Que Pasa in Cabo?

February 5, 2018 Edition
BY: DAVID FLORES

Carnival is here! Well, here meaning in La Paz, our state’s capitol, which is a two-hour drive north of Cabo. The massive remodeling project that’s buggering up the La Paz malecon will be suspended from February 1st to 15th so residents and visitors can enjoy the carnival. That will be the work that was promised to be finished last year. There will be a few blocks of “no parking” areas, going from Antonio Rosales to 16 de Septiembre streets that we’ll have to work around.

Carnival, also known as Mardi Gras to you Gringos, will take place from February 8th to 13th. It’s a great time, with dozens of food and booze booths lined up along the malecon, live music and hundreds of people enjoying the party, which usually starts around 6 p.m. each night and goes on until late at night. The trinket booths come over from the mainland and there are different, interesting doodads we don’t usually see here. They are big on handsome blankets and fake Tupperware for some reason. Also, interesting candy.

Speaking of La Paz… At least 200 new hotel rooms will be built in La Paz soon, according to the state’s secretary of tourism. All the hotel investors are Mexican, coming from Mexico City and Monterrey, including the new owners of the Costa Baja resort.

The exact number of hotels, names and locations are still being negotiated, but at least one will be built along the malecon.

Meanwhile, La Concha hotel has descended into a sorry state, the once nice Marina hotel is looking a little haggard, and the Costa Baja golf course has somewhat risen again. It was closed, and the grass went to hell, but now it’s open, offering large patches of still hellish grass. But they’re working on it. The Gary Player course is too good to let go.

Restauranteur opens third location Big Tony, best known for his Zipper’s restaurant on the Costa Azul beach in San Jose, has opened another Big Tony’s restaurant on the second floor of El Merkado, the food hall out on the fourlane next to the H+ Hospital.

This Big Tony’s features classic bar fare, including seven different types of hamburgers, sandwiches, wings, tortilla soup, jalapeño poppers, chips and guacamole, onion rings and more. It has live music over the weekends, and prices are very affordable. The restaurant is operated by Big Tony’s daughter, Molly, so drop by and say hi.

More awards for us Golf Digest magazine has listed its best golf courses in Mexico, and out of the 16 named, 10 of them are in Baja California Sur!

We are also now dubbed “The Cathedral of Golf in Latin America” by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators since we have 14 golf courses that are recognized as being among the best in design and location.

To add to the honors, Los Cabos was chosen as the best golf destination in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In other award news, the new Solaz Los Cabos resort has received the New Hotel Construction & Design Mexico award from International Property Awards, in recognition for its design, quality, service, innovation, originality and commitment to sustainability.

Government reaches agreement with Airbnb The state government and Airbnb have reached an agreement; Airbnb renters will now have to pay the state the 3 percent lodging tax that hotels and timeshare resorts pay. How this will be done is still being figured out.

The Los Cabos hotel association has been asking the state for a long time to tax “for rent by owner” properties that openly advertise on the internet. And if you ask us, the state decided that now’s the time to do so because it’s been unable to slap an additional tax on tourists who stay at resorts and hotels for more than 24 hours, like they want to. The cruise ship association said no, the airlines said no, and the hotels have stalled the extra charge. The problem is collection and processing the new charge. Nobody wants to do it, saying it’s the tax authorities’ job, not theirs.

Maybe now the hotels will have to bend to the pressure from the state. Expect that $20 USD tourist tax to come soon.

Business community shells out for military The local Los Cabos business community is as fed up as any of us about the drug thugs dealing their drugs and shooting each other. So they have passed the sombrero among themselves and pledged $7.5 million dollars to build a permanent barracks for 250 Navy personnel.

Right now, thousands of soldiers, sailors, and police have poured in to help us, and they are being housed in local hotels paid by the merchant class. The first stage of this new housing will be ready in April.

The president of the CCE said its decision to invest in the new barracks was the result of the “determined participation of civil society. Things aren’t going to improve otherwise. There’s no other way. We’re very clear about that. For at least 18 years local governments have failed to adequately invest in local security forces, and to a considerable extent that is what has caused the current [deterioration of security] conditions.”

Famous Baja pearls are back

There was a time in the past when diving for pearls was a big business in Baja. And a famous one, also. In fact, one of the La Paz pearls was the size of a pigeon's egg and was given to King Edward VII by the local Ruffo family. Kind Edward pushed it into his royal crown, the same head gear that Queen Elizabeth now wears on official occasions.

Now, the Wild Cabo corporation is planning to build a 1,000 sq. ft. floating platform, which will be connected to a restaurant and bar area on firm land. Around the platform, Wild Cabo will farm rainbow-lipped pearl oysters, also known as the Pacific wing-oyster. These oysters are found in shallow waters along the tropical and subtropical Pacific coast of America (including Baja California).

The Pacific wing-oyster naturally produces gray, pink, golden, green and purplish pearls. With dwindling numbers of wild oysters, more efforts to farm this species on a commercial scale are being made.

In addition to the pearl farm, Wild Cabo will organize snorkeling trips and tourists will be able to pick (and pay for) the pearl of their choice.