Que Pasa in Cabo?

July 9, 2018 Edition
BY: DAVID FLORES

Now, What's Going On? Our city fathers, in their finite wisdom, have decided to spend our pothole money to make the downtown plaza prettier. Officially it's called Amelia Wilkes park and is our anchor town square. Well, the park is not a glamor puss, we'll grant that, but this major overhaul is going to be a major pain in the ass for drivers for at least six months. What, you think a one block square park can be spruced up in a week? They expect this to take at least six months, and that's six Mexican months, so hunker down.

Two years ago when the city re-paved and re-piped the downtown streets, taking about three times the predicted time, and oozing into high season, the downtown merchants nearly lost their minds. Now it's the turn of everyone driving up Hidalgo St. or down Cabo San Lucas St., our main arteries.

You could roll your window down and curse the workers, but why?

Santa Maria beach The Montage resort has begun limiting access to the beach in front of their fancy hotel. They put up a fence of sticks and ropes last week, causing an uproar in the local social media and newspapers.

The beach is not private. Beaches in Mexico are property of the nation but can be leased to home owners and developers, to a point. Nobody can prevent the public from being within 20 yards of the water line, but from 20 yards up, a hotel or homeowner, or anyone, can keep people off the beach.

Santa Maria beach, one of the locals’ favorites, is a deep one, with lots of nice sand between the water line and the hotel, but that is not to be enjoyed by the people anymore because the Montage has leased it from the feds and in turn, they say they will keep it clean, with public bathrooms, trash cans and make it handicap friendly. But locals stay on that skinny part that they have to provide by law.

Such an arrangement is not making locals happy and they’ve taken to social media. That has caused Montage to take down the fence, for now.

Iconic store closes. The Tropica Calipso swimwear store in Puerto Paraiso mall is closing for good at the end of this month. Founded by longtime Cabo resident Margarita Partridge, it follows in the steps of the original Cotton Club store next to the Aramburo supermarket in downtown Cabo.

It was the first clothing store at that location back in 1989. Margarita later opened Tropica Calipso at Plaza del Sol, also known as Flintstone Village on Cabo’s main road, and then merged both stores at their current location in Puerto Paraiso.

Increasing rent and constant leaks during the rainy season were part of Margarita’s decision to shut it down. We’re not losing her entirely, as she is a valued member of the Los Cabos Humane Society and treasurer of the Amigos de Cabo San Lucas, the downtown business association.

If you haven’t been to her store, go now. Everything is for sale at 50% discount, including racks and other store fixtures.

Santa Maria beach The Montage resort has begun limiting access to the beach in front of their fancy hotel. They put up a fence of sticks and ropes last week, causing an uproar in the local social media and newspapers.

The beach is not private. Beaches in Mexico are property of the nation but can be leased to home owners and developers, to a point. Nobody can prevent the public from being within 20 yards of the water line, but  from 20 yards up, a hotel or homeowner, or anyone, can keep people off the beach.

Santa Maria beach, one of the locals’ favorites, is a deep one, with lots of nice sand between the water line and the hotel, but that is not to be enjoyed by the people anymore because the Montage has leased it from the feds and in turn, they say they will keep it clean, with public bathrooms, trash cans and handicap friendly.

Such an arrangement is not making locals happy, but so far they just whine on Facebook and have made no public protest. That would fix this problem in a big hurry. People with picket signs demanding to use their own beach would not sit well with the hoity toity people who stay at the Montage.

Road work. Finally. The detour at Km. 75 on the road from Cabo to Todos Santos, will be repaired “soon.” Last week, the SCT, Mexico’s communications and transport ministry, finally chose a contractor to get the job done.

We have suffered that detour since tropical storm Lidia caused a major landslide last summer. There have been numerous accidents, as the detour is as curvy and skinny as a Victoria Secret’s model. Well curvier.

The problem with the mountain is that it keeps on crumbling. It seems that Lidia, the storm, washed away a protective layer that was holding back mostly smaller rocks and sand that just keep on sliding. Hopefully it will not take years to fix, but the short detour is going to be more difficult that one would at first think.

What’s happening to our hump? That would be the elevated road, often called the Bordo, that runs from the old bull ring to the road to Todos Santos. In the past, the dike like road was built up like that to create an open-air sewage lagoon. Yup, the one where the Office Depot is built now. It still gets stinky sometimes on  hot summer days.

If you drive from the main drag towards the toll road, across the street from Office Depot, is an area that will become a new, long and skinny park with bicycle path, nice landscaping, children’s climbing stuff, and sports areas.

