Viva Mexico! Mexico Celebrates its Bicentennial
Developers address security concerns South of the Border as Mexico turns 200.By Sonja York
Mexico celebrated its bicentennial this year, and developers and vacation clubs took advantage of the festivities to address safety and welcome all to enjoy the country’s vast and opulent locations.
In this feature we explore Las Villas Hotel & Spa in Estrella del Mar, Mazatlan Mexico; homes in Puerto Los Cabos, San Jose del Cabo Mexico; membership at the Quintess Destination Club in Los Cabos Mexico; and the Costa Baja Resort & Spa in La Paz Mexico.
Las Villas Hotel & Spa
Las Villas Hotel & Spa in Estrella del Mar, Mazatlan, Mexico offers a unique combination: a crowd-free, 3.5-mile beach with the onsite amenities of Mazatlan’s premiere resort development, Estrella del Mar, allowing guests both the privacy and amenities not found in the Mazatlan, Sinola, Mexico area. Las Villas Hotel & Spa is inspired by traditional colonial Mexican design. Traditions stay alive at Estrella del Mar, as residents celebrated the bicentennial with families from Mazatlan and Torreon, enjoying a traditional Mexican dinner and fine entertainment in a clubhouse restaurant while cheering the traditional “Viva Mexico” at midnight, then retiring to the beautiful, newly opened Las Villas Hotel & Spa boutique hotel.
According to Pat Butler, developer at Estrella del Mar, “Mazatlan in general is not a security problem. At EDM we have our own security and an 8-by-3-foot wall that surrounds our resort.”
Also, Estrella del Mar continues to help environmentally protected coastal lands by maintaining the largest Olive Sea Turtle Sanctuary in Mexico, perhaps the largest in the world. It is a federal program completely funded and managed by Estrella del Mar. In 2009, the development harvested 140,000 eggs and released more than 100,000 baby sea turtles back into the sea.
Las Villas offers 71 rooms ranging from garden-view and ocean-view rooms to oceanfront and Presidential suites. Resort amenities include a Robert Trent Jr. championship golf course, four onsite dining options, a spa, fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs. Lots start at $89,500 and homes can be built for $130 per square foot. To make reservations, visit www.mazatlanhotellasvillas.com.
Puerto Los Cabos
Homes in Puerto Los Cabos, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, are east of San Jose del Cabo on the Baja California Peninsula, with more than 3 miles of beachfront. Sprawling across 2,000 acres of seaside hills, more than half of Puerto Los Cabos is reserved as a private residential community. Just minutes from the historic district of San Jose del Cabo, Puerto Los Cabos is only 10 minutes from Los Cabos international Airport (SJD), and only 40 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. The area also contains Mexico’s largest private marina and two golf courses, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. With more than 100 homes complete, developer lots and finished homes are currently available for purchase. Future plans include a marina retail complex featuring shops, restaurants, and other entertainment, along with a range of high-end hotels.
The town plaza of San Jose has a yearly celebration of “El Grito” or “the Cry of Independence,” which enhanced bicentennial celebrations, including music, dances, food, and the symbolic ringing of the bell. This is conveniently less than 5 minutes from Puerto Los Cabos.
Alex Cuttler, director of Marketing & Sales for Grupo Questro, addressed security concerns. “I think it’s very important for you to understand that there are some very specific areas in which situations are taking place such as US-Mexico border towns along with larger cities and some tourist areas of mainland Mexico. In spite of all these events, the cities of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas remain unaffected, secure and stable.” Much of the reason for this comes down to its isolated location, small population, proactive government, and tremendous revenue from tourism, which is critical to government operations.
Protecting the environment is also a top priority for Puerto Los Cabos, working closely with Greenpeace while continuing to support all efforts to protect coastal lands. The location beside the San Jose Estuary, which is a marshy lagoon covering roughly 2,000 acres at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, requires constant cleaning and protection from fires, keeping security teams occupied year-round.
Activities include sports, fishing, or sailing from the new marina, only the second in Los Cabos. Swim, explore nature, paraglide, play tennis, or simply walk along a moonlit beach — the variety of choices will have you proclaiming “Viva Mexico” in splendid anticipation. For between $4.2 million and $7.4 million you can get a custom beachfront home on nearly an acre of land with 5-plus bedrooms and 6-plus bathrooms with 6,000-plus square feet, including a high level of finishes such as maids quarters, gourmet kitchens, outdoor kitchens, incredible pools, home gyms, wine cellars, media rooms, and so on. Pricing for home sites range from $175,000 to $7 million, and pricing for finished homes range from $1 million to $7.4 million. For more information, visit www.puertoloscabos.com.
