Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Saturday, May 28, 2011 - En Route to Cabo

I began my Mexican getaway aboard a SuperShuttle to LAX - on a trip that originated because my Delta Skymiles needed to be used in 2011, lest they "go bad".  I had also not taken a real vacation since moving to California... so the idea of an automobile-free, stay-drunk-and-party holiday suited me to a tee!

Alaska Airlines is a Delta Partner, so my free travel was scheduled on their Flight 250 - scheduled 9:15am-12:30pm (although departure ended-up delayed about 45min).  Oddly, with no increase in points, they placed me in First Class - seat 2F - which got no complaints from me... especially when I discovered that Katee Sackhoff (of 'Battlestar Galactica' fame) was seated in the row behind me :)

The flight was uneventful, as was Mexican Customs & Immigration.  I easily found the TransCabo Shuttle (that I'd previously arranged) - then sat back and relaxed for the (roughly) hour-long trip to downtown Cabo San Lucas and the Siesta Suites Hotel.

On the way from the Airport to downtown Cabo
The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel (looking-down from the second floor balcony to the courtyard pool & Salvatore's Italian Restaurant (highly recommended!) The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel
The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel (looking-down from the second floor balcony to the courtyard pool & Salvatore's Italian Restaurant (highly recommended!) The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel (looking-down from the second floor balcony to the courtyard pool & Salvatore's Italian Restaurant (highly recommended!) The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201 The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201
The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201 The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201 The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201 The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201 (second floor corner)
The Cabo Siesta Suites Hotel - Room 201

Room 201 was given to me because I'd asked for a room that had very strong wi-fi - which this one did.  As I said in a TripAdvisor review, if you're looking for a posh, four-star resort then this ain't the place... but, if you want clean, basic accommodations with a location and price that can't be beat, then I highly recommend this small, family-run hotel!

After settling-in I walked the few blocks to Supermarket Arámburo to buy breakfast items, munchies, and margarita fixins' (always the good scout, I packed a shaker).  Arámburo is kind of their in-town version of Safeway... definitely on the pricey side, but with good selection - and without a car - it served the purpose. After a refreshing margarita (rocks, with salt), I headed-over to Pancho's Bar for a 6pm Tequila Tasting appointment... only to discover that they'd botched the reservation and would arrange for a special tasting - just for me - later that night.  I walked 'round the corner (literally) to my hotel for another round of margaritas before returning to Pancho's Restaurant for my 7:30pm dinner reservation (btw, the food was incredible - I can highly recommend their Margarita Cadillac, Guacamole & Chips, and Pancho's Combinacio Famosa! [Carne Asada, Quesadilla, Chile Relleno, Chicken Enchilada]).

Just prior to finishing the meal, I met José De Jesus Anguiano - Pancho's on-staff Tequila Master - who had arranged an eleven-course sampler.

Let the Pancho's Tequila Tasting commence! Pancho's Restaurant & Tequila Bar, Cabo San Lucas Presentation of my "Tequila Connoisseur" certificate by Tequila Master Jose De Jesus Anguiano. I have no memory of this photo being taken, nor do I have any recollection of getting back to my hotel!

What a thoroughly interesting experience - learning-about & sampling tequilas in the same way you would at a wine tasting.  We began with mescal, then went through tequila, blancos, reposados, then anejos... with my favorite being the Herradura Seleccion Suprema.  Amazing, although quite pricey (later in the trip I was able to find one bottle that came-back to the states with me).  And the biggest difference between a tequila & wine tasting?  At the end of the evening I have no recollection at all of that last photo or of coming-back to my hotel.  In fact, I awoke the next morning still quite buzzed! lol


Sunday, May 29, 2011 - Outdoor Canyon Canopy Adventure

After a very quick granola bar & coffee in-room breakfast (because of the very early start) I walked down to the Dolphin Center @ The Marina to check-in for the 7am Cabo Adventure Tours Outdoor Canyon Canopy Adventure... which turned-out to be not only the highest/fastest zip-lining I've ever done, but also rock climbing and rappeling (not too shabby for an overweight, out-of-shape, still intoxicated middle-aged guy!).

