Early Cabo Pioneers

Part, oh about 4 now
BY: KT MORGAN

We have been bringing you stories about the original hotels, some of them torn down now, others remodeled, but none surviving in their original form. Here are a couple of downtown Cabo properties.

The Finisterra 1972

 Originally built in 1972 and renamed and redesigned Sandos Finisterra 2014 it is now an all inclusive resort.

Luis Coppola and Luis Bulnes partnered up to build this first hotel on the Pacific, it’s one of the original oceanfront hotels that’s still standing to this day, although it’s changed a lot over the years. Imagine climbing this promontory and thinking, this would make an excellent location for a hotel. What was an engineering marvel at the time with its cliff side location and views of the bay to the south and expansive Pacific views to the north also made the project quite the challenge.

You can see whales spouting off from your balcony, and all the fishing boats leaving in the morning, returning past your windows midafternoon. Just don't try swimming here on a rough day as the Pacific drops off quickly to thousands of feet. The huge palapa restaurant by the pool has withstood a few storms, as have the multitude of turtles that have hatched over the millennia and call this beach home.

Mar de Cortez 1972

The original building of the Hotel Mar de Cortez was opened in downtown Cabo San Lucas in 1972 by Simon Yee and Carlos Ungson. Carlos Ungson is the son of Benjamin Ungson who arrived in Mexico by way of his native China is 1935. Bud Parr convinced young Carlos that his future was in Cabo and drafted him to help run the Hotel Cabo San Lucas and later manage the Palmilla and Twin Dolphins. He made enough money to buy up what was cheap land all over Los Cabos, and he’s one to buy and hold. Today Ungson owns dozens of chuncks of land, hosting as landlord some pieces, with some as yet undeveloped. Opening Mar de Cortez was a stroke of genius as there were no affordable options to the celebrity laden resort properties along the beaches and bays. Mar de Cortez has watched the town build up and surround it from what was once a desolate location. It is still a value priced hotel that is still very much unchanged 45 years later. Many old timers who live here now first stayed at the Mardy as it’s affectionately called. He no longer has a stake in it but does own the beautiful and cozy Cabo Bella boutique hotel on Hidalgo across from the park.

Hotel Solmar 1974

At the southern-most tip of this amazing peninsula is the Hotel Solmar. At the time you could in theory have built even further south but nowadays the craggy mountainous land south of the Solmar is a national park donated .to the federal government by the original Sandoval family headed by Ana Sandoval who saved Lands End from development by her brother.

 If you drive down Federal Highway 1 from California you will eventually end at the door of the reception area of what is now Grand Solmar at Land's End. They are delighted to check you in to what might be one of the greatest locations of all the great Cabo Resorts. Don Luis was a young Spaniard that scored a job at the old tuna cannery, at that time the largest in Mexico. He made his mark not as the jefe at the cannery but with his fishing fleet that would finance his resort empire. The original timeshare members were not all happy when their 25 year lease was up and the old hotel was torn down to make way for the huge 11 story 5 star resort with 6 pools and 5 restaurants, but they seem to be over it now that they’ve been give nice rooms in the new part of the property.

In summary we must all pay a hardy thank you to these early achievers and pioneers of Los Cabos. These men and their families achieved greatness through hard work, sweat and unwavering determination that is hard to fully imagine. Their success was a combination of blind luck, vision, and timing. The fact that the celebrities and wealthy started the Cabo tourism trend due to the limited access by private plane or boat was a filter that drove the luxury minded hotels. That trend has continued as we see the latest round of luxury resorts and communities opening everywhere. If you long for the Baja of old don't despair you will just have to go a few miles north on either coasts away from the lights and you will find hundreds of miles of unspoiled beaches, rolling cactus hills and rocky mountains.

This article is brought to you by KT Morgan from Cabos Finest, bringing you the best of Los Cabos real estate, restaurants, activities, and travel blogs. For your Insider's Guide to Los Cabos, visit www.cabosfinest.com, call 624-115-2703 or email kt@cabosfinest.com.