Cabo San Lucas - question

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FB01
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Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by FB01 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:15 am

Hi,

I am planning to a trip to Cabo San Lucas with my 2 kids (6 and 8) in Dec/Jan. Couple of questions:

1) I am planning to stay 4 days in Cabo (excluding travel time). What are the things that can be done with kids?
2) Can anyone recommend a resort who has stayed there which has a beach access
3) Do I need to rent a car over there?

Any other suggestions/pointers would be helpful

JR

stan1
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by stan1 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:28 am

Would you consider an all-inclusive with different restaurants on site or would you rather be more independent? Do you want child care or youth programs? There are dozens of resorts on the beach so it comes down to what you want.

Activities for kids: boat trips, they should be able to snorkel at that age, off road 4x4 tour.

Car: Not needed unless you want to be more independent. If you book organized tours they will usually pick you up and drop you off at the hotel.

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watchnerd
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by watchnerd » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:42 am

I always stay in downtown Cabo, which doesn't have great beach access (although good access to the marina) and is not very kid friendly at all given the number of drunkards staggering around at night as they leave the nightlife scene.

So as a counterpoint, downtown is definitely not kid friendly. Much better off in one of the isolated resorts outside of the main town.
Tweaked 3-Fund: 35% US Equities | 35% Total International | 30% Intermediate Treasuries

FB01
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by FB01 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:47 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:28 am
Would you consider an all-inclusive with different restaurants on site or would you rather be more independent? Do you want child care or youth programs? There are dozens of resorts on the beach so it comes down to what you want.

Activities for kids: boat trips, they should be able to snorkel at that age, off road 4x4 tour.

Car: Not needed unless you want to be more independent. If you book organized tours they will usually pick you up and drop you off at the hotel.

I am okay with inclusive/non inclusive and do not looking for child car program. I just want to it should have beach access for the kids to play whenever they want. I looked at Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos but am confused.

Any suggestion who all have stayed in any resort with beach access?

Traveler
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by Traveler » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:19 pm

The water on the Pacific side can be rough and at times has no swimming warnings. You'd probably be better off on the gulf side where the water is calmer. It's been years since I've been there, but I still remember the fish tacos at The Office on the beach.

FB01
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by FB01 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:37 am

I do read that Beaches are not that friendly.

What else can be done with the kids?

-JR

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TNL
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by TNL » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:11 pm

Look at the Riu properties on the east end of the main beach area in Cabo. You are walking distance from the marina and downtown or you can cab over fairly inexpensively. There is no need to rent a car. You can also cab over to the Wal Mart shopping area close by.

There are two -- Riu Palace and Riu Santa Fe. The Palace is nicer and more expensive, the Santa Fe is more for budget travelers. I have stayed at the Riu Santa Fe and liked it. It's fine for 4-5 days. I have not stayed at the Riu Palace but have several friends who have and liked it.

Riu Palace:

https://riu.com/en/hotel/mexico/los ... san-lucas/

Riu Santa Fe:

https://riu.com/en/hotel/mexico/los ... /index.jsp

Grasshopper
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:58 pm

FB01 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:47 pm
stan1 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:28 am
Would you consider an all-inclusive with different restaurants on site or would you rather be more independent? Do you want child care or youth programs? There are dozens of resorts on the beach so it comes down to what you want.

Activities for kids: boat trips, they should be able to snorkel at that age, off road 4x4 tour.

Car: Not needed unless you want to be more independent. If you book organized tours they will usually pick you up and drop you off at the hotel.

I am okay with inclusive/non inclusive and do not looking for child car program. I just want to it should have beach access for the kids to play whenever they want. I looked at Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos but am confused.

Any suggestion who all have stayed in any resort with beach access?
We stayed at Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos, beach is nice as long as no weddings are going on, enter the water at your own risk. Room was nice, food OK, and lots of it and the beer was cold.

William104
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by William104 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:19 pm

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. We stayed there in March and loved it without kids. Can't wait to go back with our kids next time as the hotel was great in every aspect. Even the food which is rare for all-inclusive. Can't help with activities as we never left the resort or beach area but they did have a lot of kid activities planned at the resort.

FB01
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by FB01 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:51 am

Hi all,

I am not planning to rent a car in Cabo. Will I need to have the Pesos or will US dollars just work fine?


