Old Reviews – Melia Cabo Real All-Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort

  Melia Cabo Real   John ~ Ontario, Canada

March 2009

Arrival
Airport arrival was good but it took us almost one hour to clear customs and collect our baggage.WARNING do not be fooled by the time share people in the airport.They will act like your airline reps.and ask to see your hotel voucher so they can call the driver to take you to your resort. One couple was tricked into a 3 hour time share presentation before going to there scheduled resort. Your tour reps. are not allowed inside the terminal to greet you and will be waitting for you outside the doors of the terminal with a visible sign eg( Air Canada, Air Transat) I repeat do not be misled by these time share people,go straight outside the airport to meet your reps.

Rooms
The rooms were nice and clean, and the fridge well stocked with drinks.

Restaurants and Bars
The restaurants where clean and had great service with a good food variety.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Nice pool but there is still the usual lack of chairs for the volume of people.

Other Comments This is a great resort for the price. Would not think twice on recommending this resort to anyone.

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  Melia Cabo Real   Teresa ~ Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb 28 – March 7
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, greeted with refreshments, and did not have a big line up at the Hotel Desk, our check in and keys went smoothly with friendly staff.

Rooms
We were in a double room, but I would have preferred a King Size bed, since my husband is tall, and this would have been better for us both. Anyway, the balcony overlooked the Golf side, and you could see part of the Sea of Cortez, there were better views for some who we travelled with who could see the beach and sea. The rooms were clean, and a complimentary wine and fruit were there upon our arrival, nice touch. Our bar fridge had alcohol,non-alcohol and water in the fridge on our arrival that was great! There was coffee, coffee-maker, iron and board, and bath essentials. I liked the wall art with plaster!!!

Restaurants and Bars
We were given dinner cards for their two el a carte-the Mediterranean restaurant had a great steak dinner, and great service; also a Japanese restaurant, that we never did go to. We ate buffet for breakfast and lunch and some dinners. We ate at the Beach Party and Brazilian Night on the beach–good variety of food! (Fresh barbecue Meats,fish,vegetables, potatoes, rice, desserts, tea, coffee, alcohol beverages).

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was rough, recommend water shoes for walking. At the waters edge, beach sand is better, and in the water in the swimming area. I was impressed with the grounds keeping at the hotel, on the beach activity area, around the pool and the gardens and decor and architecture overall. They had a swim up bar, restaurant bar near the pool. The one thing I found was their was no washroom facilities at the beach close by-this discouraged you from drinking at all at the beach for any event or just sitting under the palapas–a very long walk to the washroom. Also, there was only one women’s and one men’s washroom area at the pool, main restaurant. Should be additional washrooms set up on each side of the pool, bars and restaurants. I found there was room to separate from the group to have some alone time, and group time, and it was relaxing to me.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
I enjoyed the Beach Party, Brazilian Night, Lounge Party on the beach–the amount of work the workers do for these events is great–I enjoyed the atmosphere of the entertainment, food and bars! I also enjoyed dining at the Fiesta-I missed the show though-due to tired family. Evening entertainment was better than other resorts I went to. Activities were on daily, that I enjoyed watching.

Us ladies went on a 6 hour tour to Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. This was just right for me. We went on a glass bottom boat-to Lands End, Marina, Hard Rock Cafe, jewellery shop, Glass factory, Mission in San Jose del Cabo. Our hubbys went on an 8 hr fishing excursion-caught their Marlin (and released)and a Durada–they were quite happy with this, captain, boat, beverages and the catch!!!

Other Comments There was always plenty of bottles of water just for the asking in the room and pool area and restaurants. I think this is a 4.5 rank Hotel. The staff were friendly and good clean resort!!!Our weather was great–everyday sunny and 34 degrees celcius/ 90 degrees farenheit–cool in evenings-but great weather with a slight breeze. Did see the whales in the bay–neat!!! This is a family resort. I would stay here again–good pricing on my All-inclusive and good value.

