Cabo San Lucas: A Surprise Birthday Trip

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Cervezas and Beaches: What more to love?

To celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday,  I came up with a crazy idea. A surprise beach birthday trip to relax and get away.  We had never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before, so this quickly became the focus of my plan.  But where to go? When I was researching airfare, flights to Los Cabos were the lowest fares for early May. Also, Cabo San Lucas is home to all inclusives, beaches and  famous bars,  what better place to celebrate that milestone birthday!


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Where is Los Cabos Located?

Los Cabos ia on the southwest part of Mexico, known as “Land’s End” for being located at the tip of the southern Baja California Peninsula. Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are the two towns that make up Los Cabos. Cabo San Lucas (where we stayed) is the more touristy of the two and home to the marina and close to the famous arch ‘El Arco’, whereas San Jose Del Cabo is a smaller and less touristy town. Both have lots of hotel and resorts to choose from.

The weather in Cabo is nice year round, ranging from the mid-70’s in the winter to the mid-90’s in the summer. The exception is that Cabo is prone to hurricanes. Mexico’s hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, but the country is at its highest risk of strong storms from August through October.


How to Get Around?

Some resorts offer free airport shuttle service, if your resort does not; you can take a taxi, shared airport shuttle or the local bus. Taxi service is pretty steep.  We opted to use the shared airport transportation with TransCabo. The prices were $45.00 per person for a round trip from airport to our resort. If you are on a very tight budget, it is possible to take the bus from the airport.

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Where to Stay in Cabo?

We stayed at Riu Santa Fe, which we booked though hotels.com after comparing various hotels in the same budget. It appealed to us for the pool complexes, the location and the price. Pricing came out to be about $200.00 per night.  A bonus was a fully stocked mini bar, with water, soda, mixers and beer.

The Riu Santa Fe is a large resort and it has 2 main areas. One area is oceanfront whereas the other sits behind thar part of the property and it’s sister property, the Riu Palace. The oceanfront area has one large hotel building and also includes the lunch buffet, steak and mexican restaurants. If you want an ocean view make sure you book your room in this area.  The lobby sits on a large square plaza where the main buffet, shops, the Italian/Asian restaurant, the lobby bars, sport bar and the theater is located. After dinner every night we would end up in the plaza for drinks, live music and entertainment.

The Riu has two very large pool complexes one in each area of the property. The quieter pool is closer to the lobby with a large swim up bar area.  The other pool complex is oceanfront with 3 pool areas, two of which have swim up bars. This pool was the ‘party’ pool and where the daily pool activities were scheduled.

While the beach is gorgeous, it is not swimable. The waves are large and the undertow is pretty strong which makes swimming difficult. Also, the area is prone to riptides which are dangerous. Just take advantage of the 2 large pool areas for your swimming.

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The staff was great! They always professional and ready to answer any questions. Our housekeeper kept our room spotless, our minibar stocked, flower and towel art decorations daily.  They even left a bottle of tequila for Mike on his birthday. The bartenders are friendly and make some great frozen drinks.

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What to do?

Visit El Arco, Land’s End  and Lover’s Beach on a Glass Bottom Boat 

This is the best way to see all the major sights. We went to the Marina with the intention of hiring a water taxi to Lover’s Beach. Upon negotiating we were able to pay $12.00 for the two of us down from $40.00.  We were later told that was a great price. To our surprise we also ended up with a glass bottom boat tour of Land’s End, the Window to the Pacific and about 1 1/2 hours at Lover’s Beach. Our boat driver also fed the fish tortillas so we could see them though the glass at the bottom of the boat. He was also great in pointing out all the sea lions lounging on the rocks.

Lover’s Beach
Lover’s Beach is nestled on the Sea of Cortez side at the base of the rock formations of Land’s End. Its sister beach, Divorce Beach is located on the Pacific Ocean side and has turbulent waves. Swimming off of Divorce Beach is dangerous because of the rip currents.  The best way to reach the beaches are by a water taxi from the marina or your hotel.  You can also access Lover’s beach by kayak or stand-up paddle board. Bring whatever you’ll need for the day as there are no services.  We did have a few vendors selling beverages. It was a timing feat to get on and off the boat, so keep that in mind.
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Sunset Catamaran Sail                                                                                                                        One of the prettiest sights of Cabo San Lucas is the sunset over the Pacific Ocean behind the  ‘El Arco’. There are a few companies that offer sunset catamaran rides.  We booked though Cabo San Lucas Tours.  They offered us light snacks and drinks during the cruise. I liked that they had a photographer on board that took photos that we could purchase if we wanted, but there was no pressure to do so.

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What to Explore

The Marina                                                                                                                                                 With tons of shops, a large mall, restaurants, and bars, there is something for everyone at the Marina. Vendors  wander the are trying to sell you their services for diving, paddle boarding, jet sking, catamaran snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours. If you decide you want to sign up make sure you negotiate for the best prices.  The Puerto Paraiso Mall is a great place to pick up souvenirs in the air conditioning. There is a nice brewery called Baja Brewing Company located in the mall, great for a little stop during shopping.  There are lots of open air restaurants that you can people watch and grab a bite to eat.

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Cabo’s Famous Bars                                                                                                                                         A few blocks away from the Marina, you will encounter shops and also some of the famous bars of Cabo San Lucas’s lively nightlife. Some of the bars are: Cabo Wabo, El Squid Roe, and the Giggling Marlin. Cabo Wabo is owned by Sammy Hagar, it’s a massive complex with multiple bars and stages where bands perform, often with Sammy making a surprise appearance. El Squid Roe is a one of the largest nightclubs in downtown and has three floors and keeps the party going. The Giggling Martin offers buckets of beer and you can be hung upside down like a catch of the day.

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Best Beach Restaurant                                                                                                                                  If you are wanting an ocean view, with a great vibe, head past the Marina and towards the beach. You have to try the restaurant called the Office.  Tables are placed on the beach under tented awnings and your toes are in the sand. You can go our to the beach and also barter with vendors selling items on the beach. Order up some chips and guac and a bucket of cervezas.


Travel Tips

Don’t drink the tap water. Make sure any water and/or ice you are served is safe to drink.

Bathrooms are a bit differnet than in the States. In most places you don’t flush toilet paper; it must be neatly thrown away in the trash can in the stall, this is due to the lack of modern drains and sewage systems. Also carry some change with you, most public bathrooms will require a few coins to use the facilities.

Just remember Los Cabos may be on the ocean but it is also is in a desert and it is dry. Keep hydrated, and apply lots of sunblock regularly.

The streets are relatively safe, just watch out for the uneven pavement and sidewalks. Pickpockets are an occasional problem around town so be mindful and exercise caution. Use common sense if you are bar hopping at night.

Order a specialty coffee from the bar at your resort to take with you for early morning beach walks.

Plan on wanting to go back. You can never have enough beach relaxation!

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Thanks for taking the time to read! If you have any tips for Cabo, please comment and let me know! Happy Travels, Tava

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