We came to San Jose del Cabo in the hopes of finding a typical small Mexican
city in which to retire within easy direct-flight reach of our hometown in
Canada. Unfortunately we are leaving somewhat disappointed. What we found
instead is an urban '"planning" exercise gone terribly wrong.
We decided to stay in the old town, in a small hotel on located near the
town square and surrounded by the art district. This sounded like a charming
prospect however upon arrival we discovered that the old town has been
spotlessly restored, to the point of erasing any semblance of normal Mexican
life. Residential housing does not exist here and the only businesses left are
expensive art galleries and grossly overpriced fancy restaurants. The large
town square, while beautiful and well-appointed is nearly devoid of the normal
family and evening gathering activity that is found in other Mexican towns. The
only Mexicans to be found in this Disney-ish, sterile and gentrified
"neighborhood" are waiters and shop workers.
Venturing further afield in the hopes of finding a real town and
reasonably priced food we discovered a band of residential and business
streets squeezed in between the old town and the beach resorts. While it was
refreshing to find a small business district with the odd taqueria it was also
disappointing to discover that the three big box stores (Mega, Soriana and Walmart)
had reduced the local grocery outlets down to an underutilized municipal
market and a few convenience stores selling only junk food and pop. The market
did inspire some local activity, especially in the food court area however the
lack of customers in the fresh food area was apparent and reflected in the
available limited offerings.
Finally, as we explored further south towards the beaches, we were
confronted by a no-man's land consisting of a barrier golf course which
effectively cuts the town off from the ocean. The only walking access to the
water is via one of two busy main arteries flanking the golf course and located
on opposite ends of town. Upon arriving within view of the beautiful beach you
realize that nearly all of the prime real estate has been taken over by large resorts
and that the only access to the so-called public beach is by climbing through a
barbed wire fence and walking though some barren trash-filled scrubland that is
obviously waiting like a missing tooth for the final resort to be constructed.Once on the beach there was not a Mexican to be found except for the odd trinket vendor.
We found the whole experience rather sad. The town seems to have been stolen
from the locals in the name of tourism development. Never in our considerable
travels around Mexico have we encountered such a dysfunctional community plan.
So in spite of the convenient airline connection and the friendly local
population we will give this area a pass in the future and return to other
areas of the real Mexico.Edited: 16 February 2014, 01:24