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Published: October 25th 2013
We watched a huge, heavy sun rise above Isla Carmen from our balcony on the next to last day in Loreto, Mexico. The abnormal line of clouds in the distance turned evil, showing almost neon shades of orange and red. The Sea of Cortez turned from its overnight steel color to beautiful cobalt. It was rougher than normal and showed orange tinted wave caps as the day quickly brightened. By afternoon the clouds had filled the sky and ominously darkened as they stalled on the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains that separate Loreto from the main Baja Peninsula. The clouds began to swirl slightly and by noon a steady downpour had begun. By night the sky had opened and was dumping huge quantities of water. Our cement block roof began to leak again despite the relatively young age of our apartment.
Our third tropical storm in only 2 months in Loreto was a fitting end to a couple of tough months in Loreto. Loreto is a nice place with dramatic scenery of desert mountains dropping directly into the beautiful Sea of Cortez. It has a nicely restored square surrounding the first mission built in the California’s. The people
that live there, both locals and expats, are friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately we found it a little too slow to have fun there. It seemed necessary to bring lots of toys (boats, kayaks, dive gear or fishing equipment) to entertain yourself while visiting. We travel pretty light and while all of those things are available to rent, our budget kept us from many activities that would have added to enjoyment of Loreto.
We spent several nights talking over beers with many of the expats that gather at Augie’s Bar in downtown every night for happy hour. Everyone had an interesting story and we enjoyed listening to their tales of adventure. One day a cruise ship visited and it was fun to see the "tourists" explore the town for the day. It was interesting to contrast our style of travel to people who were seeing Mexico from a different perspective. We found that Loreto was a bit like an island with mountains on one side, ocean on the other and the closest towns located at least a few hours away. While we purposely came to Baja to relax, too many days sitting around the pool with not much
to do was hard to get used to after spending the last 6 months racing around Southeast Asia.
We had some computer repairs done in Oaxaca and apparently some pirated software was used to repair the computer. The Mexican government is cracking down and put a block on one of our computers. With the fine and installation of legal software, we thought we could just as affordably buy a new computer. It’s really not possible to get a computer with an English keyboard in Mexico so we purchased one on Amazon and had it shipped to San Francisco to be re-shipped to Loreto. Apparently somewhere between the border and Baja the box went from 6 pounds to 0 pounds. It’s good that Mexico is cracking down on illegal software, but too bad they can’t stop thievery in the shipping business. It’s a constant problem here and put a damper on our time in Loreto.
We enjoyed a quick 6 hour trip down Highway 1 from Loreto to our new home in Cabo San Lucas. Cabo San Lucas is located at the very end of the Baja Peninsula and is known as party central in
Baja. We feared that the roads might be tough after the flooding from the tropical storms. The roads around Loreto are pretty devastated with bridges down and many temporary repairs being done. Once we were south of Ciudad Constitucion the roads became wider and really didn’t show many signs of disrepair. The desert was beautiful and we got our first view of Pacific Ocean at the quaint town of Todos Santos located an hour north of Cabo San Lucas.
We found our Condo easy enough and were happy to find that our phone service came back to life once we neared Cabo. Driving into town we saw the famous arch at Land’s End as we passed several large shopping malls and the traffic slowed for the road repairs that are seemingly everywhere in Cabo San Lucas. We have a nice 1 bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of one of the first condominium complexes built in Cabo almost 30 years ago. While a little dated, it has a huge courtyard with a gigantic pool and nicely cared for green areas filled with 60 foot palm trees. We are located right in the center of town near the
marina that is the hub of town. We are in easy walking distance of the busy downtown area.
We spent our first few days exploring town. The beautiful marina is filled with every size watercraft imaginable. From small pangas to multi-million dollar motor yachts, from glass bottomed sightseeing boats to yellow submarines, the marina is bustling with activity from early morning when the fishing boats depart until late evening when the many bars and restaurants are filled with visitors from one of the many cruise ships which anchor in the bay several times a week. The fishing boats return in the late afternoon displaying flags that show the catch of the day. Dorado, Marlin, Tuna and many others thrive in what is called "Marlin Alley" where the sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.
Cabo has a famous nightlife reputation with several large bars that are descendants of the fisherman bars of old- time Cabo. The Giggling Marlin, Happy Ending, El Squid Roe and the more recent Cabo Wabo are just a few of the more popular. We spent an afternoon touring all of them. Our plan of just having 1 beer in each
place proved to be difficult as most have all day 2 for 1 happy "hours". Several of the most popular clubs are geared towards young people and feature all year "spring break" festivities, so we thought afternoon visits might be more appropriate for us. It made for a fun, if slightly tipsy afternoon.
We enjoyed great views from the Pedregal neighborhood located in the hills between Centro and the Pacific Ocean. Multi-million dollar palaces line the hills and are reached by cobblestone streets that eventually led across the hills to the beautiful beaches. The beaches are not really safe for swimming but are lined with huge boulders cut from the cliffs by years of abuse by the waves of the Pacific.
We took a drive east towards the town of San Jose del Cabo, the more scenic and low key sister city of Cabo San Lucas. A nice 4 lane freeway winds along the coastline. Many of the better views seem to be blocked by the large number of real estate developments and golf courses, but a few overlooks and beaches provided access to gorgeous views.
It seems Cabo San Lucas
is more of a tourist destination than a traveler destination. We are planning on staying here for 2 months and hope we can find enough to keep busy. Los Cabos, like Loreto is a beautiful spot to relax, but for us, I’m not sure that’s always a good thing.
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