Destination: Todos Santos! Today, we explored the small coastside city of Todos Santos. It was a quick drive, only about an hour north from Cabo San Lucas, driving slowly and carefully. The highway between Cabo and Todos Santos is well-maintained and seems relatively safe. Make sure you fill your tank and get some bottled water in your car before you go, though, we didn't see any obvious places to stop between the two cities. The long strip of Pacific coast between Cabo and Todos Santos reminded us so much of Highway 1 in California--the way it looked 20-30 years ago.
Unspoiled, undeveloped, and with almost no houses or any hotels dotting the landscape. The Pacific breeze followed us up the highway as we made the drive, and the smell of the ocean air was clean and fresh.
The downtown area of Todos Santos is beautiful, and filled with lots of quaint little shops, art galleries, shoe stores, and leather goods. Jewelry, artwork, and handmade Mexican pottery is sold everywhere. There are several surf shops and a beautiful mission/church that is open all day for people to explore and take pictures.
We stopped at a little downtown restaurant/cafe called Cafelix with wonderful coffee and guacamole. A delightful "Day of the Dead" skeleton greeted us outside. The inside of the cafe was air conditioned and comfortable. They also offered free wi-fi and free parking behind the restaurant. The waitress told us that we could park there all day if we wanted to, which we thought was very nice, since finding parking on the main street was rather difficult.
After exploring the town, we went down to the beach. Now this is where the trip got... weird. At that point, we felt that we were entering the Twilight Zone. Thee are tons of dirt roads that lead down to the beaches, and all of them seem to be in some state of disrepair.
There are literally dozens upon dozens of dead-end dirt streets that lead to very expensive homes that are abandoned, partially built, or empty. And the weirdest part of it all is that there is still a lot of active construction taking place EVERYWHERE. It was common for us to see an abandoned foundation or partially-built home, and then a luxury villa in the process of being built, right next to it. We counted dozens of "for sale" and "se renta" signs. There were abandoned cars and RVs parked in front of many of the homes. We also saw a lot of small trash heaps (mostly bottles and cans) near the water, but no trash cans for public use.
Labor is so cheap in Mexico, couldn't the town of Todos Santos afford to pay someone to pick up the trash on the beaches so they are at least more attractive to tourists?
We took several pictures of the homes near the beach, they are mostly spread-out. The beaches are pretty, but not swimmable, and the waves were very rough and the water was cold, even in July. The city itself has a huge amount of potential, and I can see all these residential areas being gorgeous when they are developed properly. Maybe in another 5 years or so, Todos Santos will be a tourist mecca just outside of Cabo, but with a more eco-flair, similar to the way that the city of Tulum developed in Quintana Roo.
Tomorrow, we visit La Paz, the capital of Baja California!
We decided to explore the northern Cabos area today by driving up Highway 1 to Santa Anita, which is a small town about thirty minutes from San Jose del Cabo with a vibrant local history. We were told that there would be a local saint's festival, with food, live music, and dancing. So we went up the road to explore.
Santa Anita was having a festival this week and there was activity at the lovely little Catholic church, where people were praying and singing, and little boys and girls were dressed up in all their Sunday best.
These little girls allowed us to take their picture. They were so happy with their cute pigtails and braids
Then we circled around and saw a band playing a large circle of men and boys (at least 100-150) in a big circle around an outside a blue pop-up tent, like a blue canopy. Then we saw men carrying small cardboard pet carriers with airholes in the sides.
It was a live cockfight. The dead roosters were tossed aside in a heap by the side of the road. You could tell that many of them were very attractive birds, with vibrant plumage. Now, neither of us are vegetarians, so we understand where our meat comes from.
Now, cockfights are legal in Mexico, and for the most part, accepted as entertainment, but it was still disconcerting and rather sad to see them there, in a jumble of feathers and wings. There was also the issue of drinking and open gambling, with very young children also watching the cockfight. I knew our children would be attracted to the commotion, so we left, and didn't stay for the festival.
We went exploring today! San Jose del Cabo is more beautiful than you could imagine.
It's lovely and the ocean views are just incredible, but there isn't the constant harassment that you encounter as a tourist in Cabo San Lucas. We are really enjoying it. The downtown area has a vibrant nightlife and great restaurants, as well as tons of artisan shops that sell all types of handmade, leather goods and jewelry.
We bought a "COCO FRIO" today at a roadside stand, and it was fantastic, nothing in a bottle could compare to an ice-cold coconut cut right in front of you! The bottled stuff pales in comparison, and the price is essentially the same.
Just look at these views! We stopped to take several pictures, all along the main highway that joins Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. The ocean is usually full of surfers and the waves are strong (in this area, it's not really safe for children or weak swimmers). There are several beaches that are safe, most notably, Medano Beach and Chileno Beach, both of which we will be visiting next week.
The air smells clean and fresh, the ocean breeze comes in all day long, and unlike Quintana Roo (which was also lovely, but full of bugs), there are no bug-bites or mosquitoes! It's not all perfect, though. There is a darker side to this region, which we will cover more tomorrow. So much to see and do and write about!
View from our Condo in Cabo: GLORIOUS!
