How Baja was.., used to be... and still.. -

April, 2000 - Baja Sun
By William Trent

The East Cape still retains those elements of freedom and wilderness that epitomize the Baja image.. To be sure the prices have gone up everywhere in Baja unless you are tenting on a remote beach and eating what you catch.. What I am writing about is the service and warm friendliness of the people and that special "Baja" atmosphere.

I recently had the incredibly great fortune to spend a couple of days at John Ireland's Hotel Rancho Leonero, between San Jose del Cabo (40 miles) and La Paz (80 miles) (turn off at Km 103), and more precisely midway between Buena Vista and La Ribera. I drove up from Los Cabos on highway one to the turnoff on the dirt entry way and felt the hustle of Cabo slip away with each dusty mile.. I drove through cattle land, carefully, and dodged my way around some of the local bovine residents for the twenty minute (8 Km) trip to the coast.

Rancho Leonero, like most of Baja, is a work in progress. That should be viewed as a positive since it clearly indicates that there is a continued future. The Rancho sits on a point of the Sea of Cortez and consists of individual and duplex cabins nearest the water and a motel style set of rooms toward the back of the property. The cabins are comfortable, well furnished and blessed with no TV. They were also refreshingly clean.

The office and "great hall", where meals are taken are separated by a terrifically inviting bar and as is the norm in places of age and legend there are many fotos and memorabilia of fishing and fishermen.

More and more Rancho Leonero is becoming a "family" resort and the fittings and furnishings are ever progressing toward comfort and style..

The days of "male" dominated and inhabited fishing camps is quietly receding as every where you go nowadays seems to be following the "Vegas" mode and going "family". For those who must have their TV., it is in the office-bar area.

The dining facilities render really good vittles and even though meals are included in your stay, there is a variation to the daily menu and all you have to do is ask.. The dining hours are set for this pleasant family dining experience.. There are individual tables and one is not compelled to sit on benches, but it is common to see newly made acquaintances sharing a table. It is a place where new friends and acquaintances are readily made.

Rancho Leonero is a great place to escape to, relax, and if you have to, fish, as there is some very good catching to be had.

I accompanied John on a tour of part of the 300 acre spread where exclusive homes are rising at a safe distance from the high tide line, where the dreams of common and some not so common men and women are coming true.

I must honestly say that Rancho Leonero is one of the places that has recently most impressed me with the service, accommodations, and attitude..