-JR

glock19
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by glock19 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am


LawyersGunsAndMoney
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by LawyersGunsAndMoney » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:02 am

We stay at Esperanza (where we got married). It is expensive, but awesome, has private beaches, and there is kid stuff to do as well.

During our wedding some of our guests stayed at the Cape (less kid-friendly) as well as a nearby resort called Hacienda Encantada which was more affordable, family-oriented, and also has a private beach. They enjoyed it.

We are going back in December, and frankly I don't know that we're going to spend any time in Downtown Cabo aside from maybe chartering a fishing boat.

I would also strongly recommend making the trip to Flora Farms for dinner one evening.

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TNL
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by TNL » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:58 am

LawyersGunsAndMoney wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:02 am
We stay at Esperanza (where we got married). It is expensive, but awesome, has private beaches, and there is kid stuff to do as well.

During our wedding some of our guests stayed at the Cape (less kid-friendly) as well as a nearby resort called Hacienda Encantada which was more affordable, family-oriented, and also has a private beach. They enjoyed it.

We are going back in December, and frankly I don't know that we're going to spend any time in Downtown Cabo aside from maybe chartering a fishing boat.

I would also strongly recommend making the trip to Flora Farms for dinner one evening.
I have nothing to add to this post except to say, that as an attorney, I *LOVE* your screen name! Haha!

bloom2708
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:23 pm

glock19 wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am
any concerns??

http://chron.com/lifestyle/article/ ... 313677.php
+1 I would not take our 3 kids anywhere near those places right now. Just not worth the risk when there are lots of great places to see in the US.

You can say there is more risk driving to work or school in your car. That is fine.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

2015
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by 2015 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:05 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:23 pm
glock19 wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am
any concerns??

http://chron.com/lifestyle/article/ ... 313677.php
+1 I would not take our 3 kids anywhere near those places right now. Just not worth the risk when there are lots of great places to see in the US.

You can say there is more risk driving to work or school in your car. That is fine.
Me either. It's the wild west down there. I certainly wouldn't drive anywhere in Mexico, and I live in LA. I forget where I read an American couple were pulled over while driving in Baja, taken to jail, and while there the wife was raped. Regarding resorts, alcohol warnings, as well as trustworthiness of Tripadviser(!), see all of these:

http://9news.com/ext/news/nation-no ... skamWEuw0y

http://jsonline.com/story/news/inve ... 817172001/

https://archive.is/https://bostongl ... story.html

https://dallasnews.com/news/mexico/ ... nings-soar

http://nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=11909492

http://jsonline.com/story/news/inve ... 513563001/

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mexico
Last edited by 2015 on Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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HomerJ
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by HomerJ » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:08 am

FB01 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:37 am
I do read that Beaches are not that friendly.

What else can be done with the kids?

-JR
Find a resort with a nice pool. Plenty of them there. The beaches are not that good in Cabo, and a little dangerous for young kids. You can still go down to the beaches, but you should be in the water with the kids, and don't go too deep.

RubyTuesday
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by RubyTuesday » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:17 am

FB01 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:15 am
Hi,

I am planning to a trip to Cabo San Lucas with my 2 kids (6 and 8) in Dec/Jan. Couple of questions:

1) I am planning to stay 4 days in Cabo (excluding travel time). What are the things that can be done with kids?
2) Can anyone recommend a resort who has stayed there which has a beach access
3) Do I need to rent a car over there?

Any other suggestions/pointers would be helpful

JR
Check out San Jose del Cabo and the resorts / condos nearby or between SJdC and CSL. SJdC is much more “kid friendly”. As for activities... Boating, surfing, snorkeling, desert tour, lots to do. Make a day trip to Todos Santos on the Pacific side, stopping to watch good surfing along the way. Look into whale watching tours if the timing is right. Great golfing if you play.

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Hayden
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by Hayden » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:37 am

At the resort we went to, there was no swimming. It was too dangerous. There were a few people on the beach, but they stayed away from the water. Better to check this out for the specific location you are considering.

