El Pescadero

Dare we call it the anti Cabo?
BY: CARRIE DUNCAN

El Pescadero is a rural area 45 minutes north of Cabo San Lucas which is still affordable, quaint, and livable. It’s bordered by Cerritos to the south and Todos Santos to the north. Unless you squint hard, you don’t even know when you’re going from one of these places to the next, and they all fall under the administrative jurisdiction of La Paz.

El Pescadero, which means the fish monger, is sometimes incorrectly called El Pescador, which means the fisherman. People who live there often affectionately call It Pesky.

Although El Pescadero’s boundaries are pretty vague, there are three distinct and very different areas. The boundaries between these areas are vague also, but they are unmistakable in their character.

 

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There is the beach sprawl, which is dozens of mostly Gringo owned individual houses built alongside dusty roads laid out in a somewhat cohesive grid. These houses are of various size, value, style, and era, scattered widely, with many empty lots between the homes. The neighborhood is beachside, and since it is on a hill, most of the homes, even in the fifth and sixth rows, have nice ocean views.

Then there’s the Pescadero east of there, that straddles highway 19. This is the fourlane that rushes between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. That neighborhood, anchored by the Pemex station, has seen a lot of growth lately, as tacky taco stands spring up, each one wanting to be on the front row of the highway. This makes this part of Pescadero elongated, and hazardous to people who are constantly running across it, to and fro, for one reason or another. Cyndi Williams, owner of one of those businesses, Oasis bar and restaurant, has petitioned officials for speed signs, speed limits, or speed bumps, but she was only able to secure two cardboard cut outs of cop cars, pounded into the roadside at both ends of the busy strip.

The third area of El Pescadero is the original old downtown. Yes, there is a downtown, you just don’t go there because you’re screaming down the fourlane at an insane speed. The downtown area is on the east side of the highway. There are real stores, although small, a pretty nice baseball/soccer stadium, and even a car wash. The town is laid out in a tight grid, not the loose grid of the Gringo centric west side, or beach side.

Although sandwiched between Cerritos and Todos Santos, and although boasting of three distinct neighborhoods, El Pescador nevertheless has it’s own personality. Birds of a feather and all that seems to apply here because nobody kicks up much of a racket in Pesky, it’s very quiet and most of those living there are over 50. Cerritos to the south has a lot of bars and restaurants and now is sprouting hotels, condos, and even timeshares. To the north Gringos in Todos Santos like to think of themselves as artsy fartsy, and it does have that flavor of charm.

But Cerritos has tranquility. Ask anyone living there where they go for fun and they start talking about Cerritos. Ask them where they go for fine dining, and they start talking Todos Santos up. Pretty much nothing happens in Pescadero, it’s just people quietly living the Mexican experience.

Despite being named The Fish Monger, there isn’t much fishing going on. There are only about three descent beaches, none accessible enough or safe enough to develop, so for now at least, they’re safe from attracting noisy crowds.

Agriculture is big here, with wide swatches of cultivated fields adding to the feeling of living in the past, more tranquil time. The area is rich in underground water, although it’s being pumped out at an unsustainable rate. Most but not all of the water is held communally by Ejidos, similar to American Indian reservations, and they can’t be stopped from pumping, nor can they be interested in a more orderly, sustainable use of the water. As a result, the water table is dropping and sea water is creeping in. Every crop rotation is seeing more salt deposited in the fields, left behind by irrigation that’s got too much salinity.

These fields of produce are nearly all under contract; they are contractually bound to sell their crops to large produce importers in the United States. These contracts are signed before the seeds even hit the dirt. Most of the farmers have been organized into Mexican co-ops by Mexicans, who make these deals with the Americans. This is why it’s so hard to find good produce here; the good stuff is trucked north while the runty food is left behind.

Those who don’t farm in El Pascadero, are either retired Gringos, or if they are Mexican, live off the retired Gringos. They build Gringo houses or clean Gringo houses, or feed Gringos.

This town is definitely the home of independent people, as there is only one housing development, aptly named Pueblo Pescadero. The houses start at around $260,000 and are mostly sold out. It’s a smallish development of about 40 two and three bedroom homes. If you don’t want the headaches of building your own home, and want the piece of mind of knowing how your home was built, this is a good option. Well, it’s your only option in this sleepy part of Baja called El Pescadero. There will be no danger of it changing in our lifetime.