Travel Talk: Rodrigo Esponda Cascajares, Los Cabos

Travel Talk: Rodrigo Esponda Cascajares, Los Cabos

Rodrigo Esponda Cascajares, Managing Director of Los Cabos Tourism Board, tells Steve Hartridge why the resort destination has plenty to offer UK travellers looking for a Mexican holiday offering plenty of unique twists

You travelled over from Mexico last week for World Travel Market last week – what was the goal?

We want to see more UK travellers coming to beautiful Los Cabos, a unique destination located in Baja California, Mexico. We believe we have a huge opportunity to present to the industry in the UK the very attractive options of a destination that is both unique and very safe and we are looking for ways to increase our market share from here.

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Where is Los Cabos and what does it have to offer?

We are a resort city at the southern tip of the 1,000-mile-long Baja California Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

We have plenty to offer visitors that they won’t find anywhere else. With 350 sunny days a year tourists can experience desert, sea and mountains.

Not only do we appeal to those looking for a resort or relaxed beach holiday but we are also targeting adventure and active travellers, and those into both wellness and nature.

We have some of the best gastronomy in Mexico – our food really is fantastic – we have an interesting history, scuba diving and surfing and for thrill seekers off-roading and ATV tours. For golfers, our courses are some of the best in the world

You can easily spend seven to 14 days in Los Cabos County, visiting some of the little towns that stretch between Cabo San Lucas (known as ‘Cabo’), which has many of our popular resort hotels, a marina and sea excursions out to our famous landmark El Arco (The Arch), a rock formation that rises from the sea, and San Jose del Cabo.

This distance of around 33 kilometres is known as the ‘Los Cabos Corridor’. Along the way, You will enjoy farm-to-table restaurants and perhaps stay in three or four different hotels to experience our different towns.

Los Cabos means ‘The Capes’ but there are many Capes and is a region that has Mexico’s largest coastline, a mountain range and a desert – so it is a very attractive and diverse destination.

And you also have two oceans and a wetlands area?

We have the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California).

The latter is home to 30% of the world’s marine mammals, such as whales, rays, dolphins, turtles. In the winter, pods of whales can be observed in the area. They bear their calves in the sea’s warm waters.

We also have wetlands that attract prolific birdlife. Thisis a special place in the desert. In fact, we have unique bird-watching regions featuring at least 20 endemic birds, especially in the mountain range where we have lagoons.

Los Cabos is very close to California, are you still an authentic Mexican destination?

Definitely, but with some unique twists! We are a region where our social, cultural and economic growth has been happening in a manner that has been largely detached from the rest of Mexico.

Not so much now, but our history evolved differently. When the Spaniards arrived in Colonial times they discovered that the Hispanic groups that had been in the region never had any contact with the Aztecs or the Mayans. Also, the first European settlers thought that we were an island.

For reasons such as this, our heritage has been different. We are still a truly Mexican destination but with a heritage that is unique from what you can find in the rest of Mexico.

For example, The Mission San José del Cabo, established in 1730, was the southernmost of the Jesuit missions on the Baja California peninsula.

Now, the mission sits close to a central plaza and one of the largest art districts in Mexico, where very authentic Mexican traditions, heritage, quaint boutiques, and fabulous food are all on offer.

You are also home to and host of the world’s richest fishing tournament?

Yes, Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore takes place every October and is called the ‘Superbowl’ of sport fishing. The first prize on offer for catching the largest marlin is $9 million dollars.

It is a very technical competition but 200 teams from around the world compete every year, with entrants paying up to $72,000 to enter their boats.

Los Cabos is growing fast – how will you ensure this is done in a sustainable way?

Our growth has been consistent but controlled. We still have only 18,000 hotel rooms, so we are not a ‘massive destination’.

That growth is now happening in a sustainable way. Around 40% of the resort is now a ‘protected area’.

Also, we have restrictions on the height and density of properties and we don’t have any billboards. We have also banned single-use plastics. We rely very much on tourism, which is our main economic activity. Because of this, we care in sustainable ways about preserving the culture, nature and history of our region.

But you have big growth plans coming up?

We do have some exciting plans for new hotels that will be showing in the next 12 months or so that will add to the unique offerings for travellers.

These include hotels from Four Seasons, Park Hyatt and St. Regis.

Finally, what would you say to agents who might be worried about Mexico’s reputation for crime and safety?

I would say Los Cabos is completely safe. Agents should view us as completely detached from events elsewhere in Mexico.

The only way to come here from europe is by air, connecting in say Los Angeles or Dallas/Fort Worth, and we have transfer conpanies to take them to their hotels.

Also, the private sector here heavily participates in the safety and promotion of the area. We are funded not just by the government only but also by a range of private sector interest, which means everyone here has an investment in the safety of visitors, which in turn will protect the future growth of our beautiful destination.

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