La guia de Cabo de Psaltis
(The Psaltis Guide to Cabo, most recently updated February 2018)
This is not "the" ultimate guide to Cabo. We simply want to share our own perspective of this fabulous destination. All information here is our bias. We're listing what we like and hope it helps!
Our guide began many years ago and has been continuously updated to keep it current. Cabo San Lucas has morphed into a genuine “destination,” as opposed the cute little fishing town we found on our first visit in 1993. It is both a good and bad. The degree of Americanization has certainly impacted the Mexican “feel” for the town. We had always enjoyed the fact that Cabo, unlike Puerto Vallarta and other big-name Mexican destinations, had maintained its local flavor. Now it is more difficult to find that. Cabo has become far more upscale in its restaurants, shopping and overall feel. There are more cars, more paved roads, more American restaurants, more luxury items and more people than ever, but parts of Cabo will never change. It is sunny, warm and dry, which, for a Washingtonian, is about as good as it gets. There is plenty there for all, even if Cabo is more cosmopolitan.
As meal prices have risen, we have ventured into areas of Cabo that we didn’t know existed. Some of our recommended places are the old “tried and true” spots but we have also found neighborhood eateries where the locals eat. It has been fun, not always delicious, but invariably cheaper than some of the easy-to-reach places in the tourist areas. If you like bargains we’d suggest you shop at the local markets and spend a bit of time making your own meals. Leftovers from huge portions can serve as tomorrow’s lunch.
The current version specifically targets places that have more “local” flavor. They have given us more variety and helped our wallets a bit. If you are like us, you may not go on vacation to save money, but it doesn’t hurt to enjoy some local color (and cuisine) for less than $30 for two. This version is an eclectic mix of places, prices and atmospheres. We do our best to be honest and accurate. As with the rest the world, things are always changing in Cabo, so what appears here is true as of February, 2017.
Included are websites for the many places listed. Some restaurants don't have websites, so Trip Advisor, Google Plus or Facebook are included as alternatives. In many cases, the menus are posted as are opinions of other people who have gone, so if you don't get enough information from our thoughts, you have access to opinions and ideas via the Internet.
Our expeditions provided exhilarating times. These places are fun and, in our experience, safe (health-wise). Many are located in an area that is a mere 2-3-4 blocks off the main drag, but it feels as if it is 50 miles from the nightclub like atmosphere of the touristy section of Cabo. Some of the places are very basic and speaking Spanish might help. We suggest that you simply meander up and down Jose Morelos Street or Leona Vicario Street (both come off Lazaro Cardenas Street near the Porto Paraiso super mall) and decide for yourself where you might want to eat.
Eating in Cabo
are in for many treats in Cabo and here are the ones
we particularly like. There will be many choices, so
if you don't follow ours, you'll still do well. Just
keep in mind that places come and go. They also blow
hot and cold, It is always amazing to us how many
restaurants we previously loved have closed and how
a given place (can you say "Pancho's?") can be so so
erratic. We have been in Cabo many times since 1993,
and feel that we can save you some time by going to
any of the following:
Our TOP TEN
This is a favorite breakfast spot we visit EVERY time we go to Cabo. It is located right on Medano Beach between the Hacienda Hotel and Hotel Melia. My top choice at The Office is the chilaquiles, a tortilla-like specialty for breakfast-- it's worth trying out. They also serve a variety of fruit smoothies, particularly enjoyable for breakfast. After breakfast, you can step into the Sea of Cortes. The service is not too fast and there are hawkers running up and down the beach, trying to sell you anything from jewelry to your name written on a grain of rice, but they are not as persistent as, say, a swarm of flies. A must—5 Stars.
