paddleboarding. He’s also a successful model, filmmaker and television personality.

One&Only Palmilla Partners with Laird Hamilton

One&Only Palmilla Resorts is teaming up with Laird Apparel, the clothing line from big wave surfer Laird Hamilton.

One&Only was a natural partner for Laird Apparel, given its premium collection of tropical resort destinations. And its Palmilla property seemed singularly suited for the launch, blending barefoot luxury with a privileged, sui generis coastal setting. Not only does Los Cabos boast an established surf culture with a wealth of superb sites – the nearby Zippers break at Playa Costa Azul in San Jose del Cabo hosts the annual Los Cabos Open of Surf – but the area also boasts world-class conditions for water sports such as diving, windsurfing, kayaking and kiteboarding.

The 220-acre Grand-Dame resort has been the cynosure of high-end hospitality in Los Cabos for over 50 years. Originally founded in 1956, the property has evolved over the years from the fly-in fishing resort of original owner Rod Rodriguez to its current incarnation as a vacation haven for the haut-monde; a transition hastened by the One&Only imprimatur in 2004, and the efforts of former general manager and pioneer of Los Cabos style luxury hospitality Edward T. Steiner.

“When I arrived at the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, the connection between Laird Apparel and the resort felt natural as it fit within the local Baja surf culture,” Hamilton said. “From the pristine beach to the world-class fitness center and golf course to the tranquil yoga garden, One&Only Palmilla is the idyll setting for the clothing’s hybrid, function-first edge. The technical fabrics and tailored construction of the apparel allow the wearer to transition easily from water activity to lounging to sport to evening.”

One&Only Palmilla Pairs Up with Laird Hamilton

One&Only Palmilla is one of the benchmark resorts in Baja California Sur, with a spectacular property near San Jose del Cabo.

Plans to expand Laird Apparel to other One&Only properties are currently in the works, with an announcement expected soon.  In the meantime, One&Only Palmilla is the only resort to carry the line, and indeed the only place to buy Laird Apparel in the nearly 800-mile long Baja California peninsula.  An exclusive high-quality performance t-shirt inspired by the casual luxury lifestyle of One&Only Resorts was designed for the launch, and is currently available in the onsite NEO boutique. So too are outdoor apparel options specifically curated for One&Only Palmilla’s exclusive clientele.

“We look for unique and meaningful brands to carry in NEO boutique at One&Only Resorts,” said Helen McCabe-Young, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, One&Only Resorts. “We were initially drawn to Laird Apparel for the collection’s inspired product, refined aesthetic, and technical functionality.  We wanted to offer something more for our male guests who lead active lives and seek comfort, and quality whether for sport or leisure.  Laird Hamilton’s contemporary lifestyle of adventure and relaxed luxury living lends itself perfectly to One&Only’s own distinctive style, ‘unstuffy’ sense of genuine hospitality and lively local culture.”

About One&Only Resorts  
Created exclusively for the ultra-luxury resort market, One&Only Resorts are conceived as hallmarks of excellence.  Set in some of the most beautiful locales in the world, each award-winning resort offers guests a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, a genuine hospitality and a lively energy that is unrivalled.   These properties include One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives; One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius; One&Only Royal Mirage and One&Only The Palm in Dubai; One&Only Ocean Club in TheBahamas, One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, One&Only Cape Town in South Africa and One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in The Blue Mountains in Australia.  One&Only has also announced plans to develop and operate five new One&Only resorts, in Sanya, Hainan, China; in Montenegro, which will be the first property for the collection in Europe, Bahrain and two new resorts in Mexico. More information on One&Only is available at oneandonlyresorts.com.

