Sunday, September 2, 2012

Paradise is Closer Than You Think

Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Mexico

When we first stepped on the plane for the trip over, I settled in for a nice long ride.  Just four short hours later, we were at our destination and I was in shock!  Traveling to Cabo, Mexico, was a faster trip than one to Las Vegas, Nevada with none of the usual time hangover.  Although we did have to switch planes once in Houston, jumping over the Sea of Cortez made this trip faster than I could have imagined.  Who knew paradise was so close to my own backdoor?

And, a paradise it was!  I had been expecting a lush, green tropical oasis but the stark beauty of the Baja Desert called to me with a song of its own.  Miles upon miles of dry and scrubby cactus were astounding and the heat washed over us like a warm hug--not the squelching humidity of other Mexican hot spots.  The town of Cabo had a wonderful small town feel to it with meandering streets full of local flavors and ware; the food was authentic and incredible; the people, the most hospitable  I've ever met.  In truth, I can think of nothing that distracted from pure perfection.

This is one of those locales that has you questioning the purpose of your life.  Makes you wonder if your job is really that important.  Makes you think that weekend visits with family could easily be turned into yearly skips back home.  Still, months after returning home, Cabo San Lucas calls to me like a siren, inviting me back.

Some places not to be missed:

To Do:
  • Sunset Jazz and Wine Cruise on Tropicat Caramaran.  There are literally dozens of choices to take any willing rider out to see the famous Lover's Beach and Arch--pirate boat, sailboat, fishing boat, Sea Doo, etc.  We elected to go on the Tropicat at sunset, a huge catamaran.  While many in the harbor were loading onto mammoth partyboats full of pulsing music and lights, my party and I quietly stepped on this luxurious boat with jazz playing softly in the background.  The trip out and back takes a total of about three hours and the crew is attentive to your every need, filling wineglasses or other mixed drink and keeping the gourmet snacks ready.  While the point of the trip is to see the Arch, the travel back and forth is what is truly breathtaking.  Before we even left the bay, a pod of Orca whales breached in front of us.  While the loud partyboaters were jamming off in the distance, my crew on the sailboat stood perfectly still, watching the majestic creatures play in the water just a few feet from where we stood spellbound.  If that wasn't enough of treat, the local sea lion colony had its lone ambassador at point on a rock, calling out and showing off.  It felt surreal for this Kentucky girl to have witnessed such beauty.  And, all this was before even seeing the Arch, famous the entire world over!  For $75 a couple, this experience is bucket-list worthy.  For more information, see the website Tropicat
  • Snorkeling and Mini Sub Dive.  There are many ways to see the waters in Cabo and since swimming is not allowed on the Pacific Ocean due to rough waves, you must travel by boat if you really want to experience the beauty of the surf.  Again, there are dozens of choices but a true once in a lifetime experience is going down under in a Mini-Sub.  The 30-minute independent personal submarine trip will allow you to see ocean life like never before.  Unhampered by masks and hoses, the submarine lets you come in contact with wildlife that even snorkelers can't begin to see, let alone touch.  Again, the personnel on all the attractions are there to please and the entire trip is one of endless drinks and food and fun.  For more information, see the website Oceanus Mini Subs and Cruises
  • ATV Desert and Beach Tour.  It is hard to believe that an ocean location is also the site of one of the most beautiful deserts on earth.  This is probably what is most well-known in the area:  miles upon miles of free range ATV and dune buggy tours.  And, when I say free range, you're not following some man-made trail.  You're blazing your own path.  The Rancho Carisuva, an eco-adventure company, sits near the Pacific Ocean and is an authentic Baja Californian ranch with all kinds of animals and plenty of things to ride from horses to ATV's.  Whatever your pleasure, get ready for an experience you could never even have dreamed up.  One minute you're flying over barren desert floors then you're climbing cliff edges then you're skimming along deserted beaches while the spray of the Pacific cools you off.  Of all the things I've done in my life, this was truly the most amazing.  For more information, see the website Rancho Carisuva
To Eat (or Drink)
  • Cabo Wabo.  Sammy Hagar's famous Cabo location lives up to its reputation.  Most nights see big name stars and rock bands on the main stage.  On the night we were there, the small stage out front hosted a local band that played some of the finest music I've ever heard.  Sitting under the stars, listening to great music and eating $2 tacos (a variety, all of which were delicious!  My favorite was the barbecue port and pineapple slaw.) was the perfect introduction to Cabo nightlife.  While there, try both signature house drinks--the Waborita and the Wabotini.  For more information, see the website Cabo Wabo Cantina
  • Now I can say I've been to the most romantic restaurant in the world!  There is no way even Paris, France could top this place.  The Sunset Da Mona Lisa oozes romance from every terraced balcony and chilled wine glass.  Combine that with gourmet Italian food and breathtaking views and you have it all.  Situated right on the point, the restaurant is only open at sunset and the staff does it up right.  An entire sunset ceremony takes place with gongs and everything.  While all the food looks amazing, we just had to try steaks and fresh veggies grilled on volcanic rock.  For more information, see the website Sunset Da Mona Lisa
  • If you're like my husband, you hear Mexican and you think Corona!  Well, don't be so quick to focus on that beer staple.  The Baja Brewing Company can give you something new to appreciate.  Located on the Puerto Paraiso Mall at the Marina, the beer and food is made fresh and right on the premises.  If anything can compete with the views of million dollar yachts and breathtaking waves of the Sea of Cortez, it is the menu which downplays the truly gourmet burger and pub offerings.  Sit outside and you have an entire night's worth of fun watching the eclectic mix of local musicians and travelers from around the world.  For more information, see the website at Baja Brewing Company