La guia de Cabo de Psaltis
(The Psaltis Guide to Cabo)
 
First of all, you must understand that this is not (I repeat NOT) "the" ultimate guide to Cabo-- everyone who would bother to write one would write it differently-- we simply want to share with you our own perspective of this fabulous destination that we hope will be as enjoyable for you as it has been for us. All information here is our bias-- that is, we're just telling you what we liked and we hope it helps!
 
The 2009 version was the first significant rewrite in many years. We have updated the guide on many occasions, but felt ready to begin anew. Among other things Cabo 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 thing and a bad one. 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. The good news (if you choose to call it that) is 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 now than ever, but there are parts of Cabo that will never change. It is sunny, warm and dry, which, for a Pacific Northwesterner, is about as good as it gets when we’ve forgotten if the sun even exists! So again, take heart—there is plenty there for all, even if Cabo has become more “cosmopolitan.” Some might say that is progress.
 
Given the rise in cost of meals at some of our old haunts, we have begun to venture into areas of Cabo that we had previously either ignored or just didn’t even know existed. Many of the places we are recommending here are the old “tried and true” spots but at the same time, we have also begun to look into some neighborhoods where the locals also eat. It has been fun, not always delicious, but invariably cheaper than some of our old haunts. If you are on a tight budget, or are frustrated by $100 dollar dinner tabs for your family (or for two), we’d suggest you shop at the local markets and spend a bit of time making your own meals, particularly the leftovers from the enormous portions doled out at most of the local hot spots.
 
In keeping with the spirit of our 2009 thoughts, the 2013 version is specifically targeted at the new places we found that ARE more in keeping with the spirit of old Mexico. We have opted to take a few of the past favorites out (in particular the “good places to find a drink”) because these are now so plentiful that you really don’t need our help to find a lovely sunset bar. During our weeks in CSL in 2012 and 2013 we actively sought out new places that we feel are more “local” in flavor. It gave us more variety and helped our wallets a bit. If you are like us, you may not go on vacation to save money, but in the same breath, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy some local color (and cuisine) for less than $20 for two. The 2012 version will bring you an eclectic mix of places, prices and atmospheres. We always do our best to be honest and accurate. As with the rest the world, things are always changing in Cabo, so what is included here is true as of February, 2013. Enjoy.

Now up to 2015 and I am finally moving this little guide into the 21st century by including websites for the various places we have listed. Some restaurants don't have websites, so I have used Trip Advisor or Google Plus as alternatives. In many cases, the menus are posted as are opinions of other people who have gone, so if you don't get quite enough information from our thoughts, you will have access to more opinions and ideas via the internet.
 
And now, on to the guide, as seen by the Psaltises!
 
The area along the marina next to the super mall (Porto Paraiso) has become a very, very swank area with upscale restaurants and specialty shops, such as Señor Sweet, where you can buy Italian style gelato. We went there one day and spent more for our two tiny cups of gelato than we had paid for an entire meal at some of the locals’ restaurants (see next paragraph). We did not eat at any of the new places we saw only because we didn’t feel we didn’t need to drop another $80- 100 for a single meal. More recently we, on the other hand……..
 
Our recent expeditions provided exhilarating times. These places are the opposites of some of the ritzy spots listed below, but I think you will find them to be fun and, in our experience, safe (health-wise). The newer ones below are located in an area that is a mere 2-3-4 blocks off the main drag, but feels as if it is at least 50 miles from the night-club like atmosphere of the touristy section of Cabo. Please understand that some of the places (such as #’s 14 and 21 below) are VERY BASIC and that speaking Spanish will be helpful to you. By the same token, we might 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 jump in. You will find this area outlined in RED on the map. Also, we found a place in Todos Santos that occupies the #3 slot formerly occupied by The Giggling Marlin, which we have dropped off our list altogether. Los Adobes is worth the drive to Todos Santos all by itself, although the town is also fun and significantly different than Cabo. It is about a 1 hour drive (in spite of being only about 45 miles) north of Cabo on Highway 19. It would be best to rent a car, since a taxi would cost you an arm and a leg and the local buses might take forever. Our efforts for seeking out new places proved to be well worth the effort. We hope you think so, too.
 
RELAX!!
 
