∙ Tast­ing All Things Beau­ti­ful In Los Cabos

SHE Canada - - CONTENT -

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.

SHE re­cently gave two trips to Mexico. Stay up to date at shemagazine.ca, and fol­low along @ Shecanada. You just might be our next win­ner in our run­ning con­tests!

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