Having just crossed a steel cable - hanging a few dozen feet above a river - it's time to go up a rock wall to the next zipline! Yes, my poor form evidences that I'm a newbie. BTW, it was 98' down to the bottom. My first go at rappelling. It was a lot of fun! (just over too quickly) The Grand Finale is a 1600' run at speeds up to 40mph. To call it exhilarating would be a serious understatement!! :)

Not only was the actual tour a lot of fun, but so was the air-conditioned van ride to/from the adventure area (which was about 75min each way, through the very scenic desert countryside). If you're curious, here's my TripAdvisor review written shortly after completing the tour.

Returning to Cabo about 1pm, I walked down to the Plaza Bonita Mall to do a little shopping - then over to J&J Habanos to make a few new friends from an island south of Key West ;-)  From there, I came back to the hotel to enjoy a couple more homemade margaritas - after which I walked to La Dolce Restaurant for my 7pm dinner reservation (again, around the corner - the Siesta Suites is only a block-or-two away from Cabo's top dining establishments). On this evening I enjoyed Insalata di Spinaci e Recula, Pizza Diavola with extra Parmesan Cheese, and a glass of their house red. Who'd a thought you go to Cabo San Lucas for top-notch Italian fare?!!

Wandering around The Marina... Cute little boat, huh? ;-) The Downtown Cabo Marina area just before nightfall... gotta love VR lenses! Who'd a thought you go to Cabo to get really authentic Italian food? It's true... this place is GREAT! :p

Monday, May 30, 2011 - Safari Outback Adventure

As this morning's start wasn't QUITE as early, I made some en-suite scrambled eggs w/chorizo & cheese in tortillas for breakfast - then headed back down to the Dolphin Center @ The Marina for the 8am Cabo Adventure Tours Desert Safari Outback Adventure. For this we're in open-air four wheel drive vehicles - they advise you to dress warmly, and it's good advice!  On the way to the desert, our guide Polo always put a humorous spin on even the driest of facts.  Once there, we spent roughly an hour learning much about the native flora & fauna. 

Heading-out to the desert, our guide Polo always put a humorous spin on even the driest of facts :)
"I don't think I'm in Los Angeles anymore" :) Lots of cacti... both big and small. I kept my distance... Polo said once you get stuck it's kinda hard to get them out (and they're so sharp that these were the original tattooing instruments prior to the invention of needles). As I say, the telephoto lens allows me to keep some distance. Supposedly, these are flowers. Who am I to argue?
It was really great learning about the different varieties of cactus... as well as the indigenous wildlife and other bits of Mexican trivia :) A dry river bed now - but Polo said he'd seen it go from dry to 4' deep in a matter of an hour (rain is VERY rare in Baja... on the order of <10" per year). Yes, that's the Pacific Ocean in the distance... Our chariot awaits! Unlike the zip-lining adventure, this tour's steepest angles were a piece of cake! :)

After re-boarding our vehicle at the bottom of a dry river bed, we cruised several miles off-road to the beach - on the way, Polo transformed himself (with the aid of bedouin sheets) into Mohammed... our guide for Camel riding.

Polo quickly transforms into Mohammed, and we're now coming to Africa for camel riding :) Because, where else but Africa would you be riding camels by the beach? :D It actually was a lot of fun... very peaceful from that high perch, listening to the wind and the crashing waves. My camel - Slim - seemed a bit cantankerous... after about 15min his body language was saying "okay, I've had enough - end this now!" lol Yep, Pickles loves me (although his breath needs a little work :)

It actually was a lot of fun... very peaceful from that high perch, listening to the wind and the crashing waves. My camel - Slim - seemed a bit cantankerous... after about 15min his body language was saying "okay, I've had enough - end this now!!" But it was about that time anyway - when everyone was finished, we rode about a half-mile up the beach for a tasty (traditional) Mexican lunch... followed by (yet another) tequila tasting (yes, there's a pattern forming here! lol).

They tour company provided a shockingly good lunch for us Why sober-up now? Time for another tequila tasting... followed by pretty much unlimited pours back into town. I'm getting to where it's taking a half-dozen shots before I'm feeling anything (guess you can build a tolerance to anything!) By desert standards, it was pretty cool on this day - we saw only four of these chipmunks, and one small iguana. Nice view, huh?

The tequila "tasting" continued all the way back into town - we were all very much happy (intoxicated) campers by then!  If you'd like to read my full review on TripAdvisor, click here.  I had originally planned on taking the remainder of the afternoon for an in-town photo safari... but with so much alcohol coursing through my veins, instead I took about a two hour nap :)

After waking I decided upon starting-it-up again (with another homemade margarita) - which I took outside to the nearby front patio where I could enjoy the company of a new friend from an island south of Key West.

