Que Pasa in Cabo?

May 2, 2016
BY: DAVID FLORES

Tropicana hotel. Ray Sakura, former partner of the popular Tropicana hotel in downtown San Jose, who was ousted from the partnership last November for alleged co-mingling of funds, returned last week accompanied by lawyers and thugs, one of them armed, and attempted to take back the hotel, only to be repelled by a bunch of lawyers, his current partners, and the police.

In addition to the tourists, the Tropicana has been a popular meeting place for local politicians and business people, as it is only half a block from the Los Cabos city hall.

Sakura was well known, (and disliked),  in the city for scamming suppliers. But the partner who’s trying to get back into the business has a checkered past too, as he popped up after serving a long prison sentence. Not long enough for Sakura, an American. At press time, the litigation continues, which is certainly better than bullets flying. If you frequent the place,, you might want to practice your duck and cover.

It’s turtle time! The Los Cabos sea turtle protection network, led by biologist Graciela Tiburcio who is also the director of natural resources and wildlife for the city, has currently in custody over 7,000 turtle nests  along the shores of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose. They are under watch by volunteer members of the network, with the help of security agents of the Hilton, Casa Dorada, Pueblo Bonito, and Casa Dorada hotels, as well in the Manuel Orantes turtle protection camp.

The nests include species like olive ridley, leatherback and brown turtles, all endangered and all protected species in Mexico. The eggs are cooking along right now, and the release of the baby turtles will begin in August.

Anyone finding a careless mama turtle depositing eggs on the beach in a willy nilly fashion, call 624-105-0903 and a team of rescuers will show up to dig them up and take them to the protected nursery. Just what is a willy nilly fashion? Well, to hear the turtle huggers talk about it, just about anywhere they choose to dig their nests is in willy territory because of how we have encroached on their turf. Or sand, as it were. Anyhow, drop a dime, couldn’t hurt.

Living with Toby. Well, not quite. The famous country singer Toby Keith will auction a getaway for five couples at his home in Cabo during his Oklahoma’s annual Denim & Diamonds gala to raise money for his foundation.

The  event is also the kickoff for his 13th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic, which will take place June 3 and 4 at his home town of Norman, Oklahoma. The entire weekend helps fund the OK Kids Korral, a Ronald McDonald type house for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital. In Oklahoma. So Okies play golf? Who knew?

Here comes Hilton. Again. This time we’re getting a business oriented, all-suites hotel, as part of their Homewood Suites by Hilton brand.

Now under construction just outside of Cabo San Lucas, the 75 room property is scheduled to open late this year. This will be Homewood Suites’ third in LatinAmerican and second in Mexico.

The hotel will feature 70 spacious studios and 5 one-bedroom suites, all with fully-equipped kitchens. Could somebody explain how a studio can be spacious? By definition they’re small. Your bedroom is in your living room which is in your dining room which is in your kitchen. You can nearly prepare your breakfast in bed from bed. You use your luggage rack as your dining table.

Hilton Worldwide currently has more than 40 properties in Mexico ranging from this business man’s hotel to full on resorts. 

Cabo resort finished. The third and final phase of construction has been completed on the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa. The resort in Cabo San Lucas, which has been open since 2011, has added a new building, a sports bar, a deli cafe, a lobby, a fitness center, and a cliffside spa. (Fitness center is PC speak for gym.)

Grand Solmar also introduced its Sea Spa featuring individual spa cabanas drilled right into the cliffs. Necessity or a cool idea? Well, whichever, it is kind of cool.

More Vegas here.  We just wrote about the Las Vegas-based Drai’s group taking over the old Baja Cantina beach club on Medano Beach, and now another Vegas tycoon has announced that he’s expanding to Cabo. Well, to San Jose, to be precise.

The hospitality Hakkasan Group has partnered with Mexico’s Grupo Vidanta, developers of the Cryin’ Mayan Palace in San Jose, with a $150 million investment into beach clubs, night clubs, restaurants, and hotels.

The first three are expected in the second half of next year and include two restaurants and a beach club in Puerto Los Cabos. Hakkasan will then roll out venues each year for the subsequent five years at Vidanta properties. Vidanta is also involved with the Cirque du Soleil execs in the creation of its first show in Mexico.

