It’d be difficult to spend anything but a perfect day in sunny Los Cabos — situated on the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula — thanks to its flawless blue skies, jovial people and relaxed vibe. But that didn’t stop us from putting together an ideal itinerary sure to make your trip to Cabo an adventure.
Los Cabos is replete with luxury accommodations, not to mention delightfully friendly customer service, so you’re sure to enjoy your stay no matter which high-end hotel or resort you select. For the quintessential exclusive-resort experience, we recommend the Esperanza, An Auberge Resort, near Cabo San Lucas. Its casitas offer private terraces with either infinity-edge hot tubs or hammocks overlooking the ocean, and its spacious suites step things up with butler service, a separate living room, master bedroom and kitchen and a large outdoor barbecue dining area.
If you’d like something a bit more cutting-edge and chic, and you’re a fan of art and music, book a room at new boutique Hotel El Ganzo in the Puerto Los Cabos development near the slightly less touristy town of San Jose del Cabo. This unique, contemporary-style property situated on a local fishing marina has artists- and musicians-in-residence — so far, hotel guests have been treated to intimate lobby performances by singer-songwriters Damien Rice and Joshua Radin. And adding to its hip mystique, there’s a “secret” basement recording studio, accessed via a door in the floor of the lobby, where its so-called “El Ganzo sessions” are recorded and uploaded to the hotel’s YouTube channel. Plus, this hotel’s rooftop area is simply gorgeous, with cushiony daybeds and an infinity-edge pool overlooking the marina.
It’d be perfectly acceptable to check into your hotel, slip into your bathing suit and spend the next two days under the sun. But Los Cabos has much more to offer than cabanas and margaritas, and seeing as how you’ve always wanted to ride a camel on a beach, throw on a pair of sneakers, a hat and some sunscreen for a safari in the Baja Outback with Cabo Adventures.
Catch a ride from your hotel to the Cabo Adventures’ Cabo Dolphin Center, located on the Marina in Cabo San Lucas. There, you’ll pile into a bus for a brief drive into the desert, where you’ll then be transferred to an open-air jeep for a trek with a tour guide who’ll teach you about the surrounding landscape. Stop off for a short, guided nature walk, where you’ll learn that a cactus is 80 percent water and that the Lomboy Blanco tree’s sap can be used as sunscreen — useful information for the Mexican sun. Then enjoy a 10-minute camel ride on the beach — the views from your perch atop this Sahara Desert mammal are spectacular, with the Pacific’s enormous waves crashing to your right and a sea of cacti to your left. Lastly, Cabo Adventures provides an alfresco, authentic Mexican lunch in a desert picnic area — beans, rise, salsa and chicken wrapped in delicious, hand-made tortillas — and a tasting of three distinctly different tequilas sure to put you in a happy mood.
After a good meal and a long day in the sun, you’ll be ready for some relaxation time back at the hotel before dinner. Whether you’re staying at El Ganzo or Esperanza, you’ll likely have a private hot tub on your balcony with a view of the water, so you might as well squeeze in a soak before you shower for the evening out.
Getting to dinner is simple — just stay at your hotel. El Ganzo’s rooftop restaurant of the same name offers delicious sushi sourced straight from the local fisherman in the marina below (when the hotel opened, it set up free slips and fish-cutting stations for local fisherman). After dinner, head down to the lobby for a performance by the aforementioned musician-in-residence or another featured guest, then gather around the fire on the deck for cozy conversation with your companions and other guests.
At Esperanza, you’ll have multiple choices for dinner — Cocina del Mar offers alfresco Mediterranean- and Mexican-style dishes like the shrimp delight with crispy pea and chickpea aioli right on the edge of the water; La Terraza Americana offers American cuisine — think sandwiches, salads, burgers and fries; and Las Estrellas offers casual Italian fare. The hotel also hosts special dinners on various nights of the week: Wednesday is a succulent Argentinean barbecue with a bonfire and tiki torches; Thursdays brings Mexican food from various regions to the oceanfront patio, as well as a fireworks display. After dark, look out for lovely red lanterns lighting up the sky — hotel guests release these on the beach, usually to signify a wedding or honeymoon.
Be sure to return to your room at a reasonable hour though because the next day brings a second, equally exhilarating outdoor adventure — whale watching. After a hearty breakfast of chilaquiles (fried tortillas served with eggs and beans), French toast and watermelon juice at El Ganzo, or motulenos (sunny-side-up eggs with fried plantain, ham, chorizo, sweet peas and tomato sauce) at Cocina del Mar, you’ll hit the Sea of Cortez on one of Cabo Expeditions’ inflatable speedboats in search of zodiac (humpback) whales. And trust us, you’ll find some. Enough whales navigate this area between December and mid-April that you’ll likely have numerous encounters with whales nearly close enough to touch. Look out for dolphins and sea lions, as well, and be sure to take photos of the gorgeous rock formation, Arco del Cabo San Lucas, which you’ll pass on your way in and out of the marina.
After an exciting day on the water, finish out the afternoon at your hotel any way you’d like. At Esperanza, schedule an in-room or beach-cabana massage, or loosen those muscles in a yoga class. At Hotel El Ganzo, head to the rooftop for a glass of wine and a soak in the rooftop “vanity pool,” an infinity-edge hot tub with transparent sides, then nosh on the complimentary chips, salsa and guacamole or ceviche, placed in your room by hotel staff.
For dinner, try something outside the hotel — Hotel El Ganzo guests can head to hip The Container Restaurant & Bar, a waterfront eatery that’s literally made out of a refurbished shipping container. This favorite among locals and yachters visiting Puerto Los Cabos serves delicious food like Yucatan-style ceviche in a playful atmosphere. If you’re at Esperanza, take advantage of special activities every night, including a cocktail- and fried-chicken-fueled Monday and a Mexican wine journey ($115) on Friday. If you’re ending your two perfect days on a Saturday, enjoy a tequila tasting ($65), then head to La Palapa for authentic Mexican food by the fire pit. Or, request a customizable beachfront dinner for you and your companion that’s $395 but, like everything else in Los Cabos, proves totally worth it.
Photos Courtesy of Hotel El Ganzo, Esperanza and Cabo Adventures