I first heard of Los Cabos while watching Wheel of Fortune many years ago. Pat Sajack informed a lucky contestant that her fabulous prize was a trip to beautiful Cabo, while Vanna White clapped and smiled. The beaches and aquatic life looked beautiful in the clip and a happy couple pranced through the sand, all while the contestant held her hand over her face, holding back a victorious scream. From that moment on, I looked forward to the day when I would walk (I’m not a prancer) along the beaches of Los Cabos.
Fortunately, I finally was able to visit Los Cabos and the video from Wheel of Fortune did not do justice to the beauty of the Baja Peninsula. Unfortunately, soon after I visited, in September 2014, Hurricane Odile tore through the gorgeous landscape. Slowly but surely, though, Los Cabos is healing. The airport is now open and more resorts are reopening as well.
The resort where I stayed, the beautiful Westin Los Cabos, will not re-open until June 1st, 2015. It isn’t too early though to begin planning on staying at this amazing location – and I highly recommend staying there. The resort sits on one of the most beautiful locations I have ever had the pleasure of staying. My room overlooked the beautiful beaches and surf of the Gulf of California. Every morning I sat on my balcony and watched whales leaping from the water, and at night I listened to the comforting sounds of crashing waves. Yes, I realize that using “crashing waves” is cliché, but hey, that’s what they sound like and it was relaxing.
The rooms at the Westin are spacious and open and the lobby is beautiful and inviting. You could seriously hang out in the lobby all day and feel relaxed and free. The staff at the hotel were also friendly and helpful. The hotel has 3 lovely pools, one of which is an adults-only pool with a swim up margarita bar. A kid friendly pool also exists, complete with shade and shallow water. Among other amenities are tennis courts, lounges, a nice sized gym, and a kids’ club. Located half-way between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (the two towns that, together, make-up Los Cabos), it’s perfectly situated to explore the region.
If you’re staying at the Westin Los Cabos or nearby, you’ll be surprised at the quality of food at the hotel. My wife and I ate at 3 of the restaurants – Arrecifes, La Cascada, and La Playa – and it was among the best hotel food we’ve eaten.
Arrecifes satisfied my desire for Mexican fine dining, as I ate a delicious and beautifully artistic prepared feast. Sitting high up and overlooking the Sea of Cortez, Arrecifes has an ambiance that is romantic and relaxing, and if you time it right, you can see the moon rise over the water. My mouth is watering as I reminisce about the delicious steak I had that evening.
Guess what kind of food La Cascada serves up? If you guessed Mexican, you would be right. La Cascada serves up breakfast and has an excellent lunch buffet. I normally avoid buffets, since experience has taught me that buffet food is almost inedible, but each dish at La Cascada was simply delicious and it was difficult to resist gorging my face.
La Playa is the beach level restaurant. My fantasy of eating and drinking by the beach was accomplished there. The restaurant offers sandwiches, salads, and other beach-type foods. And of course, the margarita I had while eating added to the experience.
But there is great food to be had away from the hotel, as well. My favorite local taco joint in Los Cabos was Taqueria Rossy. Rossy’s is a local favorite and can fill up fast. They serve a wide variety of tacos and I was told by a seasoned traveler that they have the best fish tacos anywhere in the world. I chose chicken and beef though, since I’m not a huge fish taco fan. My Spanish is limited, but I managed to order and was given my plate with just the meat and tortilla. A glass box nearby was stocked with all the toppings. After filling up my tacos, I chowed down on some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. The service was slow, but the waiters were very friendly and worked with me on my limited Spanish. Then at the end of the meal, I found that I was parked in 3 rows deep and had to wait for the other customers to leave. It was a loooooong wait, but I was in Mexico, and had nowhere else to be.
We also ate at Edith’s, which is in San Jose del Cabos, the quieter of the two Cabos. Edith’s is one of the most expensive restaurants in Los Cabos, but also one of the best. The wannabe foodie inside me savored every bite of food. Edith’s too can fill up quickly and I was surprised with how busy it was on a late weeknight. Luckily, we had a reservation and didn’t have to wait long. My lone tip for this restaurant is to save room for dessert. You’ll not only love every bite of the flambéed banana crepes, but you’ll be entertained watching the crepes be flambéed tableside. Nothing like fire to get the night going.
There’s so much to do in Los Cabos, which made it difficult to budget our time between activities and soaking up rays by the beach. My wife and I love to snorkel, and it’s easy to find great places to snorkel right off the main road (especially for those who have their own gear). Within minutes of walking across the sand at a deserted cove, we were enveloped by an amazing assortment of brightly colored fish. I also took a kayak tour through Baja Adventures, and we kayaked out to Land’s End and snorkeled around the giant rocks. I was amazed at how clear the visibility is, even after going quite deep.
We also went on a whale watching expedition through Whale Watch Cabo . We were highly impressed by the company, which staffs its boats with marine biologist and naturalists and emphasizes a respectful and non-invasive approach to whale watching. By keeping group sizes small, everyone is ensured a good seat and the chance to engage with the marine biologists. (Another added perk, the staff takes professional quality photographs during your trip, which they email to you afterward, which means you can just sit back and enjoy the experience.) We had been on whale watching trips in other locations, and weren’t wowed by the experience. Whale watching in Los Cabos is a totally different experience though. We were able to see humpback whales leaping from the waters close to our boat and followed a group of five humpbacks, ranging in ages, as they breached, slapped the waters, and generally put on a great show. Everyone that visits Los Cabos should go on one of these tours, while we saw dozens of whales from our hotel balcony, nothing beats seeing them up close and personal.
Other activity options include kayaking, riding dirt bikes, golfing, etc.
Los Cabos is a magical place and I’m glad that it’s reemerging from the storm. Much of the economy is based on tourism, so I’m sure the resorts, hotels, and local restaurants are readying themselves for a busy 2015. If you love the beach life and great snorkeling, Los Cabo is your place.
*Side tip for anyone planning on going to Los Cabos and renting a car. Car rentals are extremely cheap, but mandatory insurance drives up the cost significantly. Look into purchasing insurance ahead of time and bring a copy of proof of insurance with you, or call and verify the amount of insurance before you arrive so you won’t be in for a surprise.