El Encanto de La Laguna: A Different Kind of Living
A story by InMexicoRead more
Like a flawless diamond, a superior location shows off its brilliance with many glittering facets. El Encanto de la Laguna, for example, doesn’t just impress with its gated privacy and breathtaking beachfront setting, but with its proximity to the sophisticated charms and upscale shopping delights of San José del Cabo, and its convenient access to a major international airport.
But did you know that El Encanto de la Laguna is also within easy driving distance of several other remarkable locales, including places renowned for their magic and adventure? If not, then perhaps it’s time for a road trip! Let us be your guides as we introduce you to three of our favorite destinations for Los Cabos day trips.
Wondering what to do in Todos Santos? The day trip options are many, which partly explains why this charming coastal community was the first on the Baja California peninsula to be named a pueblo mágico. Literally, a “magic town”. This sought-after designation is typically given by México’s Secretaría de Turismo to places of great cultural or historical importance, or of surpassing natural beauty.
Todos Santos meets all three pueblo mágico prerequisites. A thriving sugar capital during the 19th century, the beautiful brick buildings that remain from this period give Todos Santos’ downtown area an eye-catching and unmistakably elegant profile. But it isn’t just the architectural legacy that impresses here, it’s also the lush palm groves and a stunning coastal setting nestled between towering inland mountains and crashing Pacific Ocean waves.
This unique setting perhaps accounts for Todos Santos’ famed natural light, the warm-hued clarity of which first drew artists to the area in the 1980s. Today, the town is home to a full-fledged artists’ colony, and its chic boutiques and galleries have made it one of the premier shopping meccas in Baja California Sur.
Paintings, sculptures and custom jewelry aren’t the only attractions, however. Todos Santos’ emergent cultural cachet has now expanded beyond art to embrace music, literature, and film; and Todos Santos currently hosts festivals dedicated to each, as well as annual fêtes for food and wine, and fresh local mangoes.
Less than an hour by car from Cabo San Lucas and one hour and a half from San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos is conveniently accessible via a modern and well-maintained highway featuring magnificent ocean views. The most frequent Todos Santos weather descriptor is “sunny”, but you could also add “with great surfing conditions.” La Pastora in Todos Santos is one of the most famous surf beaches in Baja, and the offshore breaks at nearby beaches Los Cerritos and San Pedrito also draw destination surfers on a year-round basis.
Everyone knows the most famous gold rush in history, that of San Francisco in 1849. But did you know the next great gold rush took place in Baja California?
It happened El Triunfo, a tiny hamlet in the Sierra de la Laguna, the mountain range that dominates the center of southern Baja between Los Cabos and La Paz. The discovery occurred in 1862 and almost overnight the population there swelled by some 10,000 miners, who arrived from all over the Americas, traveling overland by mule from Cabo San Lucas to seek their fortunes in a distant land.
Not many of these miners struck it rich, as big companies moved in to reap the lion’s share of profits from the gold and silver deposits discovered. But El Triunfo itself prospered, becoming the richest town on the Baja California peninsula during the latter half of the 19th century. It was the first regional community, for example, to have “modern” luxuries like telephones and running water, and for a time it boasted the most pianos per capita in Mexico, outstripping even the nation’s capital in that regard.
Times have changed since the mines flooded in 1918, bringing a swift and relatively sudden end to El Triunfo’s golden age. Nowadays the only people who flock there are tourists, enchanted by the stately old homes, the mining and piano museums, the spires of its golden-hued church, and of course its own “Eiffel Tower.”
That would be 35-meter high mining smokestack “Ramona,” designed by a young Gustave Eiffel before he moved on to bigger projects like the Statue of Liberty and a certain tower in Paris.
But El Triunfo’s unique charms make it a “must-visit” treasure for Los Cabos day-trippers, and the drive itself is one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful in Mexico, winding precariously on two-lane blacktop through steep mountainous terrain (El Triunfo is 1850 feet above sea level), with free-range chinampo cattle occasionally stopping traffic while they forage for food.
El Triunfo shared through Creative Commons by Comisión Mexicana Filmación
Where is Cabo Pulmo? you might ask. Or more to the point: What is Cabo Pulmo?
This sleepy little spot on Los Cabos’ picturesque East Cape numbers fewer than 100 year-round residents, but boasts one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see, a sweeping stretch of pristine sand that hugs the graceful curve of the coast below Punta Arena. But what really makes Cabo Pulmo special is what lies just beyond its picturesque beach, beneath its offshore waters.
In the early 1990s, Cabo Pulmo residents were worried about overfishing in the area, so they banded together to have their offshore coral reef–one of the largest living coral reefs in North America–declared a national marine park, which it was in 1995.
What happened next is one of the great eco-conservation success stories–not only in Baja but the world–as local fish populations rebounded in both record time and in record numbers. Today, the nearly 27.5 square miles of Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo is home to the highest concentration of marine life in the Sea of Cortez, protecting over 800 varieties of fish and 2000 species of marine invertebrates.
This combination of colorful marine abundance and the spectacular living coral reef has earned Cabo Pulmo a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s most incredible snorkel and dive destinations.
Imagine an undersea fantasia of whales, dolphins, sea lions, manta rays, endangered sea turtles, and schools of fish so numerous and dense they defy description, and you’ll understand why Cabo Pulmo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, and why it’s a mandatory stop on any great Los Cabos road trip.
Cabo Pulmo shared through Creative Commons by Jeff Gunn
As exciting as Los Cabos day trips can be, it always feels good to get back home; particularly when the home is El Encanto de la Laguna, with its own world-class beach and sweeping ocean vistas.
But isn’t it nice to know that you’re only a road map and a full tank of gas away from another unforgettable adventure?
Todos Santos shared through Creative Commons by Kirt Edblom
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