About Laird Apparel 
Laird Apparel LLC is a collection of functional, technically crafted, performance-based products comprised of three collections: Off Shore, Fitness and Lifestyle. The apparel line, created by big-wave surfer, renowned waterman and fitness expert Laird Hamilton, includes board and fitness shorts, hybrid surf and polo shirts, fitness and studio pants, premium and graphic tees and technical hoodie jackets at price points ranging from $30.00-$120.00. Laird Apparel is available online at www.lairdapparel.com, Ron Robinsonin Santa Monica and Melrose locations, and Tarsan SUP in Redondo Beach, CA. For more information please visit Laird Apparel on  Instagram,  Facebook   and Twitter.

 

 

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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The Art of Fine Dining: Dinner at Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

The Art of Fine Dining: Dinner at Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Chef and restaurateur Tadd Chapman has been a force on the San Jose del Cabo dining scene for close to two decades, from early successes like Tulip Tree, Brisas and Purple Pear to his current triumvirate of acclaimed restaurants: Don Sanchez, Habanero’s and Retro Burger Bar.

But as recent visitors to Chapman’s signature downtown restaurant Don Sanchez can attest: Chapman’s mastery of the dining experience – from detail-oriented service and charming ambiance to ambitious tasting menus and creative wine pairing options – is at an all-time high.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Don Sanchez Restaurante in downtown San Jose del Cabo.

At Don Sanchez, the recipe for success is as simple as one, two, three. One, choose the right ingredients. Two, search for the perfect harmony between food and wines. Three, make the dining experience a memorable event.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Lush foliage and colorful appointments distinguish Don Sanchez’s courtyard dining area.

Choosing the right ingredients involves more than simply sourcing fresh meat, seafood and produce, although certainly that too is important. So important that Chapman has established his own organic farm, Sanchez Organico, to provide him with the fresh produce needed for his unique Baja Fusion cuisine. So important that he buys his seafood fresh from local fisherman, and sources grass and grain-fed beef that are wet-aged and seasoned with natural un-iodized sea salt from Guerrero Negro in the northern part of the Baja California peninsula.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Beet Mole with tempura avocado, baby carrots confit, and tortilla foam.

But there are other important ingredients, too: friendly, first-class service; a setting that seems to become more magical in direct proportion to the amount of moonlight and music; and of course a wine list capacious enough to complement the ever-shifting daily and seasonal tasting menus.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Pork and Pulpo, with Hoisin pork belly, grilled octopus, smoked carrot pure, yuzu pickled cauliflower, dehydrated onion, and pasilla sauce.

The cocktail menu is also excellent, of course, as I found out during a recent visit. A short detour down an anything but dusty Dirt Road – Mezcal with tamarind puree, angostura bitters, brown sugar and basil – was an immediate reminder that Don Sanchez’s commitment to a “the devil is in the details” philosophy is at the heart of the restaurant’s ongoing success. The perfection of each small detail, from custom crafted cocktails to romantic saxophone ballads, finally resolves itself, by meal’s end, in a whole that is greater than any constituent part.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Chef Tadd Chapman (left) and the author indulge in a bit of wine tasting.

But chefs and their restaurants are judged first and foremost on food. And the daily tasting menus at Don Sanchez can, at this point, properly be considered works of fine art. Not only in terms of presentation – although the pork belly and pulpo (grilled octopus) combo I sampled looked to have been plated by a mutual descendant of Mondrian and Matisse – but in terms of taste, texture, and originality. The menus change to reflect the freshest available ingredients, and the dishes themselves often involve reworkings of traditional favorites in new and interesting ways.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Grilled Catch of the Day with sundried tomato tapenade, quinoa, salad, pesto, and bruschetta salsa.

A great example of this idea would be the meat course served during my last visit, a new take on the old breakfast standard of steak and eggs. Only for this occasion, the stars of the show were done up in evening dress, sealed and slow cooked at low heat – sous vide style – and served with a truffle hollandaise that seemed a nod to another morning standard, Eggs Benedict. Yet the dish in its entirety – it also included arugula, potato and bacon – was decidedly unexpected, utterly original, and, more to the point, completely delicious. And, I might add, perfectly complemented by a Spanish Tempranillo, a pairing I had never for a moment considered during hundreds of previous encounters with steak and eggs. I’ll say this: it beats the hell out of coffee or orange juice.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

Sous Vide Steak and Eggs with parmesan breaded hen egg, truffle hollandaise, arugula, potato, and bacon.