CAMPESTRE Salvatierra Street Click here for website
This is an absolutely delightful small place way off the beaten path. It is actually at the end of town near the highway to Todos Santos. When I asked for its address, the waiter explained that it is “just the street” but there is no number. I got one of their cards and sure enough, it just says “Salvatierra s/n entre A. López Mateos y Camino al Faro Col. Matamoros.” You may need to ask for directions, but taxi drivers know it. The guacamole dip is perhaps the best in Cabo. Selections included garlic shrimp, potato flautas and veracruz fish and all were excellent. The margaritas are wonderful and reasonable. If you decide to stock your condo at the Chedraui Market (see below), you can eat at Campestre, then shop. Your stomach will be full to eliminate buying all those “munchies” and you’ll have money left after paying your dinner bill. After we made it our first-dinner-of-our-stays a habit, locals told us to go to Campestre for breakfast. We found an entirely different place. Nighttime crowds are thin, but the place was packed for breakfast. The wait people all speak English. The prices? About 2/3 of what breakfast at the Office costs, but then there’s no sand on your feet. A must—5 stars.
ALCARAVEA Zaragoza Street at 16 de. Septiembre Click here for Google Plus
A friend had told me about this Italian place and I found it to be slightly more on the “classy” side. The menu is varied and there is a full bar and a considerable list of wines. We enjoyed a salad and a lovely veal dish. When we tried to make a Valentine's Day reservation for dinner once, the place was completely sold out so you will probably want to make a reservation at dinner time. The owner/chef, Enrique, is very engaging and visited our table during our lunch this time (2018) and as another added touch, the staff is extremely well trained and add to the experience. For a romantic meal, the dinner possibilities seem very good. Rated-- 4 1/2 stars.
LA MEXICANA on Jose Morelos Street Click here for Trip Advisor
This was another recommendation by a local resident and has proven to be a great one. Like many of our choices, foreigners do not usually visit this place. Perhaps we’re snobs, but it is really good to enjoy a meal in relative quiet without shouting people all around us. The menu is only in Spanish, but the waiters can help you. They have coconut shrimp (one of my favorites) and a nice molé chicken. The menu is diverse and the atmosphere is quite understated and not gaudy like many of the touristy spots. Rated-- 4 1/2 stars
NEPTUNO’S on Libertad Street Click here for Facebook page
We drove past this place several times before finally trying it out and discovered it was a jewel. We were not the only gringos there. The décor is rather Spartan but that didn’t stop several gringos from walking in after us. Very important—the entire menu is fish only. There is no beef, pork or chicken, so be sure you are ready for seafood. The pico de gallo was (according to Mary Ellen in 2017) the best she’s had, but it seemed to take a bit of a downturn in 2018. We ordered coconut shrimp and catch-of-the-day Veracruz style and were more than pleased. The only downside of this place was that the margaritas were only average, at best, but this is definitely a good place to check out. It is quiet with friendly waiters. Rated—4 ½ stars
MARIA JIMENEZ on Revolucion de 1910 Click here for Trip Advisor
This restaurant caught our eye as we roamed around looking for new places to try out. We went with a group of local friends and found it to be wonderful. Apparently it is owned by a relative of the owner of The Office, which already counts for something. The atmosphere is festive, the food very good and even though the prices are not necessarily in the bargain basement category, this is a nice place to eat. The restaurant can be a bit noisy and, as of 2018, ONLY ACCEPTS CASH. There are mariachis who can be somewhat aggressive. You need only tell them you are not interested and they back off. Rated-- 4 stars
BAJA CANTINA on the marina Click here for website
Located on the Marina, right in front of the Tesoro Resort, this is a delightful restaurant for any meal, but we really like its breakfasts. It is reasonable in price and has good food. For breakfast, it has a mondo-burrito that I loved and has some of the best pancakes we have had. The menu is varied with many egg dishes, including huevos rancheros and eggs Mexicana. The juices are freshly squeezed and the fruit plates are fine. Dinners are also good. It's fun to enjoy a meal while checking out all the expensive yachts moored in front of you on the marina leaving you to wonder “who owns these things?” Lately we noted an effort to make the appearance a bit more formal, such as linen tablecloths, chips served in crafted wire containers and other amenities that took some of the "funky" out of it. TVs are throughout, but it now seems more like a restaurant than a sports bar. Rated- 4 stars.
