If you are up for a little bit of an adventure, a day trip exploring the East Cape will provide you with some incredible views and experiences. You will start your trip from Puerto Los Cabos. The fourth roundabout gives you the choice to go right to the marina and Puerto Los Cabos or left to the start of the East Cape road. You will see signs for Punta Gorda and Cabo del Este at this point. About 5 km along the paved road is the first roundabout. Going a right towards the beach will take you to La Laguna, a community with Laguna Hills and El Encanto developments. It is also the home to Buzzards Bar and Grill. If you leave early in the morning, this is a great place to stop for breakfast. It has one of the best in the Los Cabos area. Back out to the East Cape road and the next community that you will reach is Zacatitos – about 6 more KMs. Watch for cows along the way. Turning right down on to the dirt road to the beach will take you to an off-the-grid community with Zac’s Bar and Grill, an organic market on Wednesday mornings and off-the-wall cinema on Wednesday evenings and the real residents of Zacatitos – a lot of burros that are like pets. Back on the paved East Cape, the next development under construction is Vidanta’s Mayan Palace. This resort will have a main hotel, condominium villas, a golf course and a permanent Cirque de Soliel installation. Expected to open in 2021, it is under construction. A little while later, the paved road ends and you start the trek on the true East Cape road – a dirt track that goes from Playa Tortuga to La Ribera, a trip of over 60 KM.
On the dirt road, you will start to see the off-the-grid communities along the way. There are a wide variety of homes both on ocean front and back in the desert. Following Playa Tortuga, the first well-known beach that you will encounter is Shipwrecks (although you will see the surfboard sign for a small convenience store (tienda) before it). Shipwrecks is a famous surf break, where surfers still arrive to camp in the arroyo for the summer to take advantage of the waves. The next big surf break is at La Fortuna. This is also the home of Zai Sushi Surf Bar, open from Tuesday to Sunday. Jason Manning, a trained sushi chef serves up fresh seafood and great cocktails with great views of the beach. Continuing to see homes and small developments along the way, you will arrive at another section of paved road briefly in 9 Palms. These are great beaches and views and the future home of a boutique hotel reported being built by James Perse (Los Angeles clothing and furniture designer) and partners. Nest major beach along the road is Boca de Vinoramas, the home of Vida Soul, a boutique hotel on the beach built in Italian style. This will be a great place to take a break, have a beer and maybe a snack in the restaurant and stroll the beach. Vida Soul also rents all kinds of water toys – paddle boards, surf boards, snorkeling gear – if you want to take a quick break in the ocean. Continuing along the East Cape road, views of the Sea of Cortez abound along the twists and turns of the narrow dirt road.
One of the next communities is Los Frailes. Here you start the Cabo Pulmo National Park. There is a small convenience store and the long beach is a great place to stop, swim and snorkel. Going to the far north end of the beach near the cliffs, you will find a large selection of marine life. Only a few more kilometers down the road is Cabo Pulmo. This is the famous national marine park that is home to the only living reef on the west side of North America. The protection of the reef has resulted in the re-population of several marine species and the fishing ban has let them grow and ultimately migrate beyond the area. Cabo Pulmo has a nice small village with an information center, several dive shops, a few restaurants and a community with homes to rent as well as a small inn. This area is really worth exploring and if you have more than a day is worth staying overnight and taking a boat trip out to the reef to snorkel or scuba dive. The dirt road continues but finally turns once again into a paved road with communities like El Rincon and Playa Colorada before reaching the first major town – La Ribera. Just north of La Ribera along the beach is the new Four Seasons Resort at Costa Palmas. With a full marina being built, a golf course that has just opened and the Four Seasons hotel and residences, this is luxury along the East Cape.
This is point at which you take the paved road back out to the main transpeninsular highway (Route 1). Going a few miles north will take you to Los Barriles, the home of fishing and kite surfing and going south will take you back to San Jose del Cabo with a stop at the Tropic of Cancer welcome center.
This will be a very full day and you deserve a great meal at one of the many restaurants in San Jose del Cabo. Enjoy!
The art season has once again started in San Jose del Cabo. Every Thursday local artists and galleries welcome residents and visitors to celebrate art and artists. Plaza Mijares (the central square between the City Hall and the Mission) is the art garden. From about 4:00 pm every Thursday, artists display their original work - paintings, lithographs, photographs and even some jewelry. The plaza is often completely filled with a wide range of artwork. The Gallery District in San Jose del Cabo is centered on the street (Calle Alvaro Obregon) the runs along the back edge of the plaza from just alongside Casa Natalia for several blocks. There are also galleries that are on some of the side streets radiating from this main street. Gallery owners welcome in visitors and often offer wine or other items as well as giving people the opportunity to meet the artists. There was a formal ribbon cutting ceremony on November 14th at 6:00 to open the season for 2019 and 2020. Outside of the galleries, artists also display their works on the streets and in some of the plazas. There will often be music and other entertainment on the streets as well (e.g. mimes). Any visitor to San Jose del Cabo should plan to take in this weekly Thursday event. For more information on the Gallery District visit https://www.facebook.com/GalleryDistrictSJC/
About a decade ago, the sleepy fishing village of La Playita on the coast of the Sea of Cortez just outside of San Jose del Cabo was transformed into Puerto Los Cabos by developer Eduardo Sanchez Navarro. What Puerto Los Cabos became and its master plan still to be finished is a self-contained community that offers all of the best of Los Cabos.