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bltkmt
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by bltkmt » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:31 am

glock19 wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am
any concerns??

http://chron.com/lifestyle/article/ ... 313677.php

No, none.

bloom2708
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:44 am

bltkmt wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:31 am
glock19 wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am
any concerns??

http://chron.com/lifestyle/article/ ... 313677.php

No, none.
You have kids?
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

2015
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by 2015 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:34 pm

Since I live in LA, there's always coverage of tourists who get into trouble in Baja. Americans getting kidnapped, pulled over by police for bogus reasons, having to pay bribes to get out. Then there's the stories of locals getting beheaded with their heads left on sticks, a busload of school children getting abducted after which the children vanished, mayors, police chiefs, and other local officials getting shot or otherwise tortured and killed. The local police in some areas are so corrupt the only trustworthy law keepers are the army, and they're always getting ambushed.

I remember being in TJ about 10 years ago and one of those big army jeeps drove along side my cab with a soldier standing behind a massive mounted artillery machine gun. Yikes. I also recall a 21 year old I worked with around year 2000 going down there waking up in TJ without his pants on and afraid he'd been raped. I drove down to Cabo in the 90's, but wouldn't even cross the border in a car now. After my Punta Mita trip last month, I decided it was my last vacation in that country. There's so much in the world to see without all of Mexico's drama, danger, and lawlessness.

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bltkmt
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by bltkmt » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:59 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:44 am
bltkmt wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:31 am
glock19 wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am
any concerns??

http://chron.com/lifestyle/article/ ... 313677.php

No, none.
You have kids?
Yes, but 19 and 22 so...adults. We have been to Cancun 5-6 times in the past 10 years. No issues.

bloom2708
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:40 pm

bltkmt wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:59 am
You have kids?

Yes, but 19 and 22 so...adults. We have been to Cancun 5-6 times in the past 10 years. No issues.
I guess I'm thinking about "right now", not 5, 7 or 10 years ago.

Assume your kids have kids (grandkids!) ages 4 and 6. Today, you still take the whole family into the present environment with the travel warnings?

I guess that is fine. Maybe similar to stocks. Past performance is a poor predictor of current/future performance.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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HomerJ
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by HomerJ » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:47 pm

Cancun and Cabo are not really the same as the rest of Mexico.

Those places are so dependent on tourism that every measure is taken to keep people safe.

Well, except for the recent tainted alcohol issue. But we're talking millions of people go there every year, and what? 5 people have died from tainted alcohol?

GoCubsGo2016
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by GoCubsGo2016 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:58 pm

I feel safer in a Cancun mega resort than taking a walk in any section of Chicago, including Michigan Avenue. This is coming from someone who goes to Chicago a lot and knows the city well.

caseynshan
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by caseynshan » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:02 pm

whale watching, deep sea fishing (can be combined),
big sandy beaches, but most places the water is not... but there plenty of drivable/taxiable beaches that are friendly.
in San Lucas there are boat tours.

most of the snorkeling is slightly advanced for than for a 6/8 year old probabaly

but probably realistically, you will have a hard time dragging them away from the monster resort pools

Guacamaya is fun and kid friendly restaurant..

read about exiting the airport.. that is the one bad part... they have salesmen there, that try to trick you into look at land deals.

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HomerJ
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by HomerJ » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:49 am

caseynshan wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:02 pm
read about exiting the airport.. that is the one bad part... they have salesmen there, that try to trick you into look at land deals.
Don't let anyone help you pull your luggage. When you plan the trip book a shuttle to the resort. Walk straight outside ignoring all the people trying to get your attention and find your shuttle.

Another word of advice traveling most places touristy (not just Mexico)... Don't ever take something from someone's hand... They will try to get you to look at jewelry or whatever, "here take a look", and try to hand it to you. If you take it, it will be near impossible to give it back to them without buying it. You'll probably have to place it on the ground and walk away, which is very awkward.

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bltkmt
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by bltkmt » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:01 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:40 pm
bltkmt wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:59 am
You have kids?

Yes, but 19 and 22 so...adults. We have been to Cancun 5-6 times in the past 10 years. No issues.
I guess I'm thinking about "right now", not 5, 7 or 10 years ago.

Assume your kids have kids (grandkids!) ages 4 and 6. Today, you still take the whole family into the present environment with the travel warnings?

