I’m so excited! I get to do a shopping orientation! That’s when I book out an afternoon and take my buyers on the town to show them where to buy groceries, household goods, etc. We’ll start the trip out by traveling Hildalgo street way past the tourist zone. Hildalgo, of course, was the priest who started the revolution so the street named after him is going to be an important one. Which it is, but most visitors don’t get beyond the three blocks within the tourist zone. Hildalgo goes way past that, stretching all the way to the northern part of town where it turns into Mexico Route 19 and continues all the way to Todos Santos 45 miles north of Cabo. Here’s what the tourists are missing.
We’ll start on Marina boulevard where Hildalgo starts. It’s a one-way street heading north (up, away from the Marina). We’ll pass Magic of the Moon, Pepita Nelson’s clothing store, the Cabo Coffee shop on the second corner, and MigueLoco’s restaurant across from town square (Plaza Amelia Wilkes). The third intersection, where L. Cardenas crosses, is the end of the tourist zone. With the town square on your left and the Cabo English church across the way most tourists figure that’s all there is to see on this street and turn around. For me, that’s where the interesting part begins.
First landmark is L. Cardenas street. If you were to turn left and continue two blocks you’d get to the entrance of the Pedregal gated community. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings this is the site of Cabo’s organic farmers market and is well worth a visit for the best fresh produce.
Going one block forward you’ll cross 5 de Mayo street. On the corner is an OXXO store (Mexican 7-11), which is totally uninteresting but serves as a landmark because next door in a converted house is the largely unmarked office of Amelia Ortega and her nephew Ishmael who have been our insurance agents for over 15 years. We’ve been extremely happy with them, they write for several companies so we’ve been with a variety of carriers but the constant has been the great service from our agents. Highly recommended!
Several blocks up you’ll come to Libertad. On the corner is my favorite taco place: Taco’s Chava. Great food, friendly people and when you get your bill you will know for sure you’re not in the tourist zone anymore! The most expensive thing on the menu is an artery-clogging potato stuffed with butter, cheese and shrimp; as memory serves it’s about $60 pesos. Definitely a recommended stop and also the landmark for your next turn. If you turn left on Libertad and go two blocks then make another left you’ll be facing a traffic circle. At the 9:00 position there is a little dirt road next to the Bungalows B&B. About three doors down on your left you’ll see another B&B: El Nido at Hacienda Escondida, or ‘the nest at the hidden mansion’. Once you tuck through the antique doors you’re in another world, an enchanted one. Hacienda Escondida is also home to the best hair stylist in Cabo: Xochi. She’s so good that one client with a standing weekly appointment is the owner of several hotels in town, and there are spas and beauty salons in all of them. He prefers to pay to come to Xochi. She’s an absolute genius, call 143-2053 for appointments. And just to let you know: Hacienda Escondida is for sale. You could run a B&B in paradise for the next phase of your life!
Back on Hildalgo, four blocks up from Taco’s Chava you’ll find the phone company, TelMex. This is where you’ll go to start phone and internet service and perhaps buy a phone and computer. Next door is El Callejon, the home furnishing store owned by sisters and designers Claudia and Isabella. Although somewhat pricey, if you are furnishing a whole home they will discount substantially. The other thing (and I can attest to this through personal experience) they stand behind their product. If you ever have a problem they’ll get it fixed.
A block or two further along you’ll see a yellowy-orange hotel called Casa Pablito, your next landmark. Turn right at Casa Pablito and go another block and a half and you’ll find Las Palmas. Don’t be fooled. Las Palmas is probably the largest purveyor of meats in the state, possibly all of Baja. They wholesale meats to all the finest restaurants and hotels. They maintain a tiny general store in front of their big warehouse, this is where you can find baby back ribs, prime rib roast, or pork chops cut American style (not paper thin). You will not see what you want, you have to tell the butcher and they will go into the back and bring it out to you. If your foodie Spanish is lacking be ready to point to the cut you want on their chart or bring a photo.
Still traveling north on Hildalgo you’ll pass more businesses. At the corner of Mateos, almost up to the Delegation (city hall) you’ll pass a building on your left marked SAT. This is the Mexican IRS, if you will be working you’ll need to go there to get your tax ID. Next door is Estafeta, if someone ships you something by Federal Express this is where you’ll come to pick it up. The end of this block is a diagonal intersection, you’ll merge with traffic coming over from the east side of town. Just before the Bordo (the four-lane that zips across from Mexico Route 1) there is an un-named street with a little mini-super named El Payaso on the corner. Going right for two blocks you’ll see El Dorado, a good place to buy fresh fish and seafood. I know it sounds gross, but they will also grind your fish at no charge and it makes exceptional burgers on the grill. Tuna substitutes for beef, any other variety tastes great with soy and ginger. Across the street from this turn is the Delegation, or city hall. This is where you’ll pay your property tax in January; it is also where they hold a number of concerts and celebrations.
Moving along you’ll cross the Bordo, here you’ll find a Pemex gas station and Formula Uno auto parts store. Just past those you’ll see the greengrocer’s Lizarraga. This is the same story as Las Palmas, the real business is in the giant warehouse in the back, but this little retail storefront is tradition. At the next corner you’ll see CCC, a large grocery store and the one I frequent, as well as two banks sharing the same parking lot. This is a large, clean modern grocery store with very good prices. See my blog from last week for more on the cost of groceries.
Further up you’ll see Soriana’s, another grocery store. Frankly I hate it and haven’t been there in years. Very bad vibe and just doesn’t seem clean, but you be the judge. In between CCC and Soriana’s on the other side of the street you’ll see a restaurant called Michoacana. Only one item on the menu: Carnitas and the best in the universe.
Keep going and you’ll pass the new Plaza Sendero, a shopping mall and about the end of the shopping trip. The only other item of interest is farther there are some new retail stores I haven’t been in and the Cop Shop. Hopefully the only reason you’ll ever go there is to get your driver’s license! Keep going and you’ll be enjoying the scenic drive to Todos Santos, but that’s another blog………..
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of REALTY EXECUTIVES Los Cabos. A Certified Home Marketing Specialist, she has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for nine years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine and the real estate co-ordinator for the Los Cabos Now program on CaboMil FM (www.cabomil.com.mx). You can read more of her articles on www.reloscabos.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541.
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© 2010 Carol S. Billups