How close should I live to the beach ?

original happy place

When working with prospective buyers here in Southern Baja, there is always the question of  desired proximity to the beach for a residence, whether it be a vacant lot to build on or an existing home. There are many who do not really care about the ocean view, some even preferring a nice view of the Sierra Laguna Mountains over the Pacific Ocean. No problem … different strokes for different folks. The following things to consider are for those who want some type of ocean orientation:

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1)  Are you looking to simply “hear” or “see” the sand and the water” or do you want to be “in” the sand and water?  For example ….  a surfer the other day told me he would want to be no more than a 60 second dash to the shoreline if the waves are good. Some are quite content to be 5 or 10 minutes away for the evening sunset walk with the dogs and kids. And others would be happy with a twenty minute drive to the beach, as long as they can see the water from their rooftop deck or balcony.

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2)  What is your budget? Beachfront lots can range from the High 100′s to mid 300′s in the Todos Santos to Cerritos Corridor all the way up to $1.7 Million in the gated Diamante Community in Cabo San Lucas. Price points begin to gradually drop as you move away from the beachfront by “tier” . First and second tier lots are usually a five to ten minute walk to the beach. And of course there are lots just north of Todos Santos in Ahorcadita with gorgeous views of the ocean for under 20K but about a ten minute drive down to the water and without electric and water to the property (an added expense).  And remember …. you still have to factor in the cost of building if you are buying a vacant lot. Existing homes are priced in a similar manner, with homes right on the beach commanding a very high price point and homes further back being priced accordingly.

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3)  Have you ever slept right on the beach all night? It can be rather loud. I personally am not a person who could live right on the beach. I am a light sleeper who likes to sleep with open windows and find the crashing of waves to be a bit challenging. I currently live four tiers back and still here the waves but it is not overpowering. If you think you want to live right on the ocean but have never slept an the beach, you should spend a night somewhere close to the shore and see how the sound of the ocean affects you.

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Make no mistake about it …. the ocean and the feel and imagery it brings to us is a powerful and valuable asset. Just make sure to choose the way you want to orient your day to day lifestyle to it.

Post Hurricane Odile Thoughts ….

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The Category 4 Hurricane that hit Southern Baja on September 14th, 2014 was an extremely frightening event for me personally. There were gusts of wind up to 150 MPH directly over my house for about 7 hours. I am grateful to be living in a concrete structure like the one above. Most of the damage to my property was to things made of wood (2 pergolas) and clay (tile roof), which were blown apart and deposited throughout the yard and surrounding grounds. I did lose my chicken coop (but not my chickens, now running free and sleeping in the trees) and my tomato garden was without a trace the next morning. But I came through in pretty good spirits. It was a bit if a challenge being without electricity for 16 days but things are slowly returning to some kind of “normal”.

The towns of Todos Santos and neighboring Pescadero have rapidly regained a sense of order and community, due totally in fact to the spirit and sacrifices of the people who live here. Kudos to you all.

And a special thanks to all of the CFE workers from all over Mexico who came here and put in very long days to insure that our electricity was restored properly and safely.

The real estate market is alive and well here. The international airport in Cabo San Lucas opened back up this week which will begin to revitalize our local economy and provide an opportunity for new real estate business with both our foreign visitors and Mexican nationals.

Things are looking up. Hope to see you soon.


The True Value of Todos Santos Real Estate

Most folks walking into my office in Todos Santos these days, whether they are from Canada, the United States, Europe, or the Mexican mainland, ask me the same thing, “How is the market doing down here?” My answer is always the same, “Great ! This is a good time to explore your options”.

Does that mean that properties are selling for full list price? Occasionally. But 3-20% of asking price, depending on the property and the motivation of the buyers and sellers involved in the negotiation, is more common, much like anywhere else. And of course everyone likes to know what the price is “per square meter” and “how motivated are they?” Granted, these are obvious key value factors to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement.

But let’s not overlook another value factor that may not be as obvious, but for me, also looking for a property for myself, just as important ….  the “Psychic Value” factor.

I “feel” good living here. It’s a good fit for me. And I am here full-time.

I like getting up on a Monday morning, hopping on my old Huffy mountain bike and taking a casual 5 minute ride down to the sea, where currently there are whales popping out of the water not more than a few hundred yards from the shore …. and be the only one on the beach.

I like living in a town where people all say hello to each other on the sidewalk, with eye contact and a pleasant smile.

I like leaving the office around 5 PM and heading down to the beach to help release baby sea turtles into the Pacific as the sunset produces yet another set of indescribable colors.

I like living just south of the Tropic of Cancer, where, for me, it is a real struggle to be cold enough to wear a sweat shirt or long pants.

I like living where I can have a nice, tasty Mexican food dinner for about $7.50 US

I like that you can grow tomatoes all year long.

Sorry … I’ll stop myself now.

The point is, if you have any thoughts of owning property down here in southern Baja, embrace those thoughts, write down the type of lifestyle you desire here, what things will create that “good feeling inside”, that’s right, the “psychic value”, and make it an important part of your decision of what to look at and what to offer when you find that “perfect fit”. If that property really feels right, grab it. There may not be another “perfect fit” down the road later.



Going back in time 50 years ……. a new “happy place”

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I grew up in Northern California in the U.S. back in the 60′s and have fond memories of long lonely stretches of paved and dirt roads, deserted beaches, sleeping out under millions of stars with the sound of waves crashing on the shore, and not seeing anybody for miles and miles.  Now in Baja California Sur, Mexico, I have rediscovered those memories at a development in Rancho La Aguja called Playas Pacificas, just 3 hours north of the southern tip of Baja, or 1 hour northeast from the La Paz airport, along the sparkling blue Pacific.