I guess that is fine. Maybe similar to stocks. Past performance is a poor predictor of current/future performance.
We are going back to Cancun next month.

investorpeter
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by investorpeter » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:23 am

In Los Cabos right now. 85f and sunny. Hilton and Marriott resorts along the coastal highway are kid friendly. All of the resorts can book activities like snorkeling tours including shuttle pickup so no need for rental car. We have never felt unsafe here, but due to news stories and state dept travel warning we do not venture out as much as we have in the past. Tourism is noticeably down slightly, but not by much. Due to this, I suspect there are some good deals now. There’s really no need to leave your resort if it is all inclusive, which I would recommend. We avoid downtown Cabo San Lucas like the plague which is more for drinking than anything else. For us, Cabo is more for rest and relaxation than activities or sightseeing. The one thing you must have on your first visit is a plan for getting from the airport to your hotel, as there is a gauntlet of official looking people inside the airport who will “help” you book activites that are really aggressive timeshare pitches. We book through Costco and know where our shuttle picks up outside the airport so it’s no big deal, but the first time we came here we ended up signing up for a timeshare pitch in exchange for a free fishing charter. Not a bad deal actually, but the hard sell presentation part was awkward.

Also despite the vast expanses of beach, only a few areas are safe for swimming due to steep slopes and strong waves. Waves now are huge crashing onto beach sounding like thunder. There is a small “safe” beach area near the Hilton, but I wouldnt venture into the ocean especially with kids.

seersucker
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by seersucker » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:29 pm

2015 wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:34 pm
Since I live in LA, there's always coverage of tourists who get into trouble in Baja. Americans getting kidnapped, pulled over by police for bogus reasons, having to pay bribes to get out. Then there's the stories of locals getting beheaded with their heads left on sticks, a busload of school children getting abducted after which the children vanished, mayors, police chiefs, and other local officials getting shot or otherwise tortured and killed. The local police in some areas are so corrupt the only trustworthy law keepers are the army, and they're always getting ambushed.

I remember being in TJ about 10 years ago and one of those big army jeeps drove along side my cab with a soldier standing behind a massive mounted artillery machine gun. Yikes. I also recall a 21 year old I worked with around year 2000 going down there waking up in TJ without his pants on and afraid he'd been raped. I drove down to Cabo in the 90's, but wouldn't even cross the border in a car now. After my Punta Mita trip last month, I decided it was my last vacation in that country. There's so much in the world to see without all of Mexico's drama, danger, and lawlessness.
Now I've never been to Mexico but would love to go and have been trying to talk my wife into a trip to Punta Mita but your post makes me reconsider. What was it about your last trip that made you decide it was your last? Thanks.

2015
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by 2015 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:13 pm

seersucker wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:29 pm
2015 wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:34 pm
Since I live in LA, there's always coverage of tourists who get into trouble in Baja. Americans getting kidnapped, pulled over by police for bogus reasons, having to pay bribes to get out. Then there's the stories of locals getting beheaded with their heads left on sticks, a busload of school children getting abducted after which the children vanished, mayors, police chiefs, and other local officials getting shot or otherwise tortured and killed. The local police in some areas are so corrupt the only trustworthy law keepers are the army, and they're always getting ambushed.

I remember being in TJ about 10 years ago and one of those big army jeeps drove along side my cab with a soldier standing behind a massive mounted artillery machine gun. Yikes. I also recall a 21 year old I worked with around year 2000 going down there waking up in TJ without his pants on and afraid he'd been raped. I drove down to Cabo in the 90's, but wouldn't even cross the border in a car now. After my Punta Mita trip last month, I decided it was my last vacation in that country. There's so much in the world to see without all of Mexico's drama, danger, and lawlessness.
Now I've never been to Mexico but would love to go and have been trying to talk my wife into a trip to Punta Mita but your post makes me reconsider. What was it about your last trip that made you decide it was your last? Thanks.
Sorry if I misrepresented. Punta Mita was actually just about one of the happiest "mistakes" I've made travelling. Old Puerta Vallarta is situated east (?) of the airport along a very long stretch of beach hotels in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Neuvo Vallarta is west (?) of the airport in the state of Nayarit, again along a long stretch of beach hotels. Both areas remind me of Oahu or Las Vegas, with one hotel right on top of the other, which is something I just abhor. All you see in any of these places is hotel after hotel after hotel.

