Los Cabos, Mexico
By Chantal Gougain
Having been in Los Cabos for a month and a half now, I am starting to become more aware of the importance of perception. Los Cabos is seen as a tourist mecca, mainly catering to middle aged American couples that wish to spend a week enjoying the sun and hospitality their resort of choice has to offer. There are few locals in Los Cabos; it is mostly made up of Mexican migrants that come from other parts of the country in order to make money in the tourist industry, an industry that has been specifically created for Americans. This makes Los Cabos a municipality with a very high turnover of people, making it hard to create a community environment and perhaps an urban environment with little self-identity. Full of resorts and multiple beaches people tend to forget of the unbelievable landscape and surrounding areas that make up this wonderful part of the world.
I found it interesting how much this picture represents the current status that we are in. The presidential election this past week has left many in fear of the unknown changes that will happen in the next four years. The neoliberal system that will be taking force, a representation of the resurgence of American power, was all of a sudden reflected in the bulldozer that was standing in front of me. While I walked around our beautiful neighbourhood beach that is right by my place, stood this abandoned bulldozer with the obnoxious word “AMERICAN” on it ruining the view, and I couldn’t stop but think of the parallels. American bulldozer, a symbol for how the municipality of Los Cabos has somewhat turned into a beautiful place infiltrated by American power and influence. A space filled with American companies such as Walmart, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden etc. A symbol of the restructuring of a foreign untouched beautiful space for their pleasure and consumption for a short period of time, only to leave behind not just a presence but “mess” that they no longer need.
The problem with perception in the case of Los Cabos is that, the municipality, which thrives off of tourism, needs tourism; as it is their main source of income and it’ll only continue to grow in the next following years at an alarming rate. We went surfing to Cabo Este, an almost untouched area in the east side of the municipality, only to find out that within the next 20 years this area is meant to become another resort town for the municipality of Los Cabos.
If we are able to change our perception of how Los Cabos is viewed, we can create a change that will work with tourism instead of against it. The promotion of sustainable eco-friendly tourism could be a change that not only would attract various types of travellers, not just American resort go-ers but surfers, backpackers, hikers and Mexican residents from different parts of the country that can enjoy the entire municipality and surrounding areas.
I choose to talk about perception because I was in Los Cabos for my first time this past February, and this is how I felt. I felt like a resort go-er that would stare at the beach, enjoy a “free” unappealing frozen margarita, take one photo of the Arc and go home happy because of my tan, only to never think of Los Cabos as an exciting naturally diverse area of Mexico that I would recommend to my friends and family. Not to mention, the complete lack of necessity to speak in Spanish in resort land combined with my embarrassing laziness to explore out further and notice the stunning landscape, made it feel as though I could have been anywhere.
Clearly, I now see beyond the coastline of resorts that make up the city and appreciate Los Cabos so much more for everything else it has to offer, its beautiful landscape made up of a combination of desert and ocean, its natural marine diversity and its vibrant art community.