Monday, January 23, 2012

Los Cabos, Mexico: Dec. 19, 2011 - Dec. 26, 2011

It's been a while since I've blogged and what better way to get back into the swing of things by posting about our recent trip to Los Cabos, Mexico over the Christmas holidays.  We wanted a hot holiday and Los Cabos did not disappoint us.  It was our first trip to Mexico and it was certainly worth it.

We flew with Sunwing for the first time and I have to say I was impressed with their service.  They gave out complimentary champagne and tips on what to avoid in Mexico such as the timeshare sellers you have to walk by on the way out of the airport.  The direct flight lasted approx. 4 hours 10 mins and the heat hit us as soon as we landed.  Since they rarely have any rain and 0 snow, we stepped out of the plane and walked towards the indoor baggage claim area.  My only complaint regarding the airport was that they had 3 carousels for baggage claim and 0 notification which carousel would contain your bags and your flight was not the only one that arrived.  We did end up retrieving our bags without any incident and we were off to find our transportation we booked separately through the all-inclusive hotel package.  Walking out of the airport was interesting as the attendants on the flight were not kidding about the timeshare sellers.  Once you get your bags, you walk through a set of doors to another set.  The last set of doors leads you to an area FULL of people trying to persuade you to sit down and talk to them about timeshare deals.  I originally envisioned the sellers outside the airport once you exited but it is actually an area in the airport that is set up for them.  Crazy!

Outside we searched for our transportation and ran into a rep asking us where we were going.  We mentioned Riu Palace and he directed us where to stand to wait.  As it turned out, we took the wrong transportation as we booked our flight and hotel separately while the bus we were on were for those who booked the flight and hotel together.  Either way, we received our bracelet notifying that we were part of the all-inclusive hotel package and received our welcome drink upon arrival.  We checked into our room that contained a liquor dispenser in addition to a stocked bar :)  The rest of the day was spent exploring our hotel.

The resort offered a number of restaurants, with huge buffets offered for breakfast and lunch and sit down meals for supper in one of four specialty restaurants.  The downside to the specialty restaurants was that you had to make reservations where our favorite restaurant only accepted reservations the day of so John was nice enough to get up at 7am to make them.  During our stay, we took in an ATV tour and zipline tour courtesy of Cabos Adventures, both new experiences for us and well worth it.

Other highlights included: walking to the Marina 3 times (approx. an hour's walk each way), having beers and tequila at Cabo Wabo (founded by Sammy Hagar), beers at La Mole Mia, partaking in the biggest buffet ever on Christmas Eve where the staff lined up and clapped as you entered the restaurant and taking a glass bottom taxi to tour the famous rock formations.
To summarize, here are a few things that I was surprised about:
  1. I didn't realize how empathetic I would feel for the natives regarding how hard they have to work for a living.
  2. If you're going during the winter season, bring plenty of warm clothes, once the sun goes down it is cold out (sun rises around 7 and sets at 6)
  3. During our transportation to our ATV and zipline tours, we saw a number of dead animals by the side of the road.
  4. Tipping is rare (though I realize all-inclusive prices usually incorporates this in their price; we tipped though)
  5. The beach is separated by a rope designating the resort's portion of the beach and the public side.  Beach vendors occupied the public side but they weren't overwhelming or pushy as people warned you about.
  6. They play American music, not traditional Mexican music I was expecting.
  7. Prices are usually displayed in US dollars.
  8. There are 0 traffic lights in downtown Cabos.
  9. In town you can spot the tourists by the bracelets we wore.
  10. Rich, spoiled people are annoying, rich and spoiled.
  11. If your return flight does not land in your designated city, be sure to pack any duty free alcohol in your baggage as you will need to depart the plane and go through customs before re-boarding.