Punta Mita, OTOH, is located 45 minutes away from the airport, is very secluded, and just beautiful. It's where the 4 Seasons is located, where many of the world's wealthy and entertainers stay in the surrounding scattered boutique hotels. I actually stayed a bit farther out when I accidentally booked my hotel, which was located on its own beach, with at least a mile of unspoiled deserted beach on either side, with the entrance embedded in many miles of so much lush vegetation that it looked like a jungle. I also "accidentally" booked an oceanfront suite which was set into a bluff and separate from the main hotel. The totality of the trip was consequently extraordinary.

I actually came to several revelations on that trip. Going forward, I refuse to pay for anything "upscale", "luxurious" or similarly bourgeoisie marketed. I will, OTOH, pay for exclusivity (less noise, commotion, disruption), beauty (oceanfront), increased comfort (the suite). I also decided I have no desire to waste my vacation dollars on popularly marketed "bucket list" tourist destinations because while those areas might have been worthwhile 50-75 years ago, to me they're just tourist traps now (e.g., Oahu, Sidney, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Tokyo, virtually all of America's and Europe's large cities, anything in China, Hong Kong especially). Similarly, I decided I don't want to spend my vacation dollars on highly popular baby boomer "bucket list" experiences, such as sailing excursions, Swiss Alps climbing, etc. all cleverly yet strategically target marketed (see Bobos in Paradise book).

Puerto Vallarta was a typical magical little fishing village before Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ruined it while filming there back in the early 1960's . Similarly, you couldn't pay me to go to Baja now. Oahu was another world before around the 1950's. Vegas was actually a pretty cool place up until around the 1970's/1980's. Now it's a hot mess that I couldn't go back to in the next ten lifetimes. Previously, I was just picking vacation destinations based on what the rest of the world was doing. Instead, I've now decided I want to spend my vacation dollars on personally meaningful experiences, like seeing the Northern Lights, or visiting the Amazon, or going to parts of Africa or other locations that aren't crawling with tourists. It doesn't take a lot of money to be mindful in travel, it just takes thinking it through ahead of time. I have my happy series of Punta Mita "accidents" to thank for this clarity.

rj49
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by rj49 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:56 pm

The marina has a walk around it, away from cars and with plenty of tourists to feel safe. There's a dolphin swimming place as well that would make a good memory for kids--if you go to their website before you visit they usually have big discounts. The marina also has a big mall with a coffee shop, food places, an outdoor big-letter Cabo sign for photo ops, and best of all, it's nice and cool. It has plenty of fishermen who will take you out fishing or to the arch and the beach there.

Otherwise, there are lots of resorts who usually have gates and guards and pools and things for kids--just read reviews and compare prices. A lot of the airlines and travel sites have package deals with airfare as well.

DireWolf
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by DireWolf » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:34 pm

We're going in early January. We'll be staying at an all-inclusive resort but will be playing golf at various locations throughout the week. It seems like renting a car would be the most convenient. Any concerns about having a rental car there?

seychellois_lib
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Re: Cabo San Lucas - question

Post by seychellois_lib » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:25 am

2015 wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:13 pm
seersucker wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:29 pm
2015 wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:34 pm
Since I live in LA, there's always coverage of tourists who get into trouble in Baja. Americans getting kidnapped, pulled over by police for bogus reasons, having to pay bribes to get out. Then there's the stories of locals getting beheaded with their heads left on sticks, a busload of school children getting abducted after which the children vanished, mayors, police chiefs, and other local officials getting shot or otherwise tortured and killed. The local police in some areas are so corrupt the only trustworthy law keepers are the army, and they're always getting ambushed.

I remember being in TJ about 10 years ago and one of those big army jeeps drove along side my cab with a soldier standing behind a massive mounted artillery machine gun. Yikes. I also recall a 21 year old I worked with around year 2000 going down there waking up in TJ without his pants on and afraid he'd been raped. I drove down to Cabo in the 90's, but wouldn't even cross the border in a car now. After my Punta Mita trip last month, I decided it was my last vacation in that country. There's so much in the world to see without all of Mexico's drama, danger, and lawlessness.
Now I've never been to Mexico but would love to go and have been trying to talk my wife into a trip to Punta Mita but your post makes me reconsider. What was it about your last trip that made you decide it was your last? Thanks.
Sorry if I misrepresented. Punta Mita was actually just about one of the happiest "mistakes" I've made travelling. Old Puerta Vallarta is situated east (?) of the airport along a very long stretch of beach hotels in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Neuvo Vallarta is west (?) of the airport in the state of Nayarit, again along a long stretch of beach hotels. Both areas remind me of Oahu or Las Vegas, with one hotel right on top of the other, which is something I just abhor. All you see in any of these places is hotel after hotel after hotel.

