Confession: While writing up this travel recap, I may or may not have gotten in the mood by listening to the "Fun in Acapulco" Elvis album. It's amazing what a little Mexican trumpet fanfare can do to shake up the work week and instantly make you feel like you're south of the border again. Having a Corona in hand doesn't hurt either (so please excuse any typos that might pop up here).
Another confession: While I do miss waking up to sound the sound of the Sea of Cortez gently lapping outside our hotel room and salty margaritas before noon, I think the serious withdrawals are due to the fact everyone called me señorita while I was there. Can we make that a thing here in the States, already? It sounds so much better than "ma'am" or "miss" or "hey lady!"
Now that we have those two housekeeping items out of the way -- let's dive into Cabo, shall we?
Rewind just a few weeks ago, when I was busy hopping around between Boston, Chicago and DC for work and practically living out of a suitcase each weekend. I was rundown and in desperate need of a big, fat, PAUSE button. When an old friend invited me to tag along down south for a few days, I didn't think twice about it. Two bathing suits were quickly thrown into a bag and more hats than I'd like to admit were tucked away in my carry on, with the promise of slow ocean days and even slower burning sunsets calling my name.
Admittedly, each time I head down to Mexico, I always toy with the idea of becoming an expat, imagining myself renting out some little oceanside villa, working on my novel during the day and then heading over to the local bar in the evenings, serving up mezcal margaritas to the same 4 or 5 patrons each night. I'd be lying if I said this little daydream didn't sound really tempting during this past visit. But I digress.
Here's a little recap of what we did, saw, sipped, ate and generally enjoyed while down south. And for the folks who have been to Cabo before, would love to hear about your favorites in the area! Please let me know in the comments below and let's compare notes!
1. El Arco de Los Cabos: This recommendation probably goes without saying -- but if you're in Cabo, you have to head out to Land's End, where you'll find the infamous rock arch formation that is widely used on all Cabo postcards. It's a short 15-20 minute boat ride from shore (you can see our see trusty boat in the photo below) and it is absolutely breathtaking. Considering it's the extreme southern end of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, there's something very remote feeling about it, even though you're not far from the surrounding towns -- like it's the last stopping point between the world as you know it and the unknown. Depending on what boat tour you take, they can either circle you around the arch (which is what we did) or they'll let you swim ashore and head to Lover's Beach. Tip: Be on the lookout for sea lions!
2. Surf's up: Baja is known for their surf and all two of my actual surf classes have been down south in this part of the world (the third was actually a Tinder date in San Franciso -- but let's save that story for another day). My general thoughts? Depending on which beach you go to, their waters can be actually pretty easy for beginners like me. This past visit, we went ahead with the surf company High Tide, with the captain of their surf division, Alan, as our instructor. He was patient, hands on and determined to help everyone catch a wave. Admittedly, we had some harsher winds than usual, which made our breaks a bit choppier (excuses, excuses, I know), so yours truly was tossed around quite a bit. But I caught a few and Alan taught me some Spanish along the way! All in all, successful day.
3. Carve out time for sunsets: Because you should. And not enough recaps emphasize this. The sunsets are absolutely beautiful down here. Grab a cadillac margarita for the show.
Go Eat & Drink:
1. Flora Farms: We actually saved this for our last night in town, but I'm going to start with it first and say this: GO EAT HERE. It's a bit off the beaten path (OK, a lot off the beaten path. During our cab ride, we both whispered to each other saying that this might be a scene from Breaking Bad where we're going to get dropped off in the middle of the desert and have to call Sal to save us). But alas! It was well worth the long drive down a pothole-ridden dirt road, because when we finally arrived, we were greeted by the most darling little oasis of a restaurant, farm and village all combined into one, smack dab in the middle of the Mexican desert. Founded by a few expats, Patrick and Gloria Greene (oh heyyy, perhaps they can help me figure out my expat exit strategy!), Flora Farm is a 10-acre farming community and refuge, with everything grown on site pesticide-free, and then eventually used over in the restaurant (now that's farm to table!). The decor and layout of the entire place is darling -- very open and airy, almost as if you're walking into someone's backyard garden/patio space for a quiet dinner. Oh, and the twinkling string lights that crisscrossed the entire grounds definitely don't hurt either. I opted for the beet gnocchi, which was delicious, but immediately wished I had gotten the ribs since I literally stole every bite my friend would allow from their plate.
2. The Office: So at first glance, this is very much a "make some bad spring break decisions here" kind of place, but sometimes, it's fun to throw the wild card in every once in a while, right? Plus, the colors of this place were unreal (go check out the second photo in this post to see what I'm talking about). Head here for some casual afternoon drinking -- the people watching alone is worth it (that and the guacamole and ceviche). Tip: If you're like me and your last conversation in Spanish lasting more than 5 minutes was back in high school, do not (I repeat) do not raise your hand as a volunteer. For anything. Chances are, you have no idea what you just volunteered for. And let's just say, I learned this the hard way. ;)
3. Manta: Granted, I actually missed this spot (my darn flight from JFK was canceled, so I had to fly out the following day), but luckily, my friend was able to take full advantage the first night in (and shared the photos to rub in my face a day later). Situated at The Cape Hotel (where we enjoyed our stay - more on that in the next section), Manta is teased as a "comfort seafood" restaurant, which my friend adamantly confirmed, with the ceviche being the hands down favorite. Forutnately for me, executive chef Enrique Olvera has his other renown restaurant Cosme, right here in New York. Looks like I know where I'll be going this weekend. Who wants to join?
The Cape: Alright, you may be wondering. How could you really go wrong with any resort down in Cabo, when it faces an ocean like the one featured above? And you'd be right. For the most part. Until you saw The Cape. And then you'd probably see why recapping this hotel in just a brief paragraph is actually quite hard. For starters, it's worth stating, we had no clue where to begin when it came to finding a resort down here but luckily, a few Google searches lead us to The Cape, one of the newest Thompson Hotel properties that literally opened up back in June (brand spanking new!) with some pretty noteworthy praise to date already.
Upon arriving on my first day, I could see why. Heading up the coast from the airport, you'll see a smattering of oceanfront resorts, each one of them more beautiful than the last, boasting a Spanish colonial flair, with bougainvillea wrapping around windowsills and simple, clean Mission style lines. Think Hotel California, if you will.
And for a second, when you're heading up to The Cape, you might think that's what's in store for you. Until you turn the driveway bend and see something quite different. My friend, being the architect buff (whereas I'm just an architecture fan), went through a little research craze over the hotel's lead architect, Javier Sanchez, and happily reported back we were in for a modern treat. The overall vibe is mid-century modern meets 1960s Mexican surfer lodge -- the overall structure is modern and sleek, with open-air vistas in all common areas so you're never NOT looking at El Arco de Los Cabos in the distance. The decor is where I freaked out. I mean, a copper tub. In our hotel room? Yes, please.
And that's where I'll stop on The Cape -- as I'll be sharing more snaps and stories about it specifically next week. In the meantime, I'd love to hear any and all stories you may have from your times down south in Cabo! Did you happen to volunteer for anything crazy like I did? ;)
This post was in collaboration with The Cape Hotel. As always, all opinions and styling are my own. Thank you for supporting all This Time Tomorrow collaborations!