Tasting menus at Don Sanchez follow the five-course model of amuse bouche, appetizer, salad, fish course, and meat course, with each dish working as a standalone, as well as a segue from the dish it precedes to the one that ensues. During my last dinner, the narrative progressed with the character and complexity of a fine novel:  a rich beet mole with tempura avocado, baby carrot confit, and tortilla foam followed by an aesthetic masterpiece of Hoisin pork belly and grilled octopus; an interlude of baby arugula, beet, and blue cheese, with toasted pecan, strawberries, baked pecan apple crisps, and balsamic fig vinaigrette; Grilled Baja Med catch of the day – tower style – with sundried tomato tapenade, quinoa, salad, pesto, bruschetta salsa; and of course the unexpected twist of an ending – savory sous vide steak and eggs; plus a sampler of decadent desserts for good measure. All matched to order with wines that traced the globe from Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe and Valle de Parras to South America, Europe, and beyond.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

A sampling of desserts.

Wine is a particular specialty at Don Sanchez, and the state-of-the-art wine bar and exposed cellar area and wine shop was a major focus when the restaurant was renovated several years ago. Not only does the onsite wine shop stock over 300 labels from benchmark producers around the world, but a sommelier is on hand to offer purchasing advice, and carry-out sales are permissible until 11 p.m.

Don Sanchez is located on Blvd. Mijares in downtown San Jose del Cabo, a block from City Hall and the plaza principal. For reservations, call (624) 142-2444. For more information, visit www.donsanchezrestaurant.com.

Don Sanchez in San Jose del Cabo

The exposed cellar area and carry-out wine shop stocks over 300 labels from around the world.

All photos courtesy of Perla Pulido.

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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Happy Trails: Horseback Riding in Los Cabos with Cuadra San Francisco

Happy Trails: Horseback Riding in Los Cabos with Cuadra San Francisco

Horseback riding in Los Cabos

Whether it is a romantic canter along a secluded beach at sunset or traversing a hillside trail, horseback riding is one of Los Cabos’ least publicized pleasures. Why least publicized? Perhaps because there are no major events associated with the activity to attract destination travelers, like Bisbee’s annual marlin fishing tournaments, and no big name sportsmen, like the legendary golf figures who have designed top-ranked courses right here in Baja Sur.

But few places on earth can match Los Cabos when it comes to picturesque locales and diversity of terrains – the mountains descend into desert, and the desert dissolves into the sea – and few people can match the experience of master horseman Francisco Barrena, founder of Cuadra San Francisco and one-time student of the 20th century’s most celebrated horsemen, Portuguese Master Nuno Oliveira.

Horseback riding in Los Cabos

Cuadra San Francisco is the only professional equestrian center in Los Cabos.

Cuadra San Francisco is located in the Tourist Corridor that connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, and the stables overseen by Francisco and his son Valente are home to nearly 50 horses that are available for beach and trail rides, dressage, riding lessons, polo lessons, and special events like marriage ceremonies and movie shoots.

Movie shoots come and go, of course, but weddings are big business in Los Cabos. Cuadra San Francisco’s traditional carriages are among the most charming transportation options you’ll find anywhere in Mexico, and the Barrena clan boasts eight of them, all perfectly maintained and driven by riders outfitted in traditional Mexican costume.

Horseback riding in Los Cabos

Cuadra San Francisco’s wedding carriages never go out of style.

