Too busy? Too expensive? Too touristy?
BY HEATHER BORQUEZ
Cabo has grown by leaps and bounds. Construction is everywhere. Prices are skyrocketing and there is no end in sight. There are few opportunities to blend into the community or to get to know the locals. Beaches are accessed through hotel lobbies and people are hounded by hawkers everywhere they walk. Yes, Cabo has changed. What originally brought people to Cabo has long ago been replaced by high-rise hotels, rapidly built condos, seedy nightclubs, expensive restaurants and overcrowded beaches which are hard to access and crowded with people trying to sell you trinkets.
If you are feeling disenchanted with life in Cabo, come back to the way it was ‘before’ — before the tourists moved in; before the beaches were restricted to hotel residents only; and before a lazy Margarita on the beach was replaced by shiny, noisy beach restaurants with horns blowing while people down tequila shots.
Come back to live in the real Baja – like Cabo was before it was ‘discovered’.
La Paz, the charming state capital of Baja California Sur is gritty, authentic, utterly charming and very laid back. The Paceños run the city. They are proud of their city and its weekly cultural events and concerts. They enjoy their stunning beaches and many people kayak and paddle board and hikers explore the mountain ranges. Local families take nightly strolls along the waterfront boulevard (Malecón) with grandparents and parents pushing a baby carriage. Teenagers skid by on skateboards, grinning as you hop out of the way and young lovers parade up and down, arm in arm. At times the Malecón is crowded with families (grandma and grandpa and kids all jammed into the car) driving up and down and taking in the sights. You can join a family celebrating a birthday at a local restaurant while the Mariachis play for them. Some offices are still closed for lunch and a siesta from 2–4 p.m. No interrupting family meal time. Resident foreigners living in La Paz mingle in the fresh produce markets and at the fishmongers. You hear more Spanish than English everywhere you go.
Laid back, although still a city with 5 hospitals and 3 universities, Walmart and Home Depot, you can still see the fishermen bringing in their catch (if you are up early enough), or a camping van parked on the beach. This year, there was a camper on the Malecón with the owner snoozing in the hammock he had strung up above the roof of his camper. He had a great view of the Carnival festivities in February. People loll around on the beaches in front of the Malecón and have picnics under the Palapas that line the beach. Children collect clams, and the adults share a drink. It is warm, friendly, relaxed and yes… authentic.
It is a wonderful sight and reminds us that we actually live IN Mexico. Restaurants and bars line the Malecón but prices are not exorbitant. Hawkers are nowhere to be seen … just fishing boats pulled up onto the sand and sailboats gently bobbing in the waves. Joggers and walkers fill the Malecón in the early morning hours. It is 7 kilometers long and stretches from the posh end of the city (Puerta Cortes golf club community and Pedregal) to past the marinas and Topete Street. It is lined with a fantastic bike lane that many people take advantage of. Boats and marinas are everywhere. The calm waters make La Paz a boater’s dream.
And if La Paz is still too busy for you, there is the Pacific side of the peninsula, starting with the fun and wacky beachside community of Cerritos where the surfers mingle. Walking barefooted on sandy roads, you arrive at a wonderful beach that stretches for miles. Surfers and swimmers enjoy it together. There are only a few restaurants, mostly under a palapa, and the views are uninterrupted miles and miles of the Pacific Ocean. Condos and houses are being built as people are rapidly discovering this jewel of the Pacific. But it is still very small with only a few hundred residents. Next to Cerritos are the organic farms and rolling hills of Pescadero. Bordered by the authentic town of Pescadero, there are roadside taco stands, stray dogs, and stunning views of the Pacific with the organic farms waving green in the sunlight. Pescadero is a sleepy and peaceful town. There isn’t even a grocery store. BUT, there are lots of organic farms, chickens being sold, and fish everywhere. Slowly becoming discovered, beautiful homes are being built on large pieces of land on the slopes, providing stunning views of the sea. Roads are sandy and meander through the fields. There are no supermarkets, no banks, no bars, (other than quiet places under a palapa where you can hear people chatting and the hum of a guitar), definitely no hawkers, and very little to do other than enjoy the beach, the views, the fresh fruit and vegetables and your book.
Todos Santos is a little bit of both. It’s a very small town that extolls pure charm. It has a historic downtown area and stunning vistas as you leave town and head toward the beach. Foreign residents of Todos Santos feel very much a part of the community and are artists, painters, yoga enthusiasts, and foodies. There are wonderful restaurants in Todos Santos and beautiful homes on large lots surround the town. Lots are large, the streets are mostly sandy and the vegetation is overpowering. Being in a microclimate, Todos Santos has more rain and a more temperate climate. Flowers and palm trees are everywhere.
So if the tourist crowds, noise, traffic and endless tequila shots are getting you down and making you wonder where the ‘real Baja’ is, come to where it is still like Cabo was 20 years ago.
I would be happy to give you a tour of the area and of the many beautiful properties still available at reasonable prices in any of these areas.
A recent review of MLS data showed the following numbers (April 26, 2021 – April 26, 2023)
The average price of a condo in La Paz is now $325,909 USD (a screaming deal if you compare it to condo prices in Cabo and San Jose).
The average price for a condo in the Cabo Corridor is now $455,002 USD and in San Jose del Cabo $526,843 USD.
House prices show a similar trend. The average house price in the Cabo Corridor is now $655,147 USD. In San Jose del Cabo it is even higher.
La Paz continues to be a real deal with the average house price at a very affordable $309,034. Think large gardens, stunning views of the Bay or downtown and walking distance to all stores, restaurants, and pubs.
Pescadero, Cerritos and Todos Santos have various price ranges and there are many properties in the 300’s and 400’s. Of course, you can go higher.
Heather Borquez is a Licensed Real Estate Agent with Diamante Realtors. firstname.lastname@example.org +52 612-157-1984 www.diamanterealtors.com