CABO SAN LUCAS – GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES
By Megan Wahl, M Marketing + PR, www.mmarketingaz.com (Phoenix Mom Blog contributor)
If you dare test your luck during hurricane season (June-November) with September as the peak of storm season, a trip south of the American-Mexican boarder to Los Cabos is worth the risk. Located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, in the state of Baja California Sur, the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, as well as the Resort Corridor that lies between the two, makes up Los Cabos.
The warm climate and scenic view where the desert meets the sea offers the perfect combination of smoldering, humid air and crystal blue waters, drawing more than two million visitors to Los Cabos per year. My husband and I decided this was exactly where we needed to be for one full week alone with NO kids to celebrate our 15th anniversary. A quick flight to Los Cabos International Airport from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (about two hours) and BOOM! We were in paradise.
Cabo San Lucas, a resort city on the southern most tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, also known as “Land’s End”, is where we chose to spend all of our time. With swimmable beaches, an endless selection of water sports, and yummy food (and drinks), Cabo’s main beach, Playa El Médano, is scenic, romantic, energetic, and fun. Past the main marina is Land’s End promontory, site of Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach) and El Arco, a natural archway in the sea cliffs. Talk about epic views that are worthy of a Bob Ross painting!
WATER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES – THREE OF OUR FAVORITES
1. Snorkel and Catered Lunch Boat Tour
The warm, clear waters make snorkeling a no brainer activity. It’s a great way to cool off and check out some of the local sea life. Most water activities are offered through your resort and, believe me, there is no shortage of boat tours! We selected a snorkeling tour that included a catered authentic Mexican lunch and bottomless drinks, although the drinks were served after the snorkeling, for obvious reasons. The cost was $60 per person (snorkel, fins and mask included) and the ride was about 45 minutes each way. As a scuba diver, I was a bit disappointed with the visibility, lack of sea life variety, and the mass amount of snorkelers in one location, (I was kicked in the face by more than one fin) but, for the price (and the homemade guacamole), I’d do it again.
2. Stand Up Paddleboarding
We also tried Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) through Tio Sports, which had a rental office right on Médano Beach. I have tried SUP in the past but my husband had not. Couple our inexperience with some pretty choppy water and we both were struggling a bit. I fell off my board twice, while my husband insisted on making it even harder with a spouse challenge. “First person to round the buoy and back wins.” Yeah, okay. Whatever. It was definitely a workout. I felt sorry for some of the other SUP newbies out there. I don’t think they were even able to stand up once. My advice to those of you who want to try SUP is find your center balance and don’t look down! Website: http://www.tiosports.com/
3. Glass Bottom Boat to Lover’s Beach Tour
Our last activity, and perhaps our favorite, was also the cheapest. For $16 per person, we took a Glass Bottom Boat tour. Forget the glass bottom, everything you need to see is in the surrounding water. Just look overboard. The captain of the boat was quite a character and, we even had our own “paparazzi” photographer on the boat to capture some great pics. We made a quick stop at Lover’s Beach, which was amazing! We walked from one side of the beach to the other (what the locals like to call Divorce Beach) where your are literally standing at the land’s end with the Pacific Ocean stretching out for miles.
OFFSITE DINING – THREE MORE OF OUR FAVORITES
1. Chamuyo Argentinian Steakhouse
Argentinian barbeque in Mexico? Why not! We ordered the Rovoleta (grilled provolone
cheese) served in a cast iron skillet with cherries tomatoes & chimichurri sauce and focaccia bread for dipping. Yum! For our entrée, we ordered a Grill for Two with short ribs, Criolla salad with a simple salt, pepper and olive oil dressing, and homemade mashed potatoes. All were To. Die For. Maybe it was the generous drink pours, or perhaps it was the outdoor ambiance, but Chamuyo was possibly the best Argentinian barbeque I have ever had, and it was in Mexico! The service was friendly and inviting and the chef was kind enough to humor my husband and let him pose for a photo in front of the master grill.
2. Hacienda Cocina y Cantina
This new, and perhaps the most scenic resort at Médano Beach, served wonderful Traditional Mexican food made with the finest, local ingredients. Hacienda’s beachfront dining experience was both laid back and elegant. The staff was friendly and even pointed out Stingrays in the distance jumping, which was something we had never seen. We had a lovely meal overlooking the iconic rock formations of Land’s End at sunset. We chose two of their most authentic dishes on the menu; Pollo Con Mole De Puebla – chicken breast, homemade dark mole, white rice and sautéed plantains and Chile Relleno De 3 Quesos Con Salsa De Frijol Negro – three cheeses stuffed into locally grown poblanos, black bean sauce, and mango pico de gallo. This was simply the perfect meal at one of the most beautiful resorts. Check that off of the bucket list!
3. Sunset Da Mona Lisa
We wanted to celebrate our 15th anniversary at a special restaurant and were told to book a reservation at Sunset da Mona Lisa for, well, the sunset. According to the description on the menu, Mona Lisa was named “One of the Coolest 5 restaurants in the world” by the International New York Times. With breathtaking views of the arch, the sounds of the crashing waves beneath the cliffs and wonderful smells coming from the European- influenced kitchen, this was possibly one of the most romantic restaurants I have ever dined at (the food wasn’t too shabby either). I recommend the Nostra Burrata, a homemade burrata stuffed with Pesto and anchovies; the Rucola Organic arugula, caramelized nuts, prosciutto di Parma and goat cheese salad; and the Filetto di Manzo alla Pietra Lavica, which is Sonora beef tenderloin cooked tableside on a hot lava rock and served with spinach flan. Happy anniversary to us!
MORE MEXICO TIPS – THE FINAL THREE FAVORITES
1. Ground Transportation
Two words – private transportation. It’s worth the extra money to arrange private transportation between the airport and your destination resort. This way, it’s easier to avoid the badgering taxi drivers past customs. You are able to travel comfortably in a newer, clean SUV or mini van with A/C and no additional passengers. We arranged our transportation through RCI since we also booked our resort stay through them. Cost for private transportation is about $120 round trip. Generally, you would pay about $50 one- way, so, there’s not a huge price difference.
Website: http://www.rci.com/pre-rci-en_US/vacation-ideas/destinations/los-cabos- area.page
Shop around! Driving through Los Cabos, my husband and I realized it has completely changed within the last 16 years (which is the last time we were there). The development and growth is astonishing! They even have a Costco and Starbucks. We chose Pueblo Bonito Resorts, specifically “Blanco”, as our resort for the week because it fit within our budget (okay, it was actually gifted to us by my mother through RCI for an anniversary present). However, the resort options in Los Cabos are endless and there are so many deals online that you are guaranteed to find a resort that best fit your needs during your stay. As one of the older resorts, Blanco did not disappoint. The prime location on El Médano beach in
Cabos San Lucas is fabulous and the service is excellent. The clientele was mixed with some families, honeymooners, and a couple of rowdy flamingos.
To drink or not to drink? Everyone’s heard that drinking water in Mexico is not advised, but I found filtered water is the norm in Los Cabos. In fact, it’s often filtered two or three times, and is used in cooking and ice. If you’re worried that your resort doesn’t filter, just ask. If you are still uneasy, there are many familiar choices of bottled water to purchase, like Fiji, so be sure to stay hydrated!