Wednesday, January 18, 2017

San Jose del Cabo- days 8 and 9

Day 8

We got up early and went to the beach at 6:15 to watch the sun rise. We noticed what looked like  tiny shark fins gathering in the water along the shoreline. They turned out to be stingrays.

We were mesmerized as they playfully jumped and frolicked in the waves. One of them jumped so high, I could see his fins joyfully flapping in the air. He literally seemed to be in flight before gravity forced him to delve back into the ocean. They only stayed for about an hour after dawn.

Not much else to report. We basically spent the rest of the day doing yoga and relaxing around the pool.

Lara left for home in the evening.

Day 9

Today is my sisters actual birthday. We went to the beach again just before dawn. Once again, the stingrays showed up just before sunrise and played for about an hour  before leaving again. This time I managed to get a video of one of the rays mid flight. You can see the jump half way through the above video.

We had a relaxed birthday breakfast on our patio overlooking the golf course.

Antonio and Sarah dropped in for a visit and to say goodbye. We loved staying at their condo. This location was perfect; a short walk to the beach in a gated community of the more relaxed San Jose del Cabo  area and about a thirty minute walk to the old town. Best of all, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Antonio, Sarah and their mother, Sarah.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

San Lucas del Cabo and San Jose del Cabo- Day 7

What an amazing day.

It was cool when we left to catch the bus into San Lucas at 6:20am. It takes between half an hour and fifty minutes ( depending on traffic and stops) to travel by bus between San Jose and San Lucas.

We arrive at Cabo Expeditions, the Kayak and snorkel tour company, in plenty of time for our 8am tour.

We took a boat part way to the lands end rocks where we got into our glass bottom kayaks. Cheryl and Lara shared a kayak and being a single, I went with the guide, Carlos. 

I loved kayaking near the rock where the local sea lion colony basked in the sun. At one point, a couple of sea lions swam along side our kayak.

The snorkeling was wonderful. It was delightful to swim through a large school of tropical fish and I felt like I was in a freshly poured glass of ginger ale when I swam over a number of scuba divers letting off bubbles on the sea floor below.

There was a lot to see in the magical world below the waves. So many different kinds of fish including brightly colored parrot fish, black and white puffer fish, cobalt blue damsel fish, thousands of wrasses, moorish idols, Sargent fish and some kind of trigger fish....and those were just the ones I recognized. Awesome.

The water was in the 70s so I was quite cold by the time it came to return to the boat.

We stopped at our favourite family run taco restaurant called Gardenias. It was delicious and well priced. I could see why they've been in business for over twenty years.

After returning to our condo, we rested by the pool until we headed out for my sister's 60th birthday dinner. We booked reservations at La Panga restaurant in the old town.

We stopped first to pick up Cheryl's ring from Johnathon Sanchez, where we shared a glass of aged tequila with the jeweller before heading to La Panga.

The open air restaurant was oozing with atmosphere. Plants and decor were artfully lit and the food was delightful. I especially recommend the ceviche and sea bass. This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and the perfect way to celebrate Cheryl's milestone birthday.

Monday, January 16, 2017

San Jose del Cabo- Day 6 Beach Day and Art Walk

It was a leisurely day for us. We exercised and then enjoyed massages on the beach.  

When walking through town, I get a kick out of the pharmacy signs that are always posted in front of the store listing their most popular drugs....Viagra is always in the top billings.

In the evening we walked into the old town for the weekly Art Walk where artists and galleries offer tequila and wine in their stores as you check out their creations.

Locals and tourists pack the streets for this event. Music immediately drew us to the central area where we watched a few different groups of folk dancers.

Of course we had to check out many of the original, fine quality, handcrafted jewelry shops. While sipping on wine, Cheryl bought a stunning aquamarine ring at the talented Johnathon Sanchez's shop.

Especially enjoyable was the Frank Arnold Gallery where we were given the choice of either unique pomegranate or almond tequila. The gallery is part of the artists house which we were invited to tour. It was a decorators dream with its stunning architecture, beautiful chandeliers and unique detailing. I enjoyed the house just as much as the art work. The artist and his wife were both there. This is a definite must, if you do the art walk.

