Sometimes in this life you happen upon a person who makes your life better for the experience, wisdom, and friendship. Leon is a true Renaissance Man, skilled and talented in so many areas that one is humbled and awed to share a few moments of his time. Somehow he has packed several lifetimes' worth of experience and knowledge into himself, we would be hard pressed to truly share the wonderful journey we enjoyed spending a week with him.
Baja Outpost truly is a refuge from civilization. From the moment you approach you realize that this is something unique and different. A large palapa restaurant with several community tables greets you aside the pool area (under construction). Ten beautiful palapas await your arrival in the privacy of the more remote area of the property. Each palapa is outfitted with a premium mattress, powerful air conditioner, table, electricity, Mexican tile floors, and fully stocked bathroom. Where else are you going to find such unique and comfortable accommodations for under $200 USD a night? Staying here makes for a memorable vacation you will remember for your lifetime, the accommodations are unlike anything else you will find in Mexico.
Just when you think it couldn't possibly get better, staying here includes a fabulous breakfast too. Whether the delicious gourmet food is prepared by Leon or his wonderful staff, you are sure to leave the table stuffed and wishing your belly could hold more. I know of no other hotels in the area offering this type of accommodations and amazing food so inexpensively. Leon should really charge more for what he provides. I know for a fact that he does not simply go to town for a few tortillas and eggs, since his background is in 5-star hotel and restaurant management and he also is an expert chef by his own right, he selects only the best ingredients and foods, scouring the continent for what is truly outstanding.
Unfortunately we had already obligated ourselves to stay in another location, but it would be my honor and privilege to stay here and experience the full selection of what Baja Outpost offers to its guests.
We happened upon Leon by chance. Our plans to become certified divers at home in Seattle were thwarted by the cold water temperatures and lack of adequate wet suit coverage for my children. I had contacted Dolphin Dive Center regarding completion of a referral certification while in Mexico and had a positive response until I gave them the dates of our trip. Suddenly they were unavailable to help, and I now understand that this is the normal plan of Dolphin. They are known in the community for making promises and then not following through. I was in a panic. Our entire trip had been 2 years in the planning, including diving in the Sea of Cortez while there in the Marine park.
I contacted Wild Loreto, Baja Outpost, Dolphin Dive Center, 2 Worlds, and anyone else in the area that I could find to offer some help with our trip. Only Leon responded to my panicked inquiry. He responded by email and followed up within moments with a phone call, that was my first tip off that this was a man of honor and kindness. He was concerned that my kids may not possess adequate diving skills for certification because there are some instructors in the US and around the world who believe in checking things off rather than actually teaching the skills necessary to dive safely. This was tremendous reassurance to me that he was serious about our safety and about ensuring the best possible experience for our family.
With a couple of emails back and forth we were able to nail down the details of our trip, make credit card payment, and complete arrangements. I must mention that this is truly amazing when you consider that Mexico is not well known for the reliability of its phone and internet service. As it turned out, just before we departed we had some trouble to get in touch. The Malecon in front of Baja Outpost is in the process of a complete overhaul and it appears that many of the communication lines were severed in the construction/destruction in June. I just want to point out that Leon is a man of his word and would die trying to live up to a promise that he has made. If you do not hear from him for a few days it might be because of the irregularity of the Mexican services as well as the fact that he pretty much runs the operations around the Outpost or supervises them personally. He tries to answer emails and phone calls daily, but there are times when he is busy attending to other needs and navigating the frustrating world of living and operating a business in a small Mexican village.
Leon took us out to Coronado the first day to assess the skills my kids arrived with to determine how much more instruction he needed to give them. As an advanced SCUBA instructor with over 20 years of fabulous experience in the US and other countries, I knew they were in good hands with him. Over the next several days we went out as a group. A friend snorkeled, I dove with the kids and Leon while they were working on skills and just sort of hung close to the group as I am new to the sport as well I had much to learn and hone. This was a great opportunity for me to work on perfecting buoyancy control, deal with mask issues, and work out some kinks with my new equipment. It took a couple more days than expected to completely feel safe in certifying the kids before they were ready to dive without an instructor at arm's length the entire time. I appreciated that he took extra care to do this and offer them advice and instruction far more in depth than I received at home before our trip. My first concern was safety, the certification was near the bottom of my list. I feel confident that Leon helped to train my kids in their responsibilities as a diver and a buddy as well as to offer them suggestions for their growth as divers, young people, and citizens. Leon's lifetime of diving experience offers something to learn for any diver. Unlike the instructor at home who checked off skills and called the dive at 22 minutes, we finished the tank and had a chance to really enjoy the scenery while we were down. Our shortest dive was around 40 minutes and I never had cause for concern with the equipment, Leon, the sites, boat, or general safety.
We were honored to share time with Leon and his family. My kids spoke no Spanish and his kids spoke very little English but they found common ground for play and fun. We will treasure the new friendships we created during this week together.
In addition to all that Leon gave us in terms of instruction, fun, and adventure he included the most wonderful gourmet lunches aboard the boat too! It was absolutely lovely to experience a gourmet picnic lunch in the scenic beauty of the Sea of Cortez. If you head out on the boat, I recommend bringing your own water bottle or cup, a small snack, and sunscreen. The sun is really sneaky out on the water and will fry a poor Seattlite like myself in no time.
Our family will be eternally grateful to Leon and his family for all that he did to make our time a treasure. He not only went the extra mile, he went the extra 100 miles in so many ways. Words are inadequate to express our sincere gratitude. He showed us where to buy fresh fish in town, get snorkeling supplies, find the best produce (Loreto is small and remote with little in the way of fresh produce), or where to locate any needed items. These million small things take a great deal of extra time on his part but made the difference for us and our vacation. Instead of wandering around looking for some place to find what we needed, he pointed us to where we needed to go and never steered us wrong.
Leon is a business man but he minimizes his business interests to show his guests the best possible time. He has to charge money to stay afloat, but what he offers to all of his guests is something far more valuable than anything money can buy--a personalized experience and contagious joy.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.