GARDENIAS Click here for Trip Advisor
A Canadian friend mentioned this taco place as a “local favorite,” so we gave it a try. It is slightly off the beaten path of the main street of town and has much to offer. The tacos are very basic, as they come served on a small soft tortilla. On the plus side, they also serve a variety of extras that you can put onto your taco to spruce it up. The atmosphere is open-air with basic furniture, but the prices are great. They also serve quesadillas, rice, beans and drinks. This has been a somewhat surprising “sure thing” when we have taken friends, so if you are looking for a very simple, very low-priced meal, this is the place. They have a full bar. Rated- 4 stars.
LAS GUACAMAYAS Alikan Street/corner of Jose Morelos Street Click here for Trip Advisor
The maid in our timeshare recommended this place, which caught our attention. We figured she probably didn’t go to many high-priced touristy restaurants. We had difficulty finding it online, so we asked the concierge and got an extremely enthusiastic response. She told us that whenever family or company wanted to eat at a “typical local place,” she takes them here. She was specific in her praise about how clean it is, the great prices are and the excellent molcajetes. It is a bit out of the way—up Jose Morelos Street away from the big mall for 8 blocks, which will bring you to Alikan Street. It is on that corner. When we walked there, we were reminded that within a half block off Lazaro Cardenas (the main street) we had left the tourist section of Cabo behind. We saw only locals up the street. Guacamayas (The Parrots) was exactly as advertised—clean, very nice people and the food was possibly the most interesting we have found. We over-ordered when we got a beef-rib molcajete, a chorizo sopes and a shredded chicken tostada. On top of the excellent munchies presented (sliced cucumbers, jalapeno peppers and grilled onions, all served with avocado dipping sauce) we were stuffed and still had more than half our meal left. The spices were very tasty, the lack of chips and salsa refreshing and the bill was $20. We returned with six friends and got universal praise for this place. The prices are incredibly reasonable. On a side note, we ran into some local friends who said it was their favorite place. In 2014 we were surprised to discover that a second one had opened up on Lazaro Cardenas street, just down the street from the Mercado. The menu and prices seemed the same, but the ambiance was more upscale. Unfortunately, there is now music blaring and we had two consecutive poor meals at this location, so we will remain loyal to the “original” on Jose Morelos Street. Rated—4 stars.
MARIA CORONA 16 de Septiembre Street Click here for website
Maria Corona is not a “funky little local place,” but our experience here was one of impressive food, a bit slow on the service and very reasonable prices. Among other things, I really like the fact that there is a very large patio so that it is easy to eat outdoors, which isn’t always true at all restaurants. Also, the music that is provided is tasteful and done by musicians who are set in place, as opposed to mariachi bands, which can be fun, but imposing at other places. The chicken molé was particularly good. Rated—4 stars.
Our SECOND TEN:
MI CASA Cabo San Lucas Street Click her for website
is an especially attractive restaurant with a
charming decor that serves up some of the more
interesting Mexican food in town. It was the
toughest restaurant to NOT include in our Top Ten
and many people would likely argue it. It is not a
place to go for tacos or enchiladas-- the menu is
much more interesting than that. It is moderate to
high priced. Like the other good restaurants in
Cabo, it can be quite busy, so it’s better to go at
an "off" time (like 5:30- 6:00), calling ahead for
reservations or planning to have a drink while you
wait for a table. The mariachis can be bit loud so
once again, just ask them to leave if they approach
you. Rated—4 stars
EL SQUID ROE Lazaro Cardenas Street Click here for website
will not require directions to this places-- it will
jump out at you on the main street of Cabo San
Lucas. El Squid Roe is raucous and a bit more geared
for the party crowd, but if you arrive earlier (like
5:30- 6:00) you can have a wonderful meal without
all the wildness. Funny signs, old license plates,
paintings and other entertaining items cover the
walls. The Mayan fish is exceptional and the tall
glasses of iced tea, Coke, etc., are fun for the
kids. Don't be put off by the decor-- the floor is
covered with sawdust and the tables are covered with
paper so you can color right on the tablecloth. Once
the action starts, it is loud and a definite party
atmosphere. Rated—4 stars
TORTILLA HOUSE on Francisco Madera Click here for Trip Advisor
If you are looking for a really
different, simple, inexpensive, realistic
Mexican taco house (and more) this is the place.