Private trail rides – for individuals, couples, or groups — are perhaps the most popular draw at Cuadra San Francisco, and a great family activity. The horses are all perfectly trained, and the guides all speak excellent English. Best of all, each ride is customized, with a choice of terrains, and to a requested tour duration. Visitors may take one or two-hour rides through the desert, traversing hillsides, viewing the Great Thorn Forest, or ambling along gorgeous golden sand beaches that look out over the glittering blue waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Horseback riding in Los Cabos

Los Cabos boasts a diversity of trail riding terrains, from desert and mountains to golden sand beaches.

The Barrena’s School of Equitation, meanwhile, accepts riders of all skill levels, and excels in the fundamentals of classical dressage, a French term that encompasses the highest expression of horsemanship. Francisco and Valente Barrena are well-versed in Alta Escuela (‘High School’ in English), which includes the famed “airs above the ground,” age-old techniques like the majestic Spanish Walk (where the horse lifts each foreleg off the ground in exaggerated movements).

Horseback riding in Los Cabos

Want to learn the Spanish walk? Come to Los Cabos.

Western riding is also a specialty. Mexico has produced and continues to produce some of the world’s best horsemen, with a lineage that includes the feats and exploits of 19th century charros and chinacos. Whether Americans know it or not, both cowboys and rodeos originated south of the border, and the Barrena family are part of the living legacy of this proud tradition. Students at Cuadra San Francisco can learn the rudiments of the Mexican style, from the impressive reining stop to rejoneo, the art of fighting a bull from horseback.

Horseback Riding in Los Cabos

Cuadra San Francisco teaches the traditional art of Western riding.

As befits the family atmosphere, children are more than welcome at Cuadra San Francisco. The equestrian center maintains polo club size ponies and saddles for children ages 6 and up, and the staff is happy to teach youngsters the foundational skills needed for a lifetime of riding.

Speaking of ponies, polo lessons are also offered at Cuadra San Francisco. You’ll have to bring teams with you to play, but there are facilities and equipment available to learn or improve your knowledge of the sport of kings. Children and adults may also try their hand at a bit of Robin Hood style archery.

Horseback riding in Los Cabos

Polo anyone?

General Information

How to Book: For reservations, visit the website at www.loscaboshorses.com, call (624) 144-0160, or email cuadrasf@prodigy.net.mx. Cuadra San Francisco is open Monday – Saturday, with trail rides and lessons available from 9 a.m. to noon, and 4 p.m. to sundown.

Where to Go: Cuadra San Francisco is located at marker Km 19.5 on the Tourist Corridor that connects Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. They are located next to Cabo Real Golf Course, across from the Hotel Casa del Mar. A sign is visible on the west side of the highway above to a glorious stretch of bougainvillea.

What to Bring: Long pants, a hat, and a water bottle are highly recommended, as is protective sunscreen. The scenery on trail rides is often quite spectacular, so you may want to bring a camera as well.

Cost: Cuadra San Francisco takes pride in its competitive rates. Contact the office for specific details.

 

Traveling 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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Baja Beer Boom: Something Tasty is Brewing South of the Border

It wasn’t so long ago that almost all of the beer sold in Baja California was mass produced by the likes of Tecate and Modelo. The south of the border beer scene has undergone a profound transformation in recent years, however, and there are now over 100 craft breweries located in major hubs around the peninsula.

Baja Beer

Baja Brewing Company was the first microbrewery in Baja California Sur.

One of the oldest of these may be found in Baja California Sur. Inspired by a passion for beer and love of Los Cabos, the original vision for Baja Brewing Company began shortly after the founder, Jordan Gardenhire, relocated from Colorado to Cabo San Lucas in 2006. Nearly a decade later, BBC has become one of Baja California’s premier breweries, and their three restaurants in the Los Cabos region offer first-class beers available in bottles or on tap, as well as gourmet dining options and consistently outstanding live music. 

Despite Baja Brewing Company’s success, the preponderance of the peninsula’s microbreweries are located in Baja California Norte, and the majority may be found in the cities of Tijuana and Ensenada. Cerveza Tijuana has established a solid reputation over the years, and produces their beers under the old German brewer’s law known as Reinheitsgebot, which states that only barley, pure water, hops and yeast are allowed to be used in the making of beer. This is a time tested standard that consistently renders a product with handcrafted quality.