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At 7:30 I headed-out for dinner (again just around the corner) at Felix's Restaurant - consisting of Salpiconitas de Jaiba & Jalapenos Rellenos, followed with Pozole.  Good food, but a tiny bit underwhelming after the previous two night's fare (btw, if you go, be sure to visit the website and pre-print yourself a free margarita coupon - may as well use it while you can!). And, since I'm no longer much of a party animal, I decided to forsake the ample Cabo nightlife - instead, opting for a good night's (perhaps alcohol-assisted?) sleep.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - America's Cup Sailing

Having had quite the good night's rest, I woke pre-dawn and decided to walk over to Playa Medano (about 15min, at a leisurely pace)for some sunrise photography.

See, it really IS sunrise :) It really is pretty here Decided to do a little artsy-fartsy silhouetting while I was snapping merrily-away. The fishing boats depart early - I saw several really large marlin brought back over the past several days
Playa el Médano at sunrise (yeah, no matter how much I try, sleep eludes me - even on vacation) I could live here... Weird cruise... Carnival's Sensation was here on Wed 1-June - when it set sail that evening I figured it was gone, yet it returned the next day. Calm looking water, but with a surprisingly strong undertow
Similar to the one a couple of frames ago - but this one shows that there's pretty good-sized waves even in the cove Another artsy-fartsy photo Looking in the direction of Los Arcos (it's just behind the big rock)

Upon returning to the room I made myself some scrambled eggs w/chorizo & cheese in tortillas for breakfast, then just surfed the net and chilled - til it was time to leave late morning for Cabo Adventure Tours America's Cup Sailing (NOTE: I've provided no hyperlink this time because it's now off their website... not sure why). As a sailor, I found this to be very enjoyable... but it was far-and-above the most strenuous thing I did during the entire holiday (men tend to be cast in the role of grinders - and on my tour we had a LOT of men more interested in drinking than grinding).  So why no photos you may ask? Very simple: for the first two Cabo Adventure Tours, they charged roughly $50US for a disc that contained every photo shot during the tour - but, for America's Cup Sailing, that same $50US bought you about a dozen pics - and you needed to spend well over $100US to get everything.  No thank you... that's just crazy.

And my original plans for this day also included going on the Cabo Eco Cat Sunset Dinner Cruise - but I'd received an email the day before saying the trip had been cancelled due to the small number of bookings.  No biggie... I wandered the shopping district until I found a bottle of the Herradura Seleccion Suprema (cost me roughly $200US), then came back to the room and enjoyed more homemade margaritas & another of my new friends from that island south of Key West.  In fact, having pigged-out for so much of the trip, tonight's dinner was just some munchies - that I proceeded to walk-off (er, at least somewhat) in-and-around The Marina.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - Golf at The Cabo San Lucas Country Club

Woke on this first day of June slightly apprehensive... about to go play golf for the first time in nearly a year (thankfully, it wasn't nearly as ugly as I expected - although my short-game wouldn't have won me any tourneys either).  Had plenty of time to polish-off somemore fresh coffee and tortilla-wrapped eggs/chorizo/cheese.  I hailed a cab about ten, and it was a very short ride to the north end of town - well in advance of my 11:52 tee time at The Cabo San Lucas Country Club (aka The Raven).  I had heard some really bad things about it - namely, that a nearby sewage treatment plant made it an unfortunate experience. Nothing could've been further from the truth (if you'd like to read the lengthy review I posted to TripAdvisor, please click here).

Golf at the Cabo San Lucas Country Club... a Pete Dye design Nice views to be had (it sits on high ground to the north of downtown Cabo) The iguanas are getting bigger Given the water restrictions here, I was surprised the course was as green as it is) Looking back towards town... yep, the Sensation is STILL here! :p

Yes, I'd love to go back to Cabo and play a couple of their premiere courses - but, doing so would require a rent car and a much bigger expenditure of money.  Given my lack of play, this course fit the bill perfectly... and, for a Pete Dye design, it's shockingly forgiving of wayward shots.

