LOS CA­BOS, MEX­ICO.

Gay Times Magazine - - THE BIG TRIP - Words Si­mon Gage

“Go down that hole,” says the nice lady at the Mex­i­can ho­tel. We’ve had a few mar­gar­i­tas over lunch – it’s Mex­ico and it doesn’t count as lunch un­less there have been a few mar­gar­i­tas – and she’s point­ing at a trap door in the mid­dle of a very mod­ern but very fancy lounge area that is ap­par­ently re­served for when a hur­ri­cane hits. And hur­ri­canes do hit. I lift the flap, go down the steps and... it’s an en­tire record­ing stu­dio.

We are at El Ganzo, a clas­sic mod­ern ho­tel at the proper Mex­i­can end of Los Ca­bos, which any­one who ever watched The Hills or The Real Housetrouts of Bev­erly Hills will know is so handy for Los An­geli­nos that the place is some­times lousy with them, from reg­u­lar folk all the way down the so­cial scale to the Kar­dashi­ans. Luck­ily, they tend to play in Cabo San Lu­cas up the not-so-Mex­i­can end on the other side of the bay. That bit’s fun and jumpy and clubby and gay-friendly but it doesn’t re­ally feel like Mex­ico.

At El Ganzo you get your clev­erer set, your Euro­peans, your smarty pants-es, your artists who are en­cour­aged to record their stay with a bit of orig­i­nal work (they might some­times get away with no bill if it’s good enough). And no won­der: the roof is a cool so­cial spot with great wall art and a huge Jacuzzi that looks like an aquar­ium where rock stars have been known to throw par­ties. Over there is the ma­rina and, a two-minute boat ride away, the beach club, all yours for the play­ing with.

The lo­cal town, San José del Cabo, is proper Mex­ico with brightly coloured build­ings and squares and gal­leries and palm trees and phar­ma­cies where you can pick up drugs you can only get on pre­scrip­tion in the UK. Fun, kicky, handy.

Los Ca­bos, the area that takes in San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lu­cas and the whole bit in be­tween, is in Baja Cal­i­for­nia, a Mex­i­can con­tin­u­a­tion of the Amer­i­can Cal­i­for­nia ge­og­ra­phy-wise. It has the Sea of Cortez sep­a­rat­ing it from the west coast of Mex­ico proper, the bit with gay play­ground Puerto Val­larta in it, and has been a re­sort for decades since the son of some Mex­i­can pres­i­dent or other started lur­ing the likes of Frank Si­na­tra and Clark Gable down.

Now it’s one of those places where the ho­tels are the star at­trac­tion. There’s The Cape, a slick con­crete num­ber, with its out­door lobby splat­tered with mod­ern art and fur­ni­ture, rooms with free­stand­ing baths and bal­conies with swings on and a cou­ple of pools over­look­ing the sea. Rock star stuff.

Then there are the ho­tels where you get a whole suite that opens out onto your own beach and enough staff to start a foot­ball team – like Las Ven­tanas al Paraiso, where the likes of Bill Gates like to un­wind or The One & Only, a very big, very Amer­i­can com­pound where Jen­nifer Anis­ton has been spot­ted us­ing a golf bužy to get around. There’s def­i­nitely money here.

But it’s not all about ho­tels (even if you can visit the ac­tual Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia of Eagles fame if you have trans­port and a few hours). It’s also about wildlife, like whale sharks and reg­u­lar whale whales, both a big draw for the ad­ven­tur­ous.

To catch sight of the real whales, you hop on a speed­boat so speedy that it ac­tu­ally has sad­dles rather than seats, then laze around in the Sea of Cortez, lis­ten to the man with the plan, and sooner or later some­one will catch sight of a jumper – though it’ll prob­a­bly be a mas­sive tail or a fin rather than the full frontal. It’s not clear what’s more ex­cit­ing: the whale or the ride. Some­one ac­tu­ally cried from fear on our trip. Which was funny.

For the whale shark, you can get an even closer en­counter. This time you sit around in the Sea of Cortez but in a wet­suit with a snorkel and when the man with the plan – this m with a p has a huge scar up his arm, which makes you think – says jump, you jump. And the rea­son he’s said jump is that there’s a mas­sive of­fi­cially-bižest-fish-in-the-world Juras­sic Park-look­ing shark swim­ming un­der your boat and you’re go­ing in with him. He’s harm­less, ap­par­ently, which is tough to fathom as he glides past, his brown lumpy skin so close you could touch it.

Some peo­ple don’t want to do that, which is crazy talk. Some peo­ple just want to prop up the bars-in-pools (and no, not like in Benidorm) which is crazy fun. Some peo­ple want to fin­ger the aisles down that funny Hy­per­mar­ket the size of Ger­many for t-shirts that flat­ter and give you change from a peso. Loco! Some peo­ple want to be a Kar­dashian, which

is just crazy. Los Ca­bos just wants to give you it all, which is the smartest thing we heard all day.

Where to stay:

Ho­tel El Ganzo.

A laid-back al­most hip­ster at­mos­phere and only 70 guest rooms make this the smart choice in San José del Cabo – just ask those rock stars who’ve stayed. Bou­tique, bi­jou and so many other things be­gin­ning with the let­ter ‘b’. el­ganzo.com

The Cape.

In case you thought Mex­ico meant things were al­ways go­ing to be a lit­tle on the home­spun side, this beau­ti­ful mod­ern ho­tel with views onto the Sea of Cortes has been cre­ated to put you right. Amaz­ing restau­rant, spa and a jumpy rooftop bar. thomp­son­ho­tels.com

Where to play:

Chan­de­liers.

We’re not say­ing this is go­ing to be your favourite place to hang out but it’s the main LGBTQ hub, so it’s a good start. From there it’s on to any num­ber of gay-friendly bars and beach clubs go­ing from quaint to su­per­starry.

Vi­cente Guer­rero, Cabo San Lu­cas

San Jose Town

The Cape by Thomp­son

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