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Melia Cabo Real Scott and Kris ~ SE Michigan, USA

February 2007

Area: Los Cabos
Hotel: Melia Cabo Real
Rating: 4.5
Airline: Continental through Apple Vacations

We had a great vacation at the Melia Cabo Real. We are 40 and this is one of the only trips that we have made without our two boys (10 and 14). We booked the trip through Apple Vacations because I knew everything including transportation would be right. I could have saved money by booking elsewhere but I was leery since we have not been to Cabo before. We always vacation to All-Inclusive resorts and have stayed in many different destinations in Mexico. Cabo is very unique to the rest especially in regards to the weather. The daytime temperatures were in the 70’s F but being in the desert it was very warm, comfortable and dry. We never had that urge to dive into the pool to cool off. The nights were cool. Temps were usually in the 50’s and long pants and long sleeve shirts were required. Light jackets would be preferred. Of course, this is January and I am sure it is warmer later in the year.

The Resort
The resort is nice. Occupancy was only around 50% so there was never a problem with sun loungers or lines for activities, food, or drinks. The resort staff was courteous and professional. We reserved a garden view room but got upgraded to a pool and ocean view room (3212). The first number is the building number, the second is the floor, and the third is the room. We were on the corner which provided a great view. The resort is extremely quiet. I have never been to an AI with such little push for activity. Take that as a positive or negative depending on your tastes. The only activities that I saw were water aerobics and a pool volleyball game. The freeform pool is large and has a zero entry near the beach. There is also a shallow area protected from the rest of the pool for children. There are many places to lay out whether you like to be under a palm tree, totally exposed to the sun, or completely shaded. The whirlpool is right next to the beach. I never went in, but the water was heated which seems to be rare in Mexico. Oh…one more thing, I never saw a single bug except for the bees near the flowers or sweet drinks at the bar. Take advantage of the free resort shuttle service to Cabo San Lucas. It runs a couple of times per day and will save you money over taxi/bus service.

Food/Drinks
The resort does have several top-shelf liquors (Johnny Walker Black, Chivas Regal, Bacardi, Sauza Tequila, etc) but you have to ask for it by name to get it. The bars open at 10:30AM. The bartenders at the pool, lobby and beach were all great! The lobby bar was a great place to hang out before heading into Cabo or before dinner at the resort. It was very large providing many seating areas. There is a large fireplace in the center which would have been great had they lit it on cool evenings. There is also a woman rolling and selling cigars near the bar. There is a nice billiard table, foosball, and dart board in the lobby bar too. We had breakfast and lunch every day at the buffet overlooking the ocean. The aloe plants were blooming and the hummingbirds would stop by our table! Breakfast consisted of made to order eggs/omelettes plus the usual fruits and breakfast meats, pastries, and juices. For lunch, we usually had quesadillas or some nachos with pico de gallo from the pool grill. We only had dinner at the resort twice. The Japanese restaurant is indoors and the food was good. The Mediterranean restaurant is outside with a roof. It also had some curtains to cut down on the wind and they positioned LP heaters around the tables for heat. The food here was very good. The remaining nights, we ate dinner in Cabo San Lucas. The buffet restaurant which was only open for dinner and it looked great but we never got the opportunity to eat there.

The room
Our room was very clean with standard in size and in typicial Mexican style had marble floors and full marble baths. The mini fridge stocked with beer, water, and soda was tucked into the TV dresser but it didn’t seem to cool anything. I couldn’t find an adjustment for it. We wanted a king size bed but the desk clerk stated that there weren’t any available. She had the maids push the two queen beds together which helped. All the rooms had a balcony with two chairs and a table. No problems with water temperature or pressure at all. The rooms did not have heat and did get quite cool at night. I did not have any problems with the stiffness of the bed or pillows. Overall…the bed and room was very comfortable especially when you consider how little time is spent there.

