Our First Trip to Mexico

International Travel During the Covid Era

I love Oregon. It will always be my home. But did you know there is a way to escape the dreary November weather?! Norm and I had an opportunity to go with my sister and her family to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and could not pass that up! I already had my passport but everyone else in our group still needed theirs. We were very nervous about trying to get passports during COVID, the government offices were all backed up from loss of personnel and quarantine, but everyone got their passports just in time. Next, a check of the travel regulations for the U.S. and for Mexico, then we were off!

Heading to Cabo

We left Oregon before dawn to arrive in San Jose Del Cabo in the afternoon. Thankfully, we had arranged a driver ahead of time, the airport was a madhouse! Our driver welcomed us with cold beers and drove us first to a grocery store to pick up any food and drink items we might need, then to the condominium. The grocery store carried wine, beer and liquor! We stayed in a friends fully furnished condo at Pueblo Bonito’s Copala at Quivira, so we were able to stock up on essential snacks and drinks for our stay.

April and niece Kelsea

A Toast!

By the time we arrived at the condo, it was evening and getting dark. We were all pretty tired from the day’s travel, but not too tired to enjoy a toast to our hosts and to Cabo San Lucas, with the delicious tequila they gifted us!

Our Adventures Begin

Waking up on a warm, sunny mornings in the middle of November is such a treat. We began each day lingering over our coffee on the balcony, enjoying the view. We even managed to get up early a few times to catch the sunrise! The Copala Residences have a few pools, a small convenience store and shuttle service to and from sister resorts. Once we checked out the Clubhouse pool and bar, and the incredible fish tacos they serve, it was time to shuttle to the Market and check out the beaches.

Exploring the Market and Beaches

We had dinner at The Market, Norman and I choosing meals from El Mexicano, while the Coats family chose to dine at the 1950’s Diner. There are many casual and formal restaurants throughout the Pueblo Bonito resorts, but dining at The Market is easy when you have many people’s dietary needs to consider. The Market is several casual restaurants surrounding a central seating area and The Bar in the center. You order at the counter for the restaurant you would like, then they bring it to your table. There is friendly waitstaff that will come around to take your drink order from the bar. Always remember to get bottled water.

Like many things we do, things did not go quite as planned. By the time we had finished our meals and cocktails, the sun had set. We decided to head down to the beach anyway, who doesn’t love a beach at night? We asked a shuttle attendant where the beach was and began a trek in the direction he waved. Remember, it was our first time here and it was dark. We walked quite awhile down a dark, steep drive that then turned to gravel, with no sign of a beach. We were out of breath and aching when luckily, a golf cart came around and asked if we needed a ride back up! Of course we did. The golf cart ride was a twisty, turny, speedy, rollercoaster ride through the resort. Who knew that was the preferred method of travel?! Once we were safely back at the lobby, we boarded a shuttle to head back to Copala. Exploring the beaches could wait until daylight!

Exploring Cabo San Lucas

As I mentioned, there are shuttles between the many Pueblo Bonito resorts. Rose is one of the first Pueblo Bonito resorts and is downtown. We shuttled to Rose and after exploring the hotel and grounds a bit, proceeded on a walking and shopping trek throughout downtown. The shopping along the main road from Rose is mostly drug stores with overpriced touristy talismans, but the side streets have amazing shops operated by locals and full of handcrafted items. We eventually ended up at the shore (in daylight this time!) where there are many restaurants and bars with seating that spills right out onto the beach. There are also many people out on the beach peddling their wares. We settled on The Office for lunch, a renown stop. I can understand why- the food was delicious and the floor show (or should I say sand show?) was great. A man calling himself the Tequila God, dressed in a sombrero, colorful poncho and bandolier of shot glasses, meanders from table to table pouring shots of tequila directly into guests mouths with a lot of comedy. The tables were sheltered from the searing sun by large beach umbrellas. Each time the sun would begin to shine too close to a patron, a group of wait staff would commence their well-choreographed act of rearranging the umbrellas.

Cabo Wabo

Norman was all too excited to visit Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina while we were in Cabo. I think it was the only reason he agreed to go! After exploring the area and a quick stop for an icy cold beverage at the Hard Rock Cafe, we made our way to the Cantina. We were lucky to get seating for a group our size without a reservation. Where we are from, you are greeted for your meal at a Mexican restaurant with a basket of fresh tortilla chips and salsa. The Cantina was no different. We enjoyed our cocktails and snacked on chips while we waited for our food. Then the waiter removed the half eaten chips and salsa from our table because we hadn’t ordered them. This seemed absurd, because they couldn’t have been served to someone else, and we had no idea they weren’t delivered as a standard compliment.

I think the general consensus of our group was “well, we’ve been there, done that, never again.” The food wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t special either. It seemed like dishes you get from a chain restaurant, pre-prepared. The service was terribly slow and the atmosphere was noisy and chaotic. We tried to make a good time out of it anyway, and managed to get a few fun photos.

Gone Fishin’

One of our goals for this trip was a fishing excursion. Our hosts suggested we wait to hire a boat until we arrived in Cabo San Lucas, and our driver was very helpful in coordinating this for us. We were up before dawn and departed the marina with so much enthusiasm that there was no quarter for seasickness! We spent about four hours out on the ocean, saw pods of whales, flying fish and even a sturgeon! Norman was the first to get a fish on his line, but tangled the reel and lost it. Later, I got a big Dorado on the line! It was beautiful and strong. I reeled it in as best I could but when it was close enough to start pulling from the water, it was just too much for me to go on and Julie took over and managed to get it up on the boat. Our first ever ocean fishing excursion was a success!

There was a man waiting on the dock to help us take it to be gutted and trimmed up, which was great because we would’ve had no idea what to do with it! The man who cleaned it for us was so fast with his knife that he was done before I was able to get my camera out! Later, we cooked up fish tacos at the condo and it was the best!

The Old Lighthouse

Near the grounds at Copala is an old, derelict lighthouse. Our hosts had mentioned there is a lovely hike up to it, so we decided to take advantage of a breezy morning and give it a go. I know I have mentioned before our overall lack of hiking prowess, but it doesn’t interfere with our desire to do it. It was a long, winding trek through cactus beds with a view of the adjacent golf course. The trail actually overlapped the golf course in a couple places, you could see our building in the distance from the putting green of one hole!

Along the trail we saw a number of lizards, grasshoppers and spiders that shelter in and among the cacti. Norman also found a number of Pokémon. Yes, he is still playing. He was overjoyed when his request to create a pokestop at the lighthouse ruins was approved.

Until Next Time

We had such a great time, we decided to make this an annual, or at least semi annual event. No matter where we go, or how long we stay, it never seems long enough. I always wish we had one more day. Our last day in Cabo was busy with mandated Covid testing prior to leaving the country, so many of our Cabo adventures were left until next time.

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