Baja Beer

Agua Mala has become popular throughout Baja thanks to brews that offer a fine, hoppy finish.

Situated within 100 yards of the Pacific Ocean on the rugged coast near Ensenada, Agua Mala is a small microbrewery that is rapidly gaining a strong following among Baja beer lovers. They now produce seven distinctly different brews to tantalize the taste buds, and have created a delightful witbier in partnership with Drew Deckman, one of the best chefs in Baja California. 

Old Mission Brewery relocated from Punta Banda to 645 Avenida Castillo in Ensenada’s downtown business district, and is owned by master brewer Paul Woronicz and his wife, Karla. The couple has spared no expense by importing the latest and most sophisticated brewery hardware all the way from Germany, as well as many of the specialized yeasts that are necessary to create the finest artisanal beers this side of Bavaria. They also provide delicious wood-fired pies at the onsite pizza restaurant.

The size of a brewery need not necessarily define the quality of its products. Several of Baja’s tastiest ales, pilseners and porters are brewed by operations generating less than 50 gallons of product per year. A few of these fledgling operations — including Cucapá in Mexicali, Kudos in Tijuana, and Zombie Brew Labs in Ensenada — have become formidable players in this highly competitive market, and the latter even hosts those who would like to try their own hand at the brewer’s art.

Baja Beer

Mexicali based Cucapá is one of Baja California’s best microbreweries.

A good example are the cervezas produced by Tres Brewjas, a trio of expat ladies living in the Ensenada area. The women teamed up a little over a year ago, and with the assistance of Zombie Brew Labs created their own signature beers. Tres Brewjas’ efforts received rave reviews at a recent Baja Beer Fest sponsored by ACABC, the Baja Association of Craft Breweries.

Of course, it would be challenging if not impossible to attempt to sample all of Baja’s best microbrews, but if you would like to give it a shot, take a few trips to the Baja Craft Beer Tasting Room in Tijuana. The brewery style restaurant is owned and operated by one of the city’s largest distributors of craft beer, and has 42 beers on tap and about 300 more in bottles. Their menu items are also quite popular, and include margherita pizzas, savory currywurst and fries, pork belly sandwiches, and fantastic rib-eye hamburgers.

After a representative sampling of the suds at BCB Tasting Room, we think you’ll agree that some of the tastiest and most innovative craft brewed cold ones can now be found in Baja California!

  

 

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.

Images courtesy of Baja Brewing Company, Cervecería Agua Mala, and Cerveza Cucapá.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Tickle Your Imagination at O Gallery

Have a Baja Moment! Tickle Your Imagination at O Gallery

O Gallery

October 26, 2013 saw the birth of a new kind of gallery in San Jose del Cabo. O Gallery forms the core of an Art Center that artists Francois Paris and Jon Teschner envision as a special place for artists to congregate and share the ideas and energy that are so essential to the creative process.

Paris and Teschner chose the location for the Art Center carefully – the layout of the building, with ample space between it and the street, is ideal for outdoor music, dance, and artistic performances. On opening night attendees were treated to impressive music and acrobatic displays.

An artist himself, Paris picks the art that is shown. Interestingly, it was never his idea to open a gallery, he’d always intended to focus on his art, working in his home studio in La Choya.

“It still surprises me sometimes when I look around at what I’m doing. It’s exciting…and sometimes a little scary.”

Paris, a native of France, moved to Los Cabos full time in 2009 after spending 27 years in the United States designing high end antique-inspired furniture. Teschner is an Emmy Award-winning animation artist whose large canvas oil paintings appear in collections worldwide. He splits his time between his studio on the East Cape and his home in Los Angeles.

O Gallery

Opening night at O Gallery in San Jose del Cabo.

