Cabo San Lucas | Excursion | San Jose del Cabo



Los Cabos, Mexico - Cabo San Lucas
November 28, 2022 - December 3, 2022

Cabo San Lucas
Wednesday, 28
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Cabo San Lucas

Things I Really Enjoyed

Things I Would Do Differently

The "Retry"

This Cabo San Lucas vacation was our first time leaving the U.S. since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Cabo was a "retry" for us. Back in 2009, Cabo San Lucas was supposed to be one of the ports of call on a Mexican Riviera cruise but Mexico ended up closing its borders in an effort to contain the Swine Flu epidemic that was raging there at the time. As a result, our cruise was rerouted to Canada.

Eager to take a vacation before the end of 2022, Traci and I decided give Cabo another try. This "retry" would occur the week after Thanksgiving. We figured that most of the Thanksgiving travel crowds would have finished their travel by then thus allowing us to enjoy a less-crowded travel experience. Our speculation turned out to be mostly true. Our United Airlines flight left Washington Dulles at 6:30 AM and got us to Chicago O’Hare Airport in about 1.5 hours. After an approximate 1.5-hour layover at O’Hare, we took off for the 4.5-hour flight to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). Our flight between Chicago and Los Cabos was not full. Most of the passengers could have a row to themselves if they desired.

Landing in Los Cabos




"I’m Good. Thanks."

Leaving the airport was quite an experience for Traci and me. The limited amount of online research I did before this trip strongly recommended that you arrange your transfer from the Los Cabos airport to your accommodations in Cabo before you arrive. Otherwise, you might end up getting tricked into attending a 2-hour timeshare presentation. Although Uber operates in Mexico, their drivers are not allowed to do pick-ups or drop-offs at the airport. I reserved our transfers with Danny Boy Cabo because of the positive online reviews I saw. They were very responsive to my emails and their prices were about the same as the other transportation companies I researched. At the time, most companies quoted $75 to make the 40-minute drive between the airport and Cabo San Lucas.

What I appreciated most about Danny Boy Cabo was the detailed instructions they gave on how to find them without getting tricked by the timeshare salespeople in the airport. They told me that after clearing customs I should exit the airport without stopping, cross the arrivals pickup lane, and look for a representative under Umbrella #10 holding a sign with my name on it. This was great information because Traci and I experienced the trickery as soon as we exited the customs hall. We were approached by a man who showed us his badge and asked where we were going. I replied, "I’m good. Thanks". He was persistent in trying to get information and then he pointed out some numbers on the ground as if we were violating some kind of rule. I was not sure what he was trying to communicate but Traci and I kept walking.

We exited that hall and were immediately greeted by another man who apologized for the first man’s antics. He then went on to do a similar tactic: show his badge and ask where we were going. I did my typical "I’m good. Thanks." response and kept walking. He got me to pause briefly when he told me we were going out of the wrong exit but I could see the umbrellas we needed to get to just beyond the glass doors. I could still hear the man yelling "Sir! Sir!..." as we exited the building.

We were then approached by taxi driver after taxi driver asking if we needed a ride until finally, I could have sworn I heard angels singing when I looked up and saw a man under Umbrella #10 holding a sign with my name on it just as the Danny Boy Cabo email had indicated. I looked back at the other solicitors and said "I’m good. Thanks."

First Impressions of Cabo

During our ride to the hotel, our driver told us about the area, himself, and his family. Cabo San Lucas lies at the tip of Mexico’s Baha California peninsula. It is one of the cities within the municipality of Los Cabos. Traci and I would be spending two nights in the bustling tourist city of Cabo San Lucas and then three nights in the nearby tranquil city of San Jose del Cabo which is also within Los Cabos.

Despite being surrounded by water, the Baja peninsula is mostly desert. During our ride to Cabo from the airport, I saw landscapes filled with cacti and other desert plants. There were mountains in the background. During our time in Los Cabos, we would experience some amazing twilight skies that blended hues of yellow, pink, and lavender behind mountain silhouettes. Eventually, we began to enter the 20-mile road known as the Tourist Corridor. We could see the Sea of Cortez and palm trees. There were numerous hotels, restaurants, stores, and other establishments that line this road stretching between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Our driver rattled off a list of celebrities who vacation at the extravagant resorts in the area. Cabo San Lucas is only a 2.5-hour flight from Los Angeles.

Road to Cabo




The hotel Traci and I chose for our Cabo San Lucas stay was the Fairfield Inn By Marriott Los Cabos. Those of you who have read my other trip reports probably guessed by now that one of the reasons we chose the hotel was because it is a Marriott property. We are members of Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program and thus are always trying to earn points for free stays. The other reason we chose the hotel was because it is in walking distance to Cabo’s most popular tourist attractions.

