Tag Archives: todos santos mexico

Cabo San Lucas: A few of my best tips for a great holiday

1 May

Cabo San Lucas has been on my radar for a long time.  Growing up in California, it is a pretty easy trip.  In my opinion, it is the west coast version of the Caribbean for east coasters.  I’ve been three times-once as a teenager, another time during business school over New Year’s, and my most recent trip in late December 2011.  Each trip was different and enjoyable in its own way.

Why I was headed to Cabo for vacation

I’m only going to write about my most recent trip.  There won’t be spring break tips or a safety primer.  I was headed down for R&R to belatedly celebrate a close female friend’s birthday and successful recovery from breast cancer.  It also turned out that another male friend of ours was heading down at the same time.  I owe the restaurant recommendations to him.  My friend and I were staying at a timeshare in between San Jose del Cabo (SJ) and Cabo San Lucas (CSL).  I won’t be providing a review of the Club Regina Los Cabos (attached to, but independent from, the Westin Los Cabos), but I did enjoy the location.

A quick note on cars

The main road between SJ and CSL appeared to be quite new.  It even had little lights on the road that are motion sensitive at night and light up.  Parking in either of the towns could be a bit of handful, though not insane.  That said, I wasn’t the one doing the driving.  Honestly, it gave us a ton of flexibility.  If you have someone in your party willing to drive/park, I would recommend it.

A beautiful house during a walk along the beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

My “typical day”

8am: Awaken to the sounds of the ocean

10am: Brunch, frequently out

Afternoon: Activity (walk on beach, ziplining, horseback riding)

Late afternoon: Soak up the sun by the pool (covered in SPF 50 and a wide brimmed hat)

Evening: Nice dinner

Late Evening: Fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean

A few of my recommended activities

Ziplining: I had been ziplining previously in Costa Rica, and I find it fun.  We selected Wild Canyon Adventures.  It was a nice course that took several hours.  There was definitely a bit of hiking in between stations so be forewarned.  Also, if you have a lighter person or a child, I highly recommend they pair up with a heavier person when possible on the tandem ziplines.  I fall on the petite side, and I had a few times I didn’t make it all the way.  I just had to pull myself the last few yards, but it does get tiring.  Great tricep workout though.

Todos Santos and nearby beaches: I wrote about the stunning nearby beaches in a previous post, and I do also recommend the town of Todos Santos.  It is colorful, cute, and makes a great day trip.  One big caveat: the road to Todos Santos is currently under major construction.  It was slow, rough, and we spent the majority of the time behind major construction vehicles.  If you are short of patience or have young children, proceed with caution.  That said, the drive is beautiful, and I’m sure it will be even better with the new road.

Sunrise from in front of our hotel room, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Sunrise & Sunset: I was on a quest to find great spots to watch both, and I feel successful in those endeavors.  Chosen locations were confirmed by a local photographer.  For sunset, head to the Sunset Da Mona Lisa Restaurant.  You don’t need to eat there.  Grab a drink at the upstairs bar and then walk around the stunning vista as the sun sets behind the famous El Arco.  For sunrise, we climbed down on the rocks in front of our hotel room.  If you are staying elsewhere, I’m sure you can grab breakfast at the adjacent Westin for a similar view.

Be sure to look up: The stars are just spectacular (this coming from a girl who resides in CO, not too far from the mountains).  My friend and I curled up under a blanket on our patio late one night and just spent some time being peaceful and looking up.

Where to eat in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose

I ate well in Cabo.  Coming from a landlocked state, we all wanted to eat as much seafood as possible.  You’ll notice that in my comments.  Yum, I’m getting hungry just writing this.  In no particular order.

Nick-San (CSL and also across the street from La Palmilla): Good Japanese food.  Not inexpensive.  Very nice ambience and good cocktails.  Not sure how it truly compares to great east and west coast Japanese restaurants.

La Dolce (CSL & SJC): Good Italian food.  The tiramisu was only ok, but they have a chocolate peanut butter dessert (we ate it late night at a different location).  They said it is always on the menu.  We completely devoured it.

Mama’s royal cafe/Felix (CSL).  Omelet and stuffed french toast were both great.  Brunch.  Very chill

Misiones de Kino (CSL): REALLY good.  Brie appetizer, fish with garlic, shrimp with pineapple and coconut shrimp were all amazing.  This might have been my favorite meal.

French Riviera Bakery

Baan Thai (SJC): This is totally legit Thai food, and I have very high standards.  Tuna main, tuna carpaccio, and green papaya salad were some of our faves.