While the gallery opened in late October, ultimately there will be a street-side café and studio space where artists will create and teach in a warehouse behind the main gallery. The warehouse will also provide additional space to display art. The café is still in the idea phase – they are seeking a partner who can design a space that will be in line with and promote their creative and artistic vision.

O Gallery

A glimpse of O Gallery’s interior.

They have created a space that is welcoming to visitors, and, as Paris so aptly puts it, “tickles the imagination.” He wants people to be comfortable and have the opportunity to interact with the artists.

The Artists

Francois and Jon are very pleased to bring the work of Rose Masterpol, an accomplished artist from Los Angeles, to Baja for the first time. Her large abstract oils, often compared with De kooning, Motherwell and Kline, are popular among knowledgeable collectors and celebrities alike. She is excited to be part of the O Gallery collaboration.

O Gallery is also the new home of famed Los Cabos artist Dennis Wentworth Porter. His large oil paintings of Baja landscapes influenced by Sargent, Cezanne, Monet and American abstract expressionists of the 1950s and 60s are instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the local art scene.

O Gallery

Teschner, Masterpol, O’Gara, Paris, and Zapata pose in the gallery doorway.

Rose and Dennis will be joined by a select group of artists and craftsmen on a rotating basis. The show will be “ever-evolving, offering beauty and surprises,” according to the gallery’s website. Artists whose works are currently on display include Vicki O’Gara , an American artist who splits her time between her studio in Cabo San Lucas and Sun Valley, Idaho; Victor Gerardo Rendon Salcedo, who’s specialty is linocut engravings; Cynthia Zapata is a sculptor living and working in Mexico City, who’s bronze sculptures often depict the human figure in motion. Furniture displayed in the space is by Francois and Veronica Tancredi. Tancredi uses only recycled lumber in her pieces.

O Gallery is located on Alvaro Obregon in San Jose del Cabo’s historic downtown Art District. They are open from 10:30 – 2 p.m., and again from 5 – 8 p.m. (closed Sundays). You can follow them on Facebook to learn what’s in store for upcoming events. Paris promises some surprises are in store for 2014, including outdoor demonstrations of artists creating their work. So get your imagination “tickled” – check out the creative expressions at O Gallery.

 

Traveling 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! Find Your Place in Paradise at Casa Calle

Have a Baja Moment! Find Your Place in Paradise at Casa Calle

If you’re looking for a place in paradise to call your own that’s both private and secluded, yet near the heart of the action in San Jose del Cabo, then take a look at Casa Calle.

Perched atop Lido Hill overlooking the Sea of Cortez, Casa Calle is within walking distance of shopping, restaurants, wide sandy beaches, and world-class surfing and golf. Surfers, you’ll be less than a mile from Zippers, Old Man’s and The Rock. Golfers, how ‘bout a round of 18 right around the corner at the Jack Nicklaus designed Club Campestre Golf Course?

Casa Calle

Casa Calle is one of Los Cabos’ most romantic seaside hideaways.

Casa Calle contains four separate units that can be rented separately or together, so it’s perfect for couples or larger groups. Work on your tan by the pool (shared by all four units) or entertain friends at the poolside bar while you grill up the day’s catch on the barby. After dark, when lights twinkle in the trees and soft light emanates from the pool’s blue water, the patio is transformed into a romantic hideaway, a place to share a cocktail with that special someone before heading out to one of the many fine dining establishments nearby.

As its name implies, Casa del Vista is the top floor unit with private terrace from which you can watch the sun rise over the sea. It has a full kitchen, one bedroom, private bath and sleeps two or three comfortably.

Casa Calle

Sunrise from the terrace at Casa Calle.

Casa del Tranquilo, a studio apartment ideal for the single traveler or a couple, is a more economic option that includes use of the pool area and keeps you close to everything San Jose has to offer.

