Our couples travel group is headed back to Cabo for another winter vacation, leaving behind a temperature of 34 for 86 degrees Fahrenheit. We had already booked our house in Pedregal when the Hurricane Odile hit in September 2014. The cat 3 hurricane was the strongest ever to make landfall in the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. It caused major damage to the city, the resorts, and the infrastructure of the entire state of Baja California Sur. “An estimated 92% of the State’s population was left without power or water, the biggest electrical disaster in the history of Mexico, according to the Mexican Electric Company (CFE).”
On the surface, the city of Cabo San Lucas has recovered nicely, although there are traces of the damage still around and there was construction throughout the gated hillside community of Pedregal where we rent the house. More obvious is the destruction near the airport where the McDonald’s is only a shell of a building and the hotel zone (or “the corridor” between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas) has little in operation, although much under reconstruction. We found most of our restaurants and shopping spots open and in good shape and as long as you know the condition of where you are headed and stay generally in Cabo San Lucas, you’ll likely forget that a hurricane hit there less than 6 months ago. Costco has even reopened.
Travel into the area means enjoying jetways, regular ticket counters, and upgraded security in the new international terminal not yet in operation when we visited two years ago. (United was the last holdout airline to move over. The old terminal now is used for domestic flights within Mexico.) All 16 of us flew in on the same United flight from Houston. The new terminal is so much nicer and I was particularly impressed with passport control where we quickly passed through in contrast to the “cattle call” atmosphere of previous visits. The quaint red/green button is still around. So after collecting your luggage you are still subject to a search if you press the button and the light comes up red. That said, one couple in our party got red and were waved through.
Just keep going after you clear customs and don’t get stopped by the hordes of people trying to sell you tours and transport as you leave the building. Our friend and tour leader, Margaret had prearranged transport to the house. Even after telling them we had arrangements the pesky tour operators asked to see the documentation. These are not government officials. Walk on through and welcome to Mexico; there is a bar right outside the door.
Our van drivers-we needed two to get all of us and our luggage to Cabo San Lucas-had pre-stocked the vehicles with ice chests full of beer. This is a time saver learned from our previous trips where we were hunting for liquor stores and wasting time in route to the house. The home we are renting is in Pedregal, a secure gated community of homes overlooking the marina, the Sea of Cortez, and the Pacific Ocean. We have stayed in three different homes there, each with a unique view.
We have two new couples with us on this trip, so we made the move to a different house, Villa Descanso, which has 9 bedrooms. We won’t use the one which has only twin beds. Each couple will have their own kingsize bed and bathroom. Villa Descanso is not as nice as Villa Gran Vista (same owner) which we stayed at last time-it only has 7 bedrooms and we needed 8. But with Villa Descanso we still have the services of our wonderful “man of many talents” Fortunado. Margaret wired money ahead and Fortunado had stocked our pantry, refrigerator, and bar. He also makes us breakfast, lunch for those hanging around the house mid day, and dinner on selected nights.
There were departing guests that day, so we dropped our luggage off and left the house so the staff could complete the turnaround. With new cabs (you call the front gate at Pedregal and they send the cabs up), we headed into town to one of our favorite spots The Office. I think this is just the best name for a beach side bar and restaurant. “Where are you Natasha? Oh, I’m at the office.” …and none need to be the wiser.
The floor is literally the sand on the beach. You sit at wonderful garden tables covered with colorful linens and shaded by large beach umbrellas. When the sun sets and the weather cools, the umbrellas come down and heaters are set up. Blankets are found on each chair. I love their pina coladas, but I also partook when the tequila shots were offered. It was the first time I had a tequila shot served in a champagne flute.
After drinks and lunch, we headed back to the house to draw for rooms and unpack. It is hard enough to find a house with eight master bedrooms, but all rooms are not created equal. Boris and I had a nice room which opened to a side view of the property and the house next door. There was a small porch which we shared with the other rooms on this floor.
The warm weather meant that even in the late afternoon/early evening you could put on a swimsuit and enjoy the pool and hot tub. Fortunado made us a wonderful dinner and afterwards we enjoyed drinks by the fire pit. Trip is off to a great start…