The beach
The ocean looks awesome with its deep blue color. We frequently saw whales surfacing. The beach is very large and probably about 25 feet below the pool level. There are steps to get down to the beach with a shower/foot rinse near the bottom. There is also a cable zip line to go down to the beach. The resort has the harnesses, and helmets to send you down about 200 yards to the beach. It’s fun to do a couple of times. The beach looks great but I have to tell you it is very coarse. The sand is basically ground up coral and it doesn’t take long for your feet to get roughed up. Even though they say the ocean isn’t safe to swim in, it was too cold anyway. There is a bar on the beach and several palapas to lie under. There are also a bunch of covered hammocks to catch a siesta.

The airport.
The airport is small and slow. It’s basically what I had expected. One strong word of advice: make sure you arrange your transportation to your hotel with your travel agent. Taxi fare was costing other resort guests between $55 and $65 USD! After you clear customs, you go through a large room that is filled with timeshare and tour group representatives. They will pose as your travel agent group. QUICKLY go right past them with a “no gracias” and get OUTSIDE! Let me say this again. GET OUTSIDE! This is where the transportation people are holding up their appropriate signs. You can get a cerveza or cocktail outside as well while you wait for your ride. Our return flight departed at 7:40AM. We had to leave the resort at 4:40AM. The bus was on time and we left with one other couple. We got to the airport just after 5AM and we were alone. The only people there were security. The first employees started showing up around 6AM. All checked luggage were physically searched. Then we waited another hour because the security screening didn’t open until 7AM. It took us 30 minutes to get through security. We went to the gate 10 minutes before departure, walked up to the plane and we were off in minutes!

Other stuff
The resort is centrally located in the “Hotel Corridor” which means you are between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. CSL is definitely the spot for night life. You can shop from the afternoon until around 9PM and then begin bar hopping until the wee hours. Cabo Wabo Cantina and El Squid Roe are probably the biggest draws. Cabo Wabo can be a little difficult to find but worth the effort. The band begins at 10:30. Get there at 9PM for a table. Make sure you visit the marina area while it is still light out. There is shopping, restaurants, and bars all with great views. We ate dinner at “The Office” one night and had great fresh meal! Try not to get a table right on water as the local vendors are quite pushy. The restaurant is located right on Medano Beach. We rode the resort shuttle to CSL every time but had a problem returning the first night. The driver never showed up to take us back. We waited 40 minutes and finally got in touch with the resort. They told us to taxi back and the resort picked up the tab. There were 17 of us. Overall, we had a fantastic time and I would have no problem recommending the resort. If we come back to Cabo again, I will probably look into staying at the RIU strictly based upon its close proximity to Cabo San Lucas. I took tons of pictures and email me if I can help answer any questions. thelabattman@yahoo.com

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Melia Cabo Real Lynn and Dan ~ Ontario, Canada

January 2006

Had a fantastic week at the Melia Cabo Real ! We decided to go to the Baja because of a string of bad luck with weather and sickness on trips to the Carribean. Two were in the Dominican with "severe illness" and torrential rains, and one in Cuba with cold weather. Felt we couldn’t go wrong with a dry desert climate. Made the right choice. We were prepared for the cooler nights, as it does cool down quite a bit. The resort itself was amazing. This was our 14th all inclusive trip, and we found the Melia to be a very well run resort.

Our room was on the 5th floor with an ocean view. Very clean, nicely decorated rooms. The grounds were also really clean and well kept. The restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch, overlooks the ocean. On several days we were treated to seeing whales and dolphins passing by. Also had little hummingbirds flying about the plants. You could start your day with champagne and orange juice, freshly made smoothies with fruit of your choice, and wonderful coffee. The buffets had a wide range of food for any taste. Had a steak in one of the a la carte restaurants that would rival any steakhouse back home. And service was excellent !