All four units are air-conditioned and have full kitchens. These rentals include free internet and phone calls to the U.S. and Canada, linens, shared washer/dryer, clothes iron, hair dryer, satellite TV that includes many of your favorite U.S. channels, and a DVD player.

So what are you waiting for? Come and see what Casa Calle and San Jose del Cabo have to offer.

 

Traveling 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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Baja Skinny: Flying into SJD Los Cabos International Airport

Flying into Los Cabos International Airport

Regular visitors to the Los Cabos International Airport in San Jose del Cabo may have noticed the recent addition of a new terminal, as well as other renovations and upgrades. Expansion and upgrades have been ongoing since 2009, and are being overseen by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, which also operates airports in Tijuana, Mexicali, Hermosillo, Guadalajara, Los Mochis, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, and Morelia. Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifio is a publicly traded company, with 15 percent of its shares owned by Aeropuertos Mexicanos del Pacifico (AMP).

The new terminal (Terminal 2) at Los Cabos International Airport features state-of-the-art monitors posted throughout its air-conditioned check-in and waiting rooms. Vehicle access and traffic to and from the new terminal has been made relatively simple, with a check-point process that eliminates congestion at its lower level. Taxis are now confined to the lower level, while family and friends pick-ups are conveniently accessible on the upper level.

Flying into Los Cabos International Airport

Terminals 1 and 2 are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and construction is currently proceeding on yet another international terminal, which will specialize in high-end private jets whisking Hollywood types down for their weekends in paradise. Ample parking facilities are available at all terminals, and convenient and affordable accommodations are now offered at the newly minted Best Western Hotel, providing a significant upgrade for travelers dealing with flight delays.

”Our daily goal is to make sure guests are satisfied with our services and facilities, especially in those circumstances when they didn’t plan to stay with us,” said Best Western’s General Manager, Ivonne Gutiérrez. “We do our very best to change their negative experiences into positive ones.”

For more information about the Los Cabos International Airport, check out our FAQ section below.

Flying into Los Cabos International Airport

Los Cabos International Airport FAQs

Which airlines fly to Los Cabos?

Interjet, AeroMexico, Magnicharters, United Airlines and Volaris all fly into Terminal 1. Airtran, American Airlines, Alaska, Frontier, Spirit, Virgin and US Air fly into Terminal 2.

Is the airport handicap accessible?

In February of 2005, the Mexican Government confirmed that the airport in Los Cabos had complied with all handicap access standards: four percent of parking spaces are reserved for handicapped people, with proper signs and dimensions; all airport restrooms having modified toilets equipped for people with disabilities; and all walkways are equipped with elevators and ramps that ease movement higher or lower levels.

What are the baggage limits?

Baggage limits may vary with individual airlines, but most carriers allow 60-70 pounds. For flights between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, baggage is measured by pieces, limiting the number of bags by volume. Everyone is advised to contact their respective airlines or travel agency to be as well informed regarding baggage policy limits, and the potential for additional fees.

Flying into Los Cabos International Airport

What should I do if I lose my luggage?

For any issues regarding lost, damaged, or delayed luggage, visit your airline’s ticket counter.

Where can I find food in the airport?

Restaurant options in Terminal 1 include Subway, Yogurlicious, Burger King, Starbucks, Boston Hot Dogs, Domino’s Pizza, and Corona Bar. Fewer eateries may be found in Terminal 2, but hungry travelers will be happy to note the presence of Sbarro and Subway, as well as the Corner Bar.

Are taxis available?

Taxis are available around the clock at both terminals. Drivers set prices according to the zone your hotel is located in, so expect to pay substantially more for trips to Cabo San Lucas. Shuttle services are also available, and are typically a more affordable choice than taxis. Rental cars are yet another transportation option.

Where can I find updated flight information?

Flight information for Los Cabos International Airport, including arrival and departure updates, may be viewed here.

 

Traveling 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.

Photos courtesy of Fernando Rodriguez and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico.

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