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Incentives & Meetings International
Los Cabos: Where Desert Beauty Meets Ocean Vistas

Los Cabos, at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula in Mexico, is often described as the place where “the desert meets the ocean.” But sandwiched between those two extremes in Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo and the corridor between them you’ll also find one of the newest and most attractive meeting and incentive destinations in the world with luxury hotels and resorts, exclusive golf courses, marinas, spas and shops. In fact, one of the key attractions of Los Cabos – comprised of a pair of fishing villages made over into a worldclass destination – is that everything is so new, according to Adam Lawhorne, President of Meeting Incentive Experts Inc. in Chicago and destination management company MEI Los Cabos.

“The average age of most of the hotels is four years,” says Lawhorne, “so we’re talking high-tech – Wi-Fi in the rooms, in the meeting rooms, at the pool. We’re also talking upscale food and beverage, worldclass fishing, the best golf in Mexico, the mountains, the desert and the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. It’s something that people haven’t experienced before. If people know their incentive program is going to be in Los Cabos, participants will work harder to get there just because it’s so new and people know it’s a very upscale destination.”

Staying in Style
Many of the hotels in Los Cabos are built as complexes and include golf courses, swimming pools, spas, restaurants, shops and meeting facilities all under one (beach) umbrella.

The Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos, for instance, is located in the corridor between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas and offers 250 rooms and suites, a beach club, three restaurants, five swimming pools, lighted tennis courts, spa and meeting rooms. It boasts that all of its rooms and suites have incredible views of the Sea of Cortez, and the hotel offers preferential access to the two golf courses at the Cabo del Sol Resort development, including the 18-hole Ocean Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

The Marquis Los Cabos, also located on the Los Cabos corridor, has 210 suites and 28 casitas with private pools. Amenities include hydromassage tubs, Bulgari toiletries, Frette bed linens, complimentary breakfasts and more. Extra touches include a 5 Diamond Award restaurant and one of the largest spas in Latin America. For the meeting-minded, the hotel also offers a conference center, including a master ballroom that easily handles up to 1,000 guests. The ballroom can be converted into four meeting rooms, and there are four additional breakout rooms.

Among other top hotels/resorts are the Esperanza, Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort, Las Ventanas al Paraiso and the Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos.

Enjoying the Scenery
Los Cabos’ unique location makes it a perfect place for outdoor activities and events. “Los Cabos has fantastic fishing,” says Lawhorne, “and we’ve put together team-building events and fishing tournaments for corporations that are looking to do something like that.”

Another special event offered by a lot of DMCs is the Desert Party. “We take everyone to a location in the desert a mile off the highway with the gorgeous rock formations of Los Cabos as a backdrop,” Lawhorne says. “We can set up a band, a backlit screen, food stations and everything else necessary to create a fantastic event.” To keep the ocean more prominently in the picture, consider a Pirate Party. “Pirates are a big thing nowadays, and at one time they really did use Los Cabos as a stopping-off point,” Lawhorne notes. “We can bring a replica pirate ship and moor it off the beach near your hotel, do a dinner on the beach, give everyone pirate patches, bandanas, hats and swords, do a pirate show and top it off with fireworks display.”

Groups can also get out on the water on a 200-passenger trimaran that’s new to the waters off Los Cabos. It’s perfect for anything from snorkeling to sunset cruises, and watching a sunset from the ocean or through El Arco, the great natural stone arch at the tip of Los Cabos, is one thing no group should miss.

Another team-building possibility is something Lawhorne’s group calls the Baja Challenge. “It’s an activity that puts teams together to learn a little about the history and culture of the destination,” he says. “It’s a bit of a scavenger hunt, jeep rally and city tour. We put people together in teams, with a team color and team song, and we have them go to different stops all over Los Cabos to get a feel for different areas, different time periods and maybe even learning a bit of the language.”

Other possibilities for activities include scuba diving, nature tours, whale watching and exploring the desert terrain on ATVs.

The Eco-Friendly Guest
If El Arco and the rest of the striking natural scenery around the capes isn’t enough, just two hours north of Los Cabos is the Sierra de la Laguna dry forest. This stretch of forest, reaching from the desert floor up to 6,000-foot jagged peaks features floral and desert plants, organ and cardón cacti, and an abundance of other indigenous species that have been living in relative isolation for centuries.

Despite its growing popularity as a luxury destination, Los Cabos is also working to maintain its distinction as an eco-friendly locale. According to Lawhorne, there is always extensive clean up after desert parties and other events, and there is an ongoing effort by the hotels to keep the beaches clean. At most resorts, hotel staff – from the general manager to hotel maids – will spend part of every day cleaning the beach. “Respecting and protecting the natural elements of the destination is a big part of our job here,” Lawhorne explains.

And there’s a lot to protect and preserve – mountains, desert landscapes, beautiful beaches and striking natural rock formations. “There are more species in Baja California than in any other part of Mexico,” says Lawhorne proudly, “and there is no more eco-friendly state in Mexico than Baja California Sur.” I&MI

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