Just couldn’t seem to find anything to complain about, except for a hard bed, but with having an ocean view room I didn’t want to move. Our friends were given a room on the first floor. It wasn’t ready yet so they went to see where it was . Didn’t like the location so they asked if there were any other rooms available. They were immediately given a room next door to us! Usually you have to wait till the next day to do any moves in other resorts. Amazing!

Beautiful views on the beach. The sand is coaser for the most part, and the ocean can be very dangerous with the undertow. But the Melia is the only resort in the area with a beach that is safe to swim. Hardly saw any bugs. Not one bite the entire trip, and didn’t even use any bug spray. You will not see the lush tropical foliage like the Carribean, as this is the desert, but the area has it’s own special wonders with the rock formations and cactus plants.

This was also our first time travelling with Air Canada Vacations. What a difference from other carriers. Included in the price was a connector flight to Toronto. Upon return we were coming in too late for the last connector flight back, so we had a complimentary stay in a hotel room overnight, and then we were flown back home in the morning. The best part was the seating room on the plane! No crammed in seats. With full meals, and a movie it was a very comfortable flight.

Really enjoyed our stay ! One of our better holidays. To sum it up this resort is well run, has lots of character, fantastic food, is clean and well kept. We’d love to go back,

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Melia Cabo Real Ivona and Bob ~ Canada

July 2005

Country: Mexico
Area: Los Cabos
Hotel: Melia Cabo Real
Rating: 5*
Meal Plan: A/I
Wholesaler: Sunquest/MyTravel Group
Airline: Skyservice
Date of Visit: June 20 – July 4, 2005

Background:
After a very wet and cold spring, we wanted to spend our holidays somewhere hot and sunny. We initially booked the island of St.Martin, but approximately one month before departure, Transat Vacations cancelled our hotel.

So we gave up on Transat Vacations, and instead chose to go with Sunquest to Los Cabos. We both love Mexico, having visited both coasts of this lovely country many times; Baja California still being on our Mexican ‘to do list’.

We had several A/I resorts to choose from. We chose the Melia because, firstly, we have stayed in many Sol Melia resorts in the past, and it is definitely one of our favorite hotel chains. Secondly, it is one of the few resorts in the area with a swimmable beach. And lastly, Sunquest was offering this resort at a very good price so we could not resist!

The Area: The Baja is a fascinating area, more California than Mexico, but with a charm all its own. The Los Cabos (or, ‘The Capes’ in English) area encompasses the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and the area between these two towns, which is referred to as the ‘tourist corridor’. The landscape is desert, mountains, wide sweeping beaches and more cacti than I have ever seen in my life. Many of these plants are well over 15 ft in height.

There is much construction and new development going on here. The population of this area has tripled in the last 10 years. Its short distance and ease of access from the USA, coupled with the idyllic climate and numerous land and watersports opportunities draws a huge tourist influx to this area every year.

The Resort and Clientele: The Melia is located along the corridor within the Cabo Real complex which also encompasses the Hilton, the Casa del Mar and the Las Ventanas resorts, as well as the Cabo Real Golf Course. A few minutes’ walk along the magnificent beach is the new Dreams Resort. Ok, so the Melia Cabo Real won’t win any architectural awards, and it lacks the grandeur and artistic whimsy of the more recently built Sol Melia resorts, but, it is still an extremely well located, well-sized (~300 rooms), clean, spacious, breezy and comfortable resort with a staff second to none. Clientele from the USA made up the majority during our stay, followed by Mexican families (mostly from the Federal District) and a small smattering of Canadians. During our first week, the resort did not seem very busy and it was easy to find space to sit in the shade or in the restaurants. By the middle of our second week, the resort seemed to be bursting at the seams with people! People were generally well behaved and we did not witness any rowdy, drunken behaviour which is so common at many A/I resorts. There were, however, lots of young children and babies being toted around well into the late evening hours. It would be quite normal for example, to see school age children running through the lobby or playing a game of pool well past 11:00pm. Or, to see babies in high chairs or strollers being brought to a la carte restaurants for supper at 10:00 pm or later. I have never understood this bizarre parenting style and this has only strengthened my resolve to travel off-season and/or to restrict our vacations to adults’ only properties whenever possible.