One of the big challenges for Puerto Los Cabos was the marina. La Playita had been one of the main jumping off points for fishermen travelling to Gordo Banks, the main fishing area to the north east about five miles. The construction required the dredging of a harbor entrance and marina, while at the same time protecting the fresh water estuary that was adjacent. Currently, the marina has slips for about 250 yachts and room to expand to another 200 slips. There is a full marine service and storage facility for people to have their boats repaired or stored. The marina has a malecon that allows visitors to walk around the harbor and a store to get supplies if you are staying onboard or going out to fish, scuba dive or just tour the area. Plans exist to build a live work area with shops and condominiums on San Jose del Cabo side of the Marina.
Prior to the development of Puerto Los Cabos, about the only place to stay (other than in San Jose del Cabo was The Marina Inn, across the street from the beach where the pangas left for their daily fishing expeditions. Today, there are four hotels, ranging from the boutique art and music property, El Ganzo on the marina to Secrets, J.W. Marriott and the recently opened Zadun, Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The El Ganzo is known for its artist decorated rooms. Painters, musicians, fabric artists, electronic artists who have stayed in the hotel’s suites leave a unique work of theirs behind (on the wall, in an iPad) and the room is named after them. The hotel has a stage on the roof for concerts and a full recording studio in the basement. Secrets is an adult only hotel on the beach adjacent to the J.W. Marriott. Both hotels have direct beach access and all of the amenities that you would expect – fine dining, swimming pools, spas and fitness centers. At the end of October, the much awaited Zadun opened following the early launch of the West Enclave residences and condominiums, which have the advantage of access to the full services of the resort.
While fishing was the main attraction of Los Cabos in the past, world-class golf has become one of the main reasons that people now visit the area and Puerto Los Cabos is no exception. With two 18-hole courses planned (27 holes completed so far) designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, visitors can have a great experience. There is a stunning clubhouse, driving range and putting green and the palapa rest stations on the course provide food and beverages to the golfers, who are experiencing incredible views of the Sea of Cortez and the mountains. Ultimately, the Jack Nicklaus course (now completed) near the water will become a private course available only to residents or guests in Puerto Los Cabos and the Norman course will remain open to the public. Jon Turk is the pro for Puerto Los Cabos golf and wants every player to have an incredible golf and hospitality experience on their round.
From a few local taquerias and seafood palapas, Puerto Los Cabos now boasts some of the best restaurants in Los Cabos. In nearby Las Animas (less than two miles from the marina) are three of the best and highest rated farm-to-table restaurants in Los Cabos – Flora Farms, Acre and Los Tamarindos. The hotels offer a range of dining options as well from the New York-based Café des Artistes and the Nak Grill and Bar at the J.W. Marriott to the El Ganzo Restaurant and Sushi Bar on its roof, there are lots to places and types of food from which to choose. You also don’t want to miss George’s Restaurant at the Marina Hotel, T’s Bar and Grill on the beach, La Ostra Seafood restaurant just to the right of the first roundabout as you enter the back of the marina and Buzzards Bar and Grill in La Laguna, just 5 km down the East Cape road.
Golf is not the only activity available in Puerto Los Cabos. The El Ganzo has a beach club on the other side of the marina. You can enjoy some of the best fishing in the world for tuna, red snapper, wahoo and mahi mahi from the marina. Gordo Banks fishing and a few other charter services are happy to arrange for a boat of almost any size to search for your favorite type of fishing challenge. And of course, snorkeling and scuba diving can also be arranged in Puerto Los Cabos. Wirikuta, a cactus and sculpture garden also offer an authentic Mayan experience with a dinner and show at the roundabout just as you enter Puerto Los Cabos. Hiking, bicycling and walking to explore the area, the beaches and the estuary are all close at hand. Thursday evening offers the Art Garden and Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo and the organic market is open each Saturday morning with produce and arts and crafts.
Of course, Puerto Los Cabos is not just for visitors to the area. There are a number of opportunities for home ownership. Flora Farms offers Culinary Cottages and Hillside Hayloft, all built environmentally. Homes and condominiums are available in two gated communities in the area that not only have access to golf and other amenities but also to a private beach club. The residences at the Ritz-Carlton Reserve West Enclave range from single family homes to large condominiums. All of these areas require entrance through a main gate and then through gates to each of the communities within Puerto Los Cabos. Close by, is the beachfront community of El Encanto (it is adjacent Puerto Los Cabos on the north/east side) as is Laguna Hills.
So if you are visiting Los Cabos, take some time and explore Puerto Los Cabos and the start of the East Cape. It is truly worth it.