I also enjoyed the Ivan Guaderrama interactive art gallery on A. Obregon. This gallery was so much fun.  Different things would happen when you touch certain parts of the artwork. For example, there was a painting of a piano that actually played when you touch the keys or bulbs that lit up on a piece of art when you touched the heat sessor. There were also sounds or lights that would come on when you held hands with someone and both touched the artwork at the same time. There was even artwork that animated with the use of an app on your cell phone. Very original, very innovative and very fun.

With tired and sore feet, we made our way back to the condo at the end of the night.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Whales, Orcas, Sea Lions and Sea Turtles- Day 5

As usual, I was up before dawn.

Shortly after sunrise, Lara and I left the condo. Although her initial plan was to go for a run, she joined me instead for a long walk on the beach.

The waves crashed along the shore as we walked along the edge of the estuary. The estuary is home to numerous local sea birds and ducks.

After a big breakfast and quick light lunch, Cheryl, Lara and I made our way to the bus and headed to Cabo San Lucas for our zodiac boat whale watching tour with Whale Watch Cabo.
I was thankful to be offered a gravol since I tend to get sea sick easily. It was a huge help and I felt fine for the whole excursion.

Our excursion was awesome. We saw many humpback whales breaching and fluke flapping. However, the highlight was the pod of Orcas that skimmed the ocean with their shiny black and white skins glistening in the sunlight.

Our guide Paola, from Spain, informed us that Orcas are not whales, they are the largest species of dolphins. Paola was so excited because Orcas are a rare sighting in these waters.

At one point, we found a sea turtle. I was surprised how far from land he was swimming, but apparently it is quite normal.  Paola said that usually sea turtles are quite shy and disappear quickly when a boat is nearby, but this guy didn't appear to be bothered.
The speed of the zodiac when on open waters was exhilarating. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip with Whale Watch Cabo and highly recommend them. This company without extra charge sent the excellent pictures that they took, directly to our email. 

We walked around the marina and had a light supper at one of the restaurants before heading back on the bus.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Los Cabos- Days 3 & 4

Cabo San Lucas

Today we planned to go to the cactus sculpture gardens and then relax at the beach nearby ( where the water is calm enough to swim).

We took the 15 minute walk and caught the bus. After a while, things didn't feel right and we realized we were heading in the opposite direction so we went to Cabo St Lucas instead.

This town has a lovely marina, beautiful beach and many resorts. It is quite touristy and seems to be the place to party. I am glad that we are staying in San Jose.

We had delicious, authentic tacos at a cute little open air, family run restaurant. I had shrimp and a pork rind taco. Yum.

After taking a slight detour, we hung out at the beach for the rest of the afternoon.

We grabbed a bus and went back to our condo where we made supper and did yoga.

Peurto Los Cabos- day 4

After a leisurely morning, we walked towards the old town and caught a bus to the cactus and sculpture garden. This was an ok site and my highlight was watching all the dragon flies flitting through the air. The sculpture garden would make a great place fore meditation.

My feet were sore from rubbing on my new sandals. We walked to the nearby marina before grabbing a cab back to our condo where we ate a leisurely lunch and relaxed by the pool.

I am enjoying the down time.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

San Jose- Day 2

At 10am our host Antonio picked us up and drove us to a wonderful, authentic Mexican breakfast restaurant named de Manana, where his sister and mother ( both named Sarah) were waiting in line. You know you are in for a treat when the locals line up to eat there.

The Mexican food was wonderful and I truly enjoyed getting to know Antonio and his family. Speaking to them has made me want to see more of Mexico. Later this week we will be going to Mother Sarah's house where she will teach us how to make authentic Mexican Quesodillas with zucchini blossoms. I can't wait.

This is why I love staying with Airbnb because it gives you a real opportunity to get to know your hosts and get the inside scoop on your area.

Sarah suggested that we go to the free salsa classes and dance at the old town zocalo ( the main piazza). Sounds like a plan to me!

The beach is a ten minute walk from our condo....we would cut that time in half if we walked through the golf course but the barbed wire and torpedoing golf balls are a deterrent.

The beach is gorgeous but apparently the waves are too rough for swimming. I find the beach surprisingly quiet and very relaxing. There are a few sales people on the beach but they are not aggressive and very respectful.

Us girls have decided to get massages on the beach later this week and I plan to go on a horse back ride to the estuary which is teaming with local bird life.

