Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort
By Kent Danjanovich
In 1976, Jesus “Chuy” Valdez, a young entrepreneur, his wife and his mother, opened a fishing lodge, Hotel Club Spa Buenavista. With the support of his family and other important people in the fishing and travel industry, they embarked on this challenging but fulfilling adventure with the goal of exceeding their guests’ expectations. Now, with the second generation in charge, Esaul, Axel and Felipe, Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort still embraces the same philosophy that continues to set them apart and above the other resorts in the area; this is, “You come as a guest, you are treated as a friend and you leave as a part of their family.”
The Sportsman’s News team first visited Hotel Buena Vista back in April of 2006 and we fell in love with their operation. The resorts’ easy-going atmosphere, great food and accommodations all blended well with their excellent fishing opportunities. I remember our first day on the water produced five striped marlin and some tired fisherman at the end of the trip.
Our next visit fell a few weeks prior to their hosting of the annual Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament. That trip didn’t disappoint us either, as our second day on the water was a memorable one as we were able to land not only a 300 lb. blue marlin, but also a striped marlin, sailfish, a handful of dorado and a dozen yellowfin tuna, with the largest about 100 pounds! We were told the warm waters of August could produce amazing things and we found that out in a big way.
I had been trying to fit another visit to the resort into my schedule for the last couple of years and finally, arrangements were made and space was available during the week of May 15-19, 2019. I would be accompanied on the trip by my wife, Sherie and Ralph and Tammy Crystal, co-owners of the Gone Fishin’ Lodge in Alaska. Ralph joins me on a trip or two every year to help with photos and filming when needed and the May dates ended up fitting into his pre-season schedule.
We arrived at Los Cabos International Airport about mid-day, with our flight coming in from Houston and the Crystal’s flight from Los Angeles. The resort's driver was waiting outside for us and our bags were quickly loaded into the van and we were off on our 40-minute drive to the resort.
Soon, we were entering the gate to the resort and getting directions to our poolside rooms. We quickly settled in and donned our swim wear for a little pool time, complete with a short splash over to the swim-up bar for a couple of “Miami Vice” cocktails – non-alcoholic of course! By 6:30pm, we were dressed for dinner and seated outside on the patio of the restaurant with a perfect view of the beautiful Sea of Cortez across the stunning white sand beach of the Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. It’s no wonder the resort has earned the name of the “Jewel of the East Cape” in Mexico’s beautiful Baja Peninsula.
Our package included their “American Food Plan” and our waitress filled us in on many of the dishes available. Ralph’s Spanish came in handy as we first ordered some traditional chips and salsa, followed by salads and main courses. We each ordered a different entrée, with of course a couple of catches of the day included to get a feel for what our stay had in store for us on the water. After a great meal, we headed over to the bar area to watch the end of the Blazers/Warriors game and Axel Valdez greeted us and filled us in on our adventure for early the next morning.
We found ourselves at the breakfast table the next morning at 6am, with the sun just starting to peek on the horizon. As we dined, lunches were prepared by the staff for our first day on the water. By seven, we were loading onto our 29ft. cruiser as Captain Chio and first mate, Santiago backed us away from the dock as we headed out in search of tuna.
Captain Chio intently listened to the radio and both he and Santiago watched for signs on the water and in the air. Soon, birds could be seen circling in the distance and porpoises started to pop out of the water all around us. Santiago quickly started putting out lines and soon five rods set along the back of the cruiser, some set-up with large plugs and others with hoochies.
Our first stop produced two smaller yellowfin tuna that Ralph quickly fought to the side of the boat for Santiago to gaff and hoist over the side. Sherie and Tammy got quite a kick out of all of the excitement as they took a little break from working on their tans to take a look at our catch. Captain Chio then instructed Santiago to reel in the lines as he had just gotten the word that two other boats in the fleet had found a nice tuna boil about 20 miles away.
As we arrived, lines were again quickly let out and within seconds, a reel to my left started singing. The next 20 minutes resulted in another four yellowfin in the boat, with two more slipping away. With a long return boat ride ahead of us now, Captain Chio set our course back to the dock. On our way back we stopped at one more spot, only a few miles from home and landed two more nice tuna, all destined for dinner that night. Also, we were lucky enough to have a couple of whales put on a great show along our route, finishing off a great day on the water.
