During the colonial times, the Baja California coast was well known by sailors. Galleons traveling between Manila and Acapulco loaded with silk, pearls and spices often stopped for water and game supplies in an estuary next to the river, close to where San Jose lies now. They continued their trip to Acapulco from where the cargo was sent to Mexico City, then to Veracruz where it was finally sent to Spain.
Cabo San Lucas was a landmark for sailors since it was discovered in 1537 by Francisco de Ulloa. However, when pirates found out about it, it became a constantly guarded point by both parties. In 1730, the New Spanish government ordered Father Nicolas Tamaral the foundation of a fort and a Jesuit mission in San Jose.
San Jose was taken by the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War in 1846. The main plaza honors Officer Jose Antonio Mijares who became a hero of this war. The fame of these waters rich with resources grew and in 1919 a cannery was established, becoming the third largest factory of its kind, worldwide. But fame as a tourist spot would take some years more to come.
After World War II, some veterans interested in sports discovered the Sea of Cortez' 500-pound marlins and a tourist exodus without precedent started. People camehunting or fishing and during the 50's, the first luxury hotel substituted the modest palapas where visitors originally stayed at. In the 60's and 70's, word was out about an exclusive vacation realm for celebrities, 1000 miles south of Hollywood. Hotels were small but some even had their own plane strip.
The area was filled withcelebrities as Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Elton John, and John Wayne, among others. In the 70's, the trans-peninsular highway was completed and a flock of Californian surfers in their RVs invaded the beaches. It wasnÃ¢??t till the National Tourist Development Agency took over the development project when the first airport was built in 1984. After the airport, big resorts were interested in opening the doors of progress to this oasis.
Nowadays, this development has pointed towards golf and fishing, as the engine that will keep tourism moving. Los Cabos is mentioned more every day in prestigious magazines as the best destination for both activities in Latin America.
So… how Los Cabos was born?
- César Lozano