The Three Faces of Baja Sur

Clients who want to explore the nooks and crannies of the region on their own will find clearly marked roads and highways, tons of rental car agencies at San Jose del Cabo International Airport and area hotels and friendly locals willing to guide them to the area’s natural and man-made landmarks. And that’s why we love this part of Mexico for our hot 2012 destinations issue—because it’s so easy to freely “lose” yourself while discovering secret beaches, lots of sea life jumping out to greet you and three very different sides to a getaway in Baja California Sur.

glam in los cabos Clients who think this destination is just about Sammy Hagar slamming down tequila shots or celebrities posing for paparazzi, will be surprised to know that there’s a bit more to it than that.

“Los Cabos is a great destination for vacationers because it has so much to offer,” says John Hanratty, senior v.p. and chief marketing officer for Travel Impressions. “Sports aficionados are attracted by the world-class golf courses, watersports activities, ATV tours and fishing experiences. The destination is highlighted by its renowned spas, fine dining and natural beauty featuring tropical gardens next to desert cactus.” Moreover, he adds, the destination’s proximity to the U.S. makes it an easy option for a quick getaway.

There’s never a boring day in Los Cabos, but the winter season is particularly busy for art and nature lovers. Each Thursday from November through June sees an evening Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo, with galleries staying open until late so visitors and locals can browse, mingle with a glass of wine in hand and hopefully buy a piece or two. And along with its full roster of hotels and resorts for different types of clients, Travel Impressions has added new commissionable tours to its Los Cabos offerings.

“Through our representative in Los Cabos, we are able to offer fishing expeditions and a wide array of day tours which complete the vacation experience and can by booked by travel agents for their clients,” says Hanratty. This is the right time to sign clients up for a whale-watching tour along the peninsula, as several species—including minke, blue and gray whales—venture to area waters from December through March. A 4-hour boat tour is priced at $59 per adult. More adventurous types can also book a canopy zipline excursion at the Costa Azul Canyon for $84 per adult.

“In Los Cabos, Travel Impressions has developed a portfolio of hotels and resorts that target many niche markets. For luxury and elegance, Travel Impressions offers One&Only Palmilla and Las Ventanas as well as a selection of four- and five-star properties with great spas, access to golf courses and a range of watersports,” explains Hanratty. “Travel Impressions also features three-star all-inclusive resorts which provide great value for families, wedding groups and family reunions.”

Family stays available through Travel Impressions includes Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa, which is joining the Pueblo Bonito brand’s Luxury Without Limitations all-inclusive program come Dec. 1. Already available at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa, the program includes daily a-la-carte or buffet breakfasts, themed nights, poolside lunches, a-la-carte dinner and room service. Sunset Beach guests can also take complimentary shuttles to nearby Pueblo Bonito resorts to enjoy their respective all-inclusive options. Contact Travel Impressions for rates.

artsy in todos santos From Los Cabos, it’s a leisurely hour-long drive to Todos Santos. Tucked away between the Pacific Ocean and the Laguna mountain range, this town is much more tranquil and small than Los Cabos and is well known for its former sugar mills, galleries and talented artists, but it’s so much more than that. There are amazing surfing options nearby—tides are treacherous, though, so stick to swimming in hotel pools—and birders will get their fill with everything from roadrunners to owls on the prowl.

These days, the hot stay in Todos Santos is Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa, whose historic structure has held a post office, a school, an art academy and a police station since its birth in the mid-19th century. With a lofty spa and pool in its sky deck and beautifully decorated rooms and suites with free Internet—deluxe and suite accommodations feature vintage copper tubs—this might well be the most luxurious hotel in Todos Santos. The hotel also has its own large palapa at Calla de Ulloa that is ideal for weddings and other events, with the roar of the ocean putting on a visual and acoustic show that’s hard to beat. Rates in November start at $280 per night.