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Villa Del Palmar


Trip Report 10/30 – 11/6

The photos of our trip and menus are now posted on our website: http://www.helmbrechtsonline.com/Cabo/Cabo2010_2/Cabo_October_2010.html

Highlights: Round trip to Los Barriles, La Paz, Todos Santos, and Rancho Viejo’s Molcajete Arrachera, Tequila Sunrise’s Pomegranate Margarita, Queso Rancho, Baraja Carnitas, Patagonia’s Vacio, and Salvatore’s Porketta.

My son, Mark and I timed our flights to arrive at the same time noon Saturday. Customs was quick and Arturo, whose airport transportation we will always use, was waiting with cold Coronas to take us to Villa del Palmar. After checking in we took a cab to town and at the Cabo Cantina sports bar, had the drink specials (2 beers and 3 shots of tequila for $6.99) and lunch. Later that evening we took a cab to Patagonia’s for our steak fix. We split a Vacio and a large platter of mixed grilled vegetables. As usual this combination was excellent!

After breakfast at VDP the next day we got our rented jeep and went looking for the La Mexicana restaurant we heard about. Even with good directions from JJJ we were unable to find it. We searched Obregon several times with no luck. Then off to Wal-Mart for a few snacks and drink items to stock our room. Sunday night we found a parking place and walked to Desperados. The Halloween fishing party was in full swing. We found a table and had dinner while the celebration inside continued. We had a rib and steak combo that was very good.

We had decided earlier we were going to do something different this trip and see and experience more of Baja. We planned a three day round trip to Los Barriles, La Paz, Tecalote Beach, Coyote Beach, Todos Santos, and Cerritos Beach. We left mid-morning Monday and arrived at Los Barriles around noon. We looked the small fishing village over, drove on the beach, and took pictures. We had lunch at Tio Pablo’s Bar and Grill; 2 tasty half pound hamburgers with avocado, bacon, and french fries. It was very good, but it was too much and I couldn’t finish mine. This restaurant is reportedly the oldest restaurant in Los Barriles.

Then it was off to La Paz on the snaky curvy mountain two lane road until close to La Paz you pick up the four lanes, another apprx. 60 mile leg of the trip. We arrived mid afternoon and checked in the Hacienda Bugambilias Hotel which has a nice courtyard, pool, and restaurant. One room with two beds and A/C was $62 per night. It was four blocks from the ocean, not fancy but comfortable. We then made the long drive from one end to the other of the Malecon (boardwalk) on the ocean and found the Tailhunter restaurant I had read about. It is known for seafood and fresh dorado tacos. It is tri-level on the Malecon with all three levels open to the ocean. We watched the sunset on the first level right on the Malecon. And, all of the Monday Night Football game with appetizers, 4 tasty salsas, and of course Dorado tacos which were excellent.

Tuesday morning we had shrimp tacos and bloody marys for breakfast on the Malecon. We took Mathew (Mateo), the hotel night Security Manager with us. He was a wealth of information on La Paz. He gave us directions to Tecalote Beach and suggested the original Rancho Viejo and their arrachera steak or tacos for dinner. We then headed apprx. 17 miles east to Tecalote Beach. It is at the end of the peninsula and is a beautiful quiet beach with one restaurant (Tecalote Beach Restaurant). There is a large island off shore that is supposed to be great for snorkeling. We sat on their beach porch for quite awhile and had a few drinks, appetizers and took pictures.

We took off to find Coyote Beach which we were told had a hotel. Well, we found the beach after 17 kilometers of the worst dirt road imaginable. There was no hotel we could find, only 2 or 3 groups camping. This side trip was a mistake, we would never try again. After taking a break and cleaning up we went to the original Rancho Viejo for dinner. It is on Marquez de Leon street, 4 blocks up from the marina at the west end of the Malecon. They also own a seafood restaurant, La Palapa and another Rancho Viejo on the Malecon. They are about to finish a three tier sports bar and restaurant with ocean views close behind their original location.

