I’ve been meaning to write about my Cabo trip for the longest… my apologies for taking so long in doing so! I’ve just been busy with work and school, sick, and enjoying time with my boyfriend as often as we can in between everything. It’s been difficult to keep up my blog on a daily, weekly or even (gasp!) monthly basis. I’m going to try to set aside more time each month again to focus on my writing and journaling. For the few people who might stumble across this, that might not mean much, but it’s more of a mental note for me since journaling is so cathartic for me.
About that Cabo Trip…
So my little sister Kris and I decided to book another ‘sibling trip’ this year since we missed out on a second last year. (History: Three Summers ago, my Sisters Kris, Nickie and I visited Las Vegas, my first trip there.) Kris and I began looking online to see where the cheapest flights were out of the country. Specifically, we were looking for cheap flights to Cabo, the Bahamas, Mexico City, etc. I’ve had my passport for the better part of 3 years and had not even used it yet, nor have I ever left the country before. So, we stumbled upon Spirit Airlines and two $150 round trip tickets to Cabo. Super cheap! And right up our alley. So we decided to book an AirB&B in Cabo San Lucas and buy our tickets and go. I drove down to Dallas to stay with Mom and Dad two days prior to the trip, and to spend a few days with my little Sis and her son (my nephew) Damian, who is 6 years old and an amazing little guy. (He’s like a hot latino younger version of me.) At any rate, we all had a good couple of days and my Sister decided to spend the night over at Mom & Dad’s with me the night before. We had to get up at 4:30 am to leave to the airport with Mom at 5, since our plane was leaving at 7 am. We got there and suddenly zoomed through the lines and we were off!
As the plane careened its way through foggy mountains and over glistening seas, we finally arrived about 2 hours later. It struck me just as we were flying over the misty mountains that we were, in fact, in Mexico, and I had just officially left the country! I was so excited…
We got through the airport and all through customs, and my Sis helped me exchange my currency to pesos (which was also a new exciting thing for me. It’s the little things, ya’ll.) Once we got outside and got our shuttle, we headed to the Airbnb which was located conveniently in the center of town in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I was told before going just how touristy it could be, and yes, while I did find Cabo a little touristy, I also found that it had a unique charm – and if you walk a little off the beaten path, you could really find good value for your dollar and also uncover some unique vistas and local spots of your own.
Our Airbnb, as stated, was such a great deal – and we found it on the Airbnb website. It was a converted club, we found out, yet it seemed like a huge concrete open-air apartment complex. Our room was about $50 per night American, which I still think is such as steal! We had a room about the size of a studio apartment, complete with a kitchenette (full of boxed food here and there), as well as amenities such as a stove, a microwave, free WIFI, free cable, and a huge shower and bathroom, as well as plenty of storage space for our clothes and other valuables. Our room contained one single bed (which we were fine sharing) and a comfy couch and other amenities. I was amazed at the value. Our landladies were also quite nice, although they spoke mostly Spanish, they were very accommodating and helpful.
(Huge tip: eat where the locals eat, don’t drink the water, and make sure to know your currency conversions before you go. It may be more expensive to swap out currency at the airport, but at least you know you might have less chance of being screwed out of a little money. On the other hand, exchanging currency at local chain currency stores is also quite safe. They usually convert to your favor, so I wouldn’t worry much.) You’ll see $50 and think it’s fifty American dollars. In fact, that means 5 pesos, and 5 pesos, right now, converts to around $2.58 American. Shops are everywhere, so make sure to compare prices before you buy anything too expensive. A short jaunt around a corner might reveal a hidden shop that sells that same shirt or keyring for half the price.)
