Cabo – Mexico’s Safe Haven
Paradise by the sea a short flight away
Poolside at the Hilton Los Cabos Resort. (David Eisenstadt)
Where in Mexico can you drink tap water, eat fruits and veggies, not need Imodium and feel really safe?
Easy to understand why celebs like George Clooney, the late Frank Sinatra-led Rat Pack and others, have regarded Cabo as their hideaway.
Leaving a mid-winter Toronto blizzard, our non-stop Air Canada 5 hrs. 40 min. flight landed at San Jose del Cabos International Airport.
But I was confused. San Jose del Cabo? Los Cabos? Cabo San Lucas? Baja California? What happened to Cabo and why the different names?
About 1,000 miles from the US-Mexico border, Los Cabos is in Baja California Sur. With three distinct areas, Cabo San Lucas (on the west) where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific, the Corridor and San Jose Del Cabo to the east.
The Corridor is a new highway about 20 miles between the two. San Jose del Cabo is a more traditional town, founded by Jesuits in the 1700s. Cabo San Lucas was a small fishing village. Original denizens were not Mayan nor Aztec, but Pericu Indians (known as the Cora or Edues).
Initially a collection of fishing villages and a few resorts, the area burgeons with palatial homes dotting the shores with picturesque taquerias and local families pulling in the daily catch. Tranquil town squares with historic architecture share space with designer nightclubs. Celebrity sightings really do happen.
Lazing by one of the three Hilton Los Cabos pools, we walked the beach in 85 degree sunshine, spying the stone arch at Land’s End in the shimmering blue-green Sea of Cortez. This was paradise found.
San Jose del Cabo lies about 30 km from Cabo San Lucas and a jaunt to Todos Santos, about 60 minutes north, boasts a thriving community of artists, surfers and North American expats. Galleries, cafes and the Hotel California make for time well-spent.
I golfed at championship (read difficult) courses with ever-present sand traps and some water holes. My golf partner certainly showed me how to play Puerto Los Cabos, with its front nine designed by Greg Norman and back nine by Jack Nicklaus. Eventually this will become a 36-hole complex.
The Robert Trent Jones II-designed Cabo Real plays through mountains with spectacular views. The front nine is unforgiving, but a must play. Club Campestre is another Nicklaus-designed challenge with hundreds of traps and diabolic greens. One par 5, 625 yarder has 23 traps and after looking back from the green, they disappeared.
We fished the Sea of Cortez in a 22 ft. boat; caught mahi-mahi called dorado, and tuna. Didn’t catch marlin for which the area is famous, but over four hours witnessed migrating grey and humpback whales swimming the Baja waters to birth their young. Our filleted dorado became a wonderful four-course lunch. Gave “fresh fish” new meaning.
Mi Casa in Los Cabos is a truly Mexican experience with terrific food and not a tourist trap.
H, was a real find, owned by a former Mexican national polo and hockey player who mounted his ice skates on the bar, serving the best flounder and pizza we have ever tasted.
The Office (really a beach front restaurant) on Medano Beach, is where we actually ate dinner. Their tequila sommelier, a 25-year persona, is a 300 lb. John Belushi look-alike. Salvatores is an Italian oasis serving gigantic portions of the lasagna and tiramisu. Sharing helps survive the experience.
We’d return in a heartbeat!
(David Eisenstadt is Founding Partner at tcgpr – The Communications Group Inc., in Toronto)