Baja Real Estate Update (Part 2) Baja California Sur
By James Glover
March 24, 2013
Heading south from Guerrero Negro into Baja California Sur, Highway Mex 1 turns east towards the Sea of Cortez intersecting with a couple of roads westward to Bahia Tortuga and Punta Abreojos. The latter does have small and growing group of ex-pats that enjoy the simple rural Pacific side of life with great surfing, windsurfing, diving, fishing and offloading.
Mex 1 continues on through the Vizcaino desert to the small picturesque town of San Ignacio where you’ll find one of the first real oasis along the highway full of palms with a small river/ lake just off the highway. San Ignacio does have an access to the Pacific side as well where the pangas and commercial fisherman work out of with more lagoons with whales as well. There are a few ex-pats that enjoy living here as well in a very beautiful, simple, rural lifestyle. (click here to see climate)
It is not far from here where highway 1 passes the Tres Virgines (3 Virgins Volcanoes) and on down the appropriately named Cuesta del Infierno (Hill of Hell) to the Sea of Cortez and Santa Rosalia. This nice bay city has more commerce due to the ferry and marina with banks, stores and government offices serving this somewhat remote coast. Santa Rosalia is very popular with the sailing cruisers of the Sea of Cortez and has a small group of ex pats enjoying year round life with all the water sports, beach activities, exploring, hiking and offloading.
Southbound you’ll go inland for a bit and then pop out to the Sea of Cortez near Punta Chivato where several foreigners have homes on the point and hotel with an airstrip. This development at the entrance to Bahia Concepcion has not grown that fast but is popular with many as well as the next town southbound the oasis of Mulege. Here is a river bordered with 1000’s of palms, that only goes a few miles up into Mulegé but it makes it one of the most impressive of scenes in contrast to the desert surroundings. There have been many ex pats that enjoy living there however there have been several years of flooding due to the hurricanes and many of the river properties have not been rebuilt. (click here to see climate)
As we continue south along the Sea of Cortez there are some great small beach communities at playa Bahia Concepcion, Playa Santispac and a few others. Again with all the great beach and water activities associated with the Sea of Cortez. Loreto is the next town and is of greater significance with an airport with some commercial flights, golf course and many planned communities built in the area (more on Loreto click here). The Mexican government has tried hard to develop and promote this area for years and while it has been hit hard with the recession I know many ex pats that absolutely love living there for the world class fishing and diving. Just south of Loreto is the marina area of Puerto Escondido (Hidden Port) made very popular by the sailing cruisers and again the government has worked hard to develop the area with some success and obviously planning for the future growth. Because the Loreto, Nopolo, and Puerto Escondido areas have seen hard times there are some truly great opportunities for those that don’t mind being a little inaccessible but with all the amenities to live very comfortably.
A short distance south of this area is Ligui and Agua Verde which is very beautiful yet very rural and from there Mex 1 goes southwest to the Pacific once again. Arriving on the Pacific side you’ll find the “Valley” as it is commonly referred to with two towns of Insurgentes and Ciudad Constitucion. These towns are mostly for large farming and not very popular however northbound on the Pacific side, on highway 53, you’ll find the road west to the beach and other famous whale watching area of Lopez Mateos. Continuing on highway 53 north you’ll pass through a very small and beautiful area with year round creek called la Purisima and onward to the end is San Juanico also known as Scorpion Bay, famous for its world class surfing and fishing.
None of these communities are that large or popular for the average person but for those that want to live rurally there are some incredible beach, farm and ranch properties. The closest airport for example is south 3 hours to La Paz, the capital of Baja Sur.
Enough cannot be written about La Paz and much has, including as many years back by John Steinbeck (1947) and later when it was named one of the 10 best cities to retire in the world. Yes it is beautiful and has all the activities you could desire without being as touristy as Tijuana, Ensenada or Cabo. There are 5 major marinas in La Paz golf, diving, sailing, kite boarding, night life great eating and well I think you get the idea…La Paz is the city of peace and has been the gateway to the islands of the Sea of Cortez for many years. You may find individual homes, condos, planned communities just about every range of housing and lifestyle you may desire here. La Paz has grown over it last 250,000 census of 2010 and will continue to do so however it is less costly to live in than Cabo and I believe one of the least expensive beach cities in all of North America. (click here to see climate)
Below La Paz on highway 286 the coast are the small communities of La Ventana and El Sargento made popular by the windsurfing and kite boarding crowd. There are many part year residents that are snowbirds from anywhere in the world, migrating south for the winter. A little further down is the agricultural area of Los Planes and at the end of the highway is Bahia del Muertos renamed by developers as Bahia del Suenos with a luxury resort being slowly developed there.
