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.