A Lyrical Paradise
"There's a sleepy town, south of the border, if you go there once, you'll be there twice."
These enticing lyrics from Van Halen's "Cabo Wabo" on their "QU812" album piqued my curiosity. Visa commercials gave me the drive to seek the Cabo quest. With the tenth wedding anniversary at hand. it seemed a perfect excuse to search for the holy vacation grail (and blow a thousand bucks).
"Land''s end, you'd have to see it, ain't no picture ever say it right."
We weren't aware of the Hotel Cabo San Lucas' complimentary transportation from the Aeropuerto, thus subjecting ourselves to the ninety's version of Montezuma's revenge: "Timeshare Salesmen." The encounter was brief and painless; the cervesa was muy frio making the 20-minute journey in the "cab" more enjoyable. (Ford Econoline vans equipped with a special Mexican air-conditioning package. The AC controls on the dash board just move the windows up and down.
Cabo San Lucas, tip of the Baja Peninsula, where West Coast trendies seek sand and seclusion. Home of Marlin Alley, where legendary Americans such as Bing Crosby and Duke Wayne first discovered unbelievable angling. (The marlins are said to outnumber the people.
Cabo is a mere seven hour journey, from locking the door in Las Vegas, to not unlocking the door at the elegant Hotel Cabo San Lucas.
No keys, no hassles, no worries, just lush landscaping, spectacular beaches and free welcoming Margaritas. After a 45 minute hop to Phoenix and a short layover where we should've overcome the temptation to buy jizzy, cheap bottled Margaritas, we arrived at the pleasant Cabo International Aeropuerto. (Airport code SJD.
Hotel Cabo San Lucas
We were greeted at the hotel with Margaritas by the congenial Oscar Flores, who then showed us to our luxurious and spectacular ocean view suite. (All the rooms at the HCSL have ocean views, assured Oscar.
Cabo San Lucas offers parasailing, horseback riding on the beach, sunset cruises, day long ATV rides into isolated Indian country that still practices witchcraft.
"We drink Mescal right from the bottle. Salt shaker, little lick of lime, Ohhh!"
Searching for CABO WABO
Continuing with our 10 year tradition of bad luck and lousy timing, it was time to checkout downtown Cabo. Not us though. Not willing to waste a precious minute waiting for the free transportation provided by the hotel we hopped a $15 "cab" to town. We hammered the Calles looking for peso shopping action. Even devalued black market gringo dinero isn't valuable during Siesta time. (Only stupid gringos go shopping during Siesta.
And plenty of nightlife. The best of times are found at Van Halen's "Cabo Wabo" cantina, where LA bands jam almost every week and Ed, Sammy and the rest of the Van Halens used to frequently sit in
El Sol is fizzling. We stumble into the "Cabo Wabo" cantina just in time for happy hour. Greeting us is our new bartender friend and Mexican host, Luis. Luis breaks the language barrier with a couple of mean Margaritas. Through bad Spanish, malo English, and many "two for one" Margaritas, communications opened up with our Tequila-slinging compadre. "Cabo Wabo holds over 200 caballeros indoors", says Luis. "As many as 800 pour into the streets of Cabo on party nights.
Tiring from trying to figure out how many zillion peso to tip on US$3 round of drinks, (and happy to still have possession of our cameras), we bid adios to our new amigos, rolling out onto the funhouse stairs passing for sidewalks in Cabo, the state-of-the-art sound system reverberating behind us for a couple of blocks; hopping a 15 buck Econoline back to the hotel; buzzing and anticipating a great evening.
"Come on, let me take you down, I will show you all around."
We dine cliffside at the Hotel Cabo San Lucas, on succulent Pacific lobster and fresh snapper cooked to perfection by the Hotel's chefs and served in a dramatic open air setting overlooking the Chileño Bay. Beneath the stars and the crash of the surf we clinked our Margarita, and toasted our traditional "to us" salud, while carefully planning our itinerary for the next day. Life doesn't get "mucho gusto."
El Itinerario del Dia
- Stroll the grounds to one of the seven secluded beaches.
- Stay there.
The Hotel Cabo San Lucas sports some 2,500 acres of paradise. Huge palm trees spring from the lush grounds as stone walkways wind through the tropical setting. Along the trail, peacocks, iguanas, and chameleons dart among the trees while woodpeckers and pelicans play amidst the chirps of the tooky-tooky birds. General Manager Mitch Parr's family built the hotel over thirty years ago and you sense permanence, a comfortable feeling not found in corporate run resorts. Part of that feeling comes from the mature landscaping and the solidity of the buildings, and part of that feeling comes from the professional courtesy of the staff, many of whom have been with the hotel the entire thirty years
It's easy to see why the hotel's clientele is eighty percent repeat customers, some of whom have been vacationing at the resort for the entire 30 years. The one hundred rooms range from studios, to two bedroom apartments. all with charm and privacy. Seven luxurious villas are available featuring four to seven bedrooms, some with private swimming pools and saunas, perfect for a group of friends to split and have the time of their lives
The hotel takes advantage of its location as the undisputed fishing capital of the world by offering its own fishing charters. Over 650 species of fish inhabit the waters, and 954 pound marlin caught a few years back have most anglers convinced it's just a matter of time until someone brings in the "grander." Mahi Mahi, wahoo, sea bass, and 200 pound billfish are among the varieties of fish you can "hook-up" only minutes from shore or enjoy as the fresh "catch of the day" in the majestic dining room at the hotel.
"It's all right there we don't have to chase it, fits paradise to a 'T'".
Snorkeling Chileno Bay
The hotel also takes advantage of its location on the Chileño Bay by offering it's own complete NAUI dive shop. Hundreds of acres of undisturbed coral beds make for unsurpassed diving and snorkeling experiences.
There are seven secluded beaches at the hotel, some with beach front bars and some so secluded as to afford clothing optional privacy. Activities include beachfront horse back riding and skeet shooting, tennis, putting green and driving range, plus many more activities, most free of charge.
It was on the beaches that the lure of Cabo revealed itself, while sitting under a poopala only a few yards from the beach bar, warm tropical aquamarine waters splashing on the beach while a cool breeze blows up your shorts. The scene is reminiscent of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Not surprising, since SI shot the 25th anniversary swimsuit issue at the resort
So that's the key to Cabo, take the free ride from the airport, get your free welcoming Margarita, go to the beach and stay there.
"If you go there once, you'll be there twice."
We'll be the comatose ones under the poopala.
By Mike Heiney, Las Vegas Correspondent.
Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature about "Manta Mantra Cabo Diving."