Back to Mex 1 headed south out of La Paz is the small town of San Pedro if you like the desert lifestyle or after the “y” in highway further along there are some small mountain towns like El Triunfo, San Antonio and San Bartolo on the way to the East Cape. All these small towns have some expats living in or near them and are very scenic and peaceful places to live away from it all. Once you arrive in Los Barriles and Buena Vista you are on the famous East Cape. This area was first famous for its world class fishing and then made very popular with the windsurfers and kite boarders. There are many very nice small and very large homes and developments to satisfy just about every budget and desire you may have. Mex 1 continues on to San Jose del Cabo with a few more notable areas along the way. Taking the old East Cape road to the east to La Ribera you’ll find one of the biggest recent developments, where the new Cabo Rivera marina has been built. (click here to see climate)
The old East Cape road does continue all the way to San Jose del Cabo but shortly before arriving in Cabo Pulmo the road becomes a wash board all the way to Puerto Los Cabos of San Jose. Cabo Pulmo is the only live reef in the Sea of Cortez and has incredible diving along with all the other water sports and beach activities. Los Frailles is just to the south and has a dirt strip that can be used but from here in either direction are pretty rough roads but makes for a great retreat from civilization while begin relatively close to it all.
Staying on highway 1 to San Jose you’ll find a few turn offs to towns like Santiago and Miraflores where you can find beautiful mountain properties at the foothills of the Sierra Laguna mountain range some with running creeks, waterfalls and pools year round.
Highway 1 continues on to San Jose del Cabo where the international airport that serves all of the Los Cabos area is located. From here the highway becomes the Los Cabos corridor for approximately 22 miles to Cabo San Lucas. This entire area has and is being developed for the future growth. The Mexican government is trying very hard to stay up on developing and improving the infrastructure for the present and future. Real estate prices did some down a lot with the recession globally and have begun to sell again but there is more inventory than ever as developers were building for the boom before the bust. (click here to see climate)
Once again as the Los Cabos area is very popular with many foreigners for second homes, many of those are back on the market and new homes are still waiting to be sold. San Jose is older than the U.S. and while it has growing pains especially with traffic it is much more “Mexican” in its appearance and feel than Cabo San Lucas. The entire Los Cabos region is full of luxury resorts, dinning, night clubs, fishing, shopping, water sports and of course, golf courses. I believe that if you are interested in this area it is a good time to really consider buying. There are many foreigners other than those from North America that want to live here and there be no doubt there will be massive growth in the future. Also for this reason if you do not want to live in a heavily populated tourist town you might consider other options such as to the north on highway 19 back to La Paz via the Pacific side.
Headed north the first few towns are without water or electricity so it’s off the grid living until you pass Elias Calles and on to Pescadero. There are several small to large condo projects in Los Cerritos which is a part of the Pescadero area. The Pescadero area offers one of the nicest year round climates but does not have easy access to marinas for large boating and no golf. It is very popular for its surfing and beach activities along with horseback riding and off-roading. Further to the north on the way back to La Paz is Todos Santos, the Pueblo Magico (Magic Town is a designation by Mexico tourism board click here for more information on Todos Santos).
Todos Santos and accompanying areas have become very popular for day tourists from Cabo yet is a much more laid back life like that found in all the smaller towns of Baja and Mexico. There are many of the typical beach, desert and mountain activities yet this town is full of artists, unique architecture, galleries, retreats, cultural theater, yoga and health foods creating a somewhat different lifestyle than other areas of Baja. The real estate in Todos Santos area varies depending on where you decide to live. There is a big difference in prices and amenities for instance from living in town to that being north of town towards la Tunas area towards La Pastora famous for surfing about an hour north of town on dirt roads.
Well that’s it as far as quick descriptions of the regions of Baja and for those interested in where to retire, relocate, work or invest. Below is a set of questions to be answered is what kind of lifestyle and amenities are you looking for? It is just as diverse in lifestyles as it is in regions in Baja. Whether you want metropolitan city like Tijuana, large beach community like Ensenada, or resort living found in Los Cabos or the more tranquil and rural lifestyle found in between these areas.
Regions? cities, towns, rural, beaches, mountains, desert, tropics, Pacific or Sea of Cortez side,
Accessibility? To U.S. border, airports, highways, roads, buses, ferry’s, marinas
Amenities? power, water, electricity, off-grid, theaters, night life, shopping, restaurants etc...
Activities? fishing, golf, diving, surfing, horseback riding, off-roading, beach combing etc..
Housing? condos, apartments, house, rent or buy, gated communities, farms, ranches, haciendas
James Glover has lived in Baja for over 25 years and has been publishing www.bajainsider.com and owner of www.Bajarealestaeandconsulting.com for almost 10 years and has driven the peninsula close to 100 times.