After all the planning and preparation, the wedding ceremony in Gatlinburg Tennessee and the reception back in Michigan, Karrie an i left for our honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We ended up picking a hotel which was part of a whole all inclusive vacation package in Cabo San Lucas. We got the idea after seeing the deal online, then talked with Karrie's mom and my aunt who had been to Cabo before, they both said it was great, so we booked it.
We ended up having a great time over the 7 days.
The hotel in Cabo San Lucas we decided to stay was The Sunset Hotel. The 4 options for hotel's in that area were, Pacifica, Sunset, Rose and Blanco. They were all owned by the same Pueblo Bonito company, and the cool part was that they were all interconnected. The order that i listed them is how the hotel's are rated in order of cost and also "niceness". So by deciding on The Sunset Hotel we felt that we got a really nice hotel, probably the second best resort in Cabo.
As far as the flight's went, we flew on US Airways from Detroit to Phoenix. Then had a 1.5 hour layover and flew from Phoenix to Cabo San Lucas Mexico. The flights were 4 hours and 2 hours respectively.
We had arranged to have a shuttle pick us up from the airport and take us to the hotel. The cost was $22 per person one way, so for both of us it cost $88 to get a ride from the airport to the hotel, then a week later a ride back to the airport.
When we got off the plane we had to go through customs. It actually wasn't too bad, we just picked up our bag, waited in line, then walked right through without having our bags checked. Now here is the big warning i'm going to give you. Immediately after leaving customs you walk through 2 sliding door. The next room you enter is filled with guys wearing golf shirts. We thought, and they told us, that they were there to help us get our shuttle to the hotel. THEY ARE NOT. They are in fact people trying to sell time-shares and sign you up for activities. What ever company they work for they must have paid the airport a ton to set up there. They will give you a map and tell you that your driver is out there, and try to pretend like they are just giving you information. Then they will try to sell you a voucher for free zip-lining or something. This made us a little mad after we realized that we just wasted 15 minutes after 2 flights of 6 hours. So we walked out of that room and entered another that looked exactly the same. This time someone approached us saying that he worked for the travel board of Mexico. 3 minutes in to him talking we realized that he was ANOTHER time-share salesman person. Now i was really mad. It was very much like they were trying to trick or fool us and because we still thought we were in the Mexican customs area we were in that sort of complying attitude. As we walked out of that room through another pair of sliding doors i thought that if there's another group of guys trying to sell something, i was going to go crazy. Luckily there wasn't and we got outside, found our shuttle and rode for an hour to our hotel.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - CABO SAN LUCAS
The Sunset Hotel is one of the nicest and more secluded hotels in the area. Sunset and the Pacifica are located away from the downtown on the Pacific Ocean side of the coast. It's gated off and is at such a distance that you can't really walk in. The shuttle dropped us off and we went to check in. Here's a little outdoor atrium near the main office.
We originally had signed up for a typical room that looked nice, but Karrie noticed on their website that if you tell them that you are on your honeymoon they can give you an upgrade. I wasn't expecting it to work but we asked. At first it didn't seem like they would upgrade our room, but we asked again, the woman helping us checked with the manager and then said a nicer room was available. We had to swipe a credit card so that if anything happened or if we wanted to charge our room. The 2 credit cards i had didn't work. I'm guessing it's because never called the credit card companies that i would be out of the country. Luckily Karrie's card worked.
They told us to go outside and one of the golf carts would take us to our room, which was in one of the 20-25 buildings on the property. Immediately after turning away from the counter there was someone holding a laminated card asking us if we wanted to buy a time share. At this point we had been awake for many hours and had absolutely no time for that. Then we realized something wonderful. The woman asked us if we were over 30 years of age. Karrie said no, and the lady then proceeded to ignore us and walk away. We realized that they don't want to or can't sell time shares to people under 30. So anytime someone came up to us at the hotel we just said we were 29 and they walked away.
The ride from the main office to our hotel building was great. The Sunset Hotel has these little golf cart like vehicles that hold 6 people and they drive you any they drive you anywhere on the property. It's kid of crazy though because the steep and winding paths only have room for 1 cart at a time so it's always an adventure when there are dozens of carts on site. Here's what it looks like flying around one of these things at night.
SUNSET HOTEL - PUEBLO BONITO - ROOM VIEWS
But we made it to building 24 which was actually the largest building at Sunset. We went up to the 5th floor and found our room, and our room was amazing.
The upgraded room meant that we actually got a "double room". Had we not been able to get the honeymoon upgrade, the room would have been pretty standard, just bed, bathroom and balcony. But by asking we got that room on one side then a door connecting it with a dining room/living room, full kitchen and 2nd bathroom.
During the time we were there we used the kitchen and refrigerator and ate breakfast at the table. The terms of our all inclusive stay meant that we could get room service any time for just $5 per order. So when we woke up we would call down and have our breakfast delivered. However we did realize that it took at least an hour for room service to get delivered. So we tried to wake up a little early, call then lay back down for an hour until it arrived. It was perfect because it meant we weren't having to get ready, ride down to one of the restaurants to eat, we could just have it show up at our room. We both agreed that having breakfast was one of the most peaceful times during the time we were there. From the table we could look out the glass door toward the balcony.
