∙ Tasting All Things Beautiful In Los Cabos
Asmile crossed Armando’s face as I nearly jumped out of my seat in the back of the cab. My eyes were open wide, my neck craned forward and despite being seated comfortably in the taxi for the past 15 minutes, somehow I was suddenly out of breath. “Is that El Arco?” I asked, pointing straight ahead into the distance. “Yes,” he said confidently, a silent grin lighting up his face. “You like it?” “It’s beautiful!” I exclaimed as I continued to gaze in the distance, my jaw nearly touching my lap. “Yes,” Armando agreed, nodding smugly before adding, “I like it too.”
We were driving along the coastal parkway that connects the resort area to downtown Cabo San Lucas. The Sea of Cortez sparkled to our left, rugged limestone peaks rose up around us on the right, and the most majestic and eye-catching natural fixture in Cabo beamed straight ahead: El Arco.
When seen from a distance, El Arco takes the shape of a flawless stone archway. My eyes travelled along the range of limestone mounds that gently narrow as they jut into the sea. The smooth knolls of rock become more rugged and ornate as they move further into the water, appearing as though someone had carved them out with a skilled chisel. The range culminated to a point in an arch-like shape that looked from a distance like a hook anchoring the rock to the water. It was a gentle and sublime image marking the southernmost point of Mexico’s 1,202 kilometre-long Baja Peninsula like the perfect song at the end of a beautiful stage show.
I had forgotten to blink. I retrieved my jaw from my lap and sat back in my seat taking in the marvellous view, and pondering whether it was too late to cancel my morning appointments so that I could make my way down to El Arco right away.
Alas, my morning was spent touring the Sea of Cortez in a speedboat, spending a few hours to snorkel among the colourful reefs, and kayak and stand-up paddleboard the gentle waters of this bay. Through the entire experience, however, there was only one thing on my mind. I had to see El Arco up close.
From the marina, you can get to El Arco easily by hailing a water taxi or a glass bottom boat. But taking a tip from a local, I decided to hike onto the beach instead. It was quite a little adventure! The 30-minute trek was a real treat as I walked along a beautiful golden sand beach, passing countless scenic rock formations along the way. It must have been amusing for the locals as well, as they watched a short brown girl carefully climb up and over some rocks as high as 20 feet in a dress and flip-flops.
As calm and statuesque as El Arco appears from a distance, up
close, however, it presents a very different kind of beauty. The giant, rugged rock rises from the water towering above every thing else. Its peaks are decorated with sharp rocks that resemble turrets of a castle. The roaring waves of the Pacific strike against its base, the ocean challenging swimmers to a duel it knows it will most likely win.
Just a few meters away however, the aptly name Playa del Amour (Lover’s Beach) is a peaceful retreat for beachgoers. Tucked away from the rough waves, the white sand at Lover’s Beach is powdery soft and the lagoon’s water is warm and calm. I spent the afternoon laying under the sun, and watching young locals tack le the waves of the Pacific on their surfboards. There were no shops in sight, but local vendors occasionally passed by selling cold drinks and homemade baked goods.
I didn’t dare have a single snack, though, because I was saving my appetite for dinner. Seared scallops with a corn purée, served with an apricot salad and popcorn dust; Baja lobster tail with parsnip purée, served with vegetable ratatouille micro-greens and citrus segments; local heirloom tomato concassé on fennel oil, red apple, strawberries and toasted almonds; and seared Ahi tuna with a smoked spice rub, cauliflower daikon purée, pea pomade baby vegetables, oyster mushroom and truffle oil. These are just a few of the dishes that make up the dinner menu designed by executive Chef Gonzalo Cerda of Cocina del Mar, the feature restaurant at the Esperanza resort. With a focus on locally sourced seafood (and plenty of vegan options), Chef Cerda takes inspiration from all over the American continent to serve impeccable fine cuisine where artful plating and flavour go head to head in an intense battle.
At breakfast time, Mexican specialties take the cake at Cocina del Mar. Think classic huevos rancheros as well as old fashioned chilaquiles made with crispy tortillas, salsa, refried beans and fresh panela cheese, and oaxaquenos made with sliced tomato and panela cheese, served with a chili sauce. Are you salivating yet?
If that wasn’t enough to tease your senses, here’s more.
Just 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, the Esperanza is the perfect place for a quiet retreat. The uber luxe property is loaded with VIP amenities like a personal concierge, complimentary daily fitness classes, tennis courts, complimentary parking, and all-natural bath products. Every room on the property has a spectacular view of the ocean, and either a hammock or an infinity edge hot tub.
During the day, whales can be spotted frolicking in the ocean right next to the resort. Whether you’re lounging on a daybed at the beach or relaxing in the beachfront infinity pool, make sure to have your binoculars handy that are provided by the resort in every guest room.
At night, nothing pleased me more than a dip in my own private hot tub as I stared out at the star-filled sky, before snuggling into bed under the high-pitched handmade palapa ceiling.
Between golden sand beaches, luxurious resorts, action packed water-sports, and plate after plate of delicious food, time spent in Cabo San Lucas is a perfect indulgence for all the senses.
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