"Interested in a Cabo San Lucas vacation during our winter break?" asked my friend.
Frankly, at first I had a hard time with the concept. My travels tend to be related to tasks, often humanitarian tasks. It felt wrong to go somewhere simply to be pampered.
My friend pointed out that even those full time in humanitarian pursuits take regenerative breaks. I began to think a Cabo San Lucas vacation would be just what I needed.And it was!
I want to share the ups and downs. But I want to say going in that this was overwhelmingly a good thing for me.
Vacation Down #1 The Airport
I had confirmed ground transportation from the airport to the hotel. Since a taxi costs almost US$100, this was not to be sneezed at. It was not, however, clear where to find the company responsible for me.
I asked at a bus desk inside the terminal and was directed to a desk across the room we were in. That's when I discovered that almost everyone in that airport will try to sign you up for a timeshare breakfast. Daniel, the man behind the counter, lied to me twice. (That story will be written later. You can be alerted when it is posted if you sign up for my blog.)
Happily, the bus driver outside was more honest and helped me to find the right spot.
Vacation Up #1 Cabo San Lucas Ground Transportation
The bus driver I was directed to graciously found me the correct bus line. I wish I had noted the company he worked for. But I don't think he would have been unusual because I overheard a conversation with another driver and tourist where the driver insisted on finding the booked bus even though the tourist was offering money to just get out of the crush. There seems to be honor among the shuttle bus drivers.
Once in town, we usually walked where we needed to go, but we did use other Cabo San Lucas ground transportation. The city buses run on time and the ones we used had lots of room to sit. The drivers helped as much as they could considering the language barrier.
A Cabo San Lucas pedicab added a little spice to our trip the night we were late for a restaurant reservation. Our driver was courteous and safe.
On our day trip to Todos Santos, we used two different levels of bus service. On the way up, we road in style. We even had leg rests, a movie in Spanish, and a complimentary drink and snack. The air conditioning was welcome through the desert.
On the way back, we rode the regular bus. . .. . .overcrowded, and no leg rests, snacks, or movies. And sadly, young men in Mexico are no more likely to give up a seat to an older woman or a pregnant woman than are young men in urban Canada.
But that turned out to be a good thing because I met a wonderful ESL (English as a second language) teacher who put her son in her lap so I could sit after giving up my seat to the pregnant woman.
Vacation Up#2 Sol Mar Suites
Our hotel was perfect for us. On the Pacific side, you can't swim in the ocean, but that means privacy. Sol Mar is right in town at the end of the pier, but once at the hotel, you'd never know it.
I had credit card trouble when I arrived. (I can hardly wait to write the page about THAT issue, but I have to be fair and let them correct their gaff.) Linda at Sol Mar was so helpful. I can't imagine a more perfect hostess and it was a pleasure to see her behind the desk each morning.
Our room was simple and more than adequate.
We loved the restaurant! The food was very good and although at times the service was slower than we would expect at home, it was kind.
Jose Arnaldo, nicknamed by another hotel guest, Joe Arnold, was all that wait staff anywhere could be.
Sol Mar is about thirty years old and if you don't need things all shiny and new, I can recommend it heartily.
TIP:The cats do NOT want to be your friend!
Vacation Up#3 Natural Cabo San Lucas
Bright Cabo San Lucas sunshine flooded in on the first day. For someone from the winter gray Pacific Northwest, this alone was just what the doctor ordered.
I loved the birds. And there are loads of them. Little fellows hopped around our feet on the restaurant patio. Sea birds filled the skies and hovered around the docks waiting for the fishers to offer tidbits.
I live on the Pacific Ocean year-round. Now that I'm grown, I don't spend as much time as I did when I was a child just sitting on a rocky bluff listening to the surf, watching the ocean heave and sigh. That's a shame.
An ocean beach is downright hypnotic. I can't think of anything more relaxing than time spent on an unpopulated shore. Since you can't swim on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas due to the rip tides, it's unpopulated. The sand is so deep that the beach is dry between waves.
Vacation Up #4 Swim With The Dolphins
Although expensive, a chance to swim with the dolphins, was well worth the money. I can't say enough about the staff at the facility. One woman sorted out a mess for me on December 24 so I could take advantage of a discount I had been promised. When everyone else was heading for home for family time, she spent time making sure I had the best possible experience.
Vacation Down #2 Timeshare Hell
Let's be clear. One of my goals was to attend a timeshare presentation so I could write about it here. I met my goal. And although I am battered and bruised on your behalf, I will be writing about that experience as time permits.
Not everything about the timeshare presentation was negative. I'll give the whole story later.
But the down part is that the lower you go on the timeshare money chain, the more obnoxious people become.
It's not just the individual timeshare company that is the problem. It's the system.
My friend and I were hounded mercilessly by several people who pushed us daily. A simple No was not enough for some.
I don't know enough about the situation in Cabo San Lucas to say whether the market is saturated, but from my perspective, there are far too many people trying to sell timeshares to too few tourists. Something will have to give sooner or later.
Vacation Down #3 Using Too Many Resources
I live in an area with limited water. Our news media regularly discuss the ramifications of too much development.
When I began to understand that local people had water for about one hour per day, I couldn't enjoy the walkways that were cleaned in tourist areas by water in hoses. I'd rather use resources wisely.
Vacation Up #5 Kindness From A Woman On Her Break
Foot-weary and slightly lost, my friend and I staggered into a small shopping area. A woman on a bench looked approachable, so I sat beside her and asked her to point us in the right direction.
She was so kind and accommodating that I continued to chat with her. When I learned that she was on a break from her job in the jewelry store nearby, I thought it would be polite to go inside.
Her gentle manner and knowledge of her wares opened our purses. Neither of us had planned to buy jewelry in Cabo San Lucas, but there we were.
If you find yourself in Cabo San Lucas and want to buy quality jewelry without the hype of the street, you'll want to visit her store.
Vacation Up #6 Cabo San Lucas Sea Food Is Fabulous
Actually, all the food I had was fabulous!
My first night in town, I headed away from the waterfront and found a local vendor who clearly didn't expect to sell to a tourist. For about $2 I had a great supper!
The restaurant at Sol Mar, our hotel, provided excellent meals in a relaxed setting.
But the best was saved to the last. Our final evening we went to Sea Queen and had the best meal I've had in my life! The sea bass at the Sea Queen is to die for. The singer was annoyingly loud, but the food. . .
. . .words fail me!
Vacation Up #7 Land's End
I loved our glass-bottomed boat trip to Land's End.
Cabo San Lucas sits right at the tip of Baja. On one side is the sheltered Sea of Cortez. On the other is the wild open Pacific Ocean.
We took a JT boat ride out around the tip of the Baja. Pelicans, cormorants, sea lions, and lots of other tourists kayaking and snorkeling in the heaving sea made for a colorful trip.
I grew up on the Pacific and have a respect for what the ocean can do. The man in charge of our boat impressed me with his skill in maneuvering the boat close to the rocks and again as he dropped off other passengers on the shore.