-by La Huerita
ay down at the very tip of the Baja Peninsula, which extends like a pointing finger from Mexico’s northern border with the US state of California, there are two towns. In the last three decades these two towns, and the corridor which connects them, have grown from almost nothing to plenty of something.
Both of the towns were named after the capes (cabos) on which they are located: San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. Collectively, the entire area has become known as Los Cabos (The Capes). In familiar usage, the names of the two towns are generally shortened to simply “San Jose” and “Cabo”.
San Jose, the easternmost of the two, is a colonial town with an older history. It sits on hills, a mile inland from the Sea of Cortéz, with postcard views of the coastline and its azure waters. San José del Cabo was founded in 1730 as a Jesuit Mission, and the ten-block “historic district” in Central San José retains its colonial ambiance to this day. It is laden with authentic adobe buildings, garden courtyards and dazzling bursts of bougainvillea.
San Jose is considered the laid back gentler sister to Cabo. If you want a little quiet, a genuine Mexican atmosphere, and some nice colonial buildings to photograph, then you should stay in or near San Jose.
This is also where the planes land, Los Cabos International Airport being the sixth-busiest airport in Mexico, but most of the tourists are whisked right past San Jose to other locations.
Cabo, on the other hand, is busy and rowdy and come-as-you-are. This is where to stay if you like to be in the thick of things, with tons of shopping, restaurants crowding the streets, and 24-hour partying. Cabo is often referred to, only half-jokingly, as Cabo San Loco. If you want to see the famous Arch (El Arco) with its equally famous Lover’s Beach or visit Van Halen’s Cabo Wabo, then you have to go to Cabo.
Cabo is also where cruise ships disgorge their passengers, regularly, if only temporarily, increasing the population of the city by several thousands of people.
In between these two towns is The Corridor, a 20-mile stretch of sand that is home to Santa Maria Beach, Chileno Bay, Palmilla Beach and Costa Azul. Only a relatively few years ago this corridor was empty, merely a means of getting from here to there. Now it is filling up with signature golf courses, luxury homes, high end hotels and resorts, and is altogether a tony place to be.
From San Jose’s estuary (full of birds and other wildlife, so bring your camera and binoculars) all the way to Cabo, there are beaches to explore, nooks and crannies with unexpected delights, and some of the best golf courses in the world. Humpback and Gray Whales get really close to the coast during the winter months, with best whale watching from December to March. You can often see them from shore, breaching, tail slapping and swimming along. This is the end of the trail for the annual 5,000-mile migration of gray whales, which move down from Alaska to give birth and spend the winter months all along the shores of southern Baja. Take a whale watching tour, and if you are lucky you might get to pet one of these gentle giants.
Besides the Humpbacks and Grays, you might also spot Sperm Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Sei Whales, Fin Whales, and occasionally Orcas.
While Cabo gets the bulk of publicity (and tourists), San Jose has developed its own reputation for fine dining and boutique shopping. The town even has a weekly farmer’s market, in season, where you can buy organically grown vegetables and fruits as well as original arts and crafts.
A fine place to stay while visiting the area is Diamond Resorts International’s award-winning Cabo Azul Resort along the Costa Azul in San Jose.
Cabo Azul, which is affiliated with Interval International for exchange purposes, is set on 12 oceanfront acres only a 10-minute walk from Costa Azul and 2.3 km from Parroquia San José. It was designated in 2013 as one of the top 4 destinations in San Jose del Cabo and 15th overall among the top 25 destinations in Mexico, and it has gotten better since then.
The resort has 332 studio, one- two- and three-bedroom luxury villas with natural stone floors and chic decor featuring private terraces, living areas with pull-out sofas, and full kitchens, as well as flat-screens, free Wi-Fi and bathrooms with whirlpool tubs.
Amenities include an impressive oceanfront tri-level infinity pool with thatched roof swim-up bar offering a wide variety of beverages and serenity pool with new cocoons and lounge chairs.
The Beach Club features beachfront cabanas and an outdoor shower as well as a food and beverage bar with wood decking providing convenient access to the beach.
Dining options include an elegant restaurant/bar serving home-style Mexican cuisine, as well as a thatched-roof, poolside eatery and a casual cafe.
New in 2016 is a dedicated children’s pool complex, Camp Tortuga, where kids can join in on a Buccaneer Treasure Hunt, cannonball contests, boogie board races, a twisty, swirly water slide, plenty of shallow areas, water spray features, colorful nighttime lights and more.
The resort has everything exciting to do for both kids and grownups and is a favorite spot for weddings as well. But it also offers peace and quiet, romantic strolls along a beautiful beach, a chance to rejuvenate and catch your breath away from the hustle and bustle of your other life — you know, the one you came here to get away from.
Give it a try; you won’t be sorry.
Some websites with information on the area:
- http://www.caboazulresort.com/ The resort’s website
- http://www.gringogazette.com The local English language bi-weekly newspaper
- http://www.loscabosguide.com An excellent source with lots of information
- http://www.bajawhales.com/ About the gray whales of Baja
- http://www.bajalife.com/ If you like the area, you should subscribe to this excellent magazine!
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