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With so many excellent resorts to enjoy in Los Cabos (and more opening every year), I—like many visitors to the region—often find myself staying put at whatever retreat I’ve checked in to, save for maybe a day trip to historic San Jose del Cabo or a whale-spotting boat ride out to The Arch. Which is unfortunate, because the Baja peninsula is not only rich in artistic and cultural offerings, but also home to a diverse, starkly beautiful landscape that veers from the deep blues of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California on one side to a subtropical desert and craggy outcrops on the other. So on a recent stay at the stunning Solaz, A Luxury Collection Resort, I made sure to book one of the new Elements of Baja private excursions, which have been exclusively created for the hotel to help connect guests to some of the area’s more off-the-beaten-path attractions.
To develop the program, Solaz enlisted the services of Oscar Ortiz, an expert guide and photographer who has been leading excursions in the area for close to two decades. Ortiz is palpably passionate about the region—he lights up talking about everything from a unique desert plant to his favorite ice cream spot—and to create the experiences he found inspiration in what he considers the four key pillars of the peninsula: Water, Earth, Fire, and Art. The included activities tap into Ortiz expertise and his relationships within the community, giving guests a true local’s take and, in many cases, special access and VIP welcomes.
Choose the “Water” excursion and you will head out to discover the underwater world at Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of only three coastal reefs in North America and the only live coral reef in the Sea of Cortez; a lunch with locals in the Cabo Pulmo community will follow. In “Earth” you’ll hike up into the desert to find some of the earliest rock paintings by the indigenous Pericues people of the Sierra de la Laguna Range (which are rarely visited by tourists), while in “Fire,” a hike along the southernmost mountains of the Peninsular Range System will bring you to beautiful, hidden-away thermal springs and freshwater pools for a refreshing dip. And in “Art,” you’ll visit galleries and meet with working artists in the charming town of Todos Santos, then savor a gourmet lunch at a farm-set restaurant.
In conjunction with these new experiences, Solaz’s Ojo de Liebre Spa has also developed a treatment that showcases indigenous traditions and locally-sourced organic ingredients. Dubbed “The Baja Journey,” the three-hour, $399 treatment includes a body wrap with native, antioxidant-rich Pitahaya fruit, a facial using hydrating nopal (cactus), and a massage with aromatherapeutic oils. The six-to-eight-hour Elements of Baja experiences start at $495 for two people, with add-ons like private boats and chef-prepared picnics available for an additional charge. Guests can book and customize the excursions via their dedicated Solaz Artisan (aka butler.)