We wandered in, not knowing what to expect and
were immediately taken by the fact that a woman
was hand-making the tortillas for tacos,
gorditas, tostadas, quesedillas and more. The
fish and chicken tacos (meat also cooked to
order) were 40 pesos (US $2) and the shrimp
tacos 50 pesos (US $2.50). It is not fancy and
you are not killed with chips, rice, beans and
more than exactly what you want to eat. They are
open every day and serve breakfast, too.
Chilequiles caught my eye-- they are 80 pesos. I
may need to try it. Rated--
3 1/2 stars
CAPTAIN TONY’S on the marina Click here for website
We had walked past this restaurant for years finally went in for a meal. Like the Baja Cantina, Captain Tony’s is located right on the marina, next to one of the flea markets in town. The setting also affords a lustful view of the million dollar yachts that inexplicably never seem to be out to sea (makes me wonder what the REAL purpose of these babies must be) and the people watching is also fun. When the cruise ships are in, the marina is packed with the tourists, always making for a varied view. The food at was good—not spectacular, but it always seems that the place is full. Rated 3 1/2 stars
PANCHO'S on Miguel Hidalgo Street Click here for website
Pancho's, located on Miguel Hidalgo Street, has had more ups and downs for us than any restaurant in Cabo. It serves good Mexican meals as well as some tasty fish dishes for dinner. They also have a breakfast special each day (it varies from day to day), but is a good bargain. This is a restaurant that is supposedly being researched by Guinness Book for being the place with the biggest variety of brands of Tequila under one roof. We had a delightful meal with superb margaritas, but the surprising bill came to $90, so we’d suggest sticking with the breakfasts! Rated—3 ½ stars
was one of our new places for 2018. We had driven
past it many times and always wondered, so finally
this was the year. Our first attempt (since we
hadn't checked the place out online) was for dinner
one night, only to discover that it is actually a
breakfast and lunch restaurant, open 8 to 5. So the
next morning we went for breakfast and, as is often
the case with us, scored points because it was
occupied only by nationals. Not at all fancy, but
still very attractive, the restaurant has a rather
open feel to it with a nice breeze blowing through
it and the menu had many of our favorites. We
ordered chilaquiles (choices are with red, green or
molé sauce) and the "combo plate" which included two
eggs, two pieces of bacon, two small quesadillas, a
pancake and fruit. With one glass of fresh-squeezed
OJ, the bill came to about US $10. We will return.
Rated—3 ½ stars
LAS ADELITAS on Avenida 16 de Septiembre Click here for Facebook page
Right across the street from Maria
Corona, this small restaurant appears to be family
run. The decor is lovely with wooden chairs,
draped with colorful Mexican rugs and wall
hangings that make it clear that you are in
Mexico. We ordered the chicken enchiladas and
chicken fajitas along with non-alcoholic drinks
and the bill came to 305 pesos, which is about $15
US dollars. This is a bargain for authentic food
that wasn't killed with cheese. Rated—3 ½ stars
EL CORRAL on the corner of Marina Boulevard and Miguel Hidalgo Click here for Trip Advisor
This restaurant was recommended by
local friends and we were amazed that we had
walked past it arguably hundreds of times without
ever having gone in. It claims to be the first
restaurant in Cabo San Lucas and has a nice airy
ambiance to it. The menu is varied and the
margaritas are very good and very strong. The
coconut shrimp were huge and tasty, the catch of
the day was nicely grilled and the service very
good. They have a keg sitting on the bar and, when
I asked what was in it, the waiter instantly
offered me a taste of the tequila in it. Any
questions about why we liked this place?
