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El Pardito, also known as Isla Coyote, is about 90 miles north of La Paz on the inside Sea of Cortez sandwiched between Isla San Francisquito and Isla San Jose, surely two of the most beautiful islands in the world. Juan Cuevas, a local fisherman left La Paz, and took up residence on this little 2 ½ acre island in 1923. He and his wife Paula, built a small wooden house there, renaming the island El Pardito. From the age of fifteen, Juan had spent time subsistence fishing from the unpopulated islands of San Jose and San Francisco. But, Juan wanted something smaller, and even more remote that he could call his own. There was nothing on the island. It was just a rock sticking up out of the clear blue sea. Initially, Juan would bring pigs, chickens, lumber, and some sparse building supplies to this secret little place. Over time, he and his wife would have nine children. The family grew and were supported based on local fishing skills. Everything there today has been built by four generations of Cuevas. Half of them have left the island to pursue other endeavors, but 26 remain as full-time residents. All the Cuevas are intimately linked to the sea.
The economic infrastructure of the Cuevas little island home was developed through a few commercial contacts that allowed them to buy small open-air boats called pangas, fishing nets, and various construction materials. In later years a solar system would provide energy and allow them to install a desalination plant. Finally, a radio gave them access to the outside world, and today they even have an internet tower. The small school the family built for the children, adorns its walls with photos of orcas and dolphins.
Guests of private charter yachts like Baja Charter’s Pacifica, are thrilled to go ashore on this lovely little piece of paradise, where they trade cases of bottled water, beer, and tomato paste, in exchange for fresh fish, chocolate clams, and crab, which they turn over to their onboard chef for preparation. The Cuevas are a fascinating family group who welcome visitors and love to share. A visit here is a step back in time, that leaves the visitor deeply thoughtful about a subsistence life defined by the incredible beauty surrounded by the clear waters of this inland sea.