We just returned from our January trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico. It is the fourth trip we’ve taken since early retiring last year and we would definitely return to this area. It was a perfect cold weather getaway in an unbusy low season. In this post, I will share the top activities we did in Cabo and some money saving strategies that allowed us to make the most of our travel budget.
Los Cabos – TOP THINGS TO DO
Chillax In The Sun – Cabo is about the sun and water first and foremost. The location – at Land’s End of the Baja Peninsula- is spectacular. Our resort, the Villa La Estancia was right on the bay, overlooking the amazing rock formations and featured a wonderfully luxurious pool area and hot tubs. It was a ‘quiet resort’ with no blaring music or people loudly partying. It was attached to two other resorts, which were less private and more of a party zone, if you wanted to switch gears. One afternoon, we went on a cruise around the bay and into the ocean, where we saw whales spouting and a beautiful sunset.
Cabo San Lucas Marina Area – This is the main dining, shopping and party area in Cabo. It was a short taxi ride from our resort and we went back & forth every other day. It is anchored by by the Paraiso Puerto & Luxury Brands malls, but the best part of the area is all of the interesting restaurants and nightclubs that line the waterfront. We went down to the area for lunch or dinner several times, including an obligatory stop at Cabo Wabo – the place owned by Sammy Hagar that helped put Cabo on the map.
Baja California Adventure – Their are a lot of things that you can do in Los Cabos including parasailing, deep sea fishing, what watching from small Zodiacs, and off-road adventures. We spent an afternoon riding ATVs through the desert brush, through small villages, and along the Baja coastline. Organized through Cabo San Lucas Tours, it was about $85 US for the three hour tour – which included a guide and all of the safety equipment. Even if you have never driven a four-wheeler before, these semi-automatic Honda ATVs were simple to use and if you are more adventurous, they had places to do doughnuts in the sand, make jumps, and a really cool ‘figure 8’ pit dug out of the sand.
The Glass Factory – Unusual fact about MrFireStation is that I was an Art minor in college and spent a couple years learning to blow hot glass. I was excited when a neighbor suggested this stop, as it was a chance for me to get back into a glass studio for the first time in almost 30 years. With such an ancient craft, it wasn’t surprising that very little had changed. I was able to give my wife and son a full play-by-play of what the very accomplished glass blowers were doing and relate it back to my time in college. The Glass Factory is free to visit – but they do have a terrific glass shop that might tempt you.
Office On The Beach – This is your quintessential Los Cabos restaurant – located right on the beach, near the marina. It got its name from a businessman who retired to Cabo San Lucas, but occasionally met colleagues at the walk-up beach front bar. The more they met, the more they started calling their ‘office’ and eventually someone made a sign calling it ‘Office on the Beach’. It has a great laid-back vibe with tables and chairs in the sand and live bands almost every night. The quartet that played mellow, classic rock when we were there consistent of a guitar/vocalist, bass player, drummer, and trombone. The trombone was an odd accompaniment, but they were really awesome. At one point, an older gentleman having dinner got up and joined them with his blues harmonica. Really cool.
San Jose Del Cabo Art Night – 20 kilometers from Cabo San Lucas is San Jose. It has a historic square with city hall and cathedral that date back to the 1700s. It is known for a great art scene with cool galleries and restaurants near the main square. We went there on a Thursday night (took the $3 bus from San Lucas) when all of the galleries and restaurants are open for an art crawl. The square was filled with artisans and the streets were blocked from through traffic. We had a great meal at the Baja Brewing Company and soaked in the scene.
Los Cabo – MONEY SAVING STRATEGIES
Play The Secondary Market – Los Cabo is a huge time share market with dozens of posh time share resorts. While I don’t recommend buying into a time share, it also means there are a huge amount of units available on the secondary market (VRBI or Air BNB) for reasonable prices. We booked a 5 star resort through Orbitz and got a great price.
Low Low Season – January is an amazing time to go, with great weather in the 70s-80s and very attractive low season rates. Our resort was about 60% full the third week of January and we saved about 25% compared with our neighbors who stayed at the same resort last spring break. What’s more – you have no trouble finding a place to sit by the pool or on the beach any time of day.
Strategic Haggling – I like to bring back a souvenir or two when I’m traveling. It’s a away of remembering the trip after you get back home. While the resort had an overpriced gift shop, I went into town to the market area and enjoyed the fun and assortment you could find there. The shop keeper usually throws out a price and they suggest you counter with half as much – later meeting in the middle of the two numbers. I never countered once – just waited until they kept dropping the price and typically paid half of where they started.
Don’t Book Activities Through Hotel – We went on some excursions – a sunset cruise and an afternoon riding four wheel ATVs – but booked them independently online. There are many reputable places to book these activities – I simply checked them out on TripAdvisor.com. We saved almost 40% on our ATV excursion ($50 a person) by booking online versus through the hotel.
Prescription Medication – There are dozens of pharmacies throughout Cabo that clearly cater to American visitors that want to save on prescription medication. Fact is, many of these pharmacies offer name brand drugs (or their generic equivalents) at prices that are maybe 5-10 cents on the dollar to what you would pay back home. Additionally, many are sold over-the-counter and do not require a prescription as they might in the United States. (Please by all means discuss with your doctor and understand the laws surrounding this. My reporting on this is merely for awareness, and not to encourage anyone to do anything illegal).