Rated—3 1/2 stars
is a restaurant suggested by a friend who told us to
order the lobster. We went, but didn’t order the
lobster because we are not big fans of it. However,
when we saw a couple of plates of lobster being
carried by the waiters to awaiting customers, it
provided quite an impression! The restaurant is
reputedly a former trading post and got its name
from the owner who took an annual trip to the
mission at San Juan Capistrano. We all know what
happens there every year and you will not be
surprised to learn that “golondrina” means swallow,
as in the bird, not as in the activity. The setting
of this restaurant is lovely—a grove of trees that
have been festively lit with spiraling lights make
up much of the garden décor. The tables are spread
out on the expansive patio. The menu is posted on a
wall next to the open-air kitchen, which affords you
a clear view of the chefs, the flames jumping around
and the beehive of activity. Two of us ordered the
jumbo shrimp dinner for two and we were pleased.
Enormous specimens were cooked teriyaki style,
coconut style and two were breaded. All came with
four different dipping sauces. Included in the meal
were a tostada salad, soup, garlic bread and a
choice of potatoes, vegetables or rice. Our party
also ordered ribs and the golondrina salad, all of
which got high marks. Rumor has it that the Mexican
coffee is also first rate but we did not get it
ourselves. This place is not cheap, but well worth
the cost. The setting is marvelous. Rated-- 3 stars
SALVATORE on Zapata Street Click here for Google Plus
A local told us about this place and recommended the lasagna, which is the special of the night on Wednesday and Friday. We dropped in on Wednesday only to discover the place packed. We made reservations for the next Friday and weren’t disappointed. We ordered the calamari appetizer (it is so-so), then the spinach salad, which was easily enough for 3-4 people. The special, we’d been told, comes in large portions, so we ordered a single plate and the two of us could barely make it past the halfway point. The taste was better than average, but not spectacular. I’d recommend this to a family, as the price for our meal (as described above) came to $25. The place is very popular, so get reservations if you are headed there later than 6:00. Rated—3 stars
PEACOCKS on Paseo del Pescador Street Click here for website
This is another of the nicer restaurants in Cabo-- it is owned by a Swiss man who brings a number of continental cuisine treats to Cabo. It is a more expensive, but also more elegant. There is a nice outdoor veranda where you can sit. We found these meals to be more in the gourmet end of the spectrum. They have pork, veal, chicken and beef dishes and several interesting appetizers. We liked it a lot and would recommend it for a quiet, peaceful, elegant meal. This is a good choice it you are "burritoed" out. Rated-- 3 stars
LOLITA’S on Matamoros Street Click here for Trip Advisor
is a restaurant that is strong on atmosphere and
weak on service. The charm in Lolita’s was its
open-air setting that was principally occupied by
locals. Also of note was a line up of large pots
boiling away with pozole, birria (a beef stew) and
other bubbling delights. When our party of 8 walked
in, it appeared that it overwhelmed the staff. In
spite of all that, we all had our meals and paid a
pittance. I can’t say the quality was the best, but
I really liked the fact that we were on a quiet side
street with minimal traffic (cars or pedestrian).
It’s an easy walk from Lazaro Cardenas. Rated—3 stars
A Coffee House other than Starbucks
CABO COFFEE COMPANY on Miguel Hidalgo Street Click here for website
Two Americans who want to provide
quality espresso and want to support the coffee
farmers own this coffee shop. They buy directly
from organic coffee growers so that the farmers
receive more money themselves. The coffee is very
good. If you like mochas, they use Ghirardelli
chocolate instead of Hershey's, which we also
prefer. They have limited seating and only a few
little muffins. I still like this place quite well
for my “cuppa” and enjoy the alternative to
Starbucks, which has shown up on the main street
of town. Rated—3 1/2 stars
Other places to eat that we have enjoyed, but just didn’t make it into our Top 20:
CABO WABO on Vicente Guerrero Street Click here for website
is a "cute" restaurant. Quite a number of the
eateries in Cabo try hard to be funny, off-the-wall,
unique or whatever adjective you decide is most
appropriate. At the Cabo Wabo, they have a number of
unusual drinks, food, including breakfast specials.