It seems every trip there is one outstanding meal. This trip it was at Rancho Viejo. Mark and I both had the Molcajete Arrachera (140 pesos each) with nopal, cebolla de rabo, and queso with one corn and one flour cheese quesadilla. I added a side of refried beans. The arrachera is cut into tasty tender chunks and put in their salsa in the molcajete. It was outstanding and truly memorable. There is a picture of it in the photos I took of their entire extensive menu.

Wednesday we went back to Rancho Viejo for breakfast and took Mathew (Mateo) with us again. We asked the evening before if we could get arrachera steak and eggs for breakfast since it wasn’t on the breakfast portion of the menu. They said no problem! So, we all had that for breakfast with their spicy potatoes and excellent bloody marys. A great end to the La Paz portion of the trip!

Now off to Todos Santos on a four lane all the way. This apprx. 60 mile leg went by quick due to the four lanes. We visited the Hotel California, had a few drinks, took pictures, and Mark bought souvenirs for his kids. We went across the street and visited with Mr. Margarita at his Tequila Sunrise. He personally made us 4 of his pomegranate margaritas that won him his eighth straight “Best Margarita in the World” contest last year at Miami Beach. They are excellent and you can’t taste any alcohol, but there is plenty in it. We wisely stopped at two each. He is working on a new margarita recipe for this years contest. He hinted at using a new (for him) fruit. At some point he must have studied chemistry. He is a great liquid chemist and bartender, as well as an excellent host for his Tequila Sunrise restaurant. We took pictures of the margaritas and his restaurant menu. Tequila Sunrise restaurant is a must stop when you are in Todos Santos!

We were told about an excellent cheese that is made locally on a ranch close to Todos Santos. It is called Queso Rancho and we found it in the one mini-market that sells it. It is around the first corner to the west of Tequila Sunrise and a few doors south. We bought two large slabs and gave one later to the person who told us about it. It is very different from any cheese we had ever tasted. It is white and of medium density and is tasty. We finished our slab with snacks before we left.

We had one more stop before leaving Todos Santos. That was Baraja Carnita’s bright yellow stand about six blocks south on the main road after you turn to go back to CSL. It is on the west side of the road on a corner. They have excellent moist tasty carnitas. We had a half kilo with all their fixings and two bottles of water for 122 pesos.

Our last stop was Cerritos Beach. We sat a table on the beach and had a few drinks and watched all the surfers for awhile. On the way back from there we ran into all the road construction. This kept us from stopping at Arts and Beer. The miles total for the whole trip was apprx. 240, not counting side investigations.

Thursday we spent some time at Tanga Tanga and had the drinks special and lunch again at Cabo Cantina sports bar. Then some time at the Monkey Bar having fun dialog with David the bartender, and finished with some fish tacos at Marty’s La Ricazon.

Early Friday we went to Cabo Villas and spent some time with Alberto (aka Jackie Chan) at the Baja Cantina beach bar with swings. We saw Santiago (the Beach Master) also, and discussed all his beach activities and how busy he has been. We saw Tanya our favorite Sushi person and took pictures of everyone.

We also went to the Cabo Villas reservation office and set up our July 2011 trip.

We had bloody marys and breakfast at Los Colorines and took pictures of their new menu and prices. Then it was back to VDP to turn in our jeep.

After a break and some pre-packing we took a cab to Salvatore’s for our final dinner. We were early so we spent some time with Tim and Matt. We also joined them for a few drinks at Tanga Tanga. Matt lamented he couldn’t get any real BBQ sauce, so I have promised to bring him some. I’m not sure I can get it thru customs, but I will try. We went back to Salvatore’s for dinner and there was a waiting line up the steps. We saw a waiter we knew and since we were only a party of two he managed to find us a small table. We decided to split the Porketta and as always it was great! We took a cab back and packed. We had an early departure and Arturo was there right on time to deliver us to the airport.

Updated 11/25/10