A rather annoying display of boorish behaviour, which unfortunately we had to witness all too often, was the habit some people had of piling on heaps of food on their plate or several plates at one time at the buffet restaurants. All too often, a lot of this food went uneaten and ended up in the garbage bin. Why can’t people take smaller portions and simply go back for seconds if the food is to their liking? I find this behaviour extremely wasteful and disrespectful, especially in countries where many go hungry. Another interesting behaviour started showing up when the resort got busy the second week. Rather than wait to be seated, as the restaurants requested, buffet included, some guests would bypass the line, pick up and fill a plate and then go looking for a table. This put the wait staff in a difficult position and certainly annoyed those who were waiting in line. Very strange attitude!

The Room: We arrived at the resort at approximately 11:30am, but unfortunately our room would not be ready until the check-in time of 3:00pm. It was worth the wait however. We were given a room with a king sized bed on the top floor of Seccion 3, overlooking the golf course and the lovely Sea of Cortes. The rooms are finished in soft creamy off-white colours with light coloured marble floors and full marble bathrooms. The top storey rooms have very high ceilings, giving these rooms a very airy, fresh feel. The room had all the amenities one would expect; a good sized balcony with chairs and table, fridge (stocked with water and softdrinks), iron and ironing board, coffee maker with coffee provided daily, safe (no extra charge), table and chairs, a comfy easy-chair and ottoman, TV, clock radio, telephone, and a full marble-tiled and walled bathroom with wrap-around mirrors, hair dryer and clothes line. The hotel water is purified and quite safe to brush one’s teeth with and to use in making coffee. I was really impressed by the consistent availability of hot water and excellent water pressure in the shower.

We had more than sufficient closet and cupboard space for the two of us. The A/C worked well, too well actually. I ended up turning it off on many occasions, to Bob’s chagrin, preferring instead to open the balcony doors and enjoying the ocean breezes. (Bob says: A screen door to the patio would have helped!)

Beach and Sea: The Cabo corridor has lovely, wide sweeping beaches with light golden sand, and the Melia is no exception. One can walk for hours in either direction and it is very safe to do so. Although the sand is quite light in color, it still got extremely hot by mid-day so water shoes or flip-flops are highly recommended for beach walking. The resort has several palapas with lounge chairs on their beachfront which is roped off from the rest of the beach, which of course in Mexico is public property. A handful of beach vendors hang out around the roped off area, sometimes they would cross and pop by each palapa, and other times they would mind the roped off area and only call out to guests as they walked to the water. They were not pushy by any means. The beach area was quite deserted on our first week, and by the second, more and more people came down there to spend the day, mostly due to the lack of shady space by the pool. The beach is accessed by a staircase leading from the pool area; one of the reasons this hotel is not recommended for people with restricted mobility. Halfway up the stairs is a fresh water shower for rinsing off. The beach area also has a bar (not opened until our second week) and a water sports centre. The water sports centre remained closed on those days when the water was very rough. When it was open, it offered kayaks, snorkel equipment, and boogie boards at no extra charge for the all inclusive guests. The water was different every day during our stay. Some days it was extremely rough, so much so that the swimmable area was all white water and the waves would come crashing over the rocky breakwater. Other days it was calm as a lake. The water was very clean and when it was calm, you could see your toes when standing up. The bottom is nice and sandy; no weeds, no rocks, and luckily enough, no jellies! Although I did spot a few dead ones washed up on the beach further down between the Hilton and Marquis Hotels. These jellies are more prominent during the Chubasco season and are coloquially called, "aguas malas". During our visit, the water was quite cool in temperature, definitely not like the Caribbean!

