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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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Have a Baja Moment! Discover the Flavors of Cabo

Have a Baja Moment! Discover the Flavors of Cabo

Sabor a Cabo

The 8th Annual Sabor a Cabo is scheduled for December 1st, 5 – 11 p.m. at Club Campestre golf course in San Jose del Cabo.

Rejoice, foodies! The annual Los Cabos culinary extravaganza, Sabor a Cabo, returns for the 8th consecutive year. The food and beverage fest, whose name translates as Taste or Flavor of Cabo, is sponsored by the local restaurant association, CANIRAC Los Cabos, and traditionally draws up to 5,000 people to sample sweet and savory offerings from the area’s best chefs, as well as wines from Mexico’s premier growing regions.

According to Carmen Carbajal, current President of CANIRAC Los Cabos, “Sabor a Cabo offers guests, visitors and residents alike an opportunity to experience the very best in gastronomy and wine offered anywhere in all of Mexico.”

Dancing and live entertainment are also traditional staples at Sabor a Cabo, and this year’s version promises plenty of dance floor highlights courtesy of highly-regarded Las Vegas based DJ Roman Rosati, known to local cocktail cognoscenti from his appearances at Nikki Beach. Imported entertainment is one of several new additions for the popular gastronomic gala, which will also feature three international guest chefs, as well as a major marketing campaign (in conjunction with the Los Cabos Tourism Board) aimed at drawing more guests from the United States. The 8th annual Sabor a Cabo is scheduled for December 1st, from 5 – 11 p.m., at Club Campestre golf course in San Jose del Cabo.

Sabor a Cabo

Sabor a Cabo is a showcase for the finest chefs in Los Cabos.

Sabor a Cabo is, first and foremost, a showcase for the finest chefs in Los Cabos, and the area’s best kitchen magicians will be on hand to display their culinary creations from tents set up along the manicured fairways of Grupo Questro’s Club Campestre golf course in San Jose del Cabo. As always, wines will flow freely from Mexico’s four best grape growing areas – Valle de Parras, Valle de Santo Tomas, Valle de Ojos Negros, and of course Valle de Guadalupe in Baja Norte – but this will be the first year guests at VIP tables are also be able to sample palate pleasers from three international guest chefs, at least two of whom have earned a coveted Michelin star for their gastronomic efforts.

Sabor a Cabo

Are you ready to sample the flavors of Cabo?

From its inception, Sabor a Cabo has been one of the top social events in Los Cabos, proving popular with the local smart set, as well as regular and seasonal visitors from the United States and Canada. Despite this wellspring of North American support, organizers continue to try to grow the festival, and to establish it as a major international destination event. To this end, CANIRAC and the Los Cabos Tourism Board, in concert with the Miami Herald’s HCP Publishing, are marketing Sabor a Cabo in newspapers across the U.S., with the primary advertising focus in cities that offer direct flights to Los Cabos.

“The international advertising campaign for Sabor a Cabo is the first of its kind for any destination in Mexico, at least for an event focused on Gastronomy and Wine,” said Eduardo Segura, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

Sabor a Cabo

Guests will dance the night away to beats from Las Vegas based DJ Roman Rosati.

Tickets for the event are $100 per person U.S. ($1250 pesos), and are available through the Sabor a Cabo website, as well as at several prominent local locations, including Sheraton Hacienda del Mar in the Tourist Corridor, and Nick-San at the Shoppes at Palmilla. For pricing on VIP tables, call CANIRAC Los Cabos at (624)143-3944.

 

Planning to attend the 8th Annual Sabor a Cabo? 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! Get Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Have a Baja Moment! Get Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Annie Doyle fishes the Sea of Cortez from her stand up paddle board.

There’s a saying that “If you can stand up, you can SUP.” Its ease has made stand up paddle boarding, aka SUPing skyrocket in popularity over the past decade, with an unprecedented number of people taking to the water with paddle in hand. The great thing about SUP boarding is that you can do it on any body of water, but the Sea of Cortez is an ideal place to partake of this fun sport because it offers waves for those whom seek them, or flat calm waters for those who’d rather cover some ground. Touring and racing SUP boards are typically larger and more stable than the thinner surf SUP boards, resembling in many ways a hybrid between a longboard and a kayak. Touring on a SUP is a great way to see the coastline, head out to visit the humpback whales (don’t get too close!), or to view abundant sea life passing beneath as you stand perched high above the water’s surface. The truly adventurous know that SUPing is also a great way to troll for fish.

Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Breakfast anyone?

If you live anywhere near El Mirador in Los Cabos’ Tourist Corridor, you’ve undoubtedly seen Annie Doyle coming back from her morning SUP fishing session with her catch tied to the front of her board. Annie is so passionate about fishing from her SUP that she heads out long before the sun rises, dawning a headlamp so she can be seen by the panga fishermen. Unless the waves are pumping, she’s out there every day putting in her miles and hooking fish. She came up with the idea of fishing from her SUP when she noticed how abundant the fish were as she put in long miles training for the annual Mike Doyle Los Cabos Classic Stand Up Paddle Race (she did her husband proud by placing in the top three for the last three years running, beaten only by professional SUP racers). She now looks forward to the long paddles and the great breakfast of fresh fish tacos afterwards!

Annie’s turned fishing from a SUP into an art form and catches a LOT of fish: snapper, sea bass, sierra, roosterfish, rock fish, you name it. She follows the K.I.S.S principle: no pole, just a hand line wrapped around a piece of foam tubing with all the tools she needs stored in a fanny pack. This is the key to getting out on the flats without losing all your gear or hooking yourself as you get out past the shorebreak.

Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Ready to fish.

Here’s her setup: she uses about 30 feet of kiteboarding line. Parachute line can be substituted, but it must be non-stretch line. Using a Palomar knot she attaches 20 feet of 50 to 80 pound monofilament to the kiting line. A black swivel is attached to a 60 pound steel leader. For her lure she prefers a 5 ¾ inch jointed Rapala, which gets better action at low speeds. She wraps the whole shebang onto a 5 inch piece of foam tubing (a pool noodle or stiff pipe insulation) and ties it to a two foot line tied to a stick-on leash plug near the nose of her board. This is also where she ties the fish once they are caught and killed.

Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Annie shows off her fishing equipment.

Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Displaying the day’s catch.

Once she’s out of the shorebreak, she unwinds the line from the foam tubing and loops it around the paddle handle using a slip knot. And then she’s off. The lure really gets some good swimming action on the recovery part of the stroke and that’s also when she usually hooks a fish. When she hooks one, she throws the paddle to the side of the board and starts pulling the line in on the same side the paddle is on, maintaining tension in the line. At this point, she says you might want to get on your knees or sit down. Once the fish is up to the rail of the board, grab it, thumb in its gills, and hold it down onto the deck of the board to contain it. Now it’s time to take your knife to the back of it’s head. Only when it’s dead should you pull out the hooks with the pliers you’ve got in your pack. Throw the hook into the water away from yourself asap. Once the fish is well and truly dead, tie the fish to the leash plug by passing the line from the mouth through the gill. Now it’s time to get back to fishing! Annie recommends wearing biking gloves to avoid getting line burns when you’re fighting the fish – sierra in particular can put up an incredible fight, making landing one that much sweeter. They sure taste good in ceviche!

Hooked on Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Another good sierra.

Are you hooked and looking for some SUPing or fishing adventures? Several businesses in Los Cabos rent SUP boards, lead tours and provide lessons, including High Tide Sea Expeditions, Cabo SUP at the Bahia Hotel and Beach Club and Cabo Adventures. Get out there and experience the thrill of landing tonight’s dinner from a SUP board.

 

Planning a visit 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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Secluded San Jose Hideaway Posada Chabela Offers Sun, Sea, Surf and Sand

Secluded San Jose Hideaway Posada Chabela Offers Sun, Sea, Surf and Sand

It’s hard to imagine a better setting than the one enjoyed by Posada Chabela, a charming bed and breakfast that’s nestled amidst bright tropical foliage, and overlooks Los Cabos’ best restaurant and San Jose del Cabo’s best surfing beach, as well as the glittering blue waters of the Sea of Cortez.

San Jose Hideaway Offers Sun, Sea, Surf and Sand

Posada Chabela is a secluded seaside hideaway overlooking Playa Costa Azul in San Jose del Cabo.

The close proximity of Deckman’s at Havana, perhaps the best restaurant in Baja California Sur, and Playa Costa Azul, the beach that drew the world’s best surfers to San Jose earlier this summer for the six-star Los Cabos Open of Surf tournament, should be more than enough to recommend this secluded cliffside hideaway, but the boutique lodging also offers tasteful accommodations,  personal service, and warm tropical atmosphere at very affordable rates.