And here was the balcony, the width of both of the rooms.
This was our view of the ocean from the balcony. The sun set right between two peaks of the nearby mountain.
From the beach here is the Sunset Resort in Cabo San Lucas. Our building was the large yellow one with the brown roof on the left side of the picture.
One big downside to the hotel was the Wi-Fi. You have to pay something like $80 to use the Wi-Fi for 3 days. On the website they said that there's a couple of places on the property where you can use Wi-Fi for free, The Manilla Bar and Sunrise cafe. We tried going to 2 of those locations and yes there was a Wi-Fi signal but it was terrible. Dozens of people sit out in chairs trying to get access but it's such a slow connection that we were never able to do anything. Karrie saw that people had posted wedding photos to Facebook. It took us 15 minutes to look at 8 pictures. There's also the "internet cafe" but that's only a store with 2 desktop computers in it. And it cost $5 for 30 minutes of usage.
The cool thing about the hotel was that it was located right on the Pacific Ocean. That meant that swimming was NOT allowed. The waves were huge and there were several workers on the beach to warn you to keep away from the water. And it was especially windy and wavy the first full day we were there because a small hurricane/tropical storm hit Cabo San Lucas. But we walked along the beach anyway to check it out.
You can see that looking back down the beach there was lots of sand blowing in along the shore.
2 days later i went back out to the same rocky area and it was much nicer. But the waves were still super big and swimming was still not allowed. In the area where the waves hit the shore, the sand was actually very steep. So if a wave knocks you over it would be hard to get up and back to shore. For this picture i used my homemade polarizing filter and it really brought out the difference in color between the sky, water and beach.
But the hotel does have several different pools on the resort property. There was the main pool which was huge with a bridge, bar and room for hundreds of people. This was taken at night after everyone was gone and this is only one little part of the huge main pool.
They also had a kids pool, adult pool and sky pool. We went to the sky pool on the second day and it was really nice. It got it's name because of where it is located, at the top of the mountain overlooking the property. We were able to order right from poolside for any drinks and food we wanted. So we got lunch there before heading back to the room. This is the adult pool, it was full of a bunch of old people that would complain to the staff when a kid walked by.
But it was really quiet and nice. We sat there 2 different days just having lunch and reading.
PUEBLO BONITO - RESTAURANTS
That second night when looking for a place to eat we realized that the hotel wasn't very helpful with restaurants. There are several places on the property that we could have gone, but they never told us what or where they were. After several calls from Karrie to the front desk they finally brought us up a sheet showing the restaurants and the times they are open. We decided to go to The Bistro. I was expecting it to be like some buffet style cafeteria but it was really nice. We at outside on the balcony and the food was great. But we learned another bit of key information that night. No matter where you go to eat, YOU MUST MAKE RESERVATIONS. Even if they say you don't need a reservation, make one, or else you will have to wait for an hour. That night we decided to make reservations for the whole week. Some restaurants require reservations and also a $10 or $20 additional fee on top of the all inclusive package.
The cool thing about the all inclusive package is that it's good for more then just the restaurants at our hotel. We were able to go to any restaurant (except at the Pacifica) and eat for free. I think the easiest way to put it is like when stores say "buy one and get another for equal or lesser value." You were allowed to eat at your hotel or any of lesser value. Since the Pacifica was the nicest we weren't allowed to go there. But we were allowed to eat at Rose, and Blanco. So we made reservations for dinner for every night. Here's a list of the places, which hotel it's at and my opinion of the restaurant.
THE SUNSET HOTEL
The Bistro - free - surprisingly nice - good food and a decent selection - we ate here for dinner a couple of times and it was great
La Frida - $20 per person - men must wear collared shirts (i had to go back to the room to change) - the service was really nice but the food wasn't any better then any other place, although they had a lot more to pick from
This was our view of the restaurant from our seats on the balcony.
Villa 17 - free - we only ate here one night and it was for Asian food night. It was ok, the food was served buffet style, nothing fancy.
ROSE / BLANCO HOTELS
Mare Nostrum - free - outdoor restaurant, buffet style, lots of bird flying around pooping on the chairs. good for a quick lunch
These were the birds that flew all around the chairs and tables at Mare Nostrum. For the first 10 seconds it was cute and funny, after that it was annoying.
Fellinis - $20 per person. We got a great table on the balcony, probably the nicest dinner we had. Food was really good
Here's a panorama view of the beach just outside of the Rose hotel near Fellinis restaurant. This was the day the beach was closed due to the hurricane, usually it's full of people and locals trying to sell you stuff.
Now to get from one hotel to the other you can either call for a cab or take the free shuttle. The shuttle is a bus which leaves The Sunset Hotel on the hour. It drives to the Rose Hotel and leaves there every half hour. Again, YOU MUST MAKE RESERVATIONS. Reservations are made at the front counter of the main building, they print you off a paper receipt you show the bus driver. One thing to note though is that the bus doesn't pick you up at the main building but at the Sunrise Cafe. The cool thing was that our hotel building was right next to the Sunrise Cafe. So 5 minutes before the bus left we could just walk outside and hop on. Usually reservations must be made that morning or a day in advance. Although a cool trick is that there's always people who make reservations and don't show up.
