More to Mexico

Baja Sur transforms its ‘spring break’ reputation into a multi-dimensional destination

By: Bryce Longton

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ATV riding is the perfect activity
for adventurous clients.
For many travelers, Mexico is synonymous with “spring break.” And for local Californians, this is particularly true in Baja Sur. From Tijuana to Ensenada, San Felipe to Cabo San Lucas, a visit to Mexico offers a rockin’ good time. However, it’s been said that you find what you looking for in Mexico, and I found that looking beyond wild nights at Cabo Wabo, there is a much more refined Mexico; a Mexico with a playful yet relaxed atmosphere and hospitality in spades.

Being close to nature is one of the best parts of visiting Mexico, and in Baja Sur there are plenty of outdoor activities for clients. If they are the least bit adventurous, taking an ATV tour is a must. In Los Barrilles, Adventures by Quadman offers one of the best off-roading experiences, hands down. The trails lead you through expansive, mostly dry riverbeds that give clients the sense of the wilderness without cars or people and no one to complain if you crank up your ATV as fast as it will go, catching air as you splash through mud along the way. Be sure to advise clients to wear closed-toe shoes and clothing they don’t mind getting dirty.

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Clients can interact with sea lions on
excursions from La Paz.
Swimming with sea lions is another must-do in the Baja Sur area, which is a full-day excursion departing from the capital city, La Paz. The Sea Lion colony congregates on the rocky formations called “Los Islotes” part of a grouping of five islands that make up Espiritu Santo. This particular colony of sea lions is used to curious snorkelers and some of the young ones will swim close enough to touch. Travelers be warned: Do not get too close to the rocks or the large braying males it can incite aggression. Along with the sea lion interaction, the tour includes a freshly prepared lunch on a private bay on Espiritu Santo Island itself; complete with porch swings installed in the sand a few yards up from the water. Here, clients have the opportunity to kayak, swim or snorkel some more. The locale is picturesque enough that entire wedding parties have been boated out here for a sunset ceremony. Snorkeling masks, flippers and life jackets are provided.

Clients looking for somewhere to stay should try the Hotel California in tiny Todos Santos. It is absolutely incredible. The individually styled suites vary in size and decor but every last one of the 11 rooms is delightful, and the hotel has both a gourmet restaurant and a cerulean pool. This hotel often books out entirely for wedding parties, so make reservations early.

While in Todos Santos be sure to dine at least once at the Tequila Sunrise Bar and Grill yes, it’s right across the way from the Hotel California and yes, they play Eagles videos all day long the best thing on the menu is the poblano chiles with pomegranates. It’s so good that I requested the recipe but was denied, in order to keep the mystery, of course.

Baja Sur is quickly becoming an international destination and, in Los Cabos, multicultural restaurants are springing up everywhere. If clients are looking for one to try, recommend the consistently top-rated French Riviera Restaurant and Bakery. Run by master chef Jacques Chretien (one of five master chefs in all of Mexico) and his wife Sophie Chretien, the restaurant serves delectable dishes with items like yellow-fin tuna carpaccio, roasted Ensenada red lobster, oxtail confit and strawberry souffles each more delicious than the last. Reservations are recommended.

Whether your clients plan to take in some sun, go on an adventure or taste some delicious food, Baja Sur is a great destination with a lot more to offer than a rowdy club scene.


French Riviera Restaurant and Bakery

Grupo Fun Baja (swimming with sea lions)
$100 for the day including lunch

Hotel California in Todos Santos

Quadman (ATV tour)
Rates start at $50 for three hours.

Tequila Sunrise Bar and Grill