Boris and I made a quick turnaround after Tahiti and we are off again on our group vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This is an anniversary trip for our group-year 10. Boris and I have made 8 of the trips. This is the group’s third trip to Cabo. I came once years ago with Boris, our first vacation together. He wanted to take me deep sea fishing. I threw up 7 times in the first hour. I did not enjoy it. The second day he went fishing and caught a Marlin; I slept in late and then hung out at the pool and beach. We were both happy. Boris will fish again on this trip and I will once again hang out at the pool; we’ll both be happy.
We are fortunate to have direct flights from Houston to Cabo. The airport is between San Jose del Cabo (the more historic and charming city) and Cabo San Lucas (the cruise port and activity center). There are also many beachside resorts and golf courses between the two cities. The area is collectively called Los Cabos. We are renting a house in Pedregal, a gated-luxury-custom-home development (thats a lot of adjectives!) on a rocky hillside at “Land’s End” on the southern top of the Baja pennisula where the Sea of California and the Pacific Ocean meet.
We have a great house, Villa Gran Vista, with 7 master bedrooms. Boris still is using a cane, so we were given the Safari Room, the master on the ground floor. While this is the most convenient room, it offers the least privacy if you are sharing the house. It is also the owner’s room, so most of the closet space is locked. All the bedrooms are huge with comfy king-size beds with private baths with big showers. The home’s community areas are wonderful and open right out onto the terrace with a direct view of the Pacific Ocean.
We have opted to have the live-in caretakers prepare most of our meals, so Fortunato had a lunch of fresh guacamole, salsa, chips, and hot wings ready for us when we arrived. Our travel planner, Margaret, had forwarded the money so he could do most of the grocery shopping (and bar stocking) before we arrived. We have rented before in Cabo and done our own shopping upon arrival; between the plane travel and the shopping, you lose the whole first day. This trip, with the shopping completed, we were able to shift directly into relaxation mode.
I unpacked, applied sunscreen, and went directly to the pool. From our perch in the pool, we were able to see the hawks flying over the hillside and the whales migrating in the Pacific Ocean.
A few of the guys had brought binoculars so we were able to get a good look at the whales. None breached, but several gave us a “tail” show. They often played with the boats. I was surprised at how small these viewing boats were and how close they got to the whales.
We did a lot of whale watching from our lounge chairs, the pool, and the hot tub (letting us call this behavior “an activity”).
Fortunato prepared a fabulous dinner of Mexican fare. It was a great day, although we were all tired and packed it in early.
We had a big Mexican breakfast the following morning. This is the one thing we all agreed was a necessary addition to our trip. Years of experience with Kochman Worldwide, aka Bob Kochman, had helped us perfect the trip. Janie and Todd arrived the next day to find us all lounging around the pool.
Day Two and it was time for one of our two dinners out of the house. We tried La Taverna Gastro Bar on the Marina Pier. Although highly rated on Trip Advisor-which I usually find reliable-I was throughly disappointed with the food. Boris and I shared the surf and turf for two. The garlic soup starter was excellent, but it went downhill after that. My garlic mashed potatoes were cold (not even room temperature) and my medium-rare steak came out well-done. Drinks and dessert were no better. (Don’t listen to the Trip Advisor claim that the house red wine is good). On the plus side, the staff was terrific and went out of their way to make it a great experience. The restaurant has been open only 3 months and the owner/chef Justo Couto told us that we were the largest group (12) that they had ever served.
The restaurant has a prime location on the marina pier near where the cruise ship tenders dock. (Which may account for some of the great reviews from cruisers who were ready for anything that wasn’t ship food.) It was a beautiful evening and with a light wrap, you can enjoy the patio dining. You are reminded it is Mexico though when the federales clad in fatigues and armed with machine guns cruise the pier.
The highlight of the evening however, was the musical stylings of Jose Ramon Serrano, aka El Puma, who sang for us in English, Spanish, and “Japanese”. Boris even got me the CD. Wonderful guitar playing, but it was his puma growl that could send a woman over the edge. He found us a responsive audience.
Day three was spa day for the girls. Some of the boys were headed to Palmilla for golf. They said it was a wonderful course. I started with a deep tissue massage which was so relaxing and a bargain at $50 for 60 minutes I followed that with the longest mani/pedi ever. Two girls worked for two hours (no kidding) to get my nails into shape. I didn’t even think they were that bad; I just wanted some color. (I hadn’t had them painted since I lost one of my big toenails as a result of the infamous camera drop in Marrakech, Morocco last April.)
My so-called friends started lunch within my line of vision before the girls finished my mani/pedi. When the girls did finish, I had to just sit at the table and watch everyone else eat so my nails could dry completely. Poor Natasha; she got too much pampering.
After some nail drying in the sun, we changed and headed into town for a little shopping. We were able to find most of her favorite shops, but all I purchased was a new sunhat. My “lovely” turquoise hat, purchased from the $10 table on a cruise ship, didn’t hold up to water and had already stained one beach towel and sent dye running down my back in the pool.
After shopping, we went to our favorite beachfront bar, The Office. What a great name!! When we arrived the blue beach umbrellas were still up, but as the sun faded the umbrellas were closed and the heaters and blankets came out. There are a few tables on the porch, but most are right on the sand.
Of course, we had to have some of our favorites played by the strolling mariachis. Marne even joined them for a drum solo. At the table next to us a group of men came in post-fishing. They were celebrating the 70th birthday of one of their ranks, a retired captain of the aircraft carrier Kittyhawk. Of course we had to join in that serenade.
On the edge of the bar premises, the vendors provide beach shopping. They are not allowed in, but that does not keep them from getting right to the edge and trying to get your attention. As you try to look out on the beautiful bay and El Arco, they tempt you with colorful sarongs, straw bags, silver, and Mexican wrestlers’ masks. You can get a full meal at The Office, but we like to come here for appetizers and drinks and the best people watching in Cabo.
This year the award went to “Thong Boy”. Lori had the unfortunate spot at the table that faces in. She missed him as he passed The Office, but continued to remind us to keep a lookout. Finally, with no return sighting, she went off in search of him and returned to inform us of her success. Because no one would believe us without a photo, Jane decided to head out on her own quest and was rewarded with a kiss for her efforts. Thong-Boy is actually Micah, a bartender from Seattle.
I had no idea whale watching was such a popular tourist attraction for those visiting Cabo. It sounds like such a fun time! How wonderful that you were able to catch the whales on camera.
My name is Toni and I’m with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Cabo San Lucas to share on our site and I came across your most excellent Cabo whale watching trip. If you’re open to it, I’d love to feature your blog. Please shoot me an email at toni(at)dwellable(dot)com.
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Your blog is very good and I got useful information about Cabo San Lucas. Thanks for sharing nice picture in your blog
We didn’t make it back to Cabo this year and really missed it. We have friends there now on spring break.
Hi Natasha – thanks for sharing all of this information! I found your blog by searching Villa Gran Vista on Google. We are looking to stay there for the Christmas holiday – do you recommend this Villa or do you think there are better options in the area? Any help you can offer would be much appreciated!