For a married couple like us, we mostly go to Cabo to RELAX, so our main recommendation is to enjoy the weather, which is nearly always sunny and clear. Unless you are sure you want to buy (or are considering buying) a time share, 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, we assure you, "take only 1 1/2 hours of your time" to tell you about the wonders of time share. 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!!! We will add here that we have bought time shares, but we had considered it seriously before. We are very happy with our decision to buy, so the concept of time share purchase is actually not a bad one. If you are considering it, have lunch with us and we'll give you the information you need. Then if you're still interested, you can set up an appointment and simply buy, saving yourself lots of hassle. When you arrive at the airport, there are TWO ROOMS full of these sharks, all of whom will tell you they are "helping you with a taxi." They are doing that, but will also cajole you into their "presentation." You are better off marching 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 as it drops off other passengers. The shuttle costs $18/person, while a taxi costs an astonishing $80. If you are like us, we are in Cabo to be in Cabo, not to be in a shuttle that is eating up more of our time for a "mere" $44 savings (for two). Just a thought!
 
EAT, EAT, EAT!!
 
You are in for many treats in Cabo and we will list the ones we particularly like. There will be many choices, so if you don't follow ours, you'll still probably do well. We have now been in Cabo several times since 1993 and feel that we can save you lots of time looking around by going to any/all of the following (not necessarily in order of our preferences):
 
"H"  (#1 on our map) Old Highway to Cabo San Jose      Click here for Trip Advisor

Imagine, if you can, stepping off a street in Cabo San Lucas into a well-appointed restaurant that somehow brilliantly blends a sports-bar appearance with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett style music in the background and a "skinny" pizza with goat cheese, pesto, pine nuts and some kind of fabulous dressing on it. If you can do that, you will appreciate the ambiance and the comfort of "H," a restaurant I just discovered this week (May, 2013) during my volunteer dental trip. 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. Do not miss the "Melanie's favorite" pizza (described above) and dive into the varied menu that spans from gourmet tacos (the kind you will NOT find at Taco Bell, for sure) to your good old hamburger. Nothing here appears routine. 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. It is NOT a "typo" that this and La Ricazon (below) both have #1 as their locations on the map-- in fact they are next door neighbors. Find one and you've found them both. Luis has had an "H" restaurant in Cabo San Jose for several years, but just opened his Cabo San Lucas location in November, 2012. How lucky for us!

LA RICAZON  (#1 on our map) Old Highway to Cabo San Jose      Click here for website.

 
This is a delightful breath of fresh air amidst many over-priced, gaudy restaurants in Cabo San Lucas. We ate at the "original" in San Jose del Cabo in 1998 and were thrilled to discover that a new one had just opened in Cabo San Lucas less than a month prior to our 2002 visit. It is very simple in decor. In fact, the restroom has no roof on it, although it is perfectly fine. It's probably not best to begin a restaurant recommendation with a discussion of its toilet, but this location is so simple that the "facility" provides a unique flare to the place! The food is delicious and plentiful-- there are "wraps," which are cousins to burritos, quesadillas and taquitos. The bill will astound you-- after routinely paying $15-20 per person during our 2002 visit, we were stunned when handed our bill for $50 (for six adults), which included soft drinks and enough food to stuff us. 2013 update: Wow, this was a MAJOR change from the description above. La Ricazon is still in the same location, but now also has a restaurant on Lazaro Cardenas right around the corner from the Big Mall. That one is rather boistrous (for us) with loud music, etc. The original location has drastically changed to a much more upscale restaurant with a full bar and a varied menu. Four of us went there together and agreed it was one of the better meals we had during our time this year. The waiters are very friendly and the food was excellent. Prices are no longer $50 for six adults, but it was a great meal with a higher price. We still recommend it highly, even if it has morphed into something unlike the original.
 
BAJA CANTINA (#2 on our map) on the marina     Click here for website
 
Located on the Marina, right in front of the Wyndham 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 I loved and has some of the best pancakes we have ever had anywhere. The menu is varied-- there are many egg dishes, including huevos rancheros and eggs mexicana and, as is generally true in all of Cabo, the juices are freshly squeezed and the fruit plates are fine. Dinners are also good. It's kind of 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?” 2013 update: Basically the Baja Cantina, which was the very first place in CSL we ever ate, remains largely the same. However, we noted a slight 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 still throughout, but it now seems more like a restaurant than a sports bar.