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Mexico-On-Line » Los Cabos » Travel News » Los Cabos Trip Report

Los Cabos Trip Report

I was privileged to be invited to participate in a Fam trip to Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico. For those of you who aren't familiar with the phrase "Fam trip", that is short for "familiarization trip", which is a trip that is arranged and hosted by those agencies wanting to show you what their country, hotel or area have to offer. This trip was for meeting planners and incentive travel agents, and there were 10 of us who were invited.

We left LAX on Wednesday morning, courtesy of Alaska Airlines, for a short 2 hour flight down to Los Cabos. We were met by Contact Incentives, who arranged all of our activities and transportation while we were there. From the airport, we were transferred to the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa

Talk about a gorgeous hotel! Wow! First of all, this is the only hotel in Cabo that is built in the old Spanish Hacienda style and it is decorated with many artifacts and antiques. The service is top notch and the staff is so friendly! Even the gardeners greeted me with a smile and a cheerful "Ola!" as I passed by them. The Hacienda del Mar is located right on one of the beautiful beaches of the Sea of Cortez, and because of its geography, it provides both sunrises and sunsets! I will write more about the resort in my hotel review, but for now I will say that I highly recommend this property if you go to Cabo. Not only is it an excellent choice for private vacations, it is also a beautiful location for a destination wedding!

When we arrived at the hotel about 3:00 p.m., we were greeted with Margaritas and a shoulder & neck massage to work out the kinks from the airplane ride. Ahhhh! We then had time to settle into our rooms and freshen up. My room was gorgeous and there was a platter of assorted cheese and crackers and a bottle of Australian wine and a welcome letter waiting for me, courtesy of the hotel management.

At 5:00 our group met again in the lobby for a tour of the hotel and all it has to offer. And boy-oh-boy, does this hotel have a LOT to offer: 4 swimming pools (one with a swim up bar), a full-service spa that lacks absolutely nothing, a gym that is better equipped than the Family Fitness near my house, a sports/sushi bar, several excellent restaurants & shops. We were also shown the meeting and event space, should we decide to bring one of our groups down there.

After the tour, we attended a small wine/cheese reception in the chapel/art gallery and were treated to a showing of fine art by a local artist. From the reception, we walked down to the beach side of the hotel for an incredible dinner at the gourmet D'Cortez Restaurant. A beautiful place with excellent food!

The next day, Thursday, we were up bright and early for a hosted, at-leisure breakfast at Tomatoes Restaurant. A lovely, lovely place with a complete buffet breakfast offering both Mexican and American food, and a make-your-own smoothie bar! Seating is at umbrella-shaded tables outside, overlooking the ocean.

We all met again at 9:00 a.m. for a transfer to Cabo San Lucas, about 20 minutes south of the hotel, and our first stop was the Glass Factory, where we were treated to a demonstration of glass blowing, and an artist made a huge vase before our very eyes! Then we had time to shop a little (good thing I brought an extra small duffel bag to drag all my purchases home!).

From the Glass Factory, we continued on to the harbor where we boarded a 57 ft. catamaran for a 45 minute sail out past Lover's Beach to Land's End and around the tip of Baja California to the Pacific Ocean side. It was wonderful. Good music, good drinks, good company!!

When we returned to the dock, it was time for a trip to the flea market and some major souvenir shopping! Again I was glad I had brought an extra bag along to get all my purchases home! Boy did I get some cool stuff! From the flea market, we were transferred to the Baja Cantina & Grill on Medano Beach, overlooking the ocean & main beach in Cabo San Lucas. Again we had another fabulous meal & drinks under umbrellas with our feet in the sand.

We returned to the hotel about 2:30 p.m. and I hurried down to the spa for my 3:00 appt. to have my nail polish changed. Of course when I got on the plane my nails looked fine, but my polish started chipping off the minute we landed (or at least it seemed that way!) and it looked horrible! It was $15.00 for a polish change, which I thought was reasonable for a fancy spa. All of the nail products were the OPI brand.

