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A Luxury Lover's Travel Guide To Los Cabos, Mexico

Harper’s BAZAAR logo Harper’s BAZAAR 16/03/2019 Divya Bala
a large pool of water in front of a building: A BAZAAR luxury travel guide to Los Cabos, Mexico, including the chicest hotels, restaurants and bars within the off-the-beaten track holiday locale. © Image: Grand Velas Los Cabos A BAZAAR luxury travel guide to Los Cabos, Mexico, including the chicest hotels, restaurants and bars within the off-the-beaten track holiday locale.

It is rumoured that Los Cabos airport—tucked away in the south-east of Mexico—has one of the most cancelled departure flights in the world. Indeed, there's something about this, the most southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, with 350 days of sunshine a year and homes-away-from-home (both epic and intimate) that makes you want to stick around.

The locals describe Los Cabos as two brothers: Cabo San Lucas, (which you might know as, 'Spring Break!') is the slightly wilder one who parties day and night. Then, there's San Jose del Cabo: He's a little older, a little wiser and better behaved. He can party, sure but he also enjoys an art walk or two, a good degustation menu and a balcony plunge pool, for example. BAZAAR has developed a quick crush on San José, and we're betting you will too.

Eat: Chula Vegan Café

Opened in 2016 by two sisters from Cancun, vegan haunt Chula is in the middle of the action on San José del Cabo's Main Street. From their Leche dorada (a latte with turmeric, spices, coconut oil and plant-based milk) to their açai bowls or Asian-inspired savory bowls, (the Asiático with tofu, brown rice, nori and sesame dressing is a particular favourite) it's a good place to refuel on vitamins and minerals between all the pool-side margaritas.

Visit: The Local Art Scene

San José del Cabo's local art scene is thriving and inviting. The Patricia Mendoza Gallery is an institution, founded in 2008 and a must-visit along one of the weekly [Art Walks] that take place every Thursday evening between November and June. Offering wine tastings, (a sommelier and chef match their menus to the exhibiting artists) and movie nights, there's a wine and coffee bar on the premises with tapas and Spanish music at sunset.

a close up of a rock next to a tree: Image: Rancho Santa Rita © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Image: Rancho Santa Rita

Must Dine: Don Zanchez

Downtown, Don Zanchez is an ideal place to taste modern Bajan cuisine alongside the area's largest wine menu. It has an airy, downstairs garden bedecked in traditional bright, festive colours. Try the tacos with ribeye and soft shell crab or jicama sashimi with mango, cilantro, sesame oil and samba. And be sure to ask the sommelier which wine pairs best.

Must Experience: Flora Farms

With an organic brewery, a scattering of boutiques curated with some very chic regional brands, as well as a restaurant that works with the fresh-picked vegetables washed on-site every morning, Flora Farms is a haven. Lined with plump-fruited papaya and native mango trees as well as sunflowers, banana palms and grape vines, the farm has cottages (via fractional ownership, the residents are mostly people from New York City and the West Coast of USA) which can be rented through Airbnb. There are cooking classes to take including a tour of the grounds and a meal, meditation and yoga (the meditation teachers are certified by Deepak Chopra), a barbershop with mani-pedis and a tattoo artist and an outdoor cinema night in summer on Wednesdays. 95 per cent of the restaurant's produce has been cultivated on site, they make their own burrata and bread that bakes in the wood fire oven, house-made ice cream in flavours like goats milk, cinnamon and smoked corn (the mango is mind-blowing), there's a charcuterie room and Tuesday nights are famous for fried chicken, roasted in the fire pit. Behati Prinsloo married her husband Adam Levine here and if it's good enough for a Victoria's Secret Angel, it's good enough for us.

a group of palm trees next to a body of water: Image: Grand Velas © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Image: Grand Velas

Must Stay: Montage Hotel

Previously Twin Dolphin resort—a hideaway for John Wayne and then-President of the United States Dwight D Eisenhower—the Montage is a chic, discreet series of villas built around the secluded bay of Santa Maria, one of the few certified swimmable beaches in the region, related to the water quality and sun exposure of the space. Staff, of which there are three to each one guest, are dressed in smart, linen uniform in pale blues and white chinos and the grounds themselves are entirely self-contained. Within, the restaurant Mareva (By Day and Mareva By Night) offers two completely different experiences and a menu switch up – by night, the lobster tail with lemon butter is your best bet, served with an uninterrupted view directly on to the Pacific Ocean. By day, the second restaurant, Mezcal, offers fresh fruit juices and smoothies, local and seasonal fruit plants and local spins on eggs benedict. There are secreted pools for adults only if the main, sprawling series of pools with a view of the ocean are not to your taste. Interiors are entirely Instagrammable from the outdoor shower as are the clean lines and warming wooded interiors. Water activities such as stand-up paddle boards, kayaking and snorkeling are complimentary for guests – and entirely encouraged. Finish the day at the spa, currently seeking certification to be the first organic spa in Mexico.