Speaking of Vegas wise guys. The Drai beach club that just opened on Medano beach has got an uphill battle ahead of it. Although it’s very pretty, it’s so over priced for the area that few people go there. (It’s priced for the ” beautiful people” and other than you and me, who else is that beautiful on the beach?) Also, they have no kitchen. They are currently remodeling a kitchen they found nearby but they are squatting there, and as soon as the kitchen owner gets her eviction pushed through the courts, Drai’s pots and pans will be tossed out on the sand and any patrons they have will be eating tacos bought from the nearby street vendors. As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, right in front of their beautiful bar is the ass end of a ramshackle water sports company that has a legal lease on that patch of sand. You can’t even see the ocean from the bar. Six inches from the stools on the north side of their Cheers style bar are kayaks upended and jammed into the sand that belong to another water sports company with a legitimate claim to that patch of beach.

Drai is in cahoots with Cabo Villas which has the concession for that sand and they do not have a stellar history with partners. Just ask the last tenant in that space. This makes the Drai beach club between a rock and a hard place, or specifically between a fleet of kayaks and a career timeshare hustler.

Dolphin therapy? The Cabo Dolphin exhibit, part of Cabo Adventures and the company that developed the first Dolphin Center in Cabo, are being good citizens.

This is the time of year when they welcome local kids to swim with the dolphins. Once a month, 80 children with various handicaps will be taken to any of Cabo Dolphin’s venues, free of charge.

The agreement between Cabo Dolphins and the city government was just renewed for the next three years, as they have been doing in the past. The kids will also enjoy the company’s zip line, camel rides, ATV rides, and well, we forget what else.

Hurricane hunters tour Mexico. A hurricane hunting aircraft  from Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, landed in Cabo last month. The crew was here to promote hurricane preparedness during its Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour (CHAT).

The purpose of CHAT is to raise hurricane awareness across Latin America and the Caribbean, and to maintain and expand partnerships among the U.S. Northern Command, Air Force and neighbors in the region. What, is my raised awareness going to stop the hurricane from swooping my house away?

The Hurricane Hunters officials stopped at four different locations during their tour, two of them in Mexico and who cares where else? You and I, precious reader, are all about Baja.

“The key to this tour is encouraging people to prepare in advance, before the next hurricane swoops down on us, while the weather is still good, because figuring out your hurricane plan is very difficult when the hurricane is on your doorstep,” said Dr. Rick Knabb, the National Hurricane Center director. Oh. Ok, we’re to make a plan. Mine is to get a machine gun to blow back the looters.

“Beyond just providing data for the National Hurricane Center, the great thing about this mission is that we are ambassadors for the United States visiting our allies, our friends and our neighbors,” said Col. Frank Amodeo, commander of the 403rd Wing that oversees the 53rd WRS. “We’re educating them not just about hurricane preparedness, but also giving them a peek at our military and our commitment to the region.” Well, passing that silly message around is no doubt a better job for this guy than flying missions over Syria. Good for him.

Canadians dogooders. A group, (flock? Herd?) of Canadians from the Foresters Financial group were in Los Cabos recently, invited by the Terramar tour Company to refurbish a public park in the May 1st. neighborhood in San Jose. Yes some neighborhoods are named after dates.

The 56 volunteers cleaned up the park and painted it like new, with some funding from the city government, which also made infrastructure repairs. The group had been here last year on a business trip, fell in love with our town (who doesn’t?) and decided to return and do some good work for our community. All we can say is, Gracias Canucks!

Music appreciation.  Help make music in Todos Santos. The Todos Santos Music School needs instruments of all kinds. Wind instruments, guitars, strings... all are needed and welcome. There is a specific need for a trumpet, and a tuba, but in reality the school would be grateful for what ever is available. To donate, contact Elena Moreno, e@elenamoreno.com, 612 145-0050

Birthday party! The city of La Paz, our Southern Baja state’s capitol city, turns 481 years young this May. The party will begin on Tuesday May 3, and will go on through Sunday. Most of the events will consist of the presentation of a variety of popular Mexican artists who will perform on a stage set up at the concrete boardwalk.

For those familiar with Mexican artists – some of them internationally known – they are Tania Libertad, Eugenia León, Guadalupe Pineda, Celso Piña, Tenor Marco Antonio Labastida, the La Gusana Ciega band and Carla Morrison, along with a number of local artists. There will be a test, so you might want to go over that list one more time.

There will also be food stands, sale of regional products and, well, beer. Beer and birthday cake. Works for me.