Mexico's Baja peninsula was a rugged, remote area with few roads, and even fewer tourists. Cabo San Lucas was a sleepy fishing village, and most Americans had never even heard of the East Cape. Wealthy sportsmen and adventurers would fly down in their private aircraft, land on rough dirt airstrips carved out of the desert, and return with wild stories of the big fish they caught here.
Gil Powell was one of these hearty souls who fell in love with the area. He was a wildlife cinematographer by profession and related to actor William Powell. Around 1950 he found and purchased a 300 acre piece of paradise located on the beach just south of Buena Vista. Gil was continually going off to Africa to shoot movies - hence the locals gave him the nickname "El Leonero", which roughly translates to "The One Who Knows Lions". During this time his ranch became known as "Rancho El Leonero", and over the years has been shortened to "Rancho Leonero".
During those wild west days before paved roads and civilization came to Baja, Hollywood's "bad boys" would fly down in their private planes for some R&R where they could escape from the notoriety of their public lives and just hang out. The likes of John Wayne, Bing Crosby, and Errol Flynn were all frequent visitors here.
After Gil's death in 1974, Rancho Leonero languished for a number of years until John Ireland stumbled upon it in 1979. Instantly falling in love with the area, John spent the next two years trying to acquire the property, and finally succeeded in 1981. In 1984 he started construction of the original five rooms of what was to become "The Inn at Rancho Leonero". The original ranch house became the bar and office for the current resort. In 1986 the Inn opened to it's first guests. From this inauspicious birth (in 1986 we had 1 cruiser with an oar-powered shore boat), the resort has grown to become arguably the best facility on the East Cape. In 1989 we added a fleet of fast bullet cruisers, in 1990 the second wing of 6 additional rooms were completed, in 1991 the pool and first of our super pangas were added, in 1992 the first 6 of our fabulous bungalows were finished, and in 2000 our new 2-story complex was added.