Do you know Cabo in Mexico? The desert meets the sea in this amazing destination on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. I am a frequent visitor to the Playa Grande resort located just steps from the beautiful marina in Cabo San Lucas, and I always feel that I have come home when I arrive.
You may be surprised to learn that even though I am a travel agent, I bought a week every other year in this lovely resort, and continue to enjoy my visits. I often bring along a friend or two, and we recently returned with some wonderful memories of too much fun! Should you be interested in joining me next year, please reach out. I own a one bedroom condo that sleeps five with double and twin Murphy beds in the living room. This year I gave my lovely king suite to the couple who joined us, and I can swear to you that the Murphy bed is quite comfy! You may check out the resort in detail HERE.
True confessions: I am a water baby and love to swim in the ocean, so you may find it odd that I would visit a resort without a swimmable beach. Part of the attraction is in observing the great power of this body of water at “Land’s End”. The underwater currents are extreme and actually claim lives now and then…those who are either unaware or too cocky for their own safety. The hurricane a few years ago borrowed some of the beach, but sand is quickly being re-deposited and the beach is growing wider by the minute. A challenge for those who love to walk along the shore, the sand is fluffy and deep, and the water line is quite steep.
Boats, both fishing vessels and mega-million dollar yachts, cohabitate in the large marina here. One of the major world-class deep sea fishing tournaments was being held during our visit October 21-18, making it extra fun to watch the bustling harbor. Some folks at our resort mentioned that in the early morning if they got down to the harbor at 6am they might be able to ride along in one of the boats to watch the start of the Marlin competition that day. That sounds fun! I never re-connected to learn if they had success or not, but wow, tons of boats go out for these major competitions. I guess they can win a million bucks or so in some of them! Crazy.
Adventure opportunities are plentiful in this area. For some of you, just renting a car would be an adventure, right? I always do, and I will admit to you that this is the very first time I have ever been stopped. My friend was driving us from Cabo to La Paz up the coast about 2 hours for our whale shark swim when we were stopped by policia along the busy malacon in La Paz for a presumed infraction or two. Ten minutes later and a lot of bad Spanish accents later we were back on the road to our whale shark swim, $50 US dollars short. Grrrr. I have a feeling the dude totally made that up when he saw the Hertz sticker on the back of our car. And we learned upon arriving at the marina and boarding our Island Cat vessel that another couple (in a rental car) had the very same thing happen to them! This harassment of tourists needs to STOP, Mexico. Seriously, it’s not cool at all with me! (Maybe I will rent a “wreck” next time!)
Ahhh, but that’s for debate another time. I want to share and compare this whale shark experience with the one I had done several years ago in Cancun. We booked with Baja Whale Shark company, and I can highly recommend. Their catamaran is beautiful, the crew was awesome (wanted the recipes for the Mexican food the chef made!), the drinks were strong a yummy, and we had a marine biologist take us into the water off the smaller skiff.
In the Cancun version you have to start out in a smaller vessel and travel about 1.5 hours out into the ocean to swim. I imagine that alone might freak some people out. But on the way back we stopped in waist-deep crystal clear blue waters for a lunch and swim off Isla Mujeres, and island off the Cancun coast. That part was really nice! And the animals we swam with were large…up to about 45 feet long.
You do need to be a pretty strong swimmer with the smaller ones…they are fast! We only encountered smaller fish of about 12 feet to maybe 24 feet (they are the largest fish in the sea!). My feeling is that it was a bit early in the season in La Paz, and in Cancun I was late in the season. The entire excursion was from about 9am to about 2:30pm (we drove ourselves, remember…you have to leave Cabo around 6:30am to make it in time, or they will pick you up.) It’s awesome to experience this, so if you get the chance, say “yes”!
On the way back we stopped in Todos Santos, a charming town between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. There are lots of fun shops, restaurants, etc. here, but we enjoyed a drink at the bar at Hotel California. Apparently it is questionable whether this is the one made famous by the Eagles song of the same name, but no matter…it’s an eclectic and fun place to eat, drink or stay. Here are a few pictures of the lobby and courtyard.
Just south of there is a wonderful wide beach called Playa Cerritos that is safely swimmable and a cool place to have a drink, take a surf lesson, or just swim in the warm waters. If the surf is up a little, do some body surfing! Sometimes they will take a few dollars to park the car unless you promise to have a drink at the bar, so keep some change handy. After a nice swim, we headed back down the road towards “home”, tired but completely contented.
AS I customarily do during my travels, we had the pleasure of visiting and touring with the sales staff three lovely luxury resorts during the week. There would be too much information to share in one post, so I will share more about these with you in a future blog. For now I will say that there is a lot of construction going on in the area, which is a great sign for the future of the destination! We were wowed, I can tell you that much. Stay tuned for more information coming soon, or let’s connect and I will be happy to share what I learned with you.
From Playa Grande it’s easy to walk down to the marina (see the view from the rooftop pool below) and into town for entertainment, dining, or even to go swimming at Medano Beach. It’s here that you can park yourself in a comfy beach bed for the day and order food and drink galore. We took a water taxi (about $12 each) and did a tour of Land’s End, Lover’s Beach (although the currents were too rough to allow us to be dropped for a swim that day), El Arco, and even Scooby Doo! It’s one of those touristy things that you MUST DO when you visit. The water taxi driver then drops you at Medano and asks what time you wish to be picked up. Remember to read the name on your boat and check out the colors!
Yes, we waited a few minutes but didn’t see our taxi, so we started the beach walk back to the marina. Let’s just say it was a three beer walk! Grin. We enjoyed the walk more with each stop, even though the sun was still pretty high in the sky. I just dumped myself in the ocean to be fully wet before leaving the beach, and it worked like a charm. Wearing all white cotton clothing that covers every inch like the locals do is brilliant, too. And do NOT forget your hat!
When you visit Mexico, above all, do wear a smile on your face and have kind words ready for the locals who peddle their wares. If you don’t need what they are selling give a nod, a smile, and a “no, gracias”. Sometimes I even keep some change in a pocket handy, just in case I speak with a kind soul who touches my heart. Life is certainly not easy for those locals who don’t speak English in a tourist area that attracts English-speaking guests, and I applaud those who are willing to trudge through the hot sun all day, often carrying really heavy merchandise.
I must share a suggestion for you for in the historic town of San Jose del Cabo, which is at the other end of the “corridor” of hotels and closer to the airport. One day, after seeing one of the resorts near town, we drove into town to walk about, see the church and do a little bit of shopping in the boutiques. Ready for a snack, we happened upon a restaurant called Casa San Jose 23400. Pretty food that tastes even better, this is a lovely oasis. Our service was superb, and we talked about that meal long after it was devoured!
So, when will you visit? Cabo is great any time of the year, but if you love golf, you will probably want to avoid the very hot summer months. The whales (the big ones that aren’t fish!) come late fall, so November through March is considered the best time to visit. Nights are cool, the sun isn’t as hot during the day, and if you love to eat fish…well, you will be in heaven. Check out the beautiful whole Red Snapper I had one night in town. Scrumptious! One thing is for sure…a visit to Mexico is about as colorful as it gets. I hope you get to enjoy your own escape soon.