Word of caution: Beware of sudden waves called, "sneaker waves" while walking along the beach close to the water. I got swept up by one of these when I wasn’t paying proper attention during my walk towards the Dreams Resort. While I was not hurt, I did manage to lose my water shoes, and I’m shopping for a new camera!

My only complaint about the resort swimming area concerns the “sea-do’s”. The water sports centre staff as well as those renting them (who, more often than not were very inexperienced) would drive around in these things right in the same area where people, including children, were swimming. I almost got hit a couple of times, and I am sure one of these days someone will be seriously hurt or even killed. I do not understand why this is allowed.

Pools/Jacuzzis: The resort has one large free form pool with a small section off to the side for the younger children. The pool is very shallow. I am 5’6" tall and the deepest part of the water only came to my chest. The water during our stay was extremely warm. So warm that it wasn’t very useful in cooling off, unlike the sea which was *very* refreshing! It has the requisite swim up bar with places to sit. During our first week, there were plenty of shady spots to sit around the pool, no matter what time we decided to head down. By the second week this was no longer the case. Even though the hotel added many additional chairs, space was still at a premium.

It appeared that the pool did not have an official closing time, as we often saw people, especially kids in the water even after dark. There is one (heated!) oceanview jacuzzi which could sit approximately 10 people comfortably. This was a great spot to hang out during the cooler evenings.

Food/Drinks: For an all-inclusive meal plan, the food was very good and up to Sol Melia’s standards. We were happy to be able to eat Mexican food every day at lunch at the Rincon Mexicano, where you could get guacamole and fresh tortilla chips, quesadillas, several types of tacos, great sauces and bbq’d meat. I am saying this because at far too many Mexican resorts, especially the all-inclusives, you just can’t find Mexican food! For supper, there is one main buffet restaurant with themed dinners, one a la carte which you must reserve the same morning with the concierge, and an ocean front Italian grill which takes guests first come first served; at least in theory. By our second week, with the huge influx of guests, the system they had in place totally disintegrated and access to this restaurant became a free for all with no staff around to ensure any sort of order. Therefore, for the last few days of our stay we avoided this one. The hotel hosts a Mexican fiesta once a week, with Mexican food, Mariachi band, and a Mexican folkloric show at night. Also once a week, the hotel sets up a beach party with supper and live entertainment right on the beautiful beach. The proverbial snacks are available from mid morning until approximately 6:00pm, so I cannot imagine anyone going hungry at this hotel. We truly enjoyed many of the dishes we had. We loved the cabra; it had to be some of the best goat cheese we’ve ever sampled; I think we ate their entire stock! Smoked salmon at the buffet was a nice treat, as was the availability of ice cream at lunch and at supper. Serve yourself champagne-style wine was available at every breakfast, was another lovely touch, mixed with orange, pineapple or grapefruit juice; yummy! I’m a big soup ‘nut’ and I’m happy to state that the Melia’s daily soup offerings were as delicious as in other Sol Melia’s visited.

Drinks were of a higher quality than what I am used to from other Mexican all-inclusives; and that includes the (not so favorite of mine) Barcelo hotels. They actually had, and served at no extra charge, name brand liquors, not the usual no-name, cheap knock-off stuff that rots your socks. There was even a choice with the beer. I am not a beer afficionado, but I’ve seen Pacifico, Dos Equis and Corona. Do try the local liqueur, ‘Damiana’; either straight-up as an after dinner drink, or mixed in a margarita. Yummy!

The Staff: From the bartenders, the maids, the concierge, the wait staff, and even the front desk staff; everyone was very helpful, cheerful and always quick to serve. The staff are truly what makes Sol Melia the wonderful hotel chain it is.

We tipped the maid daily, and our regular waiters and bartenders on a regular basis, but I must add that service was not dependent on the tipping.

