El Perdido wants to help you get lost — in a good way.
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As luxury hotels begin to pop up along the laid-back coast near Todos Santos in Mexico's Baja California, travelers already in the know are holding on to hope that the area an hour north of Cabo San Lucas will retain its wild sense of adventure.

As long as local hospitality stays in the hands of people like Polo Perez, they have nothing to worry about.

Perez and team opened El Perdido, a boutique resort down a dirt road in Pescadero, with the intention of helping guests "get lost." Its unassuming walls give nothing away to the outside world, but inside, an adventure worth getting lost for certainly awaits.

The resort is home to all the comforts the discerning traveler could want: a long pool lined with plush sun beds, seven private villas with stylish living quarters and outdoor soaking tubs, a skilled on-site chef who caters to every craving. But El Perdido isn't just another shiny new hotel that's won some fancy design awards (though it has) — what makes it luxury is not what makes it special.

Pool and lounge chairs at El Perdido hotel in Pescadero,Mexico
Credit: Nina Ruggiero

What makes it stand out are the details that exist for no greater reason than to ensure you have fun and stop taking life too seriously. It's the "Way to Mars" sign that leads to a whimsical observation tower with sunset views from above and a massive Jacuzzi below; the indoor-outdoor, thatched-roof jacales (or "huts") with a jug of mezcal and hammock waiting; the personal telescope already pointed at the stars. It's the boozy popsicles by the pool and the garden labyrinth beyond the worn-in surfboards. It's the in-room record players and DIY guacamole stations; and the rugged Polaris waiting for you to drive it to the beach.

Outdoor bath tub and cacti at El Perdido
Credit: Nina Ruggiero
Line of surf boards against a wall
Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Although he opened El Perdido during the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone who has met Perez knows he's a people person, and he didn't shy away from creating social spaces. The hotel's "lobby" is essentially an impeccably designed game room, with outdoor billiards, table tennis, and foosball — and he will challenge you to a match. In front sits a sunken living room that feels like hanging at a friend's house, behind it a long wooden dining table made for gathering. Wander along the cactus-lined paths and you'll stumble upon a sand volleyball court. Beyond the pool, four chairs surround a fire pit.

Table tennis and lobby decorated with sombreros
Credit: Nina Ruggiero
A long wooden dining table under a thatched roof
Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Next door, El Perdido's restaurant, Coyote, introduces itself with red neon letters above a retro Airstream trailer while the outdoor bar beckons with a matching red glow. The fresh, seasonal menu dreamed up by chef Victor Tafoya and executed by chef Kevin Barrera Madrigal includes a local catch of the day, fire-grilled octopus, and roasted prawns along with wood-fired meats. The cocktails are bright and flavorful, and you'll find Perez and friends laughing at the next table. You'll probably ask them to join you.

Coyote restaurant red neon sign airtstream trailer
Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Because private villas are amazing, but after almost two years of social distancing, it's the people you meet that make traveling worth it. My last e-mail from Perez reads: "Nina….Como estas???? Ready to come back and visit your TRIBE at EL PERDIDO?"

You bet I am.

Nina Ruggiero is Travel + Leisure's deputy digital editor. A New Yorker living in Los Angeles, she's happiest on a beach, a cobblestone street, or in a hotel bathtub with a view. Find her on Instagram @ninamarienyc.