He Finds Cabo a Very Special Place
by Pat Tyson
As a co-owner of Cabo Wabo Cantina, Marco Monroy knew from the very first time he visited Cabo in the late seventies that, someday, it would become a “hot vacation destination!” However, he never imagined that it would grow to be the spectacular spot it now is.
“I recall flying in from La Paz in a small plane with my family when my father, also an architect, was building the first stage of the Finisterra Hotel in the late seventies,” Monroy relates. “We would land where the Cabo San Lucas Marina is right now. That used to be the landing strip; there was nothing but a few hotels and a couple of restaurants.” He still remembers driving around on his ATV.
“At the time, there was not one stoplight in town!” he exclaims. “To me, Cabo is a very special place with a very individual energy to it. It is a bright happy place, a place where the sun always shines and the light is brilliant and vibrant.” Monroy moved to Cabo in 1986, just after finishing architectural school in Mexico City.
As soon as he arrived in Cabo, he began to practice architecture. After about two years there, in 1990, he was awarded the assignment of designing and constructing Cabo Wabo Cantina, which was built for the Van Halen band. In 1994, he became Sammy Hagar’s business partner. Van Halen was on tour during construction so Sammy, who was at the time a musician with the band, was greatly surprised when he returned and first saw the almost completed Cantina. “I can’t believe it’s this big” he told Monroy. “It’s way too big for Cabo San Lucas, but I like it!”
Soon the interest of the local population was aroused and people started coming in to enjoy the cantina, which became the place to go in a town that was already a destination of choice. Cabo San Lucas had tripled in size and was no longer the simple fishing village it had been when Monroy first arrived. Cabo Wabo Tequila was developed in 1997 and the company sold in 2007.
“We are now launching a new product we are calling “Santo Mezquila,” he explains. “We are blending distillate from Blue Agave that makes Tequila and Espadin Agave distillate that makes Mezcal. The result it fantastic, with Santo you get that smooth, full agave, rich tequila flavor with a touch of smoky-sweetness that you can only find with Mezcal – perfect for sipping.”
Monroy partnered up with Sammy Hagar, Adam Levine and Jack Daniels, all of whom he says are tequila and mezcal aficionados and, by the way, all have homes in Los Cabos. Adam and Sammy bring the lifestyle; Jack Daniels brings with him years of very successful experience in the liquor business and was part of the original Cabo Wabo tequila team.
“We are proud to be working with Infinium Spirits,” says Monroy. “They are really getting behind the brand and the project of creating a new category. I am fortunate to be working with such a great team. We have started rolling out Santo Mezquila in the United States for distribution – with remarkable results.”
Monroy also feels that Mexico is full of special places to visit. “I have been lucky enough to have had the chance to travel all over Mexico and experience the diversity in cultures, traditions, food and music that exist here,” he says. As for the cuisine, he finds Mexican food to be outstanding and very diverse, from the Yucatan peninsula to the wonderful seafood of the coasts, to the fantastic moles and traditional food from Central Mexico. Yet Cabo, still being a relatively new destination, offers a variety of cuisines from all over Mexico.
“Most people do not realize how varied is the food in the different parts of the country,” he observes. “If I had to choose my favorite Mexican plate, it would probably be shrimp mole enchilada with Pork Chicharron and a good Santorita!” Monroy’s special times in Cabo are at sunrise and warm summer nights with a full moon.
“I have lived the Cabo dream for many years. I’ve fished and dived all around the area, explored the desert – and enjoyed it all. Nowadays, my favorite thing is to wake up and enjoy the sunrise,” he responds delightedly. “It calms me down for the rest of the day.” And then he adds, “Of course, followed by a good round of golf!” Monroy gets great pleasure in seeing in Cabo the energy that the new projects are bringing into the area.
“I can’t wait for all the new hotels to open and see Cabo solidify itself as a new world-class destination.” He declares. “It offers so much that is hard to compete with. Cabo still has a special energy to it that may not be found anywhere else in the world.”