At 5:45 we all met at the hotel entrance again for a transfer to San Jose del Cabo for a short walking tour, an art gallery reception, and dinner. San Jose del Cabo is about 20 min. north of the hotel - an easy ride. We got there after dark and the town was beautiful and quaint with Christmas lights & decorations everywhere; and people were in the plaza enjoying themselves in the lovely warm 80 degree evening. The art gallery reception was wonderful. The gallery is located in one of the original haciendas in San Jose, and filled with beautiful original paintings, several of which I wish I could have taken home with me!

From the art gallery, we went to dinner at Morgan's Encore, a beautiful restaurant with mostly outdoor dining in a hacienda-style patio, and very romantic! It would be perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary dinner. Morgan's Encore offers an amazing menu. They also have their own sommelier and a wine cellar featuring wines from around the world. We were treated to a "tasting" of many of the things on their menu. We had so much food no one could sample everything! When it came to dessert, the vanilla creme brulee, made with fresh vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks, was TO DIE FOR!

After dinner we all waddled back onto the mini bus for our ride back to Hacienda del Mar, where tonight there was a big bowl of fresh fruits waiting for me in my room; again, compliments of the Hacienda del Mar. I crashed and slept like a baby in my big soft king size bed with 4 puffy pillows!

Friday started with breakfast at Tomatoes again. Today was the day for our optional activity. We had the choice of a Swim With The Dolphins, an off-road ATV tour, an America's Cup Cabo Regatta sail, or the Canopy Zip Line Adventure. I chose the zip line! What a hoot! I thought it would just be a zip across a canyon, but it turned out to be several zips across the canyon, increasing in length and height each time. You have to be able to climb up the side of the canyon on paths to get to the lines, so you should be in reasonable shape. I'm in pretty good shape and I got a little winded on a couple of the climbs. There are a total of 3 miles of zip lines and 7 or 8 different lines back and forth across the canyon. I didn't realize that the zip line tour also included what they call the "Tarzan Swing", which is basically just holding on to a rope and swinging across a small canyon and spinning and twisting. I didn't do this one because it was sort of uneventful and you just had to climb right back up to where you take off from, and seeing as it was 85 or 90 degrees at that time, it wasn't worth the climb to me! LOL! The little kids absolutely loved it though! The next thing was the rappel down a 180 ft. cliff! I wasn't sure I could do this one, because I didn't realize it was coming, and I've always had a fear of going over a cliff. I'm not afraid of heights at all, it's just that "going over a cliff" thing! But they had us rigged in so well, and they take safety so seriously that I really had no fear! Over the cliff I went, channeling my best Lara Croft, and I rappelled down! OMG! It was SO much FUN! I wanted to go again, but unfortunately only once to a customer! I will definitely be doing this again!

After the "adventure" was over, we went back to turn in our gear and have a beer and quesadillas made with fresh corn tortillas that you could watch the lady make. You've never had a corn tortilla until you've had a freshly made one! A Pacifico and 2 quesadillas with chips and guacamole was only $6.00! After lunch, we were treated to a short demonstration of tequila making, and a tasting. Now, I'm not a tequila girl, but I guess I've never had "good" tequila before! This brand is called Don Crispin and it cannot be purchased in the United States. I didn't buy any, but I think the next time I'm down there, it will be a "must". We learned a lot about tequila... did you know that if tequila is over 30% alcohol it's not good? The fellow said "if it's over 30%, they've done something wrong." We tasted a clear tequila, mandarin orange tequila, almond tequila, and coffee/chocolate tequila. The almond and the coffee/chocolate didn't taste at all like the tequila I've had before, it was more of a tequila liqueur, and it tasted like dessert!

After the tequila tasting, we were transferred back to the hotel to have the rest of the afternoon to ourselves to spend time in the pool, on the beach or at the spa. Party animal that I am, I laid down for a nap and fell soundly asleep for 3 hours! I blame it on too much of a good time, some very tasty tequila, and that wonderful bed with those puffy pillows!

