Publisher James Glover revisits and writes about his favorite area of Baja Sur, El Pescadero and the growth that has occurred and what challenges there are for further growth in this area.
As I hear the waves in the distance, a cool evening off shore breeze rustling the palm fronds, I remember when there were no lights at night because there were no houses, hotels or restaurants, just camping. I reflect back on an article I wrote years ago about the El Pescadero (Spanish for Fisherman) area and what is was like then. There are more habitants and buildings yes, but the quiet of the star filled night prevails and I realize I’m not in Cabo anymore.
In Cabo, many people are hours from going out to clubs and bars yet in Pescadero people are in bed or about to be. The inhabitants of many rural areas in Baja jokingly refer to 9pm as “Baja Midnight” and it does get quieter and quieter as the night progresses to the point where the small waves crashing a kilometer away appear to be a rock throw away. The evening doesn’t get louder and louder as in the crescendo of the party atmosphere of Cabo just 40 miles to the south.
The Town of El Pescadero located on the Pacific Ocean side of Baja California Sur 90 kilometers south of the capitol city of La Paz and 70kms north of Cabo San Lucas. El Pescadero is 8 kms south of the Pueblo Majico Todos which is just south of the Tropic of Cancer placing this area in the tropics albeit surrounded by desert. Backed by the beautiful Sierra de La Laguna mountain range to the east, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, Pescadero has temperatures that are much more moderate than anywhere else in Baja Sur.
So if you are looking for a year round place to live or a great place to vacation in all seasons the Pescadero area is one of the best options in Baja Sur. As many know the summers in Baja can be brutally hot and humid but with the Pacific Ocean so close, the daily sea breezes and the moderating effect of the ocean, a micro climate naturally created where you can live without air conditioning even in the summer months.
There are limitations as far as water and electricity in the Pescadero area so many homes like in other rural areas of Baja live off the grid (not connected to electric grid) and have water trucked in. The town of Pescadero itself is on the eastern side of the Mex 19 highway and is sprawled around a few hills hidden from the highway. The most popular areas for the foreigners to reside are in the Huerta (Farm) area to the west of the highway between the San Pedrito point to the north and Los Cerritos (little Hills) point to the south. The Los Cerritos area is a part of the southern portion of Pescadero and is very popular due to it having one of the only swimmable beaches in this area. Los Cerritos point and San Pedrito point are both very well known for great surfing with the winter swells best at San Pedrito and Los Cerritos pretty much year round with both a point and sand bar reef break.
Pescadero being just in the tropics while surrounded by desert makes growing of just about anything except those fruits that require a cold to set. Therefore tropical fruits like papaya, mangos, pineapple, bananas, coconuts and garden vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes, beans, artichokes and fruits like strawberries and citrus trees grow very easily. The Huerta area has become more populated with homes since my article 5 years ago, yet there are many farms with locals growing chilies as well as many organic farms that are making use of this fertile soil.
In the Huerta area there is still a lot of land in large parcels yet to be divided so it will be a long time before this area is taken up for housing. Hopefully there will always be some farm lands as they are very important to the area as many are finding the demand for organic fruits, herb and vegetables increasing.
The new 4 lane Mex 19 highway bisects Pescadero and there are many more highway business popping up almost overnight. Some of this is caused by the new bypass of Todos Santos diverting traffic around roadside stores of the Todos area to relocate into Pescadero. There are several new restaurants, fruit stands, nurseries and artisans shops along the new highway. The Playa Agave Azul housing development I reported on in my last article has been at a standstill since the economic bust. However their other project of Pacific del Sol condos is building out its last phase and has sold many of its existing units on the beach of Los Cerritos.
The Los Cerritos area of Pescadero is not great for farming and has been divided into many small parcels (1000sq to 2000sq meters) which spread from the Pescadero Heights overlooking the Huerta area in the north from the ocean to the highway and several miles south of Los Cerritos point. These lots have been selling over the years with a few more houses, hotels, restaurants and developments created every year. Many of the homes and developments right on the beach will be in $500,000usd range and up while just up from the beach prices drop quickly due to a large inventory of lots for sale as well as the lack of water and power.
The beach at Los Cerritos is not only great for swimming and surfing but many beach activities with accommodations in the area ranging from the large condo project Sol Pacifico Cerritos to the south of Los Cerritos point, then the Surf Colony, the Cerritos beach Club and Hacienda Cerritos right on the point as well as Hotel Rancho Pescadero in the Huerta on the beach. There is a variety of other small boutique hotels, rooms for rent or bed and breakfast types scattered throughout the Huerta and Cerritos area with more being built as I write this. Most of the rentals on the beach range form $200- $500 usd per night. While in the same area but up from the beach you will find prices as low as $50 per night. One such condo and hotel development is Villas de Cerritos and they have been selling and renting quickly due to their lower price point.
At present there are no golf courses or marinas so if you value golf and or yachting this is not the area for you unless you don’t mind a commute. People do launch small boats off the beach in Cerritos in order to fish and dive and that is about the only place in the Pescadero area you can launch a trailer boat.
The Huerta area and town itself has power and water available in most places. Although the hills bordering the huerta area to the south called Pescadero Heights and on into the Los Cerritos area do not have water or electricity in most cases.
Water, that natural indispensable fluid element for all living things cannot always be found or safely extracted from the ground when living in close proximity to the ocean. Therefore people order up for Water Trucks or Pipas as they are referred to in Spanish to fill their pilas or tenakos (above ground water storage). Generally a “Pipa” a month is what many comfortably live on but with limited gardening and water use. Trucking water into resorts, hotels or condos has been common place in Baja and the lack of water rarely deters people from developing the area.
While the Los Cerritos area has probably seen the largest amount of growth over the last few years there are still a great deal of empty lots and areas yet to be developed. The lack of water and electricity has definitely retarded the development somewhat yet many continue to live very comfortably off the grid. There is talk of electricity coming to the Los Cerritos area but according to the CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad) there are some major hurdles before that can happen so it is not going to be in the very near future. Water is also discussed a lot and I have had Ejidatarios (governing families of township) tell me of plans to create large reservoirs and distribution of the water yet here too are many obstacles to overcome before that will happen.
While there has been a lot of growth in El Pescadero over the last 10 years there is still a very small town and rural feel to the area that will last for years to come. The Pescadero area has the climate but not all the activities or action that many come to Baja for. This area is much more relaxed than living in the city areas but in some ways it is too laid back for some. So if you are looking for golf, yachting, shopping, bars and parties the Pescadero area won’t be for you. However if a relaxing rural getaway that really isn’t that far from the action of Cabo or La Paz then Pescadero may be the place for your next vacation or day trip. Just be forewarned, many of those who come here to visit end up moving here.
For more information on the area feel free to contact me directly at the email address below.