Cabo San Lucas
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The great tourist destinations of Baja California Sur, Mexico including Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos and La Paz are all incredibly easy to access from the United States and Canada. Gone are the days when one had to endure one thousand miles of teeth grinding, car wrenching, washboard dirt roads. Today you can travel by commercial airlines, drive the family car or motorcycle, take the bus, sail, kayak, bicycle and even ride a donkey the distance as a teacher from Liverpool England did recently. And he lived to write a book about it.
Most of the over two million tourists a year who visit Baja California Sur, spend their first time in the Los Cabos (The Capes) region. This area includes Cabo San Lucas, a resort city which divides the Pacific ocean coast of Baja from the Sea of Cortez and, to the East, the town of San Jose Del Cabo. In between these two communities, is an eighteen mile section of land bordering the Sea of Cortez known as the Tourist Corridor, where a dozen or so multi-million dollar hotels, championship golf courses and exclusive gated communities have been developed in recent years. Some of the hotels and resorts include the Westin Regina Los Cabos Resort, Melia Los Cabos, Melia Cabo Real, Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Palmilla and Royal Solaris Los Cabos. The desert landscape in the Los Cabos Tourist Corridor is fast being replaced by the lushness of green designer golf courses – so many in fact that Los Cabos has the reputation of having the most golf courses per capita of any place on the planet!
While most vacation travelers fly down to Los Cabos, some daring souls opt to drive the distance. Either by entering the annual Baja 1,000 race – known as the most challenging off-road race for car and driver anywhere, or by merely cruising the paved two lane highway which runs from the border between San Diego and Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. If your family wagon isn’t quite up to Baja race specifications then a leisurely two or three day drive on the Transpeninsular Highway may be just the ticket for your next vacation. Quality hotels and gas stations are to be found along the way along with the famous government “Green Angels” trucks which patrol the entire distance. These trucks offer free emergency assistance to stranded motorists including engine belts, water for the radiator, hoses, gas and other minor repair services.
The varied desert, oasis, mountain and ocean scenery is spectacular and the many villages with centuries old missions found along the way down the Baja Peninsula are waiting to be discovered. Try not to drive at night, for the wild horses, donkeys and range cattle tend to graze along the highway in the dark.
Flying down by private airplane (or aboard a yacht) used to be the only way to reach Los Cabos. For years Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, and further to the East – Las Barrilles, La Ventanas and La Paz were secret destinations of the rich and famous, the Hollywood crowd and government politicos. For up until the paved highway connected the border thirty years ago, roads and even the airport, were nothing but dirt strips.
Now, Los Cabos is just two beers (about 2 hours) away by commercial airlines from the West Coast of the United States. It is closer than Hawaii and less expensive to travel to. No wonder it is fast becoming one of the worlds major vacation destinations and recreational areas. From the West coast one can fly via Alaska, Mexicana, Aeromexico, American, America West or Aero California airlines. In the Midwest, try America West, American and Northwest Airlines. From the East Coast America West, American, Northwest and Delta Airlines offer service to Los Cabos, Mexico. If you are departing from Canada try Air Canada, United and on the West Coast – Alaska Airlines. Sunquest Vacations will offer seasonal direct daily service from Vancouver and Calgary starting December 20, 2003 to Los Cabos You can fly to Los Cabos from Paris via American Airlines and from London via United Airlines.
La Paz, a city of two hundred thousand souls located on the pristine Sea of Cortez about one hundred miles north of Cabo San Lucas is also served by direct flights by many of the aforementioned airlines. La Paz, the capital city of Baja California Sur, is a famous destination for Eco-tourists, fishermen and divers who revel in the undersea 100 foot visibility found around the nearby coves and islands of Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla La Partida.
Not-to-be-missed on your vacation travels is Todos Santos in Baja California Sur. A charming “Artists Colony” and village on the Pacific Coast located about fifty miles from either Cabo San Lucas or La Paz. Todos Santos makes a nice day trip by rental car or motor coach (about ten bucks) from either town.
Another route to Cabo San Lucas is to travel by deluxe air conditioned Mercedes Benz or Dina motorcoach. These buses leave hourly from the modern bus terminal located near the airport in Tijuana. Bus fares generally about cost half as much as the commercial airlines. Be sure to check the internet for bargains as airline specials are often competitive with bus fares. The bus ride is an approximately 20 hour marathon that travels to Cabo San Lucas from Tijuana via Ensenada, San Quintin, Cataviña, Guerrero Negro, San Ignacio, Santa Rosalia, Loreto, Mulege, Constitution, La Paz, and Todos Santos. Whew! The Aguila bus line is the primary motorcoach carrier on the Baja California Peninsula route.
The bus will stop for ten to thirty minutes in the various towns and villages along the way for tacos and toilet breaks. The terrain and desert flora constantly changes as the journey traverses many different types of desert regions ranging from the almost moonscape boulder strewn barren to Thorn Tropical which is dense with vegetation and flowers during the fall rainy season. The courageous Mexican bus drivers will enhance your experience as they maneuver the bus round steep canyon cliffside roads and dare herds of livestock to cross their road, for they stop for nada (nothing) except more passengers who appear silently along the lonely desert roadside.
Onboard you can practice your Spanish watching Looney Tunes and Hollywood movies dubbed in Spanish on overhead monitors. The food at the rest stops is edible and motorcoach seats almost comfortable enough to sleep in. Watch your wallet! The buses don’t break down or get stuck in washed out roads too often. But when they do, everyone gets out and helps push. I did once. It’s a Mexican thing to do, and good for international relations.
The best most relaxing option for your Mexico vacation is to fly to Los Cabos via commercial airlines, and leave the driving (and donkey riding) to others. The Los Cabos International Airport, serving Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, is located 8 miles north of San Jose del Cabo and is designated SJD on the air travel websites.
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