My Sis and I enjoyed ourselves for a full five days, and it was amazing. Our AirB&B was really nice and we liked that it was centrally located among the center of the touristy area, right at the outskirts where the locals lived and the cheaper apartments and AirB&B’s were located. One big thing I learned was how far the American dollar goes if you really keep an eye out for swindlers and hecklers who seem to be perfectly situated at very few yards, holding signs for everything from free boat rides to other too-good-to-be-true offers, which, as were were advised by our neighbor at our AirB&B, were ‘time-share schemes.’ For instance, you might pay $30 for a boat ride or some other activity, but what they don’t tell you is that you sit through 3 hours of presentations or ‘meetings’ with other time-share peeps. (So we steered clear of those scheming peeps. Trust me, you’ll see ’em! They can spot an American from a mile away.
We ate at the famous Cabo Wabo (Sammy Hagar’s local spot), as well as 5 or 6 local restaurants which we mostly adored, as well as our daily visit to Starbucks, where I fell in love with oreo donuts and soothing central AC which we relied on way more than I wanted. The WIFI there is reliable, and it was here that I learned that locals don’t want you to flush toilet paper down the toilet. They have trash cans for that. Culture shock for me.. but once you understand this is how they just live, because of an ancient plumbing system, or lack thereof, it’s easy to see why they do this. Just go with the flow, so to speak. No pun intended!)
For a photographer, this was a great trip for me. I found so many sunsets and breathtaking scenes to snap, and I know that other photographers would love to visit, too. Keep an open mind – and if you’ve got a sense for the uncommon, you can take some wonderful pictures and find some great spots of your own to eat and relax. Medano Beach is a popular touristy spot, but there are several areas where you can sit for free and relax. We stayed mostly near our Airbnb – on the streets where Senor Frog’s and other bars seem ready for business at all hours – but also tucked away down the never-ending streets of shops and local apartments and houses. I would advise staying in this area as opposed to a closed off hotel or retreat. If I wanted to relax in the comforts of home – I’ll go home. I like seeing what the locals see and eating what the locals eat, and if you keep an open mind and are street-smart you’ll be just fine. It always helps to know Spanish or have a translator with you (thank you, Sis!) That helped me so much.
So my Sis and I wined and dined at the more local places, such as one placed called Maria’s and an Italian place called ‘The Italian Job’ which we really liked. The local place was super cheap! A huge plate of enchiladas, tacos, beans and rice, along with a cocktail or two, came out to about $5. If you go to one of the more touristy places near Medano beach can cost you upwards of $20-30 per meal, just as if you were in California in the States. (My Sis and I could spot a bargain at ten paces.) Basically, any restaurant you see locals dining at in some of the more shady areas of town are good bargains. (We were also reminded to steer clear of “street food” (the food cart vendors who cook outdoors and such.) That food is prepared with tap water and it can make Americans sick who are not used to the water. (“Don’t drink the water!”.. another tip.)
The weather in mid July was quite muggy and hot; very humid and heavy. Our tickets were cheap because we went off-season (in Hurricane season, to be honest) so keep an eye on the weather if you plan to go, find a good AirB&B and get you some cheap tickets from Spirit Airlines. My part of the trip cost me about $500, that included my flight and food, as well as the few souvenirs I bought.
Those five days went by fast, for sure, but my Sis and I created some special memories which I will keep for a lifetime. We partied, clubbed, walked, sweated, drank more $5 ‘2-for-1 specials’ than you can shake a stick at.) What I remember most is how accommodating our AirB&B was, and how careful I felt I had to be (and street-smart) in order to truly benefit from this trip. A few more tips.. Be aware of pickpocketers, always keep your money hidden if you can, and watch out for local schemers and time-share tricksters near the marinas.) And don’t be afraid to walk! We saw so much just by walking and talking to locals; we learned where the good restaurants were and where to avoid. Listen to friendly locals, as long as they’re not trying to sell you something.
As we drove away from our AirB&B and flew away back to Dallas, I was excited to get back home, but also knew I would miss being in a new place – where I had to keep a mindful eye on things but also felt I got good value for my dollar. The sunrises and sunsets are beautiful, and for photographers, this is a great trip – as long as you don’t mind walking off the beaten path.