We realized that our hotel was mainly full of old people that had been to Cabo San Lucas several times and usually owned a time-share at the hotel. They were usually rich, retired, and liked to complain about poor service by the hotel staff. When we got to the Rose and Blanco hotels we realized that there were mostly family's with kids there.
Early on in the vacation we went to the Rose and Blanco hotel's. That was also when the hurricane hit Cabo San Lucas. IT rained a ton and you could tell that they weren't used to getting rain there. The streets were flooded. But Karrie actually remembered to bring rain ponchos so we walked around downtown and went in the shops. Something to know is that all the shops there sell the exact same thing. They all have hats, jewelry, toys and your typical vacation souvenirs with "Cabo" written on them. They all sell those things for basically the same price. However the flea market is a place where you can get a better deal. It's much more run down with blue tarps acting as the roof.
Every stall you walk by has a person telling you to "come look, best deal anywhere". Karrie eventually bought some stuff on the last day of the trip. A rule of thumb is that if they are asking for something that costs $30, you can probably bet them to sell it for $22-$20. It depends on the person and amount of traffic around them. The quieter and less busy the better. Just an example, i saw a straw hat, the lady said 200 pesos. I said "na that's ok." She then offered it to me for 150 pesos then 120 pesos. That was her best deal, 120 pesos which is about $12. The conversion rate was about 11-1 but it was just easier to move the decimal one place.
CABO SAN LUCAS - ACTIVITIES TO DO
The 2 activities that we decided to do were snorkeling and something called SeaTrek. We didn't want to do scuba diving because it looked daunting. But for $70 per person we did SeaTrek which consisted of walking on the ocean floor. We made reservations and paid through the corsage at our hotel. They called and checked on available times. We got picked up by a van at our hotel and they drove us to the pier where the company was. The ride cost $20 total. Once getting to the office we had to sign a waiver and then ride in a boat to a floating raft.
We put on wetsuits and Crocs as they went over the safety rules.
I brought the GoPro camera that Karrie got me for my birthday. It was perfect for the SeaTrek. We were in a group of 6 and i was chosen as the first one to go. I climbed down the ladder and then just before going under, they put the 30 pound air helmet on. Here's the video:
SeaTrek - Cabo San Lucashttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnl9qmT53MY&feature=share&list=UUGqF5ktj2oAlwm3HPaWbDOQ
For the full 25 minutes of video, check out my Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/notitlerequired
One thing that did bother me was the pressure on my ears. Every step down put more and more pressure on them and at first i couldn't get them to pop. But i went all the way down to the bottom, 20 feet from the surface. Karrie came down next, and she immediately loved it. Once everyone made it to the bottom we all held onto a rope and walked along a path. It was just under a half hour at the bottom of the ocean. They showed us starfish, several different puffer fish and all the other animals that swam around. We got to touch the animals and fish they showed us.
It was really cool, scary but fun at the same time.
Before we went down i reminded Karrie that if anything happens you can always throw off the helmet and swim to the surface. But after 5 seconds you realized that it was going to be fine. Having that bubble of air around your head is totally different from having a snorkel air tube in your mouth. Karrie and i both really liked it.
Afterwords you get a boat ride back and have lunch at the taco place next door. It was pretty good and we had a great time.
The second activity we went to the next day was snorkeling. Before we went on the boat we walked to the end of the pier where all the boats left from. Here's the panorama of the pier in Cabo.
But it wasn't just snorkeling, it was snorkeling from a pirate ship called the Caribbean Queen. You can see that it's a pirate ship.
This is what the boat looks like. All the sail stuff is for show. But it was great, and really fast.
It cost $50 per person since we booked it through our hotel, it's $55 normally. We boarded the boat at Pier #1, which we had to ask to find out where it was. The whole trip took over 3 hours and we had a great time. First they take you out to The Arch, which is the famous location at Cabo San Lucas. It is the stone structure at the very tip of the Pacific Ocean. The pirate ship drove out the The Arch and spent about 20 minutes for people to take pictures.
Here's a panorama view of the area.
Then the ship drove for about an hour to a beach further up the coastline. It was a public beach and there were other boats already anchored. That's when we found out that in order to snorkel we had to jump off the ship and swim into shore.
It was a long way to shore. But again i brought my GoPro underwater camera with us.
Here's a video i made, combining the best video's of the snorkeling trip.
Pirate Ship Snorkeling - Mexico
If you want to see all of the video's you can go to my Youtube page and check them out, there's about 20 of them in total. https://www.youtube.com/user/notitlerequired
It was really fun and i enjoyed the paddle boarding a lot. It took a lot more balance then i thought it would.
The last day of the trip we spent at the hotel pool. We checked out at 11am then hung around until 2pm, waiting for our van to pick us up and take us to the airport.
It was another sunny relaxing day sitting around, reading and going for a swim.
Overall i would say that we had a great time. Sure there's some annoying parts where people are trying to sell you time shares and lack of communication about the hotel, but overall it's great.