San Jose Hideaway Offers Sun, Sea, Surf and Sand

The intimate B&B showcases vibrant colors and a warm tropical atmosphere.

Posada Chabela seemingly provides the perfect showcase for the exquisite taste and design talents of innkeeper Rose Ann Dolores Russo Solazzo, who was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and has been involved in the hotel business from a very young age. Each of the B&B’s four casitas are individually decorated, and feature boutique accents ranging from Mexican red brick ceilings to rustic French doors. The chic casitas also boast private patios with hammocks, and these gently swaying recliners are the perfect place to relax and enjoy the intoxicating combination of coastal breezes and splendid ocean views.

San Jose Hideaway Offers Sun, Sea, Surf and Sand

The poolside area at Posada Chabela is perfect for sunning, swimming, and al fresco dining.

In addition to the comfortable accommodations, amenities abound at Posada Chabela, from continental breakfasts every morning to afternoon gatherings with tea, sherry, and the innkeeper’s “presentation du jour.” All guests have access to the communal kitchen, and the private poolside area is perfect for sunning, reading, and salt water filtered swimming. The B&B is also conveniently close to the beach, and is a short drive away from downtown San Jose del Cabo, an area that boasts first-class shopping and dining, as well as the city’s historic Art District.

San Jose Hideaway Offers Sun, Sea, Surf and Sand

Lush, colorful foliage provides a perfect complement to Posada Chabela’s tasteful accommodations and appointments.

Given its privileged location and upscale accommodations, Posada Chabela offers surprisingly affordable rates – two of the casitas are available for under $80 U.S. per night – and weekly rates are available. As a bonus, mention Baja.com when booking six nights and you’ll enjoy the seventh night free. Pets are welcome with advance notice.

 

Planning a visit 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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Voila! Fine Food Amidst San Jose del Cabo’s Fine Arts District

Voila! Fine Food Amidst San Jose del Cabo’s Fine Arts District

Chef Roberto Valle’s Voila Bistro serves some of the most remarkable food in San Jose del Cabo, and does it from a casually elegant setting in the heart of the city’s historic Art District. Housed amidst the remnants of an 1860s hacienda, Voila showcases a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor dining spaces, including the intimate, air-conditioned “Cyclone Room,” and an expansive patio highlighted by tropical palm trees, live jazz, and a chic bar area sheltered by a lovely palo de arco pergola. The Plaza Paulina digs provide the perfect atmosphere in which to sample Valle’s self-styled Haute Mexican cuisine, which invigorates traditional favorites with French and Asian accents.

Voila! Fine Food Amidst San Jose del Cabo's Fine Arts District

The bar at Voila is set beneath a distinctive palo de arco pergola.

A restaurateur for over 25 years, Chef Roberto trained at the prestigious Cordon Bleu in Paris, and established his reputation locally as Executive Chef at the Q Restaurant and Bar in the exclusive community of Querencia. Voila brings all of Valle’s expertise and experience into play, as the chef and his bicultural staff create culinary magic using only the freshest local ingredients. Lunch and dinner are served seven days a week at Voila, and the restaurant maintains some of the most generous “happy hour” hours in Los Cabos, not to mention an excellent selection of hand-crafted martinis and other specialty cocktails.

Voila is justifiably famous for its lobster burritos, but all of the midday meal options are superb, including familiar French favorites like Croque Monsieur and Quiche Lorraine. Start with a traditional Caesar or Santa Fe Salad – a Southwestern specialty made with blackened chicken breast, corn, black beans, queso fresco, and chipotle mayonnaise -  or dive straight into classic Mexican dishes showcasing the signature Voila twist, including Rolled Crab Taquitos, Quesadillas with Poblano Peppers, and the delicious Seafood Enchiladas with Guajillo Salsa. The Voila Burger is perhaps the best in all of Los Cabos, and features Angus beef artfully topped with Roquefort dressing and Serrano ham.

Voila! Fine Food Amidst San Jose del Cabo's Fine Arts District

Chef Roberto Valle’s menus at Voila feature Haute Mexican cuisine with French and Asian accents.