I woke up at 5:00 p.m., with enough time to get myself ready for the "Sand Between Your Toes" event. A glorious beach party put on by the hotel, described as: "a surf & turf barbecue and bonfire at the Tortugas Beach under the stars." There were lounges and tables on the beach with an absolutely amazing buffet and tropical drinks that never stopped flowing! There was lobster, chicken, and steak. Ceviche and salads and side dishes... again so much food! I was beginning to feel like Nero at a Roman banquet! The lounges and tables on the sand were way cool! White vinyl sofas and tables made of white plexiglass with blue lights inside! After dinner, there was a bonfire set up next to where the tables and sofas were. Chaise lounges covered with colorful Mexican blankets were arranged in a semi-circle around the fire. We stumbled over to the chaise lounges and plopped down to be immediately served s'mores! Oh yum! And after the s'mores, copious amounts of toasted marshmallows! More drinks, more wine! Looking up at Jupiter and Venus, the Pleiades, Orion and Cassopeia in the sky! I am in Heaven!

I kept thinking how perfect this would be for a destination wedding! There is a beautiful gazebo to get married in that overlooks the beach, and a "beach party" reception could be held just below the gazebo on the sand, with the waves crashing in the background.

We all moseyed back to our rooms about 10:30 p.m. and didn't have to get up early in the morning! Yay! Saturday we had breakfast at leisure again at Tomatoes Restaurant, and from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the morning to ourselves to enjoy the pools, spa, or beach. I slept-in and then used the morning to leisurely pack. I took a walk down to the beach to take more pictures - I hadn't been up to the northerly rocky point yet. It was an amazing day and the ocean was so gorgeous! But it's not like St. John at all. There is an undertow and people are warned not to swim out very far... mostly just wade. There are definitely places in Cabo where you can swim & snorkel, but you must respect the ocean at Hacienda del Mar. But in spite of not being able to swim much there, I have to tell you that it is one gorgeous beach!

Again, not like St. John, but absolutely "calendar picture" gorgeous! The sand is rough and the grains are not smooth, like the powder fine sand on St. John. One of the ladies on the trip said it had rubbed all the calluses off her feet! LOL! She said her feet had never been so smooth! Even though it didn't hurt to walk in the sand, and it was actually pretty nice, I mostly walked with my flip-flops on because I was always in shorts & a top, not a bathing suit, and I was too lazy to carry my shoes! At noon, everyone met for lunch at the Sirenas Snack Bar. Again the hotel treated us to another amazing meal, featuring Mexican food this time. Up till now it had been pretty gourmet! We also got to sample 4 different kinds of Margaritas. Regular lime, Mango, Blue-something, and Strawberry. Very yummy!

Our transfer to the airport was scheduled for 2:15 and we all gathered at the entrance with our luggage. A couple of the ladies had decided to extend their stay for a couple of days, so there were hugs and kisses all around. Hugs from the Hacienda del Mar staff who had hosted us, and hugs from the Contact Incentives hosts. What a great group of people! I highly recommend all of them for anything you would want to do in Cabo San Lucas or San Juan del Cabo! Whether or not you want to take a group of people to Baja or just a private vacation, you can do a lot of the same things I did. You can stay at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar and eat at several fine restaurants on-property and have the beach and spa at your beck & call. You can take a taxi down to Cabo San Lucas and shop your little heart out! Eat at several fine restaurants, go to Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo, or if you're crazy, check out Squid Row, a big hit with the Spring Breakers! Girls Gone Wild and all that! LOL! Take a taxi up to San Jose del Cabo and see a picturesque really cool little village that is packed with art galleries, fine eating establishments and bars! San Jose del Cabo is the "Laguna Beach" of Baja California. There are also some excellent restaurants in SJD, of course I 100% recommend Morgan's Encore! Excellent, excellent! Worth driving from CSL to SJD just for dinner! Check out the Baja Brewing Company across the street from Morgan's and smoke a Havana! Try the Canopy Zip Line tour! I never once felt scared or at risk, and I'm kind of a chicken! And I rather liked channeling Lara Croft for a while... well, in my mind, anyway! Take a water taxi out to Lover's Beach, and take along a picnic lunch and your snorkel & mask! Go for a daysail or a short sail around Land's End. Now THAT's cool. I took a picture of the very tippy tip of Baja California... and I think that's pretty darn cool, too!

Here are some links you may find useful:

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar

Enrique Gonzalez, Director General - Contact Incentives, Cabo San Lucas

Carlos Luevanos, Sr. Freelance, Certified Guide - Cabo Free Lance Tours & Travel

Extreme Canopy Costa Azul

Morgan's Encore