Quintess in Los Cabos
In Los Cabos, Mexico, the Cielos Palmillas enclave of villas from Quintess, LRW, is high above the Sea of Cortez giving you an exclusive piece of heaven. Next to Quintess is the Villas Del Mar resort, where you can visit One & Only Palmilla spa or go for a drive in your golf cart on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course. Cielos Palmillas is just a short walk or golf-cart drive away from Club Espiritu, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, Club Ninety Six, Del Mar Development’s private beach club, and all the luxurious and inviting activities of Los Cabos.
Todd Miller, vice president of Marketing at Quintess Destination Club, points out, “due to Los Cabos’ location, there is only one road in and out of the area, which is a great impediment to criminal organizations setting up operations here and being able to run or hide.”
Los Cabos celebrated the bicentennial at its cultural pavilion, the first of its kind that aims to cultivate the artistic and cultural expressions of this particular region of Mexico. The project unifies residents and tourists alike, where you can enjoy traditional Mexican concerts, dances, art exhibits, international seminars and much more. Quintess’ philanthropic endeavors involve the Make a Difference program to support its members’ various charitable efforts, and a unique partnership with Greenhouse Scholars, an innovative non-profit focused on education to provide a seamless way for every Quintess member to make a difference.
When selecting your membership, single-level villas have slightly different square footage, yet each has four bedrooms and four and one-half baths. Elegance and comfort is paired with every modern convenience and amenity. The spacious grounds and expansive terraces offer seclusion and privacy. Master craftsmanship and traditional Mexican designs, including clay tile roofing, stone flooring, cantera trim and columns, wood beamed ceilings and more, detail the property.
Memberships start at $98,000 with annual dues of $7,525 for seven nights at any of the homes. Visit www.quintess.com and fill out the membership inquiry form for more.
Costa Baja Resort & Spa
Last in our feature is the Costa Baja Resort & Spa in La Paz, Mexico. As a residential master-planned resort community on 550 acres of environmentally protected coastal lands, Costa Baja specializes in one-of-a-kind real estate, a private marina, hotel and village marina with shopping, restaurants, and galleries. The first Gary Player Signature Course in Mexico also will open in November 2010. Enjoy the Sea of Cortez as your own — 5 minutes from downtown La Paz. Panoramic water views and resort lifestyle with exceptional amenities make up the beautiful Costa Baja landscape.
For the Bicentennial, celebrations take place at Costa Baja as well as in the City of La Paz. The Costa Baja community and La Paz locals both enjoy special decorations, fireworks, food stands and live music along the Marina. Mexican flags and colored stripes adorn boats in the Marina and restaurants create gourmet food adorned with the green, white and red colors of the Mexican flag.
According to Gerardo Rojano, vice president of marketing, “La Paz is the safest city in Mexico with close to zero crime rate.” If you are looking to be apart from crowded areas and conflictive zones, then La Paz is a must, chosen by tourists for its tranquil streets, calm nights and family-oriented values. Visitors and locals can be at peace, since 24-hour security (local police) roam the city.
Costa Baja also helps keep the environment clean by using a water treatment plant that processes and uses residual water for the golf course. The majority of materials and detergents used come from organic sources. The development also collects and properly disposes of oil, gasoline, and all dangerous residues found in its marina.
Different amenities occupy the two central locations: Las Colinas and VistaMar. At Las Colinas, for $580,900 you get a 2-bedroom, 2-bath ranch, and for $800,000 you get a 3-bedroom, 2-bath two-story. Amenities include such features as “rustic contemporary” architectural style, stucco and stone exteriors, courtyards, tiled terraces with ceiling fans, luxurious landscaping and expansive views (golf course, ocean, marina, La Paz city). Interior features include top-of-the-line materials, high-end finishes and 9-foot ceilings throughout.
At VistaMar, for $840,000 you get a 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath (1st floor) and for $1 million you get a 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath (4th floor). Penthouses average $1.84 million and ocean-view villas range from $1.109 million to $1.605 million. Interior features include open floor plans, 10-foot ceilings, solid-core wooden doors, spacious master bedrooms, a lock-off suite with a kitchenette, and much more. Exterior features include cliffside infinity-edge pools, underground parking, and extra storage space. Home sites range from $400,000 to $600,000. Visit www.costabaja.com for more information on unique living on the Sea of Cortez.