It can be wild at night (we've heard) and is owned
by Sammy Hagar.
ASI ASADA on the Transpeninsular Highway Click here for Webpage
This is an entirely different sort
of place. It was also recommended by local friends
and we found it to be well populated by gringos.
After our lunch, we could see why. It is very
informal, to say the least and the prices are
amazing. Three of us went and ordered a fish wrap,
a shrimp quesadilla and octopus tacos plus we
decided to try the "starter" of sauteed
vegetables. I must say that the latter was the
prize winner for me, but all of the plates were
delicious and inexpensive. This is not a romantic
dinner place, but a good spot to drop in for a
quick bite for not much money.
LAS TRES ISLAS on Revolucion de 1910 Street Click here for Trip Advisor
Highly recommended by several locals, we tried this and found it to have a mixed performance. Eight of us went and four of us liked the food and four did not. The service was spotty, as the waiters did not seem as responsive and we would like, but the place was packed, is a good sign. We will give it another try since we liked it. It is on the periphery of the touristy side of Cabo, which I liked.
EL PAISA on Leona Vacario Street/corner of Alikan (one block down from Las Guacamayas) Click here for Trip Advisor
Six of us went there and found it be very, very basic with a limited menu. They do have soups, quesadillas and tacos. Most items have meat. No alcohol is served. The online feedback was nothing short of spectacular, but we found this to be all right. The conspicuous pluses were that you can practice your Spanish and that prices are a bargain. Tacos are served on soft tortillas and have only the meat on it. There is then a help-yourself bar with salsas, cheese, onions, guacamole, etc, to "doctor" your tacos. It is similar to Gardenias.
LAS MARISCADAS on Cabo San Lucas Street Click here for Trip Advisor
Walking up Cabo San Lucas Street away from the main street of town, we happened upon this place just beyond Mi Casa. The owner, Jose Valdez, was friendly and the waiter was beyond helpful. We ordered a variety of fish items (the sub-heading of the restaurant is “mariscos frescos,” or “fresh seafood.”) The food was better than average, but not spectacular. We ordered the seafood platter for two, which had fish, crab, octopus and shrimp on it. We liked it. One word of warning-- we also ordered a margarita, listed for 95 pesos on the menu. When asked which tequila we wanted, we recognized "Patron" among the choices and ordered it. When our bill came, the charge was 285 pesos-- three times the price on the menu. When we asked our waiter, he said "Patron is a very good tequila." No mention was made at the time of ordering, so we felt deceived.
LOS MICHOACANOS on Leona Vicario Street Click here for website
This is a carnitas place, which means it has a wide variety of meats, including some that you are better off enjoying without knowing exactly what it is! Some locals, who ordered for us, took us to this place, but I am certain that pointing and asking questions could also work.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO
The “other” town in the “Los Cabos” title is San Jose del Cabo. For many years it retained its Mexican flavor, but depending on which direction you take into town, you will find that the big hotels and timeshares have made a significant impact. The downtown area very much feels like an old Mexican town with a nice cathedral and many art shops, particularly in the area known as the “artist area.” The heart of that area is Guerrero Street and is well worth you while to take a leisurely stroll thought the many shops that have hand-crafted wares. It is a step up from the more touristy trinkets in the shops in Cabo San Lucas.
There are two restaurants in San Jose del Cabo that we feel are sure things for your visit if you plan to eat there:
"H" in San Jose del Cabo at Guerrero and Obregon Click here for Trip Advisor
Owned by Luis Herrera (hence, the "H") this is a jewel with an interesting menu and a uniqueness that shot it far up on my scale. Those of you who know me are aware that I claim bragging rights to the best margarita you have ever tasted. When Luis mixed one for me, he explained that it was the "simplest recipe" in the world. Perhaps. I remain convinced that he has a magic ingredient that he is not divulging. This is not your rock-bottom bargain-basement place that we have sought out in recent years, but is worth the visit and its moderate prices. If you are going on Arts Walk night (every Thursday) be sure to make reservations. Rated- 4 stars.