IG models do Cabo. What’s a IG model? We’ll tell you in a Mexican minute. NBA Cleveland Cavaliers star Klay Thompson was in town last week, to celebrate his third ring in four years playing with the Golden State Warriors. Thompson hired a private jet, rented a private home and hired a bunch of IG models to join the party with his close friends. IG models stands for Instagram models.

Nat Geo does Cabo. National Geographic is bringing their 50 cabin cruise ship named Venture to our Sea of Cortes. Their 12 day inaugural trip starts on Pearl Harbor day this year.

Guests will explore the region’s food and wine, including a private lunch at a boutique vineyard in the Valle de Guadalupe, as well as snorkel in the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. Yikes, those two places are 1000 miles apart, they’re going to be truckin it to do all that. They’re also swinging by Isla Natividad, a co-op within the Vizcaino Biosphere, to learn the story of their sustainable fishing practices. Rates begin at $9,120 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin. Holy cow! Nearly a thousand a day?

A way better deal is Panterra trips that start at $995 for a 4 day cruise in the Sea of Cortes. Our boss went on that last year and she said it was the bomb. Yeah, she talks like that. Check them out at  www.panterra.com. You can buy a Nat Geo cruise T shirt online, and wear that on Panterra and you too can be the bomb.

Thousands of people at risk. According to Conagua, Mexico’s water commission, there are 16,000 people living in risky areas in Los Cabos. They live in shacks along dry river beds that get flooded during the hurricane season which runs from mid-May to the end of November.

Conagua is currently building walls around those arroyos in Cabo and San Jose to protect these people, who are squatting on government land because they can’t afford to buy a home, even a small one.

Last year, tropical storm Lidia washed away the Vagabundos trailer park and restaurant, the Chevrolet dealership, several condos and part of the RIU hotel. Many vehicles were also washed out to China, along with a still unknown number of people. Unknown because the city keeps lying about the number since they allowed, some say were paid, to create that dangerous situation.

Do we need another Hyatt? With two existing hotels in San Jose, Hyatt Place at the entrance to San Jose’s hotel zone and the Hyatt Ziva on the beach, the company announced they will add a luxury hotel, this one closer to Cabo San Lucas.

Park Hyatt Los Cabos will be located in a 26 acre site within Cabo del Sol, a master-planned golf resort community that stretches along two miles of pristine beach in Los Cabos. Expected to open in late 2020, the hotel will feature 162 guestrooms and 28 Park Hyatt Residences that will serve guests with “personalized service and a profound reverence for luxury accommodations in a spectacular setting.” Geeze, who writes these press releases and could they back off a little bit on the flowery stuff? Who even falls for that? We’ll spare you the rest.

New resort in La Paz. With the attendance of the state governor himself, the Altavista group broke ground on the $37 million Chablé Resort & Spa within the Puerta Cortes (formerly Costa Baja) resort, just outside of La Paz on the road to Balandra and Tecolote beaches.

The 45 private villas, deemed by the developer as “the best boutique hotel in Southern Baja,” is expected to be ready for occupancy in May 2020. It will also include a “signature restaurant,” a Spa and wellness facilities and the existing golf course which was recently brought back to life. Costa Baja was recently sold by the original developer who’s from Mexico City.

We’re training Gringos Yeah, we can do that. Some 20 students from the Western Washington University are in La Paz, attending the 5th international summer course on research of tropical marine biology. It will be held at our state’s university, known as UABCS for its looong name in Spanish.

Mexican and American students will tour the marine wonders of the Sea of Cortes and the unique marine habitats that we love to brag about. The course is all in English, which is also an opportunity for our local students to practice a foreign language.

Habanero gets respect. Just like Tequila did years ago, the Habanero hot pepper, originally from Mexico’s south (think Merida, Cancun), will be awarded its certificate of origin this year. Now, no other hot pepper can be called Habanero and the name will be restricted to the ones grown in the Yucatan Peninsula, within the states of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The certificate will allow Mexico to promote and export it to at least 70 different countries – and increase its price.

Other Mexican products will follow: The Ataulfo mango from the state of Chiapas, the Vanilla from Papantla (Veracruz), the Charanda liqueur from Michoacan, the Bacanora and Sotol liqueurs from Chihuahua, Coahuila and Durango states. Mexico’s tourism ministry is eagerly awaiting the certification to begin promoting those areas to National and foreign tourists. This all started with the snooty French slapping restrictions on using the word Champagne. We have to call perfectly good Champagne sparkling water if it doesn’t come from their bushes.