During our exploratory journey of Cabo San Lucas and the San Jose Del Cabo area, we decided to stay at a very nice condo (Las Gardenias Condominiums) on the Cabo Real Golf Course, in Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Mexico. The location is situated between both major cities, and this was intentional: it forces us to explore the area instead of just staying put at an all-inclusive resort.
We are only about 10 minutes away from downtown Cabo San Lucas and only 1/2 mile to the beach.
The condo itself is small, but beautiful. The ocean views from the patio are incredible! We sit out there in the morning and drink our coffee and enjoy the ocean breezes. The kids run down to the pool and splash in the perpetually warm water. The grounds are immaculately cared for. The staff is attentive and everything is spotless. Even the trash cans are rinsed out and scrubbed clean (not kidding).
The condo has all the amenities that we need, including modern appliances, washer/dryer, and a dishwasher. When you travel with kids (especially babies) it's so important to have modern appliances available. We are doing laundry every day and running the dishwasher daily, as well. Having a full-size refrigerator also means that we aren't spending a bunch of money at restaurants every single day, either. The hotels in this area depend on that type of customer, but as a family, we want to travel without spending all our hard-earned money, especially on things like overpriced food!
We actually had a fantastic cheap lunch today at the local Los Cabo Costco, and picked up a bunch of great food to cook throughout the week. The peso is at 18 against the dollar right now so our money is stretching very far! We got two pounds of excellent steak for half the price we would pay per pound in California.
The weather has been hot, but not unpleasantly so. The air is humid near the ocean but unlike our trip to Playa Del Carmen, the air isn't full of bugs. We have't seen a single mosquito during our entire trip, although we did see a few small lizards wandering around around the bushes outside. There are many native birds and the area is beautifully landscaped. I'm frankly amazed by the beauty of this entire region.
We are enjoying San Jose Del Cabo more than Cabo San Lucas. San Jose seems quieter and more genuine. Cabo San Lucas is full of tourists and, unfortunately, scammers. San Jose Del Cabo has a lovely downtown area that we explored for a very short time today--going back tomorrow to get photos and explore some more! Stay tuned...
We had a great experience renting our rental car in Cabo San Lucas with BBB Rental Car, Sagi was a great help and the price and customer service were great. The van was a little older compared to other car rental companies we have used, but the price was fantastic, the service was excellent, and best of all, NO SCAMMERS anywhere!
Nobody trying to sell us timeshares or other junk like we've encountered before! Absolutely a great experience. We even arrived a day a late due to a delayed flight with American Airlines, and Sagi didn't charge us for the missed day, and still had the minivan we requested waiting for us.
BBB rent a car has been the best rental car agency that we have used in Mexico so far. We've had very bad experiences in the past, particularly with Hertz Mexico (hard sell tactics, bait-and switch, timeshare scammers inside the actual Hertz location, you name it!).
Our ONLY gripe actually happened at the airport, we were surrounded by scammers as soon as we got off the plane, and several of them said that they worked for BBB rental car, and several others said that they worked for Josefino's Taxi (the tax service that works with Sagi and gives rental customers a free ride to the rental car location) when they did not. If Sagi hadn't emailed us ahead of time and told us to look for Josefino's Taxi drivers (they wear light green guayabera-style shirts) we would never have known!
We STRONGLY suggest that BBB adds a picture of the drivers of Josefino's Taxi and their distinctive shirts to their website. Other than that, we are very happy. The A/C runs great, thank goodness! Thank you Sagi and BBB Rental car for getting us sorted out with our whole crew. We are loving Cabo San Lucas, Mexico!
Note: We are not affiliated with BBB Rental car, and we did not receive any type of kickback, discount, etc, for posting this review. This is our opinion based on our own experiences.
Well, it's exactly what the title says, we are stranded in Los Angeles by American airlines. 21 other passengers on our flight we're also stranded. Several people were rerouted to Phoenix after our flight was delayed. We opted to just stay the night in Los Angeles, rather than flying to yet another airport only to perhaps wait even longer.
To their credit, the customer service agents at the American airline service counter were extremely polite under the circumstances. We got our hotel room paid for, and Free meal vouchers to eat at the hotel's restaurant, which was a surprisingly good meal, if you can believe it.
The Holiday Inn LAX has one of the best ribeyes we've ever had.The hotel Wi-Fi was very spotty, but Our Karma hotspot worked good, so I'm very glad I brought it along as a back up.
II will say, that we certainly caught more flies with honey than we did with vinegar, being kind and polite to the gate agents means that we are enjoying a fairly pleasant evening with our children, enjoying several free meals, and a relatively nice hotel room.
There were several other people on the flight who were extremely rude to the gate agents, and they didn't get half of the free perks that we did, so remember that, folks! The gate agents and the customer service personnel can only do so much to help you once your flight is delayed. The only thing that they are legally required to do is refund you the unused portion of your flight.
That would not have helped us in this case, because getting a new flight at such late notice would have cost us three times as much. Waiting a day in LA wasn't ideal, but wasn't really that bad. Much better than what the scumbags at Aeromexico did to us last year, when we were forced to actually sleep in the airport before finally being given a flight to Las Vegas the following day (and no connection to Northern California, which was our original destination, after being told to shove it).
In the end, we are pleased with the way American airlines handled the situation. Of course we will post about our reaction when we actually finally do arrive in Cabo!
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Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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