We walked through the stained pinewood door of our resort suite to find it was the very same one we had been admiring for the past six months online. There are only two suites that propel themselves forward from the rest of the resort, and ours was one of them. My bags hit the ornate tile floor and I slowly made my way to the sliding glass doors that separated us from the most compelling view of the Sea of Cortez. The salty ocean air encompassed my face as if to say, it's been too long, you need me.
It's February, and we had only experienced four dry days in Seattle this month. That's it, The Magnificent 7 are on their way to Baja......Cabo San Lucas awaits. Any parent knows the struggle and strife to assemble seven members of your family for a vacation. Having grown children with full-time jobs only adds to the challenge of coordinating these schedules. I love a good challenge, and so here we are.
I am officially going on record to say that the blazing orange sky that greeted us during the initial journey to the Riu Santa Fe resort, was a shade I had only previously noted in photographs. Practicing my newly rejuvenated Spanish with our driver Luis, he was happy to report that this vibrant sky is typical here in Cabo. There's nothing to obstruct the view. Cabo lies on the southern most tip of Baja California and has the unique luxury of two bodies of water merging into one. Azure waters and golden skies as far as the eye can see.
Many resorts offer all-inclusive packages which includes all meals, beverages (alcohol included), and entertainment. With such a large group, this was a great option for us. No money changes hands, no rummaging through your bag for that elusive peso while oiled up and trying to catch a few rays, and no surprise charges at the end of your stay. It's all settled up front. Although gratuities are always welcome. There are a few services that are not included such as; laundry, in-room babysitting, water sports, and spa treatments. Isn't wading in the saltwater infinity pool, drinking "almost free" Miami Vices, and listening to Cupid Shuffle over the pool speakers conducive to a spa-esque experience anyway?
The Riu Santa Fe would be our tropical home away from home for the next seven days. It lays out like a heavenly compound, and as much as I wanted to be the warden of cell phone use while on this sacred family vacation, they came in handy while trying to locate disappearing family members. The hospitality, food & drink choices, daily activities for all ages, three saltwater pools, and the location made it the perfect retreat.
Medano Beach greeted us every morning with endless possibilities. It's the most popular beach in Cabo, and a one-stop-shop for water taxis, wave runners, parasailing, massages, and bartering for souvenirs. I highly recommend taking a water taxi or renting a kayak to Lover's Beach at Land's End. Be advised, Divorce Beach is adjacent to Lover's Beach. One side calm, the other side turbulent. Hmmmm.
The cream-colored sand is inviting, but don't expect a silky smooth texture. It's rough under the tootsies. I pride myself on my athleticism and swimming ability, however, the undertow in some areas is very intense. One ocean enthusiast was struck by an unforeseen wave, and put on quite a show while completely submerged. The only thing visible was an arm jutting out of the sea like the Statue of Liberty while grasping her beloved cocktail. It was very impressive to say the least. They were both saved.
Head down the beach towards The Office restaurant for a better swim and an enticing lunch on the beach.
January through March is whale watching season, so don't be surprised to see Gray's and the more popular Humpback's spouting and breaching as you sip your morning espresso. We also witnessed a frisky school of dolphins about a half mile down the beach on an afternoon walk. Why on earth did I spend a small fortune to actually swim with them when they're right outside my front door like stray cats. Because, it's what you do, and it will be worth every penny.
It's dolphin day! My family has been bugging me for the past six months to repeatedly show them photos and videos of this most blessed upcoming event. Cabo Adventures offers several different thrilling encounters for kids of all ages. When I say kid, I mean me. I swam with them once before 25 years ago, and have been dreaming of a repeat performance ever since. It was time to meet Ukulele, the guest of honor. The trainers take such care to allow ample time for each family member to interact and have the experience of a lifetime. The unadulterated joy that I saw on the faces of my otherwise "cool" family, validated this entire purchase. I have very expensive photos and a 4-minute video to prove it.
We took a stroll along the marina after our day with the dolphins, and perused the customary shops of brightly draped merchandise. I've been to Mexico many times, and I never tire of the colors, the t-shirts & hats, the shiny baubles, shimmering pottery, and tequila. In my opinion, tequila bottles are the most artistically handcrafted in the spirit world. Even if I didn't love tequila, which I do, particularly anejo adorned with orange slices sprinkled with cinnamon, I would own a collection.
Our bodies, absentee of any tan whatsoever, were about to make their debut at the pool. There's a constant flurry of bustle and energy throughout the day. Your choices are endless; water polo, volleyball, dance lessons, Zumba H20, and the ever popular "I'm staying right here in my chair and getting as tan as possible" game. Oh yes, and will someone please get me another Miami Vice.
There's been a large increase of international visitors in the last year, 70% of those visitors are from the United States & Canada. I spoke with one lovely couple from Victoria, B.C. to get their insight on what makes this destination so desirable. They retired five years ago and have traveled quite extensively throughout Mexico, however this was their first visit to Cabo. They call these vacations "tan tune-ups". They would definitely return to Cabo, and enjoy trying new resorts as apposed to staying in the same one every time. They are beach enthusiasts, so they might opt for one with softer sand and calmer waters for their next go-around. For those of us escaping the cold months of winter, they felt Cabo was a great place to do just that.
Cabo San Lucas is romantic, the sun shines 350 days a year, it promotes a thriving social scene, various cuisine prepared by top chefs, unobstructed sunrises & sunsets, and endless pursuits for the daredevil or slightly cautious. It's home to some of the top golf courses, and since Jacques Cousteau once called it "The Aquarium of the World", diving and snorkeling are on our to do list.
Cabo is one of our new favorite travel destinations, and it's easy to see why. It has something for everyone. My globetrotting rarely takes me to the same place twice, I may need to make this an exception. Cabo delivered everything a family vacation should; more compassion for each other, more laughter, more relaxation, more knowledge, and more appreciation for the beautiful world we live in.
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