Looking for Cheap Flights to Paris from Los Cabos?
Cheap flights to Paris from Los Cabos
Los Cabos is a municipality located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, in the state of Baja California Sur. It encompasses the two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo (the municipal seat) linked by a twenty-mile Resort Corridor of beach-front properties and championship golf courses.
The area was remote and rural until the latter 20th century, when the Mexican government began to develop Cabo San Lucas for tourism, which then spread east to the municipal seat. The main draw is the climate and geography, where desert meets the sea, along with sport fishing, resorts and golf. This tourism is by far the main economic activity with over two million visitors per year. Over 1 million visit from the United States.
The town of San José del Cabo is located at the foot of the Sierra de la Laguna, 130 km SSW of La Paz, the state capital of Baja California Sur. Although it is the seat of government for the municipality of Los Cabos, it is smaller than the other city of Cabo San Lucas. However, because of federal and private investments in tourism, its growth is now rivaling that of the more famous resort area.
This growth has been regulated to outside of the town center, especially to the south where the beaches are, leaving the historic town center quiet and relatively unchanged. There are still cobblestone streets, adobe houses, jacaranda trees and a central square in front of a church that dates from the 1700s, where people still gather in the evening when it is cooler.
A number of the large houses in the center date from the 19th century, and most of these have been converted into restaurants, art galleries and shops selling everything from fine handcrafts, silver, local gemstones and souvenirs. The art scene in the town is well-developed because of tourism and people with vacation homes. These shops carry high end paintings, sculptures in from traditional Mexican, Mexican contemporary and international artisans and artists.
During the high season from October to May, these galleries stay open late into the night. The town has resisted the addition of large shopping malls and chain stores. There is also some colonial era architecture as well, but this style has more in common with colonial towns to the north into the United States rather than the center and south of Mexico.
The main example of colonial architecture here is the town’s parish church. It was part of the Estero de las Palmas de San José del Cabo Mission, founded in 1730. The facade is marked with a tile mural depicting the martyrdom of founder Nicolás Tamaral, killed by the local Pericu people . The patron saint of the town is Saint Joseph, whose feast day is celebrated here on March 19. Another important occasion is the feast of the Our Lady of the Pillar on October 12. Occasions like these are marked with traditional dance in dress styles known as “Flor de Pitaya” and the “La Cuera.
Other important landmarks in the town include the municipal hall (palacio municipal), which dates from 1981 and the cultural center or Casa de Cultura, housed in a 19th-century building.
The tourist area of the town is the area between the town proper and the shoreline. This area has a nine-hole golf course and a line of hotels and resorts facing the ocean, which served over 900,000 hotel guests in 2011.
The indigenous Pericu names for San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas were Añiñi and Yenecami, respectively, with the current names given by the colonizing Spanish. The name of San José was given by Nicolás Tamaral in honor of José de la Fuente Peña y Castrejón, the Marquis of Villa Puente who sponsored the mission. The appendix of “de Los Cabos” is to distinguish it from San José de Comondú as well as its proximity to Cabo San Lucas. San Jose was also known as San Barnabé, as the nearby bay was named this. Pirate Thomas Cavendish called Cabo San Lucas “Safe Port” as he hid there from Spanish authorities. The seal for the municipality of Los Cabos (referring to the two cities) was approved by the state government in 1981.
When the Spanish arrived the main indigenous group in the area was the Pericus, a hunter-gather culture with Stone Age tools. It is possible that these people arrived to the region with a more evolved culture which later simplified to adapt to the harsh conditions. Evidence of this includes the region’s cave paintings as the peoples found by the Jesuits did not have an artistic tradition. The Pericu people and culture were distinct from other indigenous groups, first by being taller and second by being polygamous in a tribal organization. Their diet consisted of local seeds and fruits, as well as fish, reptiles, and small mammals. Men were in charge of large game hunting of deer.
Hernán Cortés himself arrived here in 1535, and named the Gulf of California the Sea of Cortés (Mar de Cortés) the name still used for it in Spanish. The harsh conditions impeded colonization by the Spanish, which did not begin in earnest until 1730, when Father José Echeverría and Father Nicolás Tamaral founded a mission in what is now San Jose del Cabo in 1730. This date is considered the founding of the town, although a second ceremonial found took place in 1822, when it was declared a town of the Baja California territory.
Diseases brought by Europeans devastated indigenous groups here, and in 1768 more missionaries arrived. While colonization was slow, the area was important as a way station for the Manila Galleon and other ships, which stopped here for fresh water, as well as fruits and vegetables.
However, its remoteness also made it a place for pirates to hide. The first pirate in the area was Francis Drake in 1578, followed shortly after by Thomas Cavendish, both after the treasures from Spain’s Asia trade. One major attack was that on the Santa Ana Galleon, whose looting caused the Spanish colonial government to explore and map the area around Cabo San Lucas at the very beginning of the 17th century. There were recommendations to establish a mission here, but this was rejected in favor of Loreto. This left Cabo San Lucas as a strategic hideout for English pirates until the 18th century. In 1709, pirate Woodes Rogers attacked the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación y Desengaño. Hiding nearly a month in Cabo San Lucas, he also mapped the area and wrote detailed descriptions. He was followed by George Shelvocke in 1721, who later published the oldest known drawings of the Pericues.
After Independence, the Baja Peninsula was part of the California province, but Cabo San Lucas was named head of a municipality. Its remoteness kept the area out of active participation of most of Mexico’s 19th and early 20th century tumultuous history. One exception was the Mexican American War. Resistance to U.S. forces was organized in the small community of Santa Anita, near San José, headed by José Matías Moreno, Vicente Mejia and José Antonio Mijares, who was in charge of the marina at Cabo San Lucas. One of the main streets in the town is now named after Mijares, who died defending the town.
The major political players during the Mexican Revolution were Manuel Gonzalez and Pedro Orozco, along with Félix Ortega. In 1915, Ildefonso Green Ceseña, head of forces loyal to Venustiano Carranza, drove out those of Francisco Villa out of the southern part of the peninsula.
Some development of the area began after the Mexican Revolution with a lighthouse at Cabo Falso as early as 1905, just southwest of Cabo San Lucas, in part to remind U.S. ships in the waters here that the territory remained Mexican. Today, it is known as the “Faro Viejo” (Old Lighthouse) and is a historic monument. In 1917, a U.S. company began tuna fishing operations here and had a floating processing plant. In 1927, the Compañía de Productos Marinas based its operations in Cabo San Lucas and helped develop the port to make it open to tourism later. In the 1920s, the first road connecting San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas was begun but not completely finished until 1970.
For the most part, the area remained rural and undeveloped until the latter 20th century, when the federal agency Fonatur began to develop a tourism industry here. Development began with Cabo San Lucas for vacationers, but then spread to San Jose del Cabo, but with a different direction with more art galleries and promotion of its traditional Mexican character.
The current municipality of Los Cabos was created in 1981, separated from the municipality of La Paz, with the seat at San Jose del Cabo. The town had previously been a municipal seat of a municipality of the same name in 1917 but lost this in a political reorganization in 1972.
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