^^ Family dinner at Maria Corona
^^ Leila showing Aunt 'Stine some love
^^ That's a 160 lb marlin! Go Mike!!
^^ Feeding leftover bait to the birds! That pelican almost took a finger. Phew!
^^ Me and my dad in front of the famous arch
A family beach vacation is a rare and wonderful thing around here. Since most of my family lives in Tennessee I generally travel there to see everyone once or twice during the summer and that is considered my "vacation". This time though my dad thought up a pretty genius plan...let's meet in Mexico! So last month, for five beautiful days, we did just that. It was relaxing, revitalizing, and adventurous all at once and I was so glad to spend some much needed time with my family. I constantly miss them and hate being so far away, especially from my nieces and nephew who are growing up so fast! Leila, my sister's little one, is at such a fun age right now (almost 2) and was talking up a storm when we were in Cabo. She'd wake up and right away say "ocean, ocean, ocean" and want us to lift her up so she could see the waves crashing from our balcony. It was the sweetest thing. The ocean in Cabo really is an incredible sight. The waves are actually so big that they don't allow swimming by the resort, which was definitely a bummer. But the threat is real. I lost my sandals to a wave that seemed to come out of nowhere one morning. I was just standing there taking photos and BAM. I ran as fast as I could but the current took my shoes along with it. It was a close call, especially since I had my camera in hand! The sacrifices we make for art ;) I will say that if you are visiting Cabo and looking to swim in the ocean, try venturing to the other side to a place called Lover's Beach. We didn't make it there this time around, we were pretty content swimming in the pool while enjoying the ocean view, but that crystal clear water is pretty tempting.
This trip was more family oriented, so my little guide will reflect that. We stayed close to the resort during the day and generally went into town for dinner but didn't stick around to indulge in Cabo's vibrant night life scene. Maybe next time?! Here are the highlights...
This resort is truly breathtaking. It was built on the very edge of the island, called Lands End, creating beautiful views everywhere you turn. It is open and airy and blends into the natural rock formations around it. The amenities make it hard to leave, and you really don't have to if that suits you. There are 3-4 restaurants to choose from within the resort, all with pretty similar, local inspired food. I think I counted 4 pools, and apparently they have couple more on the way (there was a little construction during our stay but it didn't bother us one bit). The rooms are spacious and pretty with huge balconies that look right onto the ocean. As I said, we stayed pretty close to the resort during the day-- reading, relaxing, and splashing around. Loved it!
Grand Solmar, poolside
I have to say that one of the best parts of this trip was getting to eat fresh seafood everyday! Living in a landlocked state, I don't often get to indulge in one of my favorite types of food so I definitely took advantage. Shrimp tacos and fish ceviche by the pool became our go-to lunch order. I was in heaven.
This place is pretty touristy but if you can get past that part you really can't beat the location. It literally sits right on the beach. The atmosphere is fun and lively and there is often a band playing during dinnertime. The food is okay, the drinks are better. Once the sun goes down, hundreds of Christmas lights light up and the party starts.
If I were to pick a favorite restaurant of the bunch, this one would be up at the top. There was a traditional Mexican trio playing the night we went that blew us all away. They were such a great background to the whole experience. More low key than The Office, this place felt very authentic in terms of decor and food. I had a slow roasted pork dish that was served in a banana leaf....amazing.
This is the second time I've had delicious Italian food in Mexico. Apparently it's a thing? The portions here are huge so watch out. We ended up having lots of leftovers that we turned into breakfast and lunch the next day though so it actually worked out nicely! The food is pretty rich and heavy so I'd say go hungry. But don't skip dessert...the tiramisu is almost better than Spinelli's!
I won't say too much about this restaurant here because I am going to write a separate Wandering Wednesday featuring it next week. Yes, it's so amazing it deserves it's own post. Flora Farms is actually located about an hour outside of Cabo Can Lucas in San Jose Del Cabo. I had no idea what to expect when we arrived. My dad said we were going to an organic farm restaurant which I interpreted as farm to table. I had no idea that I'd be walking into a literal farm oasis! Now I dream of returning regularly. Let's just say it makes an impression.
Deep Sea Sportfishing
This was my first time deep sea fishing and it didn't disappoint. We started at sunrise and rode probably 20 miles from the shoreline fishing for Wahoo, Marlin, Tuna, Amberjack. We were sportfishing which means you can only keep a certain amount of what you catch, and some fish (specifically Marlin) are treated as catch and release unless you want to pay a hefty fee. I have to admit, I was mostly there for the boat ride. I can never say no to being on a boat and with the added entertainment of watching the guys reel in a few 160lb fish....yes, please! We (and I say 'we' because I was a really great cheerleader) caught all Marlin that day. Reeled in two and hooked four total. Those suckers can dance! It's a full out battle getting them into the boat! Fishing is so interesting to me because it is so much waiting around but once something bites everything changes. At the end of our ride, we feed our leftover bait to the birds and a couple seals that just hopped up right next to us. That was a definite trip highlight! So fun!
San Jose is the laid-back sister of Cabo San Lucas. We took a day trip here and shopped around before dinner at Flora Farms. There is a string of shops along the main plaza and a beautiful church which serves as a central landmark of the town. My sister Kate and brother-n-law Mike actually spent their honeymoon here so they wanted to go back and visit a few of their favorite spots and have a drink at the hotel where they stayed. I much preferred this area to downtown Cabo San Lucas for shopping. In fact, I think overall this town suited me a little better and if I were planning my own trip back I would consider staying here. It's slower, and cheaper, and not as touristy.