editor’s note: I was delighted to receive the following missive from our old friends Steve and Jo Knight, whom I met at Tenacatita when I was just a kid. Steve and Jo are seasoned Mexico travelers and now work in the travel business themselves–they are proprietors of an excellent, low key campground/cabin rental/eco-conscious swamp tour business, Okefenokee Pastimes, located at the entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I highly recommend their place if you should ever find yourself in that neck of the woods…er, swamp.
Thought we would send you this info to use about our trip to Baja California Sur and the San Jose del Cabo / “Los Cabos” area of Baja. We have just returned from visiting there and the info is fresh and accurate. Excuse any literary screw-ups. We are not writers, so feel free to fix any of it to your liking.
We camped for many years in the less frantic and less developed East Cape area of the tip of Baja, and we dearly love it. (It is the stretch of coastline curving to the north and east of San Jose del Cabo and La Playa.) But this trip our purpose was to mainly visit with our old Mexican friends the Aripez family who live in La Playa. We wanted to be within easy walking distance of our dear old friends Javier and Lucila’s house, so we chose to stay in La Playa, the once tiny beach fishing village where the local panga fleet came and went.
La Playa is now swallowed up as a suburb of the sprawling city of San Jose del Cabo. (San Jose is the much older, more dignified and slightly less Gringo-ized of the two Cabos. The whole area has grown so much that they throw in Cabo San Lucas 30 plus kilometers to the west and call the whole developed area “Los Cabos.”) That said, La Playa still retains plenty of small Mexican village charm and friendliness. Most of the large Aripez family lives within a few blocks of each other in a hilly neighborhood just slightly inland from the beach, overlooking the new Marina and the coastline.
We had not been to the area in seven years and had not seen the new Marina called “Puerto Los Cabos.” It had been built from scratch in the very heart of La Playa. This gargantuan project had finally been completed sometime since we were last there in 2006.
We found a little place online called El Delfin Blanco. Trip Advisor made the place sound a lot like our place (a very similar little business – Okefenokee Pastimes), in other words: very small, kicked-back and friendly. This proved true: El Delfin Blanco is a small five cabana/cottage hideaway located within a very easy walking distance of everything: the beach, surf fishing (a passion), the marina, restaurants, small tiendas and, most importantly, our friend’s house. It is also right on the bus line and it’s very easy to take the bus into el centro of San Jose. You can walk to many interesting places from the city center and pick up a cab or a bus very easily for going to other more distant locations.
We did not choose to rent a car since our friends insisted we ride with them. We walked, rented bicycles, took the bus, and rode with our friends all over the east cape and out to their rancho.
Osa is the owner of El Delfin Blanco; she is a wealth of information and help for anyone wanting to explore the Los Cabos area. She can hook you up with sport fishing, restaurants, all kinds of tours, car rentals, cabs, transportation info, and get you to and from the airport and her place. Osa is from Sweden and fluent in four languages. She has been in the Los Cabos area over twenty-five years.
El Delfin Blanco has three cottages with air-conditioning and we choose one of those since it was the middle of June and it could get pretty warm mid day. The rooms are very clean and have what you need for relaxation. There is a small courtyard, an outside cooking area with a stove and grill, a nice shaded area with hammocks, tables and chairs, and stairs going up to the roof so you can watch the sunrise and sunsets and the sea. There is even a friendly kitty cat to hang out with.
We found that exceptionally fine art was located all around the marina at Puerto Los Cabos. The walkways and bike paths around the Marina featured Leonora Carrington’s collection of very tasteful and thought-provoking art works. We rented bikes to ride around to the Marina’s “Wirikuta,” a spiritual eco-park that was created as a tribute to the Huichol Indians and their sacred peyote pilgrimages and ceremonial site in Zacatecas. “Wirikuta”” is spectacularly located right in the middle of a huge, world-class desert cactus botanical garden that features 700 plus varieties of cacti from around the world and over a million individual cactus plants.
Also, next to “Wirikuta” is a large sculpture garden featuring numerous major works by three of Mexico’s most respected living sculptors, Jose Luis Cuevas, Manuel Felguerez and Gabriel Macotela. It was all very inspiring. Wish we could have taken a little more time to savor it longer, but in the middle of the day the sun was getting to us.
We also must recommend two very special and really different places that are more appealing as remote rustic getaways to paradise surroundings. These precious gems are tucked away in a spectacular location out along the East Cape coastal road, at Shipwrecks Arroyo, about 20 miles from town. This setting offers great surfing, snorkeling, swimming, and any marine activities you are geared for on the Sea of Cortez.
One of the places is run by friends Elena and Leon, an old surfing couple from California who have been in this locale for over twenty-five years. They have a small, very nice guest casita that is solar powered and all very eco-friendly, plus they offer to share their kitchen and living space, which is a really super cool surfer environs on the hillside overlooking the arroyo and beach.
Our friends Javier and Lucila also have a very nice small casita they occasionally rent out (very near Elena & Leon’s). Javier and Lucila’s casita has its own private bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen with a super fantastic front veranda view of the beach and Sea of Cortez. It is also solar-powered.
To stay in either of these places you would need a little more preparation and would need to rent a car for transportation and be able to provide for your own food or pay Elena and Leon for meals.
We stayed here last time we were in the area, and when we have more time, these are the surroundings we’d choose. We would prefer to be camping, but these are some really nice alternatives. It is unfortunately a little far from the family back in La Playa.
Email us for contact information on these two venues.
All in all, this was a wonderful but short Mexico trip that we would recommend to every person wanting to see this gorgeous part of Baja.
Word to the wise: The Los Cabos area can be very expensive, especially the upscale resort complexes. We saved up for a while to do this and did it mostly on the pretty cheap, by seeking and finding alternatives that were there and always seem to be more enriching.
Swamp and Desert Rats
Steve & Jo Knight
Owners and operators of a Nature-based business
located at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Okefenokee Pastimes Inc
28244 Hwy 121
Folkston, GA 31537