August 14, 2015
Todos Santos’s Playa Punta Lobos has captivated residents and visitors alike for more than a century. But aside from its warm sands and beautiful sunsets, it’s known for one thing—the fishermen.
Every morning at dawn, two local fishing co-ops (and one or two independent fishermen) arrive at the beach to put their pangas, or fishing boats, into the water. Beach goers watch the fishermen as they work for hours – casting nets and then hauling them back into their small boats as they have done for generations. In the early afternoon, the fishermen return to shore with their catch where they can sell their freshly caught grouper, yellow tail or other seasonal fish.
For visitors, the fishermen are a memorable part of the Todos Santos experience; for residents, they’re a symbol of what makes the town different from neighboring towns in Baja California Sur—an essential part of Todos Santos culture for 80 years and a big reason we fell in love with Todos Santos in the first place.
Improvements at Punta Lobos Beach
So how could we make a good thing even better? Tres Santos has been working with both local fishing co-ops to plan improvements to the Punta Lobos beach. Together, we identified a few opportunities for improvements that would add convenience for both Tres Santos residents and fishermen, without diminishing the natural character of the beach:
Parking lot – Fishermen will get their catch from ocean to truck more easily, and locals and visitors will have easier access to the beach.
Restrooms – These facilities will be available to fishermen, residents and visitors to use as needed and will include showers and trash receptacles for added convenience.
Fish cleaning station – Currently, fishermen have only a make-shift place for cleaning their catch. The new fish-cleaning station will provide a sanitary place for the fishermen to use, improving work conditions. In addition, the fish spoils will be recycled back into the earth as compost for Town Farm.
Public market – Plans are underway for an open-air market where fishermen can sell their catch, local artists can sell their work and farmers can sell their produce.
Jobs – Many of the fishermen are working with our team to begin renting their pangas for whale-watching tours and sport fishing, allowing fishermen to generate additional income.
Beach access – A new walking/biking trail from Todos Santos will provide an easier (and safer) route to Punta Lobos Beach. This trail will be available for public use.
Restoration – To ensure one of the town’s landmarks is not lost to time, we’re restoring the old fishing cannery for the town to use for private events.
We’re also building Hotel San Cristobal at Punta Lobos, and the fishermen are looking forward to the opportunities that will come from that. “The hotel and all that is being built will be good for us,” said Jesus Orozco Martinez, a member of the Todos Santos Fishing Cooperative, through a translator, “because it will attract more tourism and it will be beneficial to everybody.”
We Love Punta Lobos Beach, too.
It’s not a trivial decision, making changes to a beach as beloved as Punta Lobos, which is why it was important we have support from the people who make their living there. Tres Santos and the Todos Santos fishing co-ops look forward to sharing Playa Punta Lobos with you. We hope you’ll get a chance to visit soon.