There is a very intriguing property on the market known as “Rancho Gaspareño” that could potentially have hundreds of millions of dollars of, well, let’s call it, “buried” equity.

Allow me to explain…

It started in 2014 with one of my first dates with the future mother of my children and a woman that has taught me more about Baja than I could ever have learned on my own, Angie Villa. She took me up the Pacific coast to the property she owned in El Pescadero for the first harvest from a mango tree she planted herself.

Along the way up Highway 19, affectionately known as “Carretera de las Cruces” for all the makeshift memorials of those that either crashed in the dark, hit a cow, slid off the highway, or had one too many before getting behind the wheel, we passed an odd rock formation that jutted into the sea.

It looked like this:

Between the rock and the highway, we were driving on was a palm tree orchard that must have had over 100 trees. “That seems like an interesting place,” I remember thinking. After making a mental note, we carried on up the Pacific Coast.

Fast forward to 2017 and we are at the Gastrovino Festival in Todos Santos, our favorite annual event in the area, which has not occurred since pre-Covid but will be hosted again November 11-13th. There, at a silent auction, I noticed an item up for bid, “Four Palm Trees from Rancho Gaspareño” in small letters below it said, “Delivery not included.”

I HAD to have them and coincidentally, there were no other competing bids.  The mental note I had made years earlier reminded me that destiny was afoot and this was meant to be. The revelry was extra special that year as I had a certificate good for four coconut palms in my pocket, and the wine flowed freely. I was on top of the world.

It wasn’t until we arrived at Rancho Gaspareño for the pickup of our bounty and met the owner that we found out removal was not included either. We all grabbed shovels and got to digging. As it turned out, the silent auction I had won netted me four coconut palms, a loss of four pounds of water weight, two blisters, and a wicked sunburn.

During the digging, the owner, a pilot living full-time in Hawaii, shared with us the rich history of the property, which dates hundreds of years, and the tale was fascinating…

In 1587, Tom Cavendish, known as “The Navigator,” and his motley pirate crew patrolled the waters around the Baja Peninsula waiting for the Spanish ship, “Santa Ana,” some said was unsinkable. The war between the English and Spanish was alive in their spirits, and the Bay of Cabo San Lucas was the perfect hiding spot for pirates.

Then down the coast, here comes the Santa Ana, filled with gold and manned with over 200 Spaniards. As a lookout spotted the ship and alerted Cavendish, his men lit up like wild brush fire and chased the Spanish ship with no mercy.

His two English vessels, Desire and Content commandeered the Spanish galleon, Santa Ana, following a protracted sea battle. Cavendish set fire to Santa Ana after looting its cargo holds and setting its crew and passengers ashore. The Spanish crew later retrieved the burned hulk and restored it for a return to Acapulco.

The plundered treasure, meanwhile, was divided between Desire and Content. The ships set sail for England immediately, but during the first night of their triumphant voyage, the Desire disappeared. Cavendish reported in England that the captain and crew of the Desire must have scuttled the ship on a nearby island and disappeared with the loot. Neither the wreckage of the vessel nor the treasure was ever discovered.

It has long been believed that the treasure remains buried in the secret beach of Rancho Gaspareño, only accessible during low tides. Local schools host field trips at this ranch and tell the story of the treasure.

If you fancy yourself the adventurous type, Rancho Gaspareño is a 47-acre, beachfront development property listed for USD $12,950,000, where you may find the buried treasure pirated from the Santa Ana. Talk about instant equity. MLS# 22-1984

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