LA PANGA ANTIGUA in San Jose del Cabo Click here for website
This beautifully appointed restaurant is a part of the Mi Casa family (above) and is worth the trip alone. It is housed in an old hacienda and the entry way is already enough to lure you in. The tables are arranged on a multi-tiered patio giving more of a sense of privacy. The lighting on the bougainvilleas and other plants is inspiring, as is the food itself. We enjoyed a variety of dishes and even though the bill was substantial, we found ourselves not really caring, given the enchanting evening we had enjoyed. It is located in the heart of the old town on Zaragoza Street, almost directly across from the main church in town and a stone’s throw from the main plaza. Rated—4 stars
Known for its many art studios and shops, Todos Santos is now a mere 40-45 minute drive from Cabo San Lucas now that the new highway has been completed. The town, while touristy because of its survival from the visitors, is a charming piece of old Mexico. The streets are up an down hills and many remain unpaved. For a delightful day outing, this is a wonderful choice. Shortly before arriving in Todos Santos (from Cabo San Lucas) you will pass Cerritos Beach, which is another potential outing. There, you can sit on the beach, have beers and/or food and watch surfers. Back in Todos Santos, the restaurant we feel is the clear choice is:
LOS ADOBES Click here for website
is a small place and the food is organic, elegant
and reasonable. As it that weren’t enough, the
restaurant also has a stunningly groomed cactus
garden to view while dining or enjoy before or after
your meal. We particularly enjoyed the chiles en
nogada, a traditional dish prepared without frying
anything. There is a wide variety of items on the
menu but the ambience alone is worth the visit.
Rated—4 ½ stars
PLACES NOT TO EAT WHEN IN MEXICO
Cabo is being "Americanized" more and more, so that you will find Subway, Dominoes Pizza, Dairy Queen, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other disgusting imports (such as the Hard Rock Cafe) that mar the landscape on Cabo. I feel it's too bad that Cabo has lost part of its character in order to cater to tourists. We avoid these places as much as possible and heartily suggest not going to the places that are available in the U.S. for their processed and predictable food. Instead enjoy the unique places of Cabo. This is the end of the editorial.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Just so you are aware of a couple things that many inexperienced Mexico travelers seem to worry about, here are a couple of “little details” about your time in Cabo:
Relaxing-- We mostly go to Cabo to RELAX, so our main recommendation is to enjoy the weather, which is nearly always sunny and clear.
Timeshares-- Unless you are sure you want to buy (or are considering buying) a timeshare, you should avoid the “welcome breakfast," or any other variation on the rip-off theme of cheap cars to rent, $100 gift certificates, free breakfasts, or anything else that requires you attend "a presentation." These people are relentless (and even rude) and will NOT "take only 1 1/2 hours of your time" to tell you about the wonders of timeshare. They will easily suck up 2-3-4 hours of your precious vacation time making you agonize over spending lots of money. Trust us—you are better off avoiding them. When you arrive at the airport, there are two rooms full of these sharks and they will all tell you they are "helping you with a taxi." They are doing that, but will also cajole you into a "presentation." It’s smart to march directly to the booth at the end of the second room (after customs) that is clearly marked "TAXI" and purchase your ticket there. It is not cheap. There are shuttles, but depending on the location of your destination, it might take you quite a while in the shuttle. It drops off other passengers. The shuttle costs $18/person, while a taxi costs an astonishing $80. We are in Cabo to be in Cabo, not to be in a shuttle that is eating up our time for a "mere" $44 savings (for two). Just a thought!