Punta Mita, OTOH, is located 45 minutes away from the airport, is very secluded, and just beautiful. It's where the 4 Seasons is located, where many of the world's wealthy and entertainers stay in the surrounding scattered boutique hotels. I actually stayed a bit farther out when I accidentally booked my hotel, which was located on its own beach, with at least a mile of unspoiled deserted beach on either side, with the entrance embedded in many miles of so much lush vegetation that it looked like a jungle. I also "accidentally" booked an oceanfront suite which was set into a bluff and separate from the main hotel. The totality of the trip was consequently extraordinary.

I actually came to several revelations on that trip. Going forward, I refuse to pay for anything "upscale", "luxurious" or similarly bourgeoisie marketed. I will, OTOH, pay for exclusivity (less noise, commotion, disruption), beauty (oceanfront), increased comfort (the suite). I also decided I have no desire to waste my vacation dollars on popularly marketed "bucket list" tourist destinations because while those areas might have been worthwhile 50-75 years ago, to me they're just tourist traps now (e.g., Oahu, Sidney, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Tokyo, virtually all of America's and Europe's large cities, anything in China, Hong Kong especially). Similarly, I decided I don't want to spend my vacation dollars on highly popular baby boomer "bucket list" experiences, such as sailing excursions, Swiss Alps climbing, etc. all cleverly yet strategically target marketed (see Bobos in Paradise book).

Puerto Vallarta was a typical magical little fishing village before Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ruined it while filming there back in the early 1960's . Similarly, you couldn't pay me to go to Baja now. Oahu was another world before around the 1950's. Vegas was actually a pretty cool place up until around the 1970's/1980's. Now it's a hot mess that I couldn't go back to in the next ten lifetimes. Previously, I was just picking vacation destinations based on what the rest of the world was doing. Instead, I've now decided I want to spend my vacation dollars on personally meaningful experiences, like seeing the Northern Lights, or visiting the Amazon, or going to parts of Africa or other locations that aren't crawling with tourists. It doesn't take a lot of money to be mindful in travel, it just takes thinking it through ahead of time. I have my happy series of Punta Mita "accidents" to thank for this clarity.
An interesting perspective. I share it to some degree. I sailed to Kauai (on my own boat, not an excursion). The trip itself was an extraordinary adventure but upon arrival I joined my family who were in full tourist mode. I was not happy to be trudging around the island seeing everything one is supposed to see and doing it with basically the same group of tourists hopping from one spot to another. Very off putting.

After the family left I had to do boat repairs, re-provision and basically hang out for several weeks dragging things out as long as I could. I did so at a slip in Nawiliwili harbor, sleeping on the boat, showering in the cockpit, drinking lukewarm beer, eating out of cans enjoying the spectacular weather and getting to know the local crowd a little bit. It was possibly the best vacation I have ever had. The harbor was somewhat secluded and was not touristy with the exception of a few sportsfishing boats. These were in and out twice a day with minimal disruption. Paradise.

On the other hand...I just returned from Cabo with the family including my two year old grand daughter. We stayed at Grand Fiesta Americana in a two bedroom unit. This was the first time I have experienced an all inclusive resort. The grand daughter loved the pool which was huge and perfect for children. The beach is not perfect for young children. Mostly shore break and frequently a big swell. A nasty combination for kids. If you are looking to chill out with hundreds of your countrymen this is a pretty good option. I have found the Mexican people to be a very friendly bunch in general, they seem to want you there and treat you accordingly. I do not think Cabo is any more dangerous than most US cities one might visit. As someone else mentioned, tourism is big business and a lot of livelihoods depend upon it. I think the Mexican authorities respond very aggressively to any threats to the well being of tourists in general. Having said this, you are going to get a "packaged" experience which may not be everyone's cup of tea. It isn't mine.

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