Los Cabos, Mexico
February 15-18, 2014
Four days and three nights under the sun in Mexico. While most people spend their days drinking on the beach and partying until 3am at El Squid Roe, my first Cabo experience was quite the opposite.
Upon arriving at ME by Melia, also known as Me Cabo and home of the world famous Nikki Beach, we checked into our ocean view “Vibe Room” on the VIP level. Stepping onto the balcony on the other side of the clear glass doors was Nikki Beach right down below. It pretty much looked like Tao Beach in Vegas except it was literally ‘on the beach.’ In the not too far distance was the famous Arch of Los Cabos and a number of jet skis, paddle boarders, kayakers, and tour boats crossing the crystal clear blue water right in front of our hotel.
ME Cabo. The hotel was modern, nice, and exactly what I had expected from a “hip, adult-oriented” hotel. P.S. “Adult-oriented” only means they do not want kids running around because Nikki Beach is pretty much a day club. Passion is the night club and on weekends you can hear the music blasting until 4am in the morning. The decor was chic and boutique style luxe. The rooms were nice and fully stocked with alcohol, plush robes and slippers available to slip into, and the beds were really comfortable. However, be sure you confirm what is included in your reservation prior to arrival. Breakfast was included with our reservation but when we had asked at check-in they told us it was not. The hotel is a little disorganized, including the staff at Nikki Beach, so we ended up missing out on our complimentary breakfast on all but one of the days of our trip. However, the hospitality of the staff goes a long way – everyone is very friendly and they really try to make your experience worth while.
The pool. While there are a number of day beds on the upper pool that do not need to be reserved, the lower pool area is strictly reserved for Nikki Beach party-goers. Unless you want to be surrounded by drunk college kids, the upper pool is the better option and is probably cleaner anyway. The best option, however, is to make your way down to the beach which is just a few steps below Nikki Beach! I spent all of my time lounging in a private beach cabana. It wouldn’t be a vacation if I didn’t.
The beach. Playa El Medano, the best hotel beach lounge area along the Los Cabos Corridor can be found at ME Cabo which has three private cabanas and a number of day beds reserved just for hotel guests. Compared to the other hotels along the corridor, the day beds aren’t piled on top of each other, numerous umbrellas aren’t blocking your view, the modern beach furniture actually matches, children aren’t running around everywhere, and it is a bit more quiet since the “main attraction” is upstairs at Nikki Beach.
Every morning I woke up at 7am and started my day off with a cup of coffee in the one of the private beach cabanas. It was the best time to read and journal since everything around was quiet and peaceful. Those who had partied into the early morning were still in bed, there wasn’t anyone selling anything on the beach, and the only people awake were the early morning activity-goers paddle boarding on the calm water or running along the bright white sand. It was the optimal time to reflect and meditate before the DJ started rocking his music at 12pm sharp.
Activities. Tio Sports! The guys at the sports shop right in front of ME Cabo were pretty awesome and we were able to negotiate some good deals. I went paddle boarding twice (split my time, 1 hr each morning) for $20, jet skiing for $40/45 mins, and for $20/each could have gone on a boat ride to the arch and rented snorkel gear for the day. However, on our last day, for $50/2, we took a private boat to the Arch, lovers beach, went whale watching, and watched the sunset on the pacific side. Our guide, Pablo, even offered us unlimited beer! Definitely worth the spontaneous decision to go at the last minute and every Mexican peso!
Allergies and Medications. Jen and I were definitely a travel pair. Between the two of us, we lost three pairs of sunglasses and broke one. She left two on the plane to Cabo and I left my sunglasses on the boat (the cute black RayBans I picked up while in Greece). Then, our allergies. Bring your own meds, too (I should’ve learned that from my Greece trip). While you can go to the pharmacy, you have no idea what is in their version of Zyrtec. You can buy drugs like Synthroid, Cipro, Naproxen, etc. but again, there is no regulation around drugs made in Mexico! I ended up having an allergic reaction to whatever was in their form of Zyrtec – the irony ;).
Food. The Office was by far the most lively place on the beach at night. Not only is the food delicious, but there is live music, the atmosphere is fun and inviting, and the staff is accommodating. We ate there twice for dinner without a reservation. For something a little more quiet and romantic, Baja Cantina looked like a great spot along the beach. It is a great spot for day drinking and quiet and mellow in the evening. Mi Casa and Edith’s are also great spots for “fine dining.” I heard Taco Guss (a hole in the wall) had the best tacos in town and I would have loved to have tried it but unfortunately couldn’t this time around – be sure to bring cash!
Churros. Good luck finding them. I found one churro street cart in town. $2 for 5 Mexican churros which were actually quite delicious. I was surprised I didn’t get sick…at first. Six days later, I found myself in urgent care. So, don’t eat the street food!!! And DO NOT drink the water!!!! Horchada. Never saw it on the menu! They did, however, have this green juice made out of green apples, celery, and cucumber – delicious and refreshing!
Money and ATMs. Don’t make the mistake I did and not bring cash with you. I didn’t have time to run to the ATM before our flight and I figured that pulling out cash abroad wouldn’t be a problem since I’ve done it multiple times. However, there are ATM scams to be aware of in Mexico. Make sure you go to an official bank ATM, not the ones you see at the hotel or on the street, they will charge you a mark up in addition to ATM and bank fees. The official bank ATMs are safe as they only charge about a $2.50 fee, plus you’ll pay whatever fee your bank charges you (i.e. $5 non-your bank ATM fee + $2.50). Also, in Cabo, it is always cheaper if you pay in cash! If you choose to pay via credit card (for any service like shuttles, activities, etc.), they will charge you extra for using a credit card. Lastly, Cabo is not cheap. It is actually quite expensive, so be prepared to spend. If you think going to Cabo is going to be a cheap trip, throw that notion out the door.
Here are some prices from ME Cabo: a cup of black coffee is $4. An omelette is $11. Ice cream is $7. A Corona beer is $8! Yes, ME Cabo is on the pricier side but so are all the hotels in that area, so I’d imagine the prices elsewhere are similar. A large bottle of water from the grocery store is $2.30. A can of coconut water is $1.30. Dinner was roughly $37/person after tax & tip which included 1 drink, shared guacamole & chips, and an entree. Mixed drinks are roughly $11-13 USD. A shared shuttle to/from the airport is $18 dollars/$250 Mexican pesos each way. You get the picture – it’s not NY prices but you may as well be in Los Angeles.
Terminal 2 at Los Cabos International Airport. After you pass security and the duty free shop, you’ll find a newly renovated Terminal 2. On the far opposite end is a Starbucks and the VIP Lounge and Spa. I luckily had access – thanks Diners Club! – but had to pay for Jen to enter since she forgot hers. I love traveling abroad and using my card as it comes in handy when I need to kill time. Wifi, drinks, snacks, and a clean and quiet space – my cup of tea. Access to the lounge includes a complimentary 10-15 min massage – great way to pass the time. There is also a pool and ping pong table, video games and ball pen for kids.
My trip to Cabo was short. Since I live in Southern California (by the beach) and already don’t like going to the same place twice, I can’t say I will ever go back to Cabo. However, it is definitely an awesome place for a quick getaway!