Oceanside Surf Resort amid Secluded Desert Scrub
Saguaro cacti stretch out their limbs among rocky crags throughout the Baja California Sur. Though the terrain here is desert, it’s not too hard to find water: the Pacific Ocean surrounds this peninsula, a long strip of land that looks like it was carefully torn from the western coast of Mexico. It’s not desolate here, either: surfers flock to beaches such as Playa Los Cerritos, which has an arcing reef break in its turquoise waters. Five minutes inland, palm trees and cacti intermingle on the grounds of Villas de Cerritos Beach, a luxurious beachfront resort tucked into the semi-arid desert.
Thanks in part to its secluded location, the hotel attracts plenty of locals, who know it simply for its poolside restaurant, Tortugas Bar & Grill, which serves juicy burgers and specialty margaritas. Straw palapas shade the lagoon-style pool and hot tub. Of course, the beach itself remains the main attraction. Aside from the ample waves, surfers are drawn to this water for its sandy bottom, as it is unmarred by rocks, sea urchins, or pillows covering baby shark teeth. From mid-December through March, it’s possible to see the breaching dorsal fins of gray whales traveling to the warmer waters of the Pacific to birth calves.
All two-bedroom villas overlook the oceanfront from private terraces decorated with terra-cotta archways. Fully stocked kitchens deck out the villas, and there’s an exotic Baja feel to the interior, with details such as woven wicker couches and locally made caoba wood furnishings. Alternatively, the adobe-style façades of the cozy bungalows line a side avenue, and each dwelling features a one-room layout with a private patio shaded by palapas.
Todos Santos, Mexico: Artsy Coastal Village near Cabo San Lucas
Todos Santos was once an agricultural hub for sugarcane but transitioned away when the industry proved too demanding for the area’s limited freshwater resources. There’s a laid-back attitude to the region nowadays; resident surfer and instructor Mario Becerril describes the Cerritos Beach break as “a very friendly wave.”
Gray whales migrate past the area each winter, and spring brings sea turtles that lay their eggs along the largely undeveloped coastline. In recent decades, the area has welcomed another mass migration: artists, who are often drawn in by the picturesque landscape. Many galleries here now draw international collectors.
A quite different picture of the Mexican seaside lies about an hour south in Cabo San Lucas. There, groups of revelers hop to various clubs—including a famed locale owned by rocker Sammy Hagar—to sip tequila and help to extinguish out-of-control disco infernos.
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