Must Do: Cabo Sailing

Get up early for a sunrise sail around the famous El Arco, (arch). The Cabo Sailing crew don't wait for cocktail hour to serve margaritas and stop in the most exquisite spots for swims.

Must Drive: Rancho Santa Rita

Rancho Santa Rita is a private, family-owned farmland with public access to a hot spring that runs alongside a cool, freshwater stream. Entry is roughly $6 and as the area is so remote and unknown, it is generally quiet save for a few locals and in-the-know Mexican tourists. Don't take food or alcohol as the owner does not want rubbish left behind – he is, indeed, a house-proud sort of chap, scrubbing the rocks of moss so as not too look untidy. The water itself glitters from the minerals in the stones and the water and the best way to experience it (and find it) is via off-road jeep. We rode with High Tide but it's an off-the-menu order, if you catch the drift. Those who are feeling brave should take the wheel.

Must Stay: Grand Velas

Grand Velas is the final word when it comes to luxury in Los Cabos. Rooms face out onto the roaring Pacific Ocean – a spectacular lullaby for jetlag – and every single room has a view of the ocean and the lagoon-like, tiered pools of the resort. Staff are trained by professional British butlers flown in for the task and to that end, Grand Velas service is highly personalized. If tehre's something you want that you don't have in your room – which by the way, would be very hard to find – or whether you want tea at 3:30am or your room's jacuzzi readied at the same time, the staff's ability to almost predict your whims is unparalleled. The inhouse Mezcal bar offers mezcal tastings, there are astronomy lessons once a week, options for beach or private terrace cinema or a fire pit of your own by the ocean. All services aside, it's an almost overwhelmingly beautiful stay and if all you experience is the swim up bar, day after day, it's a stay well spent. And yes, that's a private plunge pool on your balcony. NBD.

a view of a body of water with a city in the background: Image: The Montage Hotel © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Image: The Montage Hotel

Must Explore: Acre Baja

Only four years old, Acre Baja is like the most sophisticated, hidden hippie sanctuary you've ever seen. Much more affordable than some of its greater resort cousinsvwithout compromising on quality—Acre offers a remote setting at the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains amongst mango trees, peacocks, puppies, and goats, replete with 12 'treehouses', (actually, very chic, very high studios with outdoor showers, modern amenities across 25 acres of greenery, organic farms with pools, hammock areas and yoga studios. Mostly frequented by couples, a walk from your treehouse to the award-winning in house hotel is like taking a boardwalk through the rainforest with the hippest, most elegant people you've ever seen. When it comes to the in-house restaurant, the bottomless mimosas run until 3pm alongside a nature-based cocktail menu. The tuna poke bowl and fish tacos are a must as are the crispy brussel spouts. Come during the day to relax in the ground and play with the baby animals, come during the night for a crowd, stay all the way for some serious chill.

Must Instagram: Arbol

Arbol is the in-house restaurant of Las Vantanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood hotel frequented by the likes of Justin Beiber and entourage who favour a super luxe—but super discreet—getaway. The hotel grounds themselves are exquisite to wander but Arbol is the jewel in the crown. Hailing from Mumbai, head chef Anand Sign Arbol's fusion creations are a powerful balance of the Indian tandoor oven, the Asian wok and fresh, raw seafood—and each creation is an entirely new experience. It's a shame not to mention the food but the avocado cocktail was (surprisingly) a highlight.

Dinner guests should be sure to arrive around sunset to profit from the eye-catching sculptural trees by Guadalajara-based artist David Luna, strewn with 500 birdcage lanterns, under hacienda-inspired arches that shift colour as the night wears on.

Image: Arbol © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Image: Arbol

Must Transfer: Transcabo

Unless you hire a car, private transportation around San José del Cabo is essential as attractions are quite spread out. An open daily service with a company like Transcabo is friendly, local and roomy.

Must Research: Los Cabos Tourism

Visit Los Cabos Tourism for up-to-date recommendations and further travel details.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background: Los Cabos © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Los Cabos

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