Indulge Yourself in a Little Romance, Cabo-Style
by Ann Hazard
Ann Hazard is the author of Cooking with Baja Magic, Cartwheels in the Sand, and the recently released Agave Sunsets. She has also written over 100 articles on Baja, Mexico, and Mexican cuisine. Visit her at www.bajamagic.com .
Ready to escape to a warm, tropical beach resort, where the waterís 80 degrees and you can dine barefoot under a palapa on the sand? I am. Just the thought of it gets me wondering what I should pack and how soon I can make my reservation. Where would I go? Thatís a no brainer. Los Cabos is the closest Ė only two hours away on either Aeromexico or Alaska Airlines. However, perhaps youíve heard that Cabo is too touristy, too wild and crazy. Youíre craving peace, quiet and beachside romance. So did I, and I found it in Cabo.
When I went down there recently, it was my first visit in five years. I had figured it wasnít really Baja anymore Ė with its nightlife, jet skis, cruise ships, big hotels and chain restaurants. To me, Baja is supposed to be remote and peaceful Ė a place where nature dominates. Iím used to rustic places that are wide open with lots of sea, sun, mountains and sky.
While I will always love the outback Baja, I love Cabo for different reasons. Itís one of the most dramatically beautiful places on the planet. Where else can you watch the sun rise up in a fireball over the Sea of Cortez in the morning, and then watch it sink into the Pacific that evening? Where else can you find world-class fishing, golf, diving and all manner of water sports within walking distance from five star resorts with every amenity imaginable? In Cabo you can party all night long and then pamper yourself the next day in a luxurious spa. You can shop Ďtil you drop and eat in any number of internationally acclaimed restaurants. Sure, itís busy, but it doesnít have a hemmed in, overbuilt feel to it like Cancķn or Waikiki. There is still plenty of untamed coastline. You can still find a beach with no one on it. Add that to top-of-the-line service, food and drinks Ė and you pretty much have it all. Whatís wrong with being spoiled once in a while anyway?
On our latest trip south, we discovered the best deal in all of Caboóthe Pueblo Bonito hotels. There are three of them, and no matter which one you stay in, you can play in all three. The Pueblo Bonito Rosť and the Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos are located on Playa Medano, with a perfect view of Landís End. The Rosťís architectural style reminds one of ancient Rome, while the Los Cabosí Mediterranean style is more Greek or Moroccan. The hotels share a beach with a roped in swimming area where the water is warm, safe and calm. Both have large, lagoon-shaped pools, ponds with tropical foliage, waterfalls and wildlife (think parrots, flamingos, fish and even turtles). The Rosť has a spa that rivals any Iíve ever seen and a gym that will please even the most avid fitness buff.
The outdoor and open-air restaurants make dining a pleasure. The service is the friendliest and most efficient Iíve ever encountered...anywhere. The food is so good that we only ate in town a couple of times. It was just too convenient and peaceful to stay put. Even the two teenage girls we brought with us thought so. I had expected them to be bored and beg to go out on the town every night. That didnít happen. They were so content and easy to get along with that it almost made me nervous!
I had wondered Ė making this trip with teenagers Ė would there be any time for romance? There was. Absolutely. One night Terry and I indulged ourselves in a private dinner for two right on the beach. As the light faded to lavender and bounced off the rocks at Landís End, we sipped French Chardonnay and dined on chateaubriand that would rival any served in Paris. White lights twinkled all around us. People passed by on the beach and looked up at us, clearly envious. A few even snapped photos.
Several days into our trip, we decided to take the free 10-minute shuttle ride to the newest hotel in the Pueblo Bonito chain Ė the Sunset Beach. On a private piece of Pacific coastline that seems to go on forever, itís terraced down a hillside, in total harmony with the environment. We took a tour. The views are expansive, the rooms luxurious but comfy-casual. Each has marble floors, a private oceanfront patio, TV with all the channels anyone could ever want, oversized shower and mini-bar.
Guests can walk or hitch a ride on a golf cart down the winding path that leads to the beach, pool and swim-up bar. The pool meanders along the beachfront, its waterfalls and bridges giving it the feel and look of a tropical lagoon. The swim-up bar Ė instead of just offering underwater barstools Ė actually has booths, with tile tables above the water and underwater seating. We plopped down and ordered lunch. Best Reuben sandwich Iíve ever had Ė in Mexico. Go figure. A sunset and moonrise dinner on the patio of La Nao Restaurant (named after a Spanish galleon that traveled from Manila to Acapulco by way of Cabo, from 1565 until 1815) was another treasure.
Cabo has grown up. Itís nothing like the rest of the peninsula, but then it doesnít purport to be. But you know what? Iím quite pleased with the adult version. For more information, visit www.pueblobonito.com