Los Cabos: Discovering ‘Lands End’ with Air Transat
In Cabo, the sun is always shining, the margaritas are always flowing, and the coast is always drenched in tropical heat. Los Cabos is situated on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula in México. Stretching from sea to desert, it’s the perfect (and affordable!) getaway for Canadians. At only four hours from YVR, it’s a quick zip down to paradise. We’d heard of the famous “el Arco”, or Arch of Cabo San Lucas, and had put it on our bucket list of travel destinations, but that was the extent that we knew about the area they call the “Land’s End”. When we were given the opportunity to travel with Air Transat to Los Cabos, we were so excited to experience the colourful Mexican culture first hand. Plus…the TACOS!!! As much as we love the drizzly, grey, fall west coast weather, we jumped at the chance to chase the sun. So, we packed our sunscreen and swimsuits, and headed for Baja.
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Los Cabos - Discovering 'Lands End'
Home away from home
After an easy morning flight out of YVR in Vancouver, we arrived at the Royal Decameron Los Cabos mid-day, and were immediately in heaven. Situated on the Playa Hotelera, (or “Hotel Beach”), this resort boasts stunning, unrestricted views of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean. Playa Hotelera is a long stretch of sandy beach perfect for morning strolls or evening walks, (the colours in the sky during both sunrise and sunset are breathtaking), and the Royal Decameron has rows and rows of beach chairs and thatched umbrellas just ready for some R&R.
We loved our experience at the Royal Decameron. From the friendly staff who were continually looking for ways to make our stay more comfortable, (refilling the mini-bars with free coronas and bottles of water, and always passing with a smile, a “buenos días!” or a “buenas noches!”) to the fresh buffet breakfasts, (green juice, yogurt, granola and papaya EVERY DAY), to the incredible pools overlooking the ocean. Every evening, the grounds were bustling with a free show that was hosted by the resort, (our fav was Latin night, with an incredible dance show!) and the staff were always working hard to ensure we were having fun. Every night we fell asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the sand, and every morning we woke up to see the spectacular sunrise over the ocean. It was every bit the relaxing, all-inclusive experience that we were looking for.
Things to do
One of the best things about going on an Air Transat experience is that there is no shortage of things to do. We’re used to doing all the planning when we travel, whether it be places to eat or sights to see. It was nice to sit back for once and let the experts do what they do best. Our on-site Air Transat rep, Cesar, was the best resource to help plan our excursions. He gave his suggestions based on the type of things we enjoy, and even provided tips on local beaches to visit.
Exploring Los Cabos
Being new to the area we wanted to get our bearings, so we chose the Explore Los Cabos Tour as our first excursion. Who better to learn from than a local! On this tour, we were taken to visit the three best known areas of Los Cabos: San Jose del Cabo, the Tourist Corridor, and Cabo San Lucas.
San Jose del Cabo
San Jose del Cabo is a small, laid back town with quaint colonial architecture, adobe houses and cobbled streets lined with art galleries, textile shops, and Méxican cafes. The historic San José missionary church, which was rebuilt in 1940, sits facing the main plaza, and the town’s quiet roads make it the perfect spot for some relaxed, local shopping. The city of San Jose del Cabo sustained considerable damage when it was hit by Hurricane Odile in 2014, and the state is currently working hard to restore the town to its former glory. We loved the atmosphere of San Jose del Cabo so much that we ended up visiting several times throughout our stay. We had such a great time perusing the galleries and local shops where we lusted after local handmade goods (some of which came home with us!).
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is known as the more upbeat city in Los Cabos, centring around the marina and the entertainment district. The shopping here is more commercial, but if you like energetic nightlife – this is the place for you!
During the Cabo San Lucas part of this tour, we went on a glass bottom boat ride to the picturesque Land’s End area, the magical place where the Pacific Ocean means the Sea of Cortez. Jacques Cousteau named the Sea of Cortez “the world ́s aquarium” due to its colourful reefs teeming with tropical fish and sea life, so making this trip in a glass bottom boat was the perfect experience. The water was so clear that we could see thousands of fish just by peering over the edge of the boat. Along the way to visit the famous Arch, we stopped by the friendly sea lion colony, the beautiful, sandy and swimmable Lover’s Beach, and its counterpart, the cheeky “Divorce Beach”, named for its rough waves and no-swimming policy!
“El Arco de Cabo San Lucas”, or the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, is the stunning and iconic natural rock formation at the very Southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. It’s a popular destination spot for snorkelling, sea lion watching, and cruising around during sunset, and it was every bit as beautiful to see in person as we had imagined. Crossing that one off our bucket list!
Some other activities we recommend in Lost Cabos:
Where to eat
We were so pleasantly surprised by how many delicious things we found at the Royal Decameron breakfast and lunch buffet that we ended up eating there most days. Reub’s favs were the French toast, the freshly made tortilla chips and the assortment of salsas, and Brie’s favs were the fresh fruit, the Méxican pastries, and the hot cakes. When we weren’t eating at the resort, we were usually out searching for one thing: authentic, mouthwatering TACOS.
Lateral Crudo y Asado
When you see a massive lit up sign that says TACOS, you know you’re walking in the right direction. Lateral Crudo y Asado was the first place we tried when out taco hunting, and we were in literal taqueria paradise. Brie’s fav: the fresh guacamole, the Baja fish taco and the shrimp taco ajillo style, both on a jicama “tortilla”. Reub’s fav: the al pastor taco with fresh pineapple on a corn tortilla.
La Lupita Taco & Mezcal
A few of our Instagram followers insisted we try La Lupita – and we’re SO thankful they did! Located on one of the main streets in San Jose del Cabo, this cafe had such an incredible atmosphere – with an open back patio surrounded by greenery and colourful murals, we could have stayed here all day. By far these were the most interesting tacos we’ve ever eaten, and each one was bursting with intense flavour. (And ohhhh the delicious horchata!) We regretted coming here so close to the end of our trip, cause we could’ve easily eaten here every day.
Taqueria Rossy was by far the most authentic, non-touristy taqueria we visited. When we walked in, the restaurant was bustling with locals – so we knew it had to be good! This spot serves their tacos plain and simple, and you can customize each one with a huge variety of toppings. We ordered fish tacos and loaded them up with veggies, salsas, hot sauce – SO fresh!
We beat the heat with a raspberry and cream frozen popsicle, and went back to treat ourselves with a pina colada aqua fresca. So refreshing.
When in Mexico, you have to eat as the locals eat. We had so much fun trying out different food stands, even if it meant googling what we were about to order while we waited in line. Some of the best things we tried were fresh passionfruit ice cream, veggie and cheese tamales, corn esquites, and piping hot, delicious churros.
Día de Muertos / Day of the Dead
We were so lucky that our visit to Los Cabos coincided with the Day of the Dead, a Méxican holiday meant to celebrate the lives of friends, family members and ancestors who have passed on. We learned that this is not a morbid holiday, but rather a celebration of the dearly departed to help support their spiritual journey into the afterlife. Contrary to what we’re used to, in México, death is celebrated with colour, music, costumes and dancing. The town of San Jose del Cabo was bursting with festivities. People of all ages came dressed in ornate costumes with their faces painted with intricate skulls, and colourful altars called ofrendas lined the streets. These elaborate ofrendas are meant to honour the deceased, and are adorned with their favourite foods, drinks, photos, possesions, and the flowers of the dead, or Méxican marigolds. It was an incredible cultural experience we’ll never forget.
We learned so much about the colourful local traditions of México thanks to Air Transat. With its rich culture and diverse landscape there’s so much more of this beautiful country that we want to explore, and we can’t wait to plan our next visit.