About an hour north and a million miles from Cabo San Lucas is a very special and unique resort



If you have been to just about any of the beach towns in Mexico, you pretty much know what to expect. The spectacular Paradero suites-only resort, a bit south of the town of Todos Santos on the Baja peninsula, delivered the unexpected.


Paradero’s architecture is Brutalist meets contemporary, such that the former style deftly blends into the desert and natural landscaping, where the hotel sits, inland from the beach. I didn’t initially notice but eventually realized there is no paint and only a modicum of flooring in the common areas, which are built from concrete like the rest of the buildings. Nothing extends higher than two floors, maintaining the low profile of the resort. 


Does this sound rustic and primitive? Perhaps, but rather soon after arriving one gets a sense of the ambition of the design. The soothing intention of integrating the structures and the landscape is subtle and impressive, a rare balance.



The open air bar/dining counter Photo provided by Wonderlust



After being shown to my room — there are only 40 — I quickly recharged my batteries at the open air bar and kitchen, choosing an octopus taco, which was perfectly crisp on the outside, yet plump and tender on the inside. The accompanying black bean puree and grilled onion arrived on a Guaiillo tortilla, and was prepared in front of me.


Manager Arturo gave us a tour. The resort offers myriad opportunities, ranging from a beach set up (natch) to use of surfboards, bikes, e-bikes, and yoga sessions, hikes, cooking lessons and more. 


I signed on for a fascinating nature hike through an oasis to Las Palmas beach. En route our guide pointed out the third largest cactus in North America (makes you really wonder where numbers one and two are). At 300 years old, the cactus thrives in the driest spot in Mexico, getting only 10 days of rain a year. 


Before arriving at the beach we passed through a grove of apparently 5000 palm trees. The temperature drop among the vegetation was remarkable. 



Las Palmas Beach: private enough? Photo provided by Wonderlust



The beach was deserted and inspiring. On the trek back we understood why the whole area is UNESCO protected. Once back at the hotel we were given chilled hibiscus tea, setting us up nicely for temazacal.



The idea of plunging ourselves into the regional version of a sauna in the heat of the day was a bit odd, but we had come to trust how the seemingly disparate elements of the resort worked so well together. A group of five of us was guided into the half dome temazacal structure by Jair, who has spent the last dozen years as a shaman. 


Jair calmly explained how he would work with the air, water and fire to connect us with the elements, encouraging us to ease into the heat ritual. He conducted four rounds of temazacal, increasing the temperature by adding more rocks in the small pool of water and using a succession of natural plants. He started with rosemary and sage, and finished with tangerine for energy. The hour and 20 minutes flew by. Yet time also stood still. I enjoyed a definite feeling of centeredness and fulfillment. The cold plunge afterward was delicious.


My room looked out over farmland, where much of the resort’s food grows, and I could see the ocean in the distance. The crisp, clean lines of the bedroom were centered on an extremely comfortable bed. An open air balcony above my bedroom featured a couple day beds as well as a net hammock large enough for two people.


In the evening we had an omakase-type dining experience at the property’s Pericue Bar. The chef prepared in front of us an amazing selection of dishes. Each, I would say, delivered on the Paradero promise of “from the soil to your soul.” 


Full marks for presentation, and it tasted great too: Huevos Rancheros, luxury hotel style Photo provided by Wonderlust

The chef started us with an enticing cold dish of seared scallop, grilled veal, vanilla, apple and cucumber, and for each course the expert bartender prepared a handcrafted drink. We then enjoyed another cold dish of heirloom tomato, aioli and oysters caught that morning. The blend of textures and flavors was delightful. Next was a warm mushroom dumpling in coconut water broth. The main course was an amazingly tender short rib which was contrasted by the fennel on top. 


Room was somehow saved for a dessert of panna cotta with caramel popcorn and goat cheese. The accompanying final drink was an espresso martini with Nixta, a Mexican liqueur made from corn, a cocktail which was both salty and sweetened with white chocolate. 



Paradero’s most amazing experience is aboard their eponymous catamaran. We did an overnight sail on the Sea of Cortez, which was stunning. The boat has four well appointed staterooms en suite. The food on board was wonderful, in keeping with how spoiled we were on land. Lunch came in a series of tapas. We enjoyed small plates of yellowtail sashimi, ceviche, scallops with diced octopus and then oysters. 


Our journey on the catamaran took us to the island known as Espíritu Santo Natural Marine Park. Twenty years ago an alliance of Mexican and United States conservation groups were able to purchase the island, thereby preventing development. According to the Nature Conservancy, “the Sea of Cortez is the second most diverse marine body in the world. It is home to 31 species of whales and dolphins, one-third of the world’s total. The region also serves as a breeding ground for sea lions and marine turtles, and is a migratory corridor for 210 bird species. Some 500 fish species, 4,848 known species of marine macro-invertebrates and 626 forms of macro algae live in the region.” 



The incredible catamaran overnight stay — don’t miss that Photo provided by Wonderlust



The captain took us into a nearly deserted bay on the island where I was able to use the stand up paddleboard and kayaks stored on the catamaran. We snorkeled and swam with a plethora of fish and turtles, and saw breaching whales in the near distance. Sleep that evening came quickly and solidly aboard the gently swaying boat.


For those who are seeking a Mexican resort experience profoundly different from other visits to seaside towns you may have, or have certainly read about, Paradero is the place to go.