I was quite happy that my playing partner - Carlos, hailing from Northern California - offered to give me a ride back to the hotel. Returning mid-afternoon, and feeling myself starting to sober-up for the first time in many days, I quickly started downing some more of my in-room margaritas (realizing, at this point, that there was simply no way to finish-off all of the tequila I'd bought).  Plus, tonight's 7:30 dinner reservation was on-site: at Salvatore's, for their famous Lasagna (accompanied by a glass of their house red wine).  Not sure how they make it so incredibly thick yet light... but be advised that this hearty eater could only manage about half of "the best lasagna I've ever had" - bringing the leftovers back up to the room (my TripAdvisor review, typed soon after completing this wonderful meal, is foundhere).


Thursday, June 2, 2011 - Pelican Beach

Early to bed, early to rise - means more pre-dawn photography (this time shot more around the bottom end of The Marina not too far from Playa Solamar):

More fishing awaits... More sunrise photography - this time from over near Playa Solamar Still more fishing awaits...
Old-school fishing Portending one of my day's destinations (Pelican Beach) The higher end real estate - in Pedregal
This guy was really cute... ...when he flew from the navigation tower to a nearby cliff, I followed him. But, after a few minutes, he'd gotten tired of my paparazzi ways and flew-away for good

After returning to the hotel, I polished-off the last of my tortilla-wrapped eggs & cheese (the chorizo was now all gone); I then packed my snorkel bag & drink cooler, stopped by a nearby store for a sandwich & chips, then arrived at Chilango's Glass Bottom Boats for my 9:30am Water Taxi to Pelican Beach.

And here we are - brought from the Marina by Water Taxi Betcha can't guess why it's called Pelican Beach? ;-) And this is looking back in the direction of the Marina Walking towards Lover's Beach (near the famed Los Arcos)
Looking back towards Playa el Médano Getting acquainted with another friend from the island south of Key West - while relaxing in the shade overlooking Pelican Beach Here we are on Lover's Beach
And here's a view of Lover's Beach before crossing the sandy area towards Divorce Beach I hope the view was worth their effort! Back on Pelican Beach - had to get a snapshot of one of the America's Cup boats (in the distance) getting underway My Water Taxi driver - Juan - took very good care of me

I did a little bit of snorkeling, but found the water too rough & with a little too much current for a nice, relaxing time... so, instead, I climbed the rocks to go to both Lover's Beach and also Divorce Beach (on the incredibly rough windward side - not just very high, dangerous surf but also blowing sand). After polishing-off my lunch and the last of my friends from the island south of Key West I met the water taxi at 1:30 sharp for the ride back to the Marina... then wandered-over to Hooters', so I could try their highly-touted Terminator Wings (MUCH spicier than anything to be had in the states!). 

And the last of this second batch... yours truly at Cabo's Hooters - just before trying their Terminator Wings (much spicier than anything to be had in the states). L8R :)

When I returned to the hotel, my very full belly demanded a nap - and I didn't argue.  Upon waking, I began some packing (whilst sipping a couple more homemade margarita), then went for a late-ish dinner at Maro's Shrimp House (starting with their house drink "The Bulldog"... sort of like a beer margarita... followed with Tortilla Soup (SOOOO good!) and their Lobster & Shrimp entree).  Another absolutely stellar meal, literally only a few hundred feet from the Siesta Suites... which will definitely be my base of operations for all future visits to Cabo San Lucas!

Would love to tell you that the crazy, wild 'n single spent his last night in Cabo partying til the wee-hours with the younger set... but you all know me better than that! :p


Friday, June 3, 2011 - En Route back home to Los Angeles

My final day began with breakfast-out: at Mama's Royal Cafe (where I enjoyed a glass of free juice... print those internet coupons, people!... followed by Eggs Cabo [avocado & grilled tomato] plus Coffee). It was both tasty and filling :)

Returned to my room to finish packing (although I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't make me check-out early... my bags stayed in my room until right before TransCabo Shuttle's 2:30 pickup outside the hotel lobby).  I wandered a bit, decide to try The Crazy Lobster Grill for my final Cabo lunch (wonderful yet again), gave the last of my alcohol to the hotel manager, checked-out, then quickly said my goodbyes as I began the trip back home.

I had planned on visiting the YVESAM VAT Refund stand at the airport - to recoup some of the VAT I paid during my stay - but they were closed (that attitude is one thing that would get old very fast).  I converted the last of my currency, then sat at the bar til it was time for my flight home bo board (this time I was back in the coach seats - no matter, I slept most of the way anyway).  My friend Ana picked-me-up @ LAX and by mid-evening I was back from a really wonderful Mexican getaway.


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