Activities and Entertainment: Within the hotel complex, there are lots of entertainment options. The daily activities are posted at the pool area and include a mix of the usual such as water volleyball, Spanish lessons and dance lessons, to the more un-usual such as a climbing wall and a zip line. The hotel has a full service spa (extra charge) and a gym with bikes, treadmills and other equipment, as well as tennis courts. An 18 hole golf course is right next door. ($250.00US for a round of golf, so book a golf package if that’s your preference!) The water sports centre at the beach provides kayaks, sea-do’s (extra charge) boogey boards and snorkel gear. The hotel does have a kids’ club which appeared to be well utilized. During most of our stay, a fellow with an ultra light aircraft was around at the beach providing rides. I’m not sure of the costs, since we are much too chicken to try something like that.

The evening entertainment was a mixed bag of audience participation activities such as karaoke and bingo, staff song and dance shows and live bands. Since the weekly schedule was posted, we were able to pick and choose those shows that appealed to us, and skip the rest. For those die-hard party animals, the hotel has its own disco, and Cabo San Lucas with establishments such as Cabo Wabo, Hard Rock Cafe, The Squid Roe, Giggling Marlin, and many others, is just a short cab drive away.

Shopping: Both towns have plenty of shops; Cabo, being the larger of the two is busier and has more stores and markets, but we enjoyed the higher-end shopping venues found in San Jose. Visit the market in Cabo for an amazing variety of Mexican handicrafts ranging from blankets, wood carvings, silver, pottery, T-shirts and beach apparel, and lovely Mexican mouth-blown glassware. Don’t forget to stop in one of the handful of artisan shops offering genuine Huichol handicrafts. If you’re lucky, you can watch as one of these extremely talented native artisans create the most intricate beadwork pieces you have ever seen. And of course, this is also the land of the ‘300 varieties’ of tequila. You will find shops selling tequila just about everywhere. Remember that not all tequila is alike, however. Check the label carefully. The best tequila is 100% pure blue agave and comes from the state of Jalisco. It will also cost more than the lesser quality mixed brands such as Jose Cuervo. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to ask the store staff. One of the better priced stores that sell a good variety of tequilas is ‘La Europea’ with several outlets throughout the Cabo area. And don’t forget the local specialty liqueur, ‘Damiana’. This liqueur, sold in a unique bottle shaped like a pregnant lady is made from the locally grown herb damiana which is purported to have aphrodisiac properties. I can’t vouch for that, but I do find this liqueur very tasty, somewhat reminiscent of the Mayan Xtabentun or of the D.R.’s sweeter version of Mamajuana. If liquor is not your thing, you can purchase damiana tea leaves instead at local grocery stores.

For more North American style shopping, there are many large department and dollar stores, including a Costco! The hotel also has a few stores selling snacks, liquor, T-shirts, beach ware and Sol Melia branded merchandise, and jewellery.

Outside the Resort: There is no shortage of activities in the Los Cabos area. Golf is very popular. There are many championship courses here, so many in fact, that Los Cabos has the reputation of having the most golf courses per capita of any place in the world! Some of the close-by courses include the Cabo Real, El Dorado and Palmilla. Other very popular past-times are surfing, deep sea fishing and ATV tours. One can find many surf shops in Cabo which will rent equipment and provide information on beaches where surfing is best, and provid information on sea conditions, etc. Fishing trips as well as ATV tours can be arranged either through the hotel’s activity desk, or any of the many tour shops in town. We spoke to many people who booked fishing tours and came back with stories of huge marlin and tuna catches.

Word of caution: Please be aware of kiosks in town marked ‘Tourist Information’. Most of these are nothing but time-share fronts. If you look carefully at most of these kiosks, you will find the name of the vacation club they are representing. Currently, a popular one is Mayan Palace, as a Mayan Palace is currently under construction between the Solaris and El Presidente hotels in San Jose.

