In attempt to answer some of travel questions which were not covered in the daily blog, here is a brief trip report to fill the items missed. Hopefully, it will also make it easier for Carol and Eric to archive in the trip report section, vice all the daily entries.
We flew on American from Reagan/National (DCA) to Los Cabos (SJD). A long layover in Phoenix (PHX) was a welcomed respite. The older I get the more I appreciate the advantages of a layover. It allows for time to enjoy a lunch, panic attacks are avoided knowing you are going to make the connection, no running required for a connecting flight, and there is time to change $$s to Pesos. Sure non-stops are always preferred, but if a stop is required, I have learned to enjoy it. Ticket costs were $450 per ticket, and I was very pleased with the price considering it was a cross-country international flight.
Our departure from Washington was at 0700 and was the day after the election. DCA security status evidently was raised to the next level. I received an email 18 hours before our flight, which said that a 3-hour arrival before our departure time was required. Living 75 minutes from the airport, I did some quick ciphering, and did not like what time my alarm would buzz. Using a few Marriot points plus $50, we stayed at a new Renaissance less than a mile from the airport. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and cost of the dinner offered at the hotel restaurant as we watched the election returns roll across the TVs. Great food paired with an amazing Italian wine, which was also reasonably priced, made it a wonderful vacation kickoff. Once again, the older I get… I prefer just to hit the EASY button and the extra sleep time was well worth the money and points invested. Both flights were crowded, but our arrival was on time and we had no complaints.
A new terminal has been built since our last visit to Los Cabos in 2007. It is very modern, and the flow makes sense as you work your way through passport control, luggage retrieval, and customs. I did have a chuckle clearing customs. One must push a button before they can enter Mexico. I did as directed and was waved through - Welcomed to Mexico! Evidently, there is a light that if it lights up you will be pulled aside to open your suitcases, and be inspected. I guess no profiling in Mexico. [color:"red"]WARNINGS[/color]
You will have to run a gauntlet of timeshare sales people before you can get out of the building. They can be pretty aggressive.
Do not plan on WIFI, albeit it is advertised that it is available, we could not connect to any open services.
Rum and Sugar have been traveling to Cabo since the 60s, so a rent a car was no big deal. They had arrived a week earlier so they picked us up at the airport. The vehicle did offer us the freedom to get out of Cabo San Lucas, explore beaches further up the coast, and make grocery store runs when needed. However, if you are staying downtown Cabo San Lucas and the vacation is all about fishing or partying downtown a car may not be necessary. Driving outside of the city was very easy. Driving inside the cities… well my caveat is heads up! There is also a very upscale mall that has a wonderful underground parking garage, which is a very short walk to bar district and marina.
We had some amazing dinners. I do not think we ever had a meal less than excellent all week. That also includes some wonderful home cook meals at the villa. The dinner at La Frida’s, located in the Pueblo Bonito resort complex stands out. The evening at La Frida’s was one of amazing food and wine provided a dining experience that can only be described as Damn Good! (See blog for Monday). Esquina, in the downtown hotel district, provided a wonderful meal and ambiance. Our last night in the marina, we dined at dockside restaurant named Los Deseos. The food was solid, and the service was over the top. Los Deseos location allows one to look out of the happenings of the evening.
We really did not participate in the famous craziness that makes Cabo San Lucas stand out worldwide. We did on our last visit, 9 years ago, so I can honestly say Cabo San Lucas is not for amateurs. The alcohol is inexpensive and flows freely. A sober wingman is probably a good plan. We enjoyed the nightlife at the villa poolside this trip.
We were guest of friends that own within the Pueblo Bonito resort. The resort has multiple options from adult only to a golf community. We stayed in the villas on the mountain, which is called Montecristo Estates. The villas overlook the entire property and one feels that the can see the curvature of the earth, and oh my the sunsets. All the villas in Montecristo were 3 to 4 bedrooms, and offered a view second to none. I think my pictures in the blog captured the view. I am pretty sure that Pueblo Bonito, and the associated properties, offer RCI options, VRBO, and direct bookings. Slightly removed from downtown, but everything you need is on property. Of note the beach in front of the resort is not swimmable. The riptides and currents are very strong, and the no swim flag is always flying and enforced.
I would want to go a couple weeks later so I could see the whales migrating
I would want to go deep sea fishing
I would not haul my snorkel gear
I would extend my 80 minutes in the Spa <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Groovin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Joy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Groovin.gif" alt="" />
[color:"purple"]The return home
The resort offered a $25 per person shuttle to the airport, which is about 25 miles away from Pueblo Bonito. Rum and Sugar had a much later flight so this option made life easy. (push that easy button again) The flight from Cabo to Dallas was empty and was extremely enjoyable. When planning trips many folks are concerned about the required time needed to clear customs and catch a connecting flight. In Dallas, it took us 1 hour and 20 minutes to go through passport control, pick up luggage, clear customs, recheck luggage, go through TSA checkpoint, and catch the monorail to our gate. Any one transferring in Dallas, and has to clear customs, I would say 90 minutes is the absolute minimum time between flights. We arrived back at DCA at midnight and made the drive home. Boy did our bed feel good!
[color:"green"]Blog Links for the rest of the story and pictures:
Pre-Trip: The Return
An introduction to the pending trip and how we met our friends and host for the week.
The day before departure: Adios USA - Hola Mexico
The anticipation and the last-minute change of plans because of security surrounding the election.
Wednesday: The Longest Day
Travel day to Mexico – We made it!
Thursday: Fish Tales and More
The excitement of being on a beach in downtown Los Cabos. There was a whole lot going on!
Friday: Golf in Paradise
First time golfing in 16 years on a Jack Nicklaus Championship Course. Absolutely Beautiful and the golf was fun too!
Saturday: A Lazy Day and then a Flash!
Low key around the villa and accomplishing my goal of capturing the green flash.
Sunday: Lets Go to the Beach!
An adventure up the coast to an amazing beach that had great waves, live music, and Margaritas
Monday: Downtown Shopping and So Much More
The day I usually dislike, but we had fun and visited a glass factory. Later that night a dinner to remember.
Tuesday: 80 minutes - Really?
Our last full day in Los Cabos and a day at the SPA – Ouch!
Picture of the Day: Picture of the Day
Some of my favorite pictures that did not make the blog.
Once again – thanks for following along.