First trip to Cabo San Lucas

Like many people, the thought of vacationing in Mexico left me a little concerned.  Is it safe? We have all heard and seen the news stories about violence in the country. The tourist areas seem safe but are they? 
Earlier this year my wife traveled to Cabo San Lucas with a good friend. I have to be honest I was a little apprehensive about it. I told her to stay in the resort and be careful walking around. 

One of my first questions after she got there was, “is it safe?”  She told me it was very safe. They walked all over the city. and took a couple of short drives to the other areas. While she was there I told her we should plan a short trip somewhere for Valentine’s Day. I suggested San Diego. She suggested Cabo. So, of course, we went to Cabo. 🙂

From the Sacramento area getting to Cabo is easy. Southwest has several daily flights to and from Cabo with one-stop.  On Saturday they also have a nonstop to and from Cabo.  We left on a Tuesday morning at 7:30 am. Made a quick stop in San Diego to change planes and then two hours to Cabo. On the way home, we took the non stop flight. That leaves at 3:30 pm and is about three hours.

Where is Cabo? I never really paid attention until now. It’s at the southern tip of Baja California. If you follow California on a map and go south past the border, Cabo is at the end. On one side is the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez, which separates Baja from mainland Mexico. On the other side is the Pacific Ocean. 

We left early on Tuesday morning on the 7:25 am flight. The plane was less than half full. We stopped in San Diego. We had less than an hour layover then off to Cabo. From San Diego to Cabo is about 2 hours. 
We landed just before 1 pm Cabo time. They are 1 hour ahead of California. My wife had already reserved a shuttle to take us to the Tesoro Resort where we stayed. It was about a 45-minute drive. The roads were in great shape. 

We got checked in at the hotel, which is right on the marina. It ended up being the perfect location to stay.  She wanted to take me to a restaurant she went to a few weeks prior, Maro’s Shrimp House. They had three lobster tails for $21. It was a short walk from the hotel. The food was really good. 
After that, we walked around downtown. I texted a friend that owns a condo in Cabo, Casa Mario, to ask where his condo was at so we could walk by and check it out. He suggested some places to visit. 

There are a lot of shops, restaurants and of course pharmacies. There are usually multiple ”pharmacias” on every block.  You will not go hungry in Cabo. I have never seen so many places to eat in such a small area. Everything from a hole in the wall to a 5-star upscale restaurant. Prices are very reasonable. Actually pretty cheap compared to what you get back home. The food is excellent. 

As you walk around, you pass by shops and people try to sell you stuff but they’re very nice. I speak some Spanish so I would say a few things. You just politely say no and they don’t bother you.  At the marina where we stayed there are a lot of shops and restaurants. It’s also a great area to walk in. It’s about a 3-mile round trip. Hotels, shops and restaurants on one side and the marina on the other.  If you want to, you can spend your whole trip at the marina eating and shopping.

At the marina, there are a lot of people selling activities. Boat rides, snorkeling, fishing, whale watching, you name it. They can be a little pushy but not bad. Just say no thank you and keep walking.  The only time it got annoying was when we ate lunch at a place on the beach. The peddlers aren’t allowed into restaurants or resort areas. The beach was roped off so resort guests could don’t have to deal with it. We ate lunch at the edge of the restaurant and there was a constant stream of people selling their stuff coming up to us. We had to keep stopping our conversation to say no thank you. I would not eat next to the edge like that again.

It is fairly inexpensive to stay here.  There are a lot of deals on various websites. At the Tesoro, we found one of their best rooms, with THE best balcony for $200 a night. Breakfast is included. The people staying next to us paid $80 a night. A smaller room, but a great deal.  It included breakfast too, which is $15-20 per person. You can go to the buffet or order from a menu. There are “all-inclusive” resorts as well. If you want to just stay within the resort all day you can. Food and alcohol there is fairly cheap. Lots of 2 for 1 specials. Beer ls $2. Margaritas are $5-6.  We stopped by a few other resorts to take a look and found a couple we would like to stay at in the future.

I felt 100% completely safe here. We walked all over the area. There were tourists of all ages. From kids to people in their 70’s. It’s very clean. Cleaner and safer than parts of San Francisco or Sacramento. I never saw any drug use. No needles or people passed out. Never smelled any marijuana. I got offered drugs a couple of times. We did see the “policia”. Sometimes there were officers armed with automatic weapons on the backs of pickups.  We didn’t go deep into the city. We walked within a 1 mile by 2 mile area. Like any place, you should always be aware of your surroundings. If you like to walk, you can walk along the marina. It is a 3 mile round trip. I saw people walking and jogging every morning.

Talking to other tourists you can learn a lot about the area. We met a wonderful young woman at the pool who was traveling with her mom and stepdad. It was a chance meeting that turned into hours of conversation, dinner, drinks, and friendship. She’s been coming to Cabo for 15 years with her mom. They rent a car and drive all over the area. She said she has never felt unsafe. She gave us some great info on places to go and eat. 

The people there are incredibly friendly. They know tourism is the lifeblood of the local economy. All the employees go over and above. Just about everyone speaks some English. I know enough Spanish to converse. I think because I’m Portuguese and fairly dark-skinned they assume I speak Spanish when they see me. It came in handy and I joked with them quite a bit. One guy joked I was looking more and more Mexican everyday.

We’ve been to Maui a few times. I would compare Cabo to that. It’s much cheaper and easier to get to. 3 hours vs 5-6 hours flying. Airfare is much cheaper. We booked our flights three weeks ago so it was more expensive, but if you book earlier you can get round trip flights for around $200 a person. The food is cheaper and better I think. More options. The places to stay are much cheaper. Our $200 a night room would be $750-1000 in Maui. The weather was perfect right now, mid 60’s to mid 70’s. Not humid at all. Very similar to San Diego. We can’t wait to come back. This is going to be our new place to travel. 

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