Wednesday December 25, 2019
Hola and welcome to our special edition Christmas blog post. This blog summarizes the ride to Cabo from Bahia de Magdalena, our first impressions of the harbor, and ends with some holiday snap shots.
We left Mag Bay on Thursday morning, December 19, with a plan to get into Cabo mid morning on Friday the 20th. The highlight of this transit was the marine-life. We saw humpbacks spouting, a dozen sea turtles, barracuda jumping and frigatebirds.
We had planned our arrival in Cabo, fore warned about the morning sport fishing boat armada that leaves the Harbor in the early morning. We rounded El Arco–the iconic granite formation that marks the entrance to the bay–at about 10am on Friday morning. The Captain had timed our arrival perfectly.
We had a very pleasant ride to Cabo from Bahia de Magdalena. And the light weight sailor (LWS) didn’t do too bad. Granted, we had light winds, 10-ish knots, and only one meter seas. We weren’t quite so “dead down wind” as we followed the Baja peninsula east–so that meant less sideways roll and a more comfortable ride. The winds and seas picked up in the night but the LWS was still able to do a full three hour night watch! Woot! The LWS had done them before, but usually peetered out in the 1-2 hour range. (TMI alert: only spewed once! This counted as a huge success by all aboard.)
After our isolated boat time down the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula, the Cabo San Lucas harbor hit Estelle’s crew like a tidal wave of congestion and noise. We came into the IGY Marina slip bombarded by tourist-filled catamarans blaring “La Bamba” on loud speakers, and nosed into our very short slip surrounded by sport fishing boats.
The clean and modern malacón (pier/boardwalk along the marina) is chock-a-block with restaurants, souvenir shops and hawkers selling whale-watching excursions, sport fishing adventures, dives, glass bottom boat tours, etc. Senór Frog’s is a short walk down the pier. Pop music blares out of each open-air shop and restaurant. One is accosted with sales pitches of all types . The noise is overwhelming. El Capitán dubbed it a “seething caldron of insanity”.
The extroverted sailor (aka the LWS) quickly came to cordial relations with the sport fishing boat workers who, after depositing their happy customers with dorado (mahi mahi) back at the dock mid-day then stationed themselves on the busy Malecón drumming up business for the next day. The barking quickly turned to joking appeals of “take me with you” when the extroverted sailor explained we were on a velero (sailboat) and didn’t need a boat to go fishing.
Fun Fact: Cabo’s world-renowned sport fishing tourist industry is the mainstay of the local economy.
Thankfully, after the initial clobber of auditory overload we started to acclimate (one of us more quickly than the other). Perhaps the tourist crowd lessened for Christmas, perhaps we instinctively gravitated to the quieter times of the day, or the barkers recognized us as unprofitable marks from the day before (no pun intended.) Also, we found that Cabo has a lovely mix of tourists resulting in great people-watching. While overwhelmingly American, the extroverted sailor met fellow travelers from South Africa, India, and Canada, overheard many different languages being spoken, and enjoyed the large number of loving Mexican/Latin families on holiday in Cabo as well.
As the hermosa hija (HH) or beautiful daughter was to join us for Christmas, we splurged and booked a hotel for four nights. An online search by the HH got us a junior suite with two queens at Marina Fiesta hotel for $200/night including tax, mere steps away from B dock at the Marina allowing El Capitán easy access to his babita, Estelle.
The hotel was great! It’s part hotel/part time share/part all inclusive. The staff were helpful, the pool and cabaña everything a Cabo pool and cabaña should be. And our junior suite was fantastic with a balcony that overlooked the Marina. We did not “do” the all-inclusive option so the concierge directed us to wonderful local restaurants far from the madding crowd, allowing us a glimpse of local life in Cabo.
One huge bonus for staying in the busy Marina/Malecón area is the easy beach proximity. The LWS was assured by hotel staff that the jog along the Malecón to Playa El Medano (Breathless Beach) was safe for a lone female so she was off to enjoy the 7am sun rising above El Arco every morning. It was the stuff this newbie yatista (yachtsman/woman) had dreamed of when imagining our adventure. (Note: Although lined with big hotels, the beach was surprisingly empty of people, and remained so all day despite the great weather, gorgeous view, soft sand and enticing roped-off swim areas.)
Conclusions. For the shy-of-Mexico traveler, Cabo is a great destination. The overwhelming malecón is easily avoided or embraced (although a must-see at least once if only to watch the sport fishing armada leave the harbor at sunrise each morning.) English is spoken all over. It is clean, safe, loaded with great restaurants and shopping, easy to get around by inexpensive taxis, eminently walkable, and lots to do. (El Capitán and the HH booked dive trips and we all went beach exploring out to El Arco – highlights of our stay.) Plus, the weather is to die for–cool enough for a light sweater in the evenings, pool weather in the afternoon, and the water at the beach is 80 degrees!
It is easy to understand why Cabo has such a large ex-pat community. I would think that for extended family holidays–where there are a variety of interests–from nature to night clubs, Cabo would keep all parties happy. For the crew of Estelle, both the chaos on the malecón and natural beauty of the area, indeed left us breathless.
Cabo San Lucas Smileys and Frowns
- Sunrise behind El Arco viewed from Playa el Medano (Breathless Beach)
- The beautiful daughter (Hermosa Hija aka HH) joining us for Christmas
- Local Diving and Snorkeling (it’s not the Carribbean but fun nonetheless)
- Sport Fishing Armada
- Hotel Marina Fiesta
- The Malecón (Pier/Boardwalk)
- The Malecón (Pier/Boardwalk)
Merry Christmas from Cabo to all our family and friends. We love you!
Keep a weather eye out for Estelle’s next blog post featuring Cabo restaurants and the Gringo Gazette. Until then fair winds and following seas!