Not What We Expected

Cabo San Jose Airport included a gauntlet of timeshare solicitors. The resort had been hit by a hurricane in September 2001, leaving them without a beach and many repairs. We cut our visit short and finished our vacation up in Palm Springs. Not something we'd repeat.

Not What We Expected

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by JimandBill on November 13, 2004

Our most memorable moment was dining on the beach at a restaurant called "The Office". The meal was excellent, the sun was setting, the tiki torches were being lit, the tide was rolling in, and the margaritas were fantastic -- worth every penny. It was funny to watch the help gather up the plastic lawn chairs and tables and move everything closer to the restaurant building, because of the incoming tide. It was partly because of the aforementioned hurricane, which had limited their previously larger beach area.${QuickSuggestions} Local events include the Marina and its open market, which includes artisans and fruits/vegetables. Their tactics are to have someone behind the table to assist you, and an alternate person lingering in the crowd to squeeze-play you into purchasing from their kiosk, rather than someone else's. Be aware of roaming peddlers -- they sell more than just what you see in trinkets; usually, they have marijuana and pipes to sell, as well.${BestWay} Car rentals are best, but the quality of the automobiles is at times questionable. We rented a small car that turned out to be a vintage VW bug, complete with rusty floor board that you could see the ground through (eek!). It helped us discover a good portion of Baja, including some very beautiful mountain areas. Motor scooters are probably the best and preferred method. Taxis can be okay but might take you for more than it usually costs -- beware.

Villas del Palmar

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by JimandBill on November 13, 2004

Best Things Nearby:
Beach and access to ATV activity

Best Things About the Resort:
Very nice -- new hotel-like accomodations. Beautiful pools and water slide with cave-like spa area for unwinding in. Very family oriented -- lots of couples or families. Planned activities on the premises for the families. Fine dining experience with their on-site Italian restaurant.

Resort Experience:
Villas del Palmar had a very smooth check-in routine. The staff was very helpful and courteous. The grounds were very clean, even though they were in the midst of still repairing the damage caused by a hurricane in September 2001 (travel date was end of November). Their beach was eroded from the storm, and they had caution tape around the cement steps leading to the beach (beach not accessible from the resort). There was an almost-five-foot drop from the last step to the sand (that's how much beach had been washed away). The beach will slowly return after several months of tides and waves, but we were not informed of the condition the hurricane had left their resort in. There is a small area of upper beach that is roped off for resort guests to sunbathe on the resort lounge chairs provided -- peddlers still beckon while you sun. The pools are great. The guest relations for making arrangements for rental cars and activities were excellent. The timeshare presentation was to the point and very informative, as timeshare ownership in Mexico is lease hold – it runs 30 years from the last sale, and ownership returns to the Mexican government or land owner after the lease runs out. Beautiful views of the bay from the terrace units. The resort is within a reasonable walking distance of the Marina and downtown areas.

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, 23410

The Office

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by JimandBill on November 13, 2004

See "Most Memorable Experience," in the Overview. This restaurant turned out the best-tasting Mexican food for the best price and best location and experience. The margaritas are big and tasty. The beachfront dining was great, even with the area roped off from the peddlers who stood by, trying to catch your eye and your wallet. Average of $50 for two included the drinks and tip. Though prices in most of Cabo seemed to mirror the States, rather than Mexico, this restaurant experience was well worth the money. At the time, their beach was short, due to the previous hurricane, and it made watching the dance of the incoming tide versus the plastic lawn tables/chairs most entertaining. Sunset and tiki torches added to the entire experience.
The Office
Playa El Médano
Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, México
(624) 143-3464

Restaurants In General

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by JimandBill on November 13, 2004

Restaurants in general do not offer a lot for the vegetarian in Cabo San Lucas. The Office and a few other choices had items that were available for my partner, who is vegetarian. He does include eggs and dairy products. The quality of food was mediocre at best, and the prices seemed a bit too much for Mexican cuisine. If you're a seafood lover or general surf-and-turf lover, there are many choices. It seemed odd to us that the selection of restaurant food spans the entire spectrum, including Chinese, Italian, etc. Cabo San Lucas has become more than just a Mexican vacation destination. It seems to be trying to appeal to the world traveler, who might be looking for a taste of home. This seems odd, seeing as the whole purpose of going to Mexico is to enjoy the local flavor and cuisine of Mexico. I've been told that other cities in Mexico are not so Americanized, and for a more true local flavor, try a trip to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo or Oaxaca (friends of ours go all the time).
Cabo San Lucas Dining
Throughout Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas in General

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by JimandBill on November 13, 2004

I would not necessarily recommend a vacation in Cabo San Lucas if you're looking for that inexpensive Mexican vacation and local flavor. Cabo has become very US-oriented in its appeal, accommodations, activities, food, and prices. Dinner for two can usually run you at least $50, with tip, and the food and experience are not always worth it. Most of the attraction to Cabo San Lucas is the water area. The bay is beautiful, and so I'd recommend limiting your activities to jet skiing, parasailing, ATV rentals, etc. Do avoid the timeshare booths and solicitors at all possible costs. It's not really worth losing several hours of your time to hear a sales pitch, just to get small savings on renting ATVs, for example.

We rented a small car (big mistake), which turned out to be a vintage VW bug (go for something bigger) and was missing the tire jack, in case we had a flat tire. It did allow us to be more independent and roam the Baja area to see more than just San Lucas. Following the simple highway system around the cape allows you to enjoy the majestic mountain scenery and observe the changes in terrain from beach, cactus, desert, and mountain range. We took in their local zoo -- not what I expected either – which was more like a local family's collection of animals in small cages (including lions and tigers -- sad). Roads are very rough in many areas, and the hurricanes and flash floods make for several washed-out areas. Cabo San Jose was much more interesting and had a more local flavor with shops and dining. The traveler is highly advised to check out Cabo San Jose for a comparison.

There’s not much gay activity -- only one gay bar in Cabo San Lucas, but lots of action at the local straight bars that circle the marina area. It’s not a place for gays to relax and enjoy themselves, unless they're looking for someone on a one-time from their partners.

ATV rentals were a blast. They lead you to a far sand dune area north of the city and let you loose. Areas are fenced off to prevent you from actually going to the beach, but the steep terrain and mapped-out courses are very fun. Guides are always present to make sure no one gets hurt or goes unchecked.

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