This secluded 900 acre beachfront residential community is in its very early stages and is designed for those seeking a truly intimate experience with the sea and a pleasant degree of isolation while not being completely removed from the amenities provided within hours of a larger urban area.

Playas Pacificas is gated and comes with a number of special features and attributes, including an amazing large-scale organic garden, facilities for raising organic livestock for meat and dairy products, endless miles of hiking routes and undisturbed beachfront, a highly sophisticated water storage system from a private well, unparalleled deep-sea fishing on the Lusitania Banks, one of the richest untapped fisheries on the Pacific coast, full service electricity (part solar and part grid), a comfortable climate, year round swimming, surfing, surf fishing, kayaking, hiking, whale watching, birding and boating.

Lots vary in size from just over half an acre to over 4 acres, with prices ranging from $70,000 USD to $826,000 USD for one of the larger 3.25 acre super lots with 262 feet of beachfront. I have included just a few photos to give you an idea of the “feel of the place”. Please contact me if you or anyone you know think this may be a good fit for you.

2013-11-24 10.40.50The start of a large winter garden in Playas Pacificas

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La Pastora to South Pescadero Corridor Area #9: South Pescadero


South Pescadero is the southernmost area of the Todos Santos MLS region and is a comfortable 30 minute drive down to Cabo San Lucas. This is the most undeveloped area at this time and is focused along the ocean side of the highway. There are two gated communities of Tortuga del Sol and Ranch Nuevo along with some private assorted parcels available closer to Elias Calles, a small town along the highway towards the southern end of this region. Currently, there are four homes available for sale in this area between $129,000 usd, for a 2-story 2BR1.5BA fixer-upper in Rancho Nuevo, to $425,000 usd, for a 2BR3BA 2-story home with a private tennis court and beautiful views of the Pacific in Elias Calles. There are additionally 16 lots for sale, ranging in price from $26,250 usd, for a 1/4 acre lot in gated Rancho Nuevo, to $7,900,000 usd, for an estate subdivision size parcel on the coast in Elias Calles that is just under 83 acres with approximately 1/4 mile of secluded beach.




La Pastora to South Pescadero Corridor Area #7: Pescadero

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Pescadero is largely an agricultural area approximately 7 miles south of Todos Santos  that has slowly become a popular residential option for many primary and second residence homeowners. Most of the development has been from the highway west to the beach.  Decent size parcels of farmland are slowly being transformed into mini estates, complete with groves of tropical palms, mangos, and many other fruiting trees.  There is also a growing commercial environment with small little restaurants popping up in and around town. Public access to the beach is readily available through a series of relatively smooth dirt roads. The Pescadero beach front includes San Pedrito Beach, a popular surfing location with overnight camping. Many have migrated south from Todos Santos to build as there is less development and it is quieter and  less populated. There is also a newer gated community right on the beach that contains some fairly large contemporary homes in a gorgeous beachfront setting.  There are currently 71 available parcels of land in the MLS in this area, ranging in price from $4M usd for a 392 acre secluded ranch in the hills east of town to a 1/8 acre parcel in the town of Pescadero for only $15K usd.


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La Pastora to South Pescadero Corridor Area #6: Todos Santos

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Todos Santos is divided into little neighborhoods or “colonias”. The historic downtown “centro colonia” is an area of approximately 30 or 40 square blocks that is chock full of excellent street food, small shops or “tiendas” selling everything a person might need to survive in paradise, unique hotels and restaurants, and many historic and elegant old buildings that reflect a long and interesting history.  Around the central core district are a number of other colonias comprised of primarily small homes with a scattering of small grocery stores.  It’s very easy to make your way around town on foot. It is a perfect area for those who do not like to drive and are always looking for something interesting to see. Currently in the MLS, there are 10 lots available ranging in price from $20K usd to $147 usd and 7 homes priced from $129K usd to $297K usd.

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La Pastora to South Pescadero Corridor Area #5: La Cachora

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La Cachora is a magical little strip of land that lies within easy walking distance to the north of downtown Todos Santos. It was a primary agricultural area years ago as water was easily pulled from the natural springs of the huerta directly to the south of it. There is still much farming that goes on there and in the late spring and most of the summer, you can find an abundance of mangoes along the road and have a friendly conversation with cows, horses and goats that you might meet along the way. It has a real pastoral feel and is characterized by a tranquil shaded dirt road that leads down to the ocean and a beautiful beach, where you will find one of the two turtle egg rescue and release stations here in town. As it is a small area, there are not as many properties available in here but there are still some possibilities. Currently, in the Todos Santos MLS database, there are 7 lots available for sale ranging in size and price from $1,654,777 usd for a fenced in 5 acres paradise to a small off-the-grid 1/4 acre lot for 12K. There are currently four houses available for sale from a lovely estate like home with a 25 meter lap pool in San Sebastian for $1.55M usd to an elegant hacienda style custom crafted home located in a private enclave on Camino del Pacifico for $680K usd.

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La Pastora to South Pescadero Corridor Area #4: Las Brisas

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The Las Brisas area is very convenient for walking to local markets, restaurants, and actually walking into Downtown Todos Santos.  It is a little further away from the ocean though. There are currently 7 lots available for sale in the MLS from $17,000 usd to $147,000 usd and 8 homes, ranging in price from $99,000 usd to $322,000 usd.

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