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My spirited steed Bambino galloped along the white sand beach. The sapphire Sea of Cortez lapped the shore on one side; desert shrub nodded lethargically in the sun on the other. This same stretch of sheltered beach was once a hideaway for pirates bent on raiding Spain’s galleons. Many of today’s local business owners and fishermen are descendants of the buccaneers who stayed behind. After her exhilarating spurt, Bambino fell back to a more leisurely pace along with the six other horses and riders until we were back at the corral. On other trails people zoomed along on ATV’s. For sure there would be no shortage of fun things to do in this little slice of paradise.
It is my second day in Los Cabos, the big shot of Baja California, and I already feel its three personalities rolled into one. San Jose del Cabo is a traditional Mexican town with a central plaza, adobe structures, and municipal market. Cabo San Lucas is more bent on partying and fashionable good looks. Linking the two towns is the Los Cabos Corridor, a 29 km (18 mi) stretch of beaches, golf courses, and luxury resorts. The 200,000 citizens of the combined three sectors bask in 330 days of sunshine annually, adding to the magnetism of this prized vacation spot.
Each morning, after a fortifying breakfast, I was off for a day of adventure. I dared to sign up for the Canopy Costa Azul Xtreme Tour – yes…zip lines. After harnessing up and an instruction session by Pedro, I zipped along the sections strung across the river canyon, the most hair-raising being the 1500 ft long – 300 ft high line. By the time I flew along a total of 3 miles of lines, and rappelled down the 180 ft free fall, I was more than ready for the tequila sampling at the end of the tour.
Swimming with Ede the Dolphin was especially delightful as I watched two wide-eyed children in our group rub the velvety softness of her belly and being bestowed with a Bottlenose kiss. I then traipsed over to where the same company, Cabo Adventures, offers a 4×4 Desert Safari. Seated in an open-air vehicle with seven other gringos and our eco-friendly guide Leopolo, we bounced upward over dirt roads through the tropical desert to a small hacienda in the hills. On a nature walk we learned about the healing powers of plants and about the fauna in this habitat. Next came the treat of Doña Ramona and Don Chicho’s home-cooked Mexican fare; followed by the hardship of yet another tequila drinking session (sigh), this time to glean the use of breathing techniques so the burn of the fiery liquid bypasses the throat, and only heats the stomach. (Tequila 101 – take a deep breath and hold – in quick succession lick salt, tip tequila into mouth, add a squeeze of lime – swish, swish, swish, while still holding breath – swallow – breath out.) It works!
The old city of San Jose took me back in time. As I meandered through the narrow streets I imagined the state of affairs in the early 1700’s, when Jesuit missionaries disrupted the Pericú Indian way of life by prohibiting their polygamous practices that had been honed by the tribe during the previous 550 years in the area. The original mission was destroyed and the priest killed in an uprising; the mission church that stands back of the city hall today was constructed in 1880. Art galleries with the work of local artists, craft shops and eateries abound. Further out, I enjoyed the lively market where locals went about their daily business.
My Glass Bottom Boat and Snorkelling Excursion (to glimpse the black coral reef’s inhabitants) did not pan out due to choppy water. Instead, I joined a group for a Zodiac cruise along the spectacular coastline. We careened past the multi-million dollar homes of movie stars high on a hillcrest; past “lover’s beach” and the looming natural granite window called “The Arch” through which from the Sea of Cortez, we could see the Pacific Ocean on the other side. Sea lions basked on rocky ledges and albatross soared above the craggy peaks. The roiling waves added to the thrill by sending up massive sprays as they smashed against the rocks.
Whale Watching Cruises run during the peak of the grey whale migration – January to March. Sports fishermen consider Los Cabos to be the Marlin Capital of the World; other trophy catches are swordfish and yellow fin tuna (to name a few) – most are released to fight another day.
For those who like nothing better than to tee up, Los Cabos has become one of the world’s top golf destinations, with internationally acclaimed courses, designed by such notables as Robert T. Jones Jr. and Jack Nicklaus.
When hunger erupts there is no shortage of excellent restaurants and cafes to alleviate the pangs. My favourite lunch was the chilli infused cuisine at Jazmin’s Mexican Restaurant where I indulged in their specialty- chicken breast filled with fresh seafood covered in chipotle sauce and fried banana.
An evening at Casianos was a unique culinary experience. Their “no menu…no rules” concept involves patrons choosing their favourite meats, seafood, and vegetables and the chefs concocting their selections into personalized delights – or as I did, let the chefs have free rein in a five course food tasting and wine paring extravaganza.
A vibrant culture, natural wonders, great activities, and pampering resorts make for the grandest of playgrounds…and did I mention the 330 days of glorious sunshine? I bid farewell to Los Cabos with a sunset cruise around the tip of the peninsula, mesmerized by a blazing sky as old sol melted into the sea.
Good News for Canadians, eh –
Air Canada Vacations “New” Non-Stop flights from Vancouver to Los Cabos start Dec 23/07. Non-stop flight from Toronto commence again Dec 22. Connect flights from 65 major Canadian cities. Pkgs include airfare & all-inclusive accommodation.
Activities can be booked on-line, by phone, or from resort activity desks thru Transcabo Tours: Tel: +52 (624) 146-0188
by I. Butler