In the evening we walked off a scrumptious meal of seared tuna, mashed sweet potatoes and leftover cactus salad before going to the free salsa and barata dance classes in the old town centre. It was a half hour walk. About 70% of the attending crowd were locals and the rest tourists. They have free classes every Sunday night and $5 classes every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. You could tell that many of the locals come regularly.

Cheryl and Lara did well but I was quite challenged because I don't take direction in dance well. Often I was tripping over my feet.

When it came time to dance with a partner, a young local named Sergio danced with Lara. He was practiced and they danced well. A 31 year old local who also had some experience danced with Cheryl. They did really well.

A 62 year old tourist named John from Minnisota partnered with me. Out of everyone there, he was probably the worst male dancer and me the worst female. We decided that we were both dyslexic and often ran into each other or came close to running into other couples. A few times we heard the instructor over the sound system correct us with "no, go to your other right".

It was shades of my belly dancing concert.

I am delighted  that we are meeting more locals than I thought we would. I find its the people that make a good trip great.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Los Cabos- Day One

The West Jet flight from Toronto to Los Cabos was smooth with no complications. Arriving at the airport is a bit more challenging. The line-ups to immigrations and customs were long but artfully disguised by the stanchioned rows which extend the line length by running back and forth and keep you continually moving.

It's important that you completely fill in both the top and bottom portions of the Mexican immigration forms that are handed out on the plane or you are sent to the side to complete them once you get to customs.

The second and much quicker line up is the one to get through customs. Then comes the part that's confusing for the first time visitor; getting to your mode of transportation. 

We were informed by our Airbnb host, Antonio, that the collective taxi is both an economical (150 pesos/$14.00 U.S.) and a direct way to get to our accommodations. Since it is not well signed, Please see Finding your Way Through Los Cabos International Airport for directions on how to get to the transportation booth.

My sister Cheryl and niece, Lara arrived four days ahead of me and were waiting at our Airbnb condo in a gated community in San Jose. I was welcomed with a delightful lunch of Tortilla soup and a quinoa and rice salad.

After settling in, our first stop was to the grocery store where we loaded up on water, fresh fruit and veggies, fresh fish and octopus and local specialties such as cactus paddles, guacamole, fresh baked ( and still warm) tortillas, spiced dried papaya and a few things that I didn't know what  they were but they looked good.

We took a taxi the short distance back to the condo and made a delicious supper of chicken mole and Nopalito (cactus) salad. Yum.

We are being very careful with the water and are using bottled water to brush our teeth and boiled water to wash our dishes.

The weather is warm but I find I still need a light cardigan in the early morning and evening.

The time difference between Toronto and San Jose is two hours so I was ready for bed with a good book by 8pm.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Finding your Way through Los Cabos International Airport

My Los Cabos Airbnb host suggested that a good way to get from the airport to our accommodations was by the collective shuttle which is both convenient and economical (only 150 pesos or $14.00 US to San Jose del Cabos)
Fortunately, my sister and niece arrived to Los Cabos first and were kind enough to email directions on how to navigate through the airport and find my way to the transportation booth. Without these directions, I would have been confused since the transportation booth signage is not obvious to the first time visitor.

When you land, follow the crowds to the immigration line. In my case, this was a very long line that consistently moved through a winding maze of stanchions to one of the many immigration officers. It took over a half hour to get through.

Ensure that you have filled both the top and bottom of the immigration forms that were handed out on the plane or you will be sent to the side until it is completed.

You will next walk through the luggage carousel area and then line up for customs. This line isn’t as long as the immigration one.

Next you will walk through two rooms that have information desks on the sides and lots of people trying to sell you tours and taxi services. In the last room before going out the exit to where the public waits, there is a booth on the left side of the exit door that lists transportation.

If you go through the exit, there is another side to the same transportation booth on the left.
The transportation booth covers taxis, limos and the collective shuttle. Buy your ticket for the shuttle there and you will receive a paid voucher.  A representative from the shuttle, dressed in a teal shirt will guide you to one of the waiting white vans.

If you are not staying at a well known hotel or resort, it’s helpful for the driver if you know some close landmarks  that are near to where you are staying.

It takes about 20 minutes to get from the airport to San Jose.