As one of the guest judges for Hyatt Corporation’s annual Good Taste Series, I’m eating my way through various competing chef stations at the new Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos (Paseo Malecon S/N Lote 5. Tel: +52-624-163-7730. www.loscabos.ziva.hyatt.com), 2015’s host resort, grazing excellent bites dished out by culinary talent vying to be the company’s next best chef. The competition is lively, swarming with excited foodies and fans, and the resort is brimming with guests merely a month after it’s reopening. In more ways than one, it feels like a celebration. Along with famous faces like Top Chef’s Angelo Sosa and LA food critic Lesley Balla, we’re unanimously astonished at how thoughtful (and tasty!) the plates are, but what truly overwhelms me is the fact this event is actually happening. Less than a year ago, Hurricane Odile wrecked havoc on Los Cabos (located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula) destroying most resorts, restaurants, and the airport, and ferociously washing away several pristine beaches. The charming beach town was literally in ruins, and the entire destination all but shut down with very little hope for immediate recovery. Considering the gravity of the destruction, only a Mayan miracle could salvage one of Mexico’s most beautiful places fast enough to sustain its pulse.
But therein lies the beauty of Los Cabos. Like the passion of the 12 Hyatt chefs cooking their hearts out, the destination fought tirelessly to upkeep its allure without hiatus. Cabo persevered and only became stronger. The community banded together, the airport was beautifully redesigned, beaches restored, and resort facilities improved, all within a year. Soon enough, figurative dark clouds drifted away, that famous Mexico sun reclaimed the land, and Cabo was reborn in a way that will leave it legendary. Visitors have been experiencing a brand-new Los Cabos that is even more striking and pampering than before, yet it’s still truly unforgettable as an easy and breezy sun-drenched vacation spot with tons of soul.
With its liberal attitude and care-free sensibility, Los Cabos had the gay community at hola; it’s always served as a welcome destination for everyone since the municipality was created in 1981. Cabo’s post-hurricane revival continues to seduce gay travelers, who have been more active and visible, sprawling out on beaches, at lounges and nightclubs, and, naturally, throughout the number of luxury resorts. “Cabo is very diverse and gay friendly, accepting of all guests,” says Luis Estrada, a gay local who grew up in Los Cabos and works in tourism hospitality, Cabo’s main industry. “Gay travelers love the luxury hotels, all the activities and the amazing views and landscapes due to the contrast of the ocean and the desert. And, of course, our famous nightclubs, which are all gay-friendly, but gay travelers all end up at top mixed places like Pink Kitty and Mandala.”
With its short distance from Hollywood, Los Cabos has long lured the celebrity set, including male heartthrobs seen out and about in the past few years. “Because of Cabo’s proximity to LA,” says Estrada, “hot celebrities have chosen to have their weddings (Adam Levine), bachelor parties (Justin Timberlake), and vacation homes (George Clooney) in Cabo.” Even more A-listers have been making the jaunt to the Los Cabos International Film Festival (www.cabosfilmfestival.com). One of the fastest growing film festivals in North America, Los Cabos Film Festival entered its fourth year this past November, and stars like Reese Witherspoon and Edward Norton have shown support by participation. Locals will be quick to admit that the festival is becoming Cabo’s most celebrated event of the year.
Equally rising in popularity is the wealth of new outdoor activities. For those seeking intense airborne thrills, Cabo Flyboard (Av. del Pescador, local 6. Tel: +52-624-143-0146. www.caboflyboard.com) has been catching wind. These sleek, futuristic boards that strap feet in binding boots launch visitors up to 45 feet high above the ocean’s surface; enthusiasts soar, flip, and dive, making stand-up paddle boarders look super-retro. Cabo is one of few places in the world where flyboarding is offered.
Visitors who want to feel a bit more “grounded” yet still adrenaline pumped book a trip out to Wild Canyon Adventures (Tel: +52-624-144-4433. www.wildcanyons.com.mx) deep within the desert landscape between San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas (Los Cabos’ two main towns). A new wooden suspension bridge claims to be the longest of its kind in the world at 1,083 feet. The views are enormous, and other activities like zip lining make Wild Canyon a whole day’s adventure.
In Los Cabos, all the laid-back vacation action takes place at luxury resorts, which are so over the top and grand that they are destinations unto themselves, exemplary retreats for affluent travelers who enjoy the finer things in life. Resorts here are known to be some of the best in North America with stellar service, stunning accommodations, pampering amenities, and award-winning restaurants. It’s no shock gay travelers quick- ly book these properties, and with the new post-hurricane additions and upgrades they may never leave.