Despite its lunch hour charms, the ultimate Voila experience consists of dinner and dessert, preferably as the sun is setting and soft light suffuses San Jose del Cabo’s colonial-style Distrito del Arte. This glorious sensory experience is enhanced by tastes of Vol au Vent of Roasted Duck in Five Pepper and Rose Petal Sauce and Grandma’s Vegetable Soup, but reaches its pinnacle with exquisite entrees such as the Braised Cornish Hen in a pomegranate demi-glace, and the Pistachio and Macadamia Crusted Sea bass. For dessert, sample deliciously decadent options like the Chocolate Tart with pecans, walnut crustillant, and creme anglaise, or the Cranberry Cheesecake Tart with blueberry coulis.

Voila offers “happy hour” specials from 12 – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with two for one deals on beers and cocktails. Bartenders are happy to shake up happy hour creations from the restaurant’s new cocktail menu, which includes the signature Voila Martini, made with vodka, peach liqueur, Cointreau, and cranberry juice. It’s a cross between a Cosmopolitan and Sex on the Beach, and a perfect way to liven up the afternoon hours between art gallery visits. Live jazz is performed on Friday evenings courtesy of local lights Diego Ramirez and Luciano Callado, and the final Friday of each month features a guest appearance by Ramirez’s frequent collaborator, the incomparable Daline Jones.

Voila! Fine Food Amidst San Jose del Cabo's Fine Arts District

Voila offers intimate dining for up to 35 guests in its air-conditioned Cyclone Room.

In addition to superb onsite dining at Voila Bistro, Chef Roberto and his staff are also the area’s premier providers of catering services. In fact, the full name of the operation is Voila Bistro and Catering. From wedding rehearsals and receptions to private dinners and cooking classes, Voila is one of the best event planning resources in Los Cabos. The restaurant’s dining spaces can accommodate several hundred guests, and Voila also offers villa and gourmet home delivery services. After all, who wants to cook on vacation? Choose from five individually crafted menus showcasing the finest local ingredients, and while you’re at it, order a few waiters as well. The service staff is consistently excellent, just like everything else that bears the Voila imprimatur.

Planning a visit 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! Visit the New Art Gallery Showing in San Jose del Cabo

Have a Baja Moment! Visit the New Art Gallery Showing in San Jose del Cabo

Ron Sanford, owner of The Los Cabos Amber Gallery and Fine Art Annex, is pleased to welcome artist Nancy Pridham to the Annex. She is bringing a new collection of paintings for the October 31st Artwalk opening in San Jose del Cabo.

artist Nancy Pridham Artwalk San Jose del Cabo.
As Bright as the Light, the Music

Sanford and Pridham first met in the 1990s when they were both beach camping at Los Frailes on the East Cape. Friendship and an artistic camaraderie developed quickly; at that time Ron was experimenting with gyotaku fish printing on fabric, and Nancy was digging clay and firing her handbuilt pottery in primitive pit firings.

They remained friends as their careers developed with Ron establishing the Amber Gallery in San Jose. He travels yearly to Chiapas to purchase raw amber stones from miners who unearth the 22-25 million-year-old raw wonders. He creates a one-of-a-kind collection of perfume bottles, amulets and jewelry combining the natural beauty of amber with his distinctive design style. The San Jose lifestyle has allowed him to continue to make his spectacular gyotaku prints with many of the fish being ones he has caught himself.

artist Nancy Pridham Artwalk San Jose del Cabo.

Los Frailes Launch at Sunrise

Meanwhile in Canada, Nancy and her husband David opened Pridham Studio and created a thriving pottery/art business, with work being represented in galleries from Carmel to Sun Valley, Banff to Whistler. Nancy’s paintings won international awards and went to collectors all over the world. In 2011 Pridham Studio was sold to their daughter and son-in-law and Nancy and David moved to Bahia Asuncion, BCS. There Nancy embraces the opportunity to concentrate on capturing the colour and form of her new home. She works with acrylic on board and finishes the pieces in restored Mexican wooden frames. Her paintings are dynamic figurative descriptions of the daily life of Baja.

In May of 2013 a fortunate chance of timing had Ron looking for an artist for the Annex, and Nancy looking for representation in San Jose. In five minutes their business plan fell easily into place and October 31st will bring the art friends together again.

artist Nancy Pridham Artwalk San Jose del Cabo.
El Triunfo Piano Museum

Planning a visit 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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