Los Cabos residents will have little time to rest and recuperate after their traditional holiday binge–for the uninitiated, the period from December 12 (El Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe) to January 6 (El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos) is commonly referred to in México as the Maratón Guadalupe – Reyes due to the plethora of parties, dinners and other celebrations one is obliged to attend–since the remainder of January promises a fresh round of high-profile festivals and fiestas, at sites around Baja California Sur.
Two words: Pace yourself.
6th Annual Lord of the Wind Showdown
Each winter, strong El Norte winds blow down the Sea of Cortés, creating ideal windsports conditions in picturesque East Cape towns like La Ventana and Los Barriles. The latter has for several years hosted the region’s premier kiteboarding competition, Lord of the Wind Showdown, an event sponsored by the local Rotary Club, and augmented with social events like tamale cook-offs and reggae beach concerts. In 2016, for the first time, Lord of the Wind becomes the IKA North American Kitefoil Championship. This leap in status brings with it widespread television coverage–over 20 channels broadcasting in 98 countries–as well as a raft of new sponsors, many of whom will be exhibiting their wares during the 6th annual wind and wave riding contest, slated to take place January 13 – 17, 2016. Admission is free for spectators, with accommodations available at benchmark local resorts like Palmas de Cortez and Buena Vista Beach Club. For more information, visit lordofthewindbaja.com.
5th Annual Todos Santos Music Festival
Former R.E.M. lead guitarist founded this yearly musical showcase in 2012, and in the years since has not only introduced local audiences to some of the best alternative rock and country bands from the U.S., but raised a great deal of money for local children’s charities through the Palapa Society of Todos Santos. The line-up for the upcoming event–scheduled for Jan. 14 – 16, and 20 – 23, 2016–may be the best yet, promising appearances from alternative country rockers like Drive-By Truckers, Old 97’s and The Jayhawks, as well as alt rock standouts The Autumn Defense (featuring Wilco members Pat Sansone and John Stirratt), Death Cab for Cutie and Filthy Friends (a collaboration between Buck and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney). Most of the performances will take place at famed local lodging Hotel California, except for the concluding concert, a free show staged on the town square. A local musical showcase will be held on Jan. 20. For tickets and other information, go to todossantosmusicfestival.com.
3rd Annual Todos Santos Writers Workshop
Now in its 3rd year, the writers workshop follows hard on the heels of the music festival, and serves as a sort of transition to later local cultural festivals like the Open Artists Studio Tour and the Todos Santos Film Festival. The week-long program for future Hemingways and Nerudas includes seminars, workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions with visiting authors, all of which are held at the historic 19th century hacienda Casa Dracula. Guest speakers and seminar leaders at the 2016 workshop–to take place Jan. 24 – 30–include Jonathan Penner (This World is Yours – The Power of Point of View), Christopher Merrill (The Forgotten Language – Writing and Nature), Bruce Berger (Collecting the World – An Environmental Writer’s Life), Jeanne McCulloch (fiction), Rex Weiner (non-fiction), Gordon Chaplin (memoir) and Lucille Recht (children’s books). Additionally, New York City-based literary agents Meg Thompson, Cindy Uh (Thompson Literary) and Andrea Barzvi (Empire Literary) will discuss the literary profession and the value of proper representation. For information on enrollment, visit www.todossantoswritersworkshop.com.
2015 – 2016 San José del Cabo Art Walk
Not all of January’s best to-dos are annual affairs. Some, such as the San José del Cabo Art Walk and the Cabo San Lucas Circuito Cultural, are cultural events held weekly during the high tourist season. Art Walk has for many years been a mainstay–every Thursday night, 5 – 9 p.m., November through June–in the colonial style city’s historic Distrito del Arte. Visitors and locals alike are invited to enjoy wine and cheese while browsing paintings and sculptures in participating galleries, and to stroll the district’s cobblestone streets as mariachis and other musicians serenade them. Several area activities companies offer guided tours for Art Walk, but intrepid sorts will find it easy enough to navigate the area on their own. Afterwards, feel free to explore the neighborhood’s excellent collection of restaurants and bars, which include the state’s first craft brewery, Baja Brewing Company, and traditional Mexican cuisine specialist Mi Casa. To learn more, click here.
2015 – 2016 Cabo San Lucas Circuito Cultural
Although this event premiered scarcely a year ago, it’s already become a favorite of locals, and a mandatory event for first-time visitors to Cabo San Lucas. Each Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., the Land’s End city’s gorgeous marina boardwalk becomes a huge outdoor gallery and event space, with exhibits from dozens of talented local artists, and lively performances from traditional Mexican singers and dancers. In addition to art and music, the circuit also offers wine and tequila tastings, cultural workshops, and of course fine food at some of Cabo’s signature dining spots. For additional information, visit www.circuitoculturalcabo.com.
Don’t worry. You can rest in February.