Anti-Cabo

Posted on Jun 4, 2015 in Mexico, Travel, Wanderlust

Anti-Cabo

This is a story about going to Baja and bypassing Cabo San Lucas completely.  It all started with a trip to Cabo and a 3 night stay at the super luxurious Las Ventanas .  Las Ventanas was for 3 nights so we decided to combine it with something else in the Baja.  Shortly after we booked our trip, the hurricane blew in devastating the area and destroying Las Ventanas.  So, we changed our reservations to mid-April which is when we were told the hotel would reopen.   April turned into a reopening in July but July is not a good time to go to Baja and since we’d already changed our flights once we decided to look for something to combine with the other destination that we’d booked…Rancho Pescadero in Pescadero, a few miles south of Todos Santos.

After doing some research on I-Escape, which I highly recommend, we came upon a small luxury eco-inn called Villa del Faro, on the Sea of Cortez, the East Cape.  It sounded great.  One hour on a dirt road, watch out for cows and goats, turn left at the basketball court.  Could been fun.  But the piece de resistence at Villa del Faro was something called “The Stone Cottage”.  A thatched roof cottage on the beach that had solar powered electricity, an outdoor shower and bano, fire pit and grill for cooking.  Sounded good and very adventurous, so we booked it.

As it turns out, this trip was timed perfectly because I decided to retire from professional life and my last day would be May 15.  We departed for the Baja on May 17.  What a great way to celebrate the start of a new chapter in my life.

Arriving in Cabo at lunchtime, we asked the rental car people “where would you go for lunch?”  They directed us to a popular local restaurant called Tacos Rossy.  Being that it was Sunday it was crowded with families and lots of locals – always a good sign.  We were starving.  We ordered some soft tacos carnitas and tostados with fresh fish ceviche.  A little guacamole on the side.  Washed down with an ice cold Pacifico. All delicious and a perfect way to start the trip.  Now, we were fortified and ready to head up to Rancho Pescadero, an hour north of Cabo.

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Fresh Fish Tostado

When you think of Baja you think of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.  This is not where we went.  We went north along Highway 1 on the corridor of resort after resort and golf course after golf course.  The directions were perfect but they neglected to mention one thing – the road work and a detour which took us off track.  Miserably lost, we stopped to ask a couple for directions and they said, “we’re going that way follow us”.  How nice is that?  So they steered us in the right direction, waved good-bye and we were on our way.  In Pescadero, take a left at the hotel sign onto a dirt road, past some farms and new crops being planted and hotel gardens  and you’ve arrived.  I knew the minute I walked into the reception area that this was going to be good!

Located in the desert and on a beach that goes on for miles Rancho Pescadero has 28 beautifully designed suites that are worthy of Architectural Digest, artwork everywhere, a staff that can’t do enough for you.  A beautiful pool and pool bar,  a fire pit on the grounds and on the beach, a restaurant run by a husband and wife team from Sonoma, yoga every morning in a studio that is all sliding glass doors looking out onto the desert vegetation.  While we were doing Yoga one morning, a bird flew into the windows and dropped.  Five dogs belonging to the instructor surrounded the bird and the instructor tried to do some Reiki on it.  Didn’t work.

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A beach that goes on for miles

 

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One of the incredible paintings at the hotel

 

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Yoga anyone?

 

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Never seen a jackrabbit like this

Wake up in the morning and a basket is at your door filled with fresh fruit, a sweet goodie that is different each day and some coffee.  Cool desert mornings turned into clear, hot afternoons and comfortable evenings with the stars shining brightly.

You can venture off property to Todos Santos to see the famous Hotel California and the town which has a few galleries and restaurants or go to Cerritos the famous surfing beach.  We did that but the hotel was so good there was really no reason to leave.

We had dinner each evening in the outdoor restaurant, sitting at the bar overlooking the open kitchen, watching the chefs do their magic; the food was amazing. Our last night we had reservations in Todos Santos but when Roy heard that lobster was the special, we canceled the reservations.  Grilled lobster in in a garlic butter sauce with fresh vegetables from the garden.  Mashed avocados served with the sweetest cherry tomatoes and the best “totopes” (tortilla chips) – I couldn’t get enough!  Even the wine, from vineyards in the area was more than decent.

Being from Boston, Roy wanted to learn how to make frijoles, something we can’t really get unless it’s at a chain Mexican restaurant and you know what those look like.  So, Edgar, the front office manager extraordinaire set up a hands-on lesson for Roy with the chef.

After three days it was time to head out for part two of the adventure.  Back through Cabo and San Jose del Cabo so I could see what I didn’t miss.  We stopped at Soriana the mega-super store to do some grocery shopping which we were advised to do since lunch is not served at Villa del Faro.  Then with detailed map in hand we started out for the adventure.  I can’t tell you that I wasn’t nervous.  That would be against my nature.  I was.  Turn right off the main road, take a left at the fork and that was our first disagreement!  Did we take the right road?  So we had to backtrack  and found some to ask if the left turn was correct which it was, and then we followed the desert dirt road for one hour.  Past a dot on the map that looks like it might be a town  and actually has a name, Palo Escopeta, but is called a pueblo and all that’s there is a school and a little store.  A few cars and trucks passed us and God help you if you break down or run out of gas!  Eventually we could see the Sea of Cortz in front of us.  Take a left at the “T ” and 2 miles down the road take a right and you’ve arrived at Villa del Farro.

Well, all I can tell you is I felt like I arrived at a villa in Capri.  What is amazing about Villa del Faro is that it is remote, way off the beaten track and as you look around the property you can’t imagine how the work was done or furniture was hauled in.  But, the proprietors are owners of a residential construction company in Los Angeles and they were able to complete this amazing property and have lived there for 25 years.  Spread out over many acres the inn is also the home to the owners.  The suites and casitas are all beautiful and each one is different but we opted for the Stone Cottage.  Located on the beach, a little remote, maybe too much for me, it was truly a uniuqe experience.  Waves crashing at night, morning sunrise with no one on the beach, campfire after dinner, pitch black nights with bright starry skies, that was our experience.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like it and I did complain a little.  There was a suite available but I took one for the team and lived with an outdoor toilet and shower for three days.  Breakfast and dinner at the villa, afternoons at the pool, nothing to do but read, play Scrabble, meeting some very nice people, this was truly an experience.

And, the shells!  Beautiful shells!  We couldn’t stop collecting them.  I have a great idea to make mobiles from them so we schlepped home 20 pounds!!!

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The dirt road!

 

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Sunrise over Sea of Cortez

 

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The Stone Cottage

 

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This caption speaks for itself

 

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My bathroom!

 

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The dining room

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Pathway to the villa

 

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Inside the Stone Cottage

 

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Desert vegetation and Sea of Cortez

Then, it was Saturday and time to head back on the dirt road and reality.  That one hour ride on the dirt road didn’t turn out to be so bad!  It’s a small price to pay to have an anti-Cabo vacation.  When I tell people I went to Baja they say “oh Cabo”.  No this was anti-Cabo.

I loved the Baja.  Always the question at the end of our vacations .  Would we go back – yes.  Maybe we’ll go to Las Ventanas – we’ll see.

See you at the bar….

 

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