Solomon’s Landing (CSL): At the marina by the Wyndam Hotel.  Looks very cheesy, but the food was delicious and our waiter was super helpful.  Everything we had was great, but I particularly remember their homemade corn tortillas.  Also, it would be an easy place to take kids, in my opinion.

French Riveria Bakery (SJC): We had breakfast here several times, and the pastries are great.  I particularly liked the chocolate croissant aux amandes.  Beautiful little building as well.

So what are your favorite spots and activities in Cabo?

Header Photo: Sunset in Cabo San Lucas.  All photos © W2S Hilary


A collection of four travel vignettes

21 Mar

My proverbial mouse is a little tired today.  See I’ve had him (or her) running around a lot as I scrolled through my photos in search of which story to tell you this week.  A digression, we should be glad it wasn’t a real mouse.  For the record, I don’t do well with live rodents.  Luckily I do better with the computer variety.

I kept stopping on random photos and then moving on as I realized I couldn’t make a blog post around them.  There might even be a blog post to come on the destination itself, but these particular photos wouldn’t be included because they wouldn’t further the narrative.  So…I decided that a few them were going to see the light of publication simply because I liked them.

Norwegian Folk Museum (Oslo, Norway)

Children play on a rainy day outside the Norwegian Folk Museum

Prior to heading up to the Arctic, Polar Buddy and I spent a few days exploring Oslo itself.  The museum was enjoyable, and perhaps it would have been more enjoyable on a better day.  It was pouring rain.  And much of the museum is outdoors.  Then I saw these vibrant school children.  The rain and fountains were clearly the highlight of the afternoon.  Plus, those outfits were priceless.  It reminded me of when I was little, and I wanted nothing more than a rainy day (rare in California during the drought) to wear my raincoat, carry my umbrella and jump in a puddle.

Note to self: Celebrate rainy days (literal or figurative).  Wear something bright.

Pacific Coast, outside of Todos Santos, Mexico (near Cabo San Lucas)

I was recently in Cabo San Lucas with a close friend for vacation.  I had been once before several years ago.  There is a reasons for the popularity…it is beautiful and close, yet still away.

Beach outside of Todos Santos

In my relentless quest to get off the beaten track, we asked a shopkeeper in Todos Santos for the “locals” beach.  Sure enough, a barely marked dirt road off the highway led down to a stunning beach (Playa Los Cerritos, I believe) that definitely wasn’t a secret to locals.    With good reason.  As I strolled along, close enough to misjudge a wave and get soaked, I noticed the pattern in the sand.

Note to self: Sometimes beauty and wonder are right at your feet.

Happy Dog near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

On another day, my friend and I decided to do a guided horseback ride along the beach.  I mean, why not?  The company took us to a different beach, also on the Pacific side.  There were some amazing cacti as we all rode down to the water.  Now if only my horse had the same commitment that I did to making sure I didn’t end up in one of those cacti, it would have been great.  There were no injuries, except to my pride.  Plus, I got this photo of the friendly canine who kept us company.

Note to self: Sometimes the dog has the best time.

Ile d’Yeu, France

Bike riding in Ile d'Yeu France

Sometimes life just happens and you end up in random beautiful places.  One of my favorite travel companions happens to also be French.  We stayed with her family while calling Paris home base to and from a trek to Nepal/Tibet in 2007.  I also got to be part of her family.    It was a rough gig (um, not).  To celebrate her father’s birthday, we went to Ile d’Yeu, off the northwest coast.  To explore the island, we rented bikes.  There might be a picture of me from later that afternoon with chocolate all over my face from a nutella crepe.  I can’t confirm that.

Note to self: Just go with it.  And crepes are always a good idea.

Old City, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Old City in Sarajevo, Bosnia

I debated including this picture.  My blog is upbeat, optimistic, and filled with a sense of promise.  This somewhat bucolic picture of Sarajevo masks pain.  It masks bombed out buildings, remnants of war.  I somehow don’t feel qualified to comment on such a tender wound.  So I’m taking a risk and sharing it with all of you anyway.  This photo always reminds me that as travelers we have a responsibility to the people we meet, to the countries that graciously let us inside their borders.  We have a responsibility to let ourselves experience and be impacted in an authentic way.  No one said authenticity was easy.

Note to self: Take risks, some big and some small.  Be authentic.

So there you have it.  What are some of your random travel memories?

Header Photo: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  All photos © W2S Hilary

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