The water-- it is ABSOLUTELY FINE to drink the water. I am certain that the locals would not want anyone to get sick from the water, so feel free to drink water everywhere. You will usually see signs at restaurants (or on the menus) that indicate that all water is filtered and that all fruits and vegetables are washed. Most time-shares have filtered water systems so that drinking the water out of the tap, brushing your teeth, etc., are all fine. If you continue to have any worries, you can always purchase bottled water at the markets.
Montezuma's revenge-- another myth that cannot seem to die. We have now been to Cabo about 50 times (literally) and experienced only one episode of anything that resembled GI distress. After so many years, it is our opinion that Montezuma probably visits all the Gringos who spend too much time in the sun drinking too much alcohol. This is not scientifically proven, but much like comments above about the water, tourism has become such an enormous industry in Mexico that I am certain all efforts are being made to avoid people getting sick. You should still rinse off any fruits.
Theft-- we feel utterly safe in Cabo at all times. We don’t worry about being held up or mugged. With the advent of the “chip” credit cards, it is more difficult to life the card numbers, which has been a problem in the past. Most places bring the portable card machine to your table anyway, so this adds to the sense of safety. More and more people ask us if we “feel safe” in Mexico. We do, absolutely. An article in the Los Cabos magazine in February, 2011 cited some statistics that may help you gain perspective. Based on actual homicide rates, Cabo San Lucas is: 12 times safer than Honolulu, 18 times safer than Miami and a stunning 26 times safer than Orlando. Feeling safer?
Money-- You don’t need to convert dollars into pesos before you go—they are readily accepted everywhere, ranging from taxis to street side vendors. Bring some cash, largely because you can only pay for a taxi/shuttle/bus from the airport with cash. After that, it is handy to have both one dollar bills and five dollar bills—these are handy for taxis, tipping people or buying little trinkets or gifts. There are also plenty of ATM machines, which mostly dispense US dollars. If you have an international credit card (with a chip) that does not charge you 3% “foreign fee” it is best to pay with that every time you can. Restaurants and stores will typically present your bill both in dollars and pesos and their exchange rate is not as good as the one you get with your credit card. Always pay these bills in pesos, not dollars. It’s a better deal. If you want to include a tip, you can but it needs to be added in before they run your card.
Grocery Stores-- there are several and each has advantages. In the middle of Cabo San Lucas is your basic “Mercado,” which is now much like a 7-11 store, but is most convenient. The prices are considerably higher. You “buy” your conveniences there. It is good if you need some beer or tortillas. A relatively short taxi ride away is the Chedraui Market, which is a real grocery store with better variety of foods (fruits, vegetables, etc). It has better prices and much more variety than the Mercado, but requires some effort to get there. Across the street from Chedraui is La Comer. It is big, clean and has the best produce we have seen. Costco is also now in Cabo San Lucas, so if you are looking to buy in bulk, you can do your usual Costco trip in Mexico now.
THINGS TO DO IN CABO
There is a multitude of things to do in Cabo. Our favorites are resting and reading books that we have no time for at home. If you are more adventuresome, here are a few things to consider:
Jan-March. various boats go out into the
Pacific--- day and evening
· Parasailing-- generally available from vendors around the Marina or Medano Beach
Deep sea fishing-- marlin, dorado,
etc.-- nearly all-day events/can be expensive
· Sunset cruises-- these are party boats with a live, loud band and lots of alcohol.
· Glass bottom boats/good to see fish, fun for kids
· Lover's beach-- need to be taken out there by water taxi
· Waverunners-- readily available
· ATV's-- for into-the-desert adventure/these are guided tours
· Snorkeling and scuba-- some of the beaches outside of town are best
· Golf-- world-class courses; stunning scenery, equally stunning greens fees
· Horse back riding-- either at the Hotel Melia or Pueblo Bonito/just ask
· Glass factory-- it was interesting and fun/good for children
· Shopping- there are many, many little shops all over Cabo with nothing in particular that is a "must buy" but there is plenty of bargain jewelry, hats and souvenirs
· Porto Parasio Mall-- the huge mall on the marina is very upscale and interesting just to browse. It is impressive with lots and lots of granite, fountains, etc.