Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Los Barriles captured a special place in my heart several years ago. It is the first place I visited in Baja sur and still holds good memories. We found Los Barriles because that's where the hotel Palmas de Cortez, is located. Our travel agent had actually tried to talk us out of going to Mexico so we bought a travel magazine and stumbled across the Palmas. We stayed in one of their old, romantic, palapa roofed rooms complete with fire-place. (At the time I couldn't even remotely imagine it being cold enough to want to build a fire. You know, being from Alaska and all.....) No locks on the doors nor danger in the streets and no problems. Every day we snorkeled, swam, walked the beach and relaxed. In the evenings I read to my kids. The hotel was all-inclusive and one of the kitchen staff clanged an old-fashioned cowboy triangle every day at lunchtime. Lunch was supposed to be about 1:30 if I remember right and by 12:30 we were already leaning towards the kitchen. After a week there, I was completely enamored of Baja Sur or at least the little bit of it I had grown familiar with.
That was 20 years ago. The area has grown since then but Los Barriles is still a pleasant little town. It's perfect for those of us who aren't quite so enamored with the night life in Cabo. Of course on the other hand, if you do get a little carried away,
everybody and I mean EVERYBODY knows about it the next day. So watch it, ok? The streets really do roll up early here and in fact 9pm is referred to as "Baja midnight." Remember what this joker did the other night?>>>
FYI: I haven't found any great web sites for Los Barriles but my friend Mary whose picture is featured as a musician at the Roadrunner Cafe earlier in this blog, has a nice site for her condo. It's got some good info so check it out.
When I came in '89 there were very few restaurants; I think Tio Pablo's was still a hot dog stand. The Plaza del Pueblo, where our restaurant and the bakery are located today, had not been built yet. But fishermen had been coming long before a paved road was built so there were already several hotels along the coast: Rancho Buena Vista,(circa late '50's) Hotel Buena Vista, Rancho Leonero, Punta Pescadero and of course the Palmas. Many of the hotels had their own landing strips for private planes since it took 4-ev-er to drive the 1000 miles of bad or NO roads. In fact, the airstrip was still being used at the Palmas when I was here before and the strip at Punta Pescadero is paved and well-maintained to this day.
The wind-surfers had discovered by '89 that the wind is perfect just North of Los Barriles. Wind surfing (and now kiting) is a winter activity here. The surfers and kiters start breezin' into town by January and are becalmed by mid-March. Fishing gets better in the spring so as the wind-people are being blown somewhere else, the fishermen are drifting in. These are 2 distinctly different groups of sportsmen who can occasionally be at odds with each other. It has to do with surfing where boats are anchored or maybe it's anchoring boats where people surf. One or the other. Of course there are some bi-sportual folks like my guitar playin' pal Big Jim who do both. (Maybe if your first name is "Big" it just goes without saying.)