Our room (428) was a typical chain hotel room. It had a mini-fridge. There was no carpet. I am wondering if that is a warm climate thing. I’ve noticed the same in the Caribbean and Tanzania. We had a view of the city and mountains in the background. The hotel is located next to the Seafood Esteban Restaurant. The restaurant has music and karaoke in the evenings. Despite us being able to hear the festivities clearly when walking by on the street, we barely heard it when we were in our room. Housekeeping kept our room clean each day. This was a welcome treat as many hotels in the U.S. had stopped providing daily room cleaning when the Coronavirus Pandemic hit. The hotel’s breakfast buffet was included with our stay. We were not too impressed with it the first morning but they redeemed themselves the next morning with the delicious French toast. My only complaint about our stay at the Fairfield was that there was no way to adjust the temperature in our room. The air condition made the room feel like a freezer. The temperature adjustment buttons on the thermostat did not work. My only options were to turn the a/c off or freeze. I suppose I could have called the front desk but Traci discovered that she enjoyed sleeping in the cold temperature. I was okay when I curled up under the covers of the comfortable bed.

Fairfield Inn By Marriott Los Cabos

view from Room 428 of Fairfield Inn By Marriott Los Cabos


pool at Fairfield Inn By Marriott Los Cabos



After checking into the Fairfield Inn, we had intended to change into our shorts and explore the area. This plan was majorly delayed due to a mishap. It is not recommended that you drink the tap water in Mexico. In fact, the hotel provided bottled water that we used for drinking and for brushing our teeth. As an extra precaution, Traci had packed several environment-friendly cartons of drinking water in her checked luggage. Despite sealing the cartons of water in a Ziplock bag, one of the cartons ruptured. I am assuming the change in air pressure of the airplane was the culprit. The water managed to leak out of the plastic bag. Traci’s clothes and suitcase were drenched. We ended up hanging her clothes around the room. Fortunately, between the constant air of the air condition and the dry climate of the region, most of her clothes dried quickly. However, while waiting for her clothes to dry, Traci decided to take a nap. This nap lasted several hours.

While Traci slept, I checked out the television channels. As expected, most were in Spanish. There were about three news channels that were in English. I spent my time watching a music video channel that played a mix of pop, hip hop, and Latin by mostly U.S. artists with a spattering of Latin American artists and Caribbean artists.

It was dark by the time Traci awoke from her nap. We set out to find something to eat. It turns out we no longer needed our shorts. We discovered that the hot cloudless days of this arid region of Mexico often give way to cool nights. Long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and sometimes a light jacket or sweater were our preferred evening attire while out and about. Unfortunately, I only brought one pair of casual long pants with me on this trip. Regardless, the cool evening air was still warmer than our cold hotel room.

From our hotel, it was less than a 15-minute walk to get to the marina area. Along the way, we walked past restaurants, bars, hotels, banks, convenience stores, and many pharmacies. We found out later that the reason for so many pharmacies is that Americans can buy medicine cheaper in Mexico and without a prescription. As we got closer to the marina area we saw and heard several night clubs in the vicinity. Even though there were flashing lights and thumping music emanating from the clubs, they were rather empty on this Monday night.

Traci and I read menus of several restaurants. I do not care for Mexican food because of my general dislike of vegetables - lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc... Yuck! We chose La Dolce Ristorante Italiano, an Italian restaurant. We both enjoyed our meals. I had not yet gotten any pesos (Mexican currency) so I used my credit card to pay for the meal. They also accepted U.S. dollars as did many of the establishments in Cabo. Traci and I made our way to the Outpost Cabo restaurant for dessert. The churros had caught Traci's eye when we were reading menus earlier and I was looking forward to ice cream.

Cabo San Lucas


churros at the Outpost Cabo restaurant



It was after 10 PM when we left the Outpost Cabo. Several establishments were closing for the day and the place was becoming like a ghost town. Every now and then someone would approach us to sell us something: massage, cigars, weed, hats, etc... We politely said "No, thanks." and kept walking. On the way back to the hotel, we made a stop at an OXXO convenience store to buy some soft drinks for our room. It seemed we were never far from an OXXO store during our time in Los Cabos. They are everywhere.

Glass Boat Tour

Tuesday morning, Traci and I walked down to the marina. I made a stop at an ATM machine at one of the banks along the way to get some Mexican pesos. At the time, $1 U.S. was worth about $0.052 pesos. I took out 1,900 pesos which was equivalent to $98. Given our meals were averaging around $40, This amount was only good for a couple of meals and a few tips.

Our plan for the day was to see one of Cabo's major attractions - the Arch (a.k.a Land's End). It is a large eroded rock formation in the form of an arch. From the marina, there are multiple ways to visit it and the nearby beaches of Lovers' Beach and Divorce Beach. You can get there by water taxi, tour boat excursion, sunset cruise, etc... One of the methods that caught my eye while researching Cabo was a glass boat. It is a boat made entirely of plexiglass (except the engine of course). I was told that we could negotiate a price with one of the tour operators at the marina.

