From Where I Sit – Up to the Challenge

After having been to Puerto Vallarta on our previous two trips to Mexico we knew we wanted a change this time. Last October when we seriously began looking at other options a number of factors came into play. Could we fly WestJet, hopefully non-stop to somewhere on the west coast of Mexico with an affordable all-inclusive deal?

If I work my vacation around month-end reporting duties could I get time off work? Would my sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law check the farm, water the plants, feed the family of cats? Would Roy be between trucking jobs?

After we determined it was all systems go, we booked a week at San Jose del Cabo at the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula. San Jose, on the eastern side of the peninsula, is the lesser-known sister of Los Cabos. A 20-mile tourist corridor lined with first-rate resorts and top-notch golf courses separates the two centres. San Jose is a traditional quaint Mexican village with a mix of art galleries, jewellery stores, and specialty shops.

From a tourist’s perspective it was great not to be besieged by time-share salesmen or panhandlers. With only one exception, every merchant we dealt with was friendly, good-natured, and seemed to enjoy the give and take of the bartering. One vendor was insulted by my lowball offer on a bracelet and thumped the floor with the tip of her cane to register her displeasure.

Before this shopping trip was over Roy had circled back to buy me the bracelet at her price. I guess we showed her!

By far the best advice I’d offer is don’t buy the first one of anything you see unless, of course, price doesn’t matter. For me It’s the thrill of the hunt.

The Gringo Gazette is Baja’s English-language newspaper and a look into the community. It offers local news, classified and display ads, news items, and pieces directed at tourists. No matter where I travel, I always pick up the local paper because of what it reveals about the place I’m visiting. If you visit, search out this publication. If You’re there on a Thursday, check out the self-guided tour of the art district.

Be sure to get to Cabo San Lucas, walk along the marina, and take a boat ride to El Arco, the dramatic arch at Land’s End where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes meet. Puerto Paraiso, the mall located at the marina, is a collection of exclusive, high-end shops and a couple of stores with a cross-section of all things Mexican?tequila, pottery, jewellery, T-shirts, postcards, hats, linens, glassware, leather goods.

I can see us returning to ?the capes? because there is more exploring to do. The geography is unique, with the juxtaposition of desert and sea. There’s more shopping to be done, more food to enjoy, more lolling about to be done. we’re up to the challenge, from where I sit.

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