For ourselves, we were less adventurous and we booked, through the hotel, a half-day catamaran trip which took us along Land’s End and Los Arcos, and then to Santa Maria bay. We were supposed to stop at Santa Maria to swim and snorkel, but the water was much too rough that day, so we sailed to Chileno Bay instead. The water wasn’t much better, but at least we were able to swim. We found the water to be much warmer in this bay than in front of our hotel. The trip, which included drinks and a cold lunch cost us approximately 60 USD per person. I was also interested in visiting Todos Santos and La Paz. We passed up on the various organized tours, most of which cost approximately 60USD per person, and instead we rented a car from Dollar Rent a Car (located in lobby of hotel) and did the trip ourselves. For 65USD we got a fully insured Dodge Neon with A/C which allowed us to sightsee at our own pace. I highly recommend the loop from San Jose to La Paz back through Todos Santos to Cabo San Lucas. La Paz is approximately 100 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, and getting there is 90% of the fun because the drive is exceptionally scenic. You follow along a narrow, twisty turny highway with very little traffic (more goats, bulls and buzzards than cars) surrounded by desert, mountains and cacti as far as the eye can see. If you’re lucky, you will see the odd roadrunner crossing the road. A drive not to be missed! La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur, with a population of some 200,000. It is also one of the hottest cities in the Baja during the summer months. The malecon and marina are lovely areas to explore and go walking, with many ice cream parlours, restaurants, bars and shops along the way to help you cool off. As with many towns in Mexico, many shops observe the siesta, which in the Baja seems to be between the hours of 2:00-4:00pm.

Driving back south on the western coast, straddling the Tropic of Cancer, sand and scrub brush give way to lush green fruit trees, palms, grass and flowers; the town of Todos Santos. The town is home to painters, sculptors, artisans and intellectuals. Restored colonial homes and public buildings dot the streets, as do small boutiques, shops and many small restaurants where authentic Mexican fare can still be enjoyed without blowing one’s budget. The town’s claim to fame is the restored Hotel California of The Eagles fame (or so the urban legend goes) and you can visit the gift shop and purchase souvenirs such as T-shirts, hats, post cards and key chains.

Climate: Los Cabos has excellent weather. During our stay, every day was hot and sunny. The humidity varied slightly from day to day but even the more humid days were nothing like what one gets in the Caribbean. The summer months are the most humid in the Baja, whereas the winters are dry and cool. We had cooling sea breezes on most days which kept the temperatures very comfortable. Evenings were warm unless there was a strong breeze, which would make the areas around the beach cooler to the point where one might need a light sweater or long sleeved shirt.

Please note that certain areas such as La Paz are much, much hotter during the summer months.

Insects: Very few. Bob saw the odd mosquito, but I did not experience any mozzie bites. There are lots of wasps around areas where food and drinks are served, so be careful. A wasp stung my finger and my entire hand swelled up like a boxing glove. Red ants are around the pool area as well, and these too can bite. We did not see (or feel!) sand fleas, even when sitting directly on the sand at dusk.

Note: There is a clinic right at the hotel, so finding and getting medical attention is not a problem.

Keeping in Touch:
The hotel has an internet room just down the hall from the front desk. They had approximately 6 PC’s available. The first half hour is complimentary for A/I guests, and after that the price was approximately 5.00 USD per half hour.

Telephone service is extremely expensive in Mexico. Unless money is no object for your long-distance calls, purchase a pre-paid card and use public phones rather than using the room phone.
Internet is a much more convenient and cheaper way of communicating with friends and family.

In Conclusion:
We had a lovely, relaxing vacation. I was happy we had two weeks because there is so much to see and do in this area, and it always takes me several days to unwind and get myself on ‘Mexican time’. So many US tourists came down for only 4-5 days. What a tease!

Would I go back? Cabo really grew on me, and I think that we might return some day, but perhaps later in the year when it’s not as busy and the water is warmer. If I wanted to stay at an all inclusive again, I would definitely choose the Melia.

If you still have questions, you can email them to me at: Ivona_Lancaster@hotmail.com and I will be happy to answer, provided you at least acknowledge my replies!

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