The International Writers Magazine
:Mexico Vacations

Two Thumbs Down!
Susan Fogwell

abo San Lucas lies at the same latitude as the Tropic of Cancer. Located at the southern-most tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo is approximately a thousand miles south of Tijuana. The famous arch, called "El Arco," is at the very tip, also known as Land’s End. It’s a famous landmark and "Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach) is one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Most of the photos depict a blissful honeymoon couple (before reality sets in) with the towering rock formations in the background.

Cabo was not my cup of tea, to say the least. On the upside, I liked the Finisterra Hotel, where I stayed for eight days. The hotel is on the Playa Solmar Beach, where although stunning, and facing the Pacific Ocean, swimming is not allowed. It’s not uncommon to hear of people drowning off of this beach. Don’t make the slightest attempt to even go knee-deep in the constant crashing surf. Bright red signs are posted along the beach warning potential swimmers of the strong riptide. Nevertheless, every once in awhile a tourist chooses to ignore the signs and verbal warnings, bravado takes over, and the consequences are dire. The hotel informed us that swimming is allowed at Playa El Medano Beach. I took a water taxi ($ 6.00) from the marina for the five-minute ride -- to what looked like a miniature Coney Island.

Sure, you can swim there, if you’re brave enough to dodge the jet skis. It was quite apparent that it was a public beach packed with a mixture of locals and American teenagers, who considered it to be a "happening place." I staked out a lounge chair and attempted to relax, which proved fruitless. My boiling point lasted all of fifteen minutes. Hawkers incessantly begged me to buy their goods, and ignored my standard "no thank you." In the brief amount of time that I was there, I must have said "no thanks" 25 times.

Actually, the perfect scenario would have been to have a recording of a broken record with "no thanks," then I could have hit "play" and saved myself some aggravation.
If this type of scene doesn’t bother you, then good for you, check it out; but in my case, I prefer not to be harassed while on vacation at the beach. The local Cabo tourist magazine touts El Medano as "The place to see and be seen, where the party continues all day and into the night." I got a good laugh out of that PR line.
I quickly concluded that the majority of the tourists in Cabo San Lucas are from California and Texas. Some people actually call it Orange County South. You can’t miss the Texans who stand out with their straw cowboy hats, and the women wear makeup to the pool. To each his own.

It also was quite apparent that regardless of age, the majority of tourists had a "Spring Break" mentality. There is nothing that turns me off more than hearing a group of men in their 40s and 50s sans their wives act and sound like a bunch of college kids. That’s great if you’re in your early 20s, but acting idiotic in the 40- to 50-year-old range is really pushing it. Again, for the people out there that like that type of social interaction, great—go to Cabo, and go to Cabo Wabo, you’ll be in your element. Maybe you’ll bump into Sammy Hagar.

About the restaurants, if you’re thinking the meals are reasonably priced because you’re in Mexico, you’re dead wrong. All of the restaurants artificially inflate their prices to a new level geared toward the throngs of American tourists. I tried to find a local yocal Mexican stand for a taco, but as far as I know, no such thing exists in the highly touristy town. It turned out that ordering room service at the Finisterra was cheaper than eating in any of the restaurants in town.

I did enjoy one restaurant, though, called Pancho’s. The owners, you guessed it, are from California. For all of you tequila fans, they have over 500 varieties from all over Mexico. They offer a nightly tequila tasting in the hopes of tourists purchasing a bottle in their gift shop next door. Although it was quiet the night we were there, (it was off-season) it’s one of the most popular restaurants in town. Four different tourists recommended that we go there, and they were correct with their personal ratings of the food and ambience. The atmosphere was inviting with a brick ceiling, Mexican tile floor and a Mexican Revolutionary mural on the wall. Colorful flags hung from the ceiling diagonally across the room, and when the wind picked up at night, the candles on each table made it cozy. The menu is substantial, offering everything from Huevos a la Mexicana con Frijoles (Mexican eggs with green chilies) to Pescado en salsa de Mango (mesquite grilled fish with mango salsa).

I was amused watching a group of Californians at a nearby table. They must have been fresh arrivals and apparently under the assumption that the Mexican guitar singing trio, decked out in authentic Mexican garb were there gratuit. (I don’t know why I’m reverting to French.) As the family of five sipped margaritas in oversized glasses, the trio continued with a third song before they realized nobody was reaching for a wallet or purse. The guitar strumming stopped; the leader of the pack leaned over to the matron and explained something in a hushed tone. A look of surprise crossed her face; she reached for her purse and dug deep for a dollar bill. What an insult to the trio! Each family member either was on cloud nine, or simply didn’t care, or maybe the tequila numbed their senses. From what I heard, the standard price is $5.00 per song and they want cold, hard American cash--no pesos.

The biggest attraction in Cabo San Lucas is big game sport fishing. For anyone interested in this activity, Cabo sells itself on the world-class fishing. The sport is dominated by men, who, after a day of battling fish, beat their chests with stories on how they caught the "Big One." I’m not even remotely interested in sport fishing. I was under the assumption that Cabo had other attractions aside from sport fishing and heavy drinking; if it does, I didn’t find it. Therefore, yes, I can admit I made a mistake in my choice of destinations. But, I might be the exception to the rule.

When I returned home to New Jersey, I met a woman who said she had been to Cabo for a wedding. Before I even opened my mouth, she expressed her feelings about Cabo and they mimicked mine. I gave her a high five.
© Susan Fogwell Jan 6th 2006 

Finisterra Hotel
Marina Boulevard
Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S CP 23410
PH: (624) 143-3333
2 Restaurants, 2 Bars, 3 swimming pools
Walking distance to town.

United, American, Delta and Continental among others fly into
Los Cabos International Airport. (SJD) The airport is approximately 27 miles from
Cabo San Lucas.
If you plan to stay in the town of Cabo San Lucas, renting a car is not necessary.
Taxis await your arrival at the airport. R/t taxi fare to and from the airport
is approximately $80.00 US dollars.
American Consulate:
Local phone # 143-3566
The preferred method of payment for any purchases in Cabo is American money; they look down upon pesos.
Coldest months: December & January
Average winter temperatures: 50 to 80 degrees

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Susan Fogwell

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