Dinner was nothing short of spectacular – starting with sashimi and two different ceviche dishes as appetizers, then deep fried/breaded strips and baked tuna for the main course. With all of the boats doing well on the day, let’s just say that everybody seemed to be having a good time telling tales of their day and putting away piles of fresh tuna.
Axel could be seen making his way around the dining area and finally arrived at our table. As we finished off our great meal with a little dessert, he filled us in on a couple of options for our next day in paradise. We could either do an ATV adventure to some falls in the area or partake of a snorkeling excursion up the coast. Since Sherie and I had already had a chance to take the ATV adventure on our earlier visit, we decided to go for the snorkeling, to the delight of Ralph and Tammy as they had hoped we would be able to do a little diving in the gorgeous blue waters of the area.
The next morning, we devoured a late breakfast and then at about noon, we headed to the front desk to meet our driver who would be taking us to our snorkel adventure. About thirty minutes later we found ourselves arriving in front of one of a handful of snorkel operations, with wet suits, fins and snorkel gear hanging in front of each. We were quickly fitted for gear and then given a little detail of our next 2 ½ hour adventure before loading into our boat at the beach.
I will have to say that if you are into snorkeling, this adventure is a must do when visiting Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. All three stops that we made offered exceptional visibility and tons of fish of all kinds. Unfortunately for Sherie, she had a little encounter with a jellyfish, but other than that, it was a great day and a great time for all.
Our third full day at the resort found the girls staying behind for some pool time and Ralph and I heading to the dock to meet up with our panga Captain, Juan. Rooster fish would be #1 on our list to chase after, but we informed our captain that we were up for whatever the ocean had to offer on this day.
We headed up the coast to an area where a couple of roosters had been hooked the day before. After stopping to buy some live bait from the locals, Captain Juan soon had our rods loaded and ready for action. But unfortunately, the fish weren’t quite as willing as we were. Finally, an hour into our troll, Ralph’s rod tip started to bob and his free-spool started to sing.
Unfortunately, the fight was short-lived and Ralph reeled in a bare hook. Captain Juan hooked him up with another live mullet and we were both in the water again. Minutes later, my line started to zip out of my reel and with a quick flip of the switch on the bail, the battle was on. This fish was strong and was letting me know that he was the boss. Finally, I was able to make some headway and after a valiant battle, a beautiful Jack Crevalle made its way to the hands of our captain. After a few photos, he released it back to the water and we were back at it.
The next couple of hours produced four more hookups, with one more Jack landed, with two mystery fish outsmarting us. We had finished off our live bait, so Captain Juan asked if we wanted to try maybe dorado or a striped marlin as we worked our way back toward the dock. He quickly switched out our gear and our bait. An hour passed with no action, so with about 45 minutes left in our trip, we started to head back to the dock.
With the resort barely visible in the distance, Captain Juan slowed and again started to put out our lines. With only about 15 minutes of fishing time left, as if on cue, one of the reels started to sing and Captain Juan sprang from his seat at the wheel. He quickly grabbed the rod out of the holder and let the line continue to pile off of the reel. Seconds later, he set the hook hard and then handed the rod to Ralph as the battle was on.
As Ralph watched the line fly off of his reel, he asked our captain what he thought was on the other end. But Juan didn’t have to say a word as Ralph’s question was answered when a beautiful striped marlin lunged to the air, some two hundred yards behind us! Finally, his run stopped and Ralph started to retrieve a little line. Slowly but surely, he made a little headway and about 45 minutes later, Ralph was hoisting up his prize for some photos.
Well, there you have it. Our latest visit to see our friends at the Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort is in the books and we couldn’t have asked for a better adventure. Whether you are seeking rest and relaxation in a beautiful setting surrounded by the Sea of Cortez or an angler in search of some of the best sport fishing adventures imaginable, Hotel Buena Vista is just the ticket. Their amenities include 60 rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant, a beautiful pool area complete with flowing fountains, towering palm trees, tropical plants and flagrant flowers, all set in an oasis-like atmosphere.
We are proud to have Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort as one of our Platinum Approved Outfitters and Lodges and we are happy to announce we will be adding them to our Pro Membership Sweepstakes giveaway for 2020. But in the meantime, if you are looking for a great getaway a little south of the border, give them a call today at 800-752-3555 to talk about all of the possibilities. hotelbuenavista.com