Greeting fellow world-travelers!
It’s been a minute since my last entry, but alas work and life responsibilities took priority over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As a result, I wasn’t able to travel for the holidays.
Don’t fret or feel sad. I sacrificed my holiday travel so a few of my military co-workers could enjoy a well-earned holiday with their families. I thought this was a better Christmas present than a little trinket from some far away land.
Any who, I decided to kick off my Adventure 2018 saga by spending the Washington’s Birthday holiday, unofficially known as Presidents’ Day, in … wait for it … Mexico.
I know, funny huh? I chose this holiday because (1) it is a day off from work, but (2) it’s not a major holiday, therefore (3) prices aren’t inflated as they are during the major holidays (i.e. Christmas, New Year’s).
I also choose Mexico because it was close and relatively inexpensive for a four-day, three-night mini-holiday. But now, where in Mexico to visit?
After researching various locations including Mexico City and Cancun, and after reading the U.S. State Department travel advisories, I decided on Baja California Sur, and San Jose Del Cabo. So, I booked my ticket on Southwest Airlines for a reasonable $200 roundtrip, taxes included. Of course, I used some Rapid Rewards points; the average price is around $250-$300.
San Jose Del Cabo is a nice area not too far from Cabo San Lucas, which is a major tourist area in Baja California Sur. I was able to book a nice Junior Suite with a partial pool-view at Cabo Azul.
Cabo Azul is managed by Diamond Resorts, which is a timeshare company. Needless to say offers to attend a presentation began the moment I clicked the “confirm reservation” button. However, I decline the offers and resigned myself to relaxation and reflection.
I arrived at the resort a little early. Normal check-in is 4 p.m., which is a little on the late side, but enjoying a free bottle of water (which I most certainly needed in this heat), while enjoying a local band serenade the guests as the enter the resort is not too terrible.
The moment I entered my room, I understood why it took a little longer for my room to be ready. The room was near spotless and looked as if the staff went over it with a fine-tooth comb.
Now I’m not one of those types of guests who freaks out if I spot a few dust bunnies in the corners or tries to find something wrong to complain about like how they didn’t make a triangle on the roll of toilet paper or placed the hangars in the closets on the right side instead of the left, (c’mon, really?). I am a guest who can tell if housekeeping gave a rat’s behind about cleaning the room. Trust me, I’ve been at hotels were housekeeping was a joke … and so was management for that matter.
This was not the case at Cabo Azul. My Junior Suite, which is actually a studio with a separate living area, was nice, clean and equipped with a working central air unit, which in the heat, was a necessity. I didn’t have a kitchen, but I did have a coffee-service set, ice bucket and a mini-fridge. A microwave could be requested if I needed one, but this was not a standard vacation. Rather, it was a “get away from work” mini-break, so the Junior Suite was perfect for me. Actually, it was too big for just me … but I adjusted to all the extra space.
Now about that partial pool-view. Well, it would have been only a partial pool-view if I never walked out my bedroom door. That’s right! My “partial pool-view” was more “walk out your bedroom door and straight into the pool” view. Cabo Azul has many pools to choose from, including the center pool next to the beach. My pool was the “adults-only” pool, which as a solo traveler, I truly appreciated. Plus, it was quieter and more relaxing.
I’m not much of a swimmer, in fact I hate the ocean, which is a bit weird since I grew up in Los Angeles and 15-minutes from the Pacific, but I dipped my toes in the pool because … well … because it was part of the relaxation agenda. The pool was also less crowded and there was no fighting over the beach loungers. I think the thought process was that specific loungers belong to specific rooms, so no reason to cause a hassle. Actually, there weren’t any reserved loungers, but hey no need to change people’s thought process when I’m sitting in a lounger right outside my bedroom, right?
After a quiet dinner at Flor de Noche, I spent the rest of the day familiarizing myself with the resort, after which I walked to the local market. It was a ten-minute walk from the resort, so I managed to get some cardio in as well. However, if buying more than just a few snacks and juice, I’d suggest taking a cab or the local bus. Oh, and don’t try to take the grocery cart from the parking lot. The cart is not worth the time it will take to explain to the Federales why you chose to steal rather than enjoying a nice ride on the local bus.
After the most comfortable night’s sleep I’ve had in months, I spent an hour in the fitness center biking through Paris, followed by a leisurely breakfast of seasonal fruit … with a side of bacon, coffee and juice … poolside. I greeted another guest with a raise glass of juice and the simple “ain’t life grand.”
Sitting in a beach lounger enjoying breakfast and so much-needed sun after three months of snow, ice and rain? You bet life is grand!
Of course, no visit is complete without a trip “downtown,” aka souvenir mecca. After a six-minute taxi ride that cost $7, I arrived in historic San Jose Del Cabo. I was told that on any given day this area is vibrant and full of life. Well, I guess today was a hangover recovery day. What I saw wasn’t vibrant or full of life, but simply dead. Nevertheless, the shop owners were ready and willing to sell you the latest homemade bracelet or plastic ship in a bottle for the lowly price of $50 USD.
Buyer Beware Story: When negotiating a price for ten keychains, the same type of keychains one could find at local Dollar Tree store, the seller said “60.” I asked, “Pesos?” He said “No, dollars.” Sixty dollars for keychains that won’t survive the plane ride home? I said, “No, thank you,” and left. I found much better keychains at another shop and paid only $15 for fifteen keychains, two shot glasses, five refrigerator magnets, and a shot of tequila, which I declined as I don’t drink alcohol.
After buying a few t-shirts for friends back home, I returned to my resort … and to my beach lounger for another hour of quiet reflection.
In the evening, I faced my H2O fears and explored the Cabo San Lucas bay via a sunset cooking/dining cruise.
During the cruise, the chef taught us how to make a shrimp-stuffed portobello mushroom. We then attempted (in my case very badly) to recreate the dish.
The end result didn’t win the cooking contest, and certainly didn’t look likes chef’s dish, but it tasted Mmm Mmm Good! After a nice dinner, we cruised around a few of Cabo San Lucas attractions, including the Arch of Cabo San Lucas and Lovers Beach. All in all, not a bad night. Met new people, learned to cook a very healthy dish and took some wonderful photos. Memories galore!
For my last night in town, I simply walked around the town, spent my last few Pesos on some souvenirs, relax at the pool for two hours, then headed to Javier’s Restaurant & Bar to dine on chicken enchiladas and rice.
In the end, my mini-break to Mexico was not a bad way to honor the “Father of USA.” Not too bad at all. Looking forward to my next trip to Cabo Azul and San Jose Del Cabo. Check back later for more on my 2018 Adventure exploits.
As always …
“Have Passport, Will Travel!”