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The two sides of Los Cabos

Mexican destination is lively — and sleepy

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WITH more non-stop flights from Winnipeg to Mexican destinations than anywhere else it stands to reason most of the questions about sunspot resorts would be about those.

Even at that, one of the leastknown, and perhaps most unappreciated, is the region around Los Cabos.

While a number of tour companies service Cancun, the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta and other destinations, only one tour operator offers Los Cabos as a weekly non-stop service from Manitoba.

Last year, I visited the Los Cabos region in order to be able to answer questions about the area.

Most of the resorts have been built on the coastal beaches between its two biggest cities, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Both cities have a population under 70,000. They’re about an hour’s drive apart from each other, giving the feeling of a lot of space.

They are about as different as can be.

Cabo, as Cabo San Lucas is often referred to, has a reputation as the party centre for the rich and the famous.

Huge yachts are parked in the Cabo harbour where numerous restaurants dot the waterfront. As darknessdescends, the tranquility of the day is overtaken by the pounding rhythms of the nightclubs that seem to stay open as long there are dancers and partygoers.

The Puerto Paraiso Shopping Mall is just off the harbour, strategically situated to serve the yacht population in the section appropriately branded, Luxury Row.

Cabo San Lucas has become a prime stop on the itineraries of the major cruise lines.

For a more relaxing pace, San Jose del Cabois the ticket. It feels like a quiet town and offers more sedate shopping options in what is a much more unhurried environment.

I’m not certain how the culture of a city is formed but the relaxed atmosphere of San Jose comes out in a number of ways. We could not help but comment on the number of people taking long walks along the main streets.

Unlike other parts of Mexico and the Caribbean venders didn’t try to lure us into shops. And in the main square we could relax over a coffee and dessert without feeling rushed to move on for the next waiting customer.

As different as they were, we enjoyed the time we spent in both.

We stayed at the RIU Palace which is closer to Cabo than San Jose. On our first journey to San Jose the taxi cost us over $50. On a subsequent day we decided to try the public bus system and found it to be excellent, with the most helpful people and drivers.

Later, when we found out there was a bus stop right in front of the RIU property, we used it to go back and forth from Cabo.

While rain during the prime winter months is virtually unheard of, the day temperatures of Cabo remain steady around 25 Celsius.

Once a quiet fishing village, this region has been transformed into a popular sport fishing capital. Striped marlin are caught regularly and you don’t have to go far to have a good shot at picking up a 100 to 200 pound Yellow Tuna.

The Cabo San Lucas region is still fairly new with new resorts being opened along the coast at a rapid rate.

It has become a significant time-share market and its proximity to California cities has helped build its reputation as a desirable vacation destination.

It has also become known as a premier golf attraction where you can find the most challenging tracks designed by the major names in the industry, with some of the most beautiful ocean views over the Sea of Cortes.

"Are you another one of those writers who is going to tell people how dangerous Mexico is?" This was the concern expressed by my Canadian and American golf partners during an otherwise most enjoyable round with them at the Palmilla Golf Club.

These were people who chose to winter in the region and are fiercely protective of the image they feel has been massively distorted over the last few years, especially about the Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos areas.

They were exuberant in their love of and praise for the area and genuinely wish more people would visit the area they believe is best in all of Mexico.

Like other tourist regions it has seen its share of negative publicity, most of it related to alcohol abuse, rather than drug cartel activity, but like most areas of Mexico has experienced drugrelated incidents. As in every tourist destination one must exercise caution. But I can say without hesitation that during our stay we found the people to be extremely friendly and never once felt uncomfortable or anxious.

 

Forward your travel questions to askjourneys@journeystravel.com . Ron Pradinuk is president of Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre and can be heard Sundays at noon on CJOB. Previous columns and tips can be found on www. journeystravelgear.com or read Ron’s travel blog at www.thattravelguy.ca

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