Just as we were entering the marina area, a man with a clipboard and a mobile phone approached us and asked if we had booked our tours yet. He offered a glass boat tour for $60 for Traci and me. As he was the first tour vendor we encountered, I was curious what other vendors were offering. I said no thanks and began to walk away. He suddenly dropped the price to $50. I think he might have gone lower but I am a novice at haggling. Nonetheless, Traci and I agreed to the price. The man gave us a voucher and sent us to a nearby tour office to check in for the next glass boat tour.

Traci and I enjoyed the glass boat tour. We were fitted with life vests and told to remove our shoes before stepping onto this cool-looking boat made of glass. There were seven of us tourists aboard along with a guide and a driver who skillfully maneuvered the boat through the busy waterway filled with other tour boats and fancy yachts. We were not given much commentary on this tour. In fact, our guide spent a lot of time chatting with a Spanish-speaking couple in our group. This trip was just a nice opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of Cabo from the water. We saw the Arch, of course but the coolest part for me was when our driver stopped the boat. We could see schools of fish swimming beneath us. Our guide identified the species of fish. We even saw a puffer fish. We saw and heard other wildlife that were not under the boat such as pelicans and sea lions. Actually, I heard the bark of the sea lions but never actually saw one. The glass boat tour concluded after about an hour. We were led back to the tour office where the photos that our guide took of us sitting at the bow were available for purchase. We did not buy any.

Glass Boat Tour

The Arch/Land's End


viewing the Arch from a glass boat


viewing fish below the glass boat





The Marina

Traci and I spent the rest of the day strolling the marina. The street vendors were out in full force. Every few steps, someone would ask us if we were interested in buying what they were selling: hats, t-shirts, jewelry, cigars, weed, tours, trinkets, massages, etc... Even walking by restaurants and shops, the owner or an employee would invite us in to check out their menu or merchandise. I know it sounds like all this attention can be annoying but we got used to it. The thing I appreciated about the vendors in this area is that they seemed polite. Even when we refused their offers, they would often wish us a pleasant stay in Cabo. I have been to some countries where street vendors become angry or follow you if you refuse to buy what they are selling. This was not the case in Cabo. I found the people to be genuinely friendly.

Eventually, Traci and I did get sucked into a purchase. We were taking pictures by the #CABO sign when a man at the nearby tour booth offered to take our pictures. Afterwards, we felt somewhat obligated to at least visit his booth to see what he was selling. He suggested a desert excursion during which we would ride a camel and drive dune buggies. I had read about this excursion before our trip but dismissed it because I had no interest in riding a camel and I knew that Traci is terrified of speed. Therefore, I found it easy to say 'no thanks' to his offer of $290 for the two of us. As Traci and I began to walk away, he suddenly dropped the price to $70! Huh? Each time I rejected his offer, he added more incentives until finally we agreed. He would give us the excursion for $70, pay the $40 entry fee for the park, pay for the taxi to move us from our Cabo hotel out to the resort we had booked for the second half of our vacation, give us free breakfast, and give us a two Mexican blankets. In return, we had to agree to listen to a 75-minute timeshare presentation. I was not happy about agreeing to a timeshare presentation. Traci and I attended several of them to get free stuff back in the 90's. We never bought a timeshare but I found the high-pressure sales tactics to be unbearable. I decided back then that I never wanted to attend another presentation again. Traci somehow convinced me to agree to sit through this one for the discounts. We had no intention of buying a timeshare. The man asked that we leave a $35 deposit for the excursion and pay him the other $35 the next day after he delivered what he promised.

The Marina






Traci and I spent the rest of our time strolling the marina. We walked by a beach at the opposite end. We had a delicious seafood lunch/dinner at a pirate-themed restaurant called Jack's Restaurante. We went in and out of souvenir shops looking for the perfect refrigerator magnet. We walked through the mall. We found out that you can get a nice view of the marina from the upper floor of the mall. Given it was the end of November, there were Christmas decorations and Christmas music wherever we went. Coming from the mid-Atlantic of the U.S where it is cold or at least chilly around Christmastime, this holiday spirit in Cabo seemed strange to me because it felt like summertime.

Medano Beach

It was getting dark by the time Traci and I began our walk back to the hotel. We decided to make a slight detour to see Cabo's famous Medano beach which was not far from our hotel. Many of the vendors were packing up for the day when we got there and the local restaurants were filling up with patrons. We did not spend much time at Medano. We could see cruise ships anchored offshore. We took a few nighttime pictures of the area and walked back to our hotel. Continue...

Medano Beach



Cabo San Lucas | Excursion | San Jose del Cabo


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