Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Cabo San Lucas


Last year Julie and I joined our friends Chad and Cathy for a trip down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We had such a great time, we decided to do it again.

This time Mother Nature threw us a bit of a curve though.  Back on September 14th, Hurricane Odile slammed into Cabo as a category 3.  This is an area that rarely sees more than a tropical storm.  Power, phone, internet, water and sewer were out almost everywhere.  The airport was closed for weeks because of damage to the terminal buildings.  Hotels were boarded up and flooded everywhere.  We got a call from Alaska Airlines saying that our flight to Cabo was cancelled.  Time to make a go/no-go decision.

We watched the progress on repairs for a while and then checked into flight alternatives.  Things started lining up.  Instead of flying out through LA, we got the direct flight on Delta one day earlier.  Somehow we ended up saving $250 per person at the same time!  Julie found us another condo in the same complex for only $225 for a night, so we had one extra day in Cabo, direct flights instead of a hop, and saved $775 between the four of us.
Last trip we stayed at an all-inclusive resort a few miles outside of town on the Pacific ocean.  This trip we were around the point in the calmer, more protected waters.  Our accommodations were at the Villa La Estancia. Most of the units are 2 large bedrooms, 3 baths, with a full kitchen and living room.  There are some much larger penthouse units, but we weren't in one of those.
While some areas had clearly been hit very hard by Odile, our place was immaculate.  Other than a few stumps from downed palm trees, you would have never been able to tell that anything had happened. The Mexican government and local authorities had done an incredible job of getting everything working again.  Restaurants and stores were open, the marina had only one dock unusable, and there were armies of workers everywhere continuing the cleanup.

One of our first nights we went to the Sunset da Mona Lisa restaurant.  The layout of this place was magnificent and all I had to shoot pictures was my iPhone.  Click on the link for their web site to see better photos.  It is expensive, but to those from Park City, this would be deemed "average".  Get there in time for sunset and sit outside.  The design and views are simply awesome!!
Julie and Cathy have both become big fans of golf, so we decided too head out and play.  Most of the courses had taken hurricane damage and were in various states of disrepair. The first course we played was Cabo Real.  It was a nice course, but their electronics had taken a lot of damage and essentially killed their irrigation system.
This was the only hole we played that really looked damaged.  You can see that we are barely above the sea.  Chad took this opportunity to hit it right down in the construction goop.
The greens were nice because they had been hand watered but the fairways were just coming back in.  Two weeks from now the course should be really nice.  We did get to play inexpensively and the little restaurant at the clubhouse was awesome.  I would never expect to get such excellent dining service at a golf course snack shop.
Chad and I went out fishing for a day.  We went out on a 34 foot boat with a captain and a mate.  The waves were quite peaceful in the protected waters but unfortunately, the fish seem to like it better out in the ocean.  Thank goodness for seasick patches. It worked fine, but I would have been in trouble without one.
Chad, busy reeling one in.
We chased quite a few Striped Marlin but never got one to take the hook.  We did have a sea lion rip the bait off several of our hooks though. Bastard!

This is me with my Mahi Mahi.  He was big enough to provide several lunches and dinners for the four of us and some extra came back to Utah.
Chad also caught one and it got vacuum packed and brought home.  We should have some excellent fish dinners over the next month or two.
While coming and going to the fishing grounds, we passed a really unusual new golf course.  This hole is probably a long, downhill par 5, heading down the sandy slope towards the ocean.
This hole is a bit hard to see, but it runs right along the cliff edge.  Not only would I need a bucket of balls to finish the hole, I would be concerned about driving my cart into the ocean.

We wanted to try and play the course but it is private. If you are willing to sit through a long real estate pitch, you may be able to get on in the sweltering heat of the afternoon. No thanks.
On our way back in, we got a visit from Paco the begging sea lion.  What a fat, lazy life.
One of the most unusual things we saw this week was the guy with a Harris Hawk.  He works the complex of three side-by-side resorts (ours was the middle).  The hawk visits every day and is used to keep the sparrows, pigeons and sea gulls away.  He only catches one every few days, but his presence is enough to have an effect.  He did happen to nail a sparrow right outside our condo one day.  Wish I had seen him do it.  I did get to see him eating his victim though.
We decided we would head out for 9 more holes of golf.  This time we played at Cabo del Sol's ocean course. It was in better shape, having not suffered the watering problems of Cabo Real.  The course was beautiful and interesting.  Only when I came home did I find it has been listed in Golf Magazine's top 100 courses in the world every year since 1995.

Here's Cathy launching one.
The holes were very challenging but damn they were nice!
Julie, about to launch one.  This green was wrapped on two sides by the ocean.
Chad and Cathy on the 18th tee box. 
And then our turn.  Fortunately, with it being a bit off season and post-Odile, we were able to play this course less expensively than normal.  Normal for the peak season is $365 for 18.  I have never paid half that anywhere.
On the evening of October 31st, we went down to eat at Alexander's at the marina in downtown Cabo.  It was odd because we were the guests of the people who had rented us our condo.  They new Chad and Cathy and insisted on taking us out.  The food was wonderful and the service was exceptional, but that wasn't even the most interesting part.

We ran into a celebration that was a cross between Halloween and Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).  It seemed that every family in the greater Cabo metropolitan area was downtown.  All the kids were dressed up, as were some of the adults.  Thousands and thousands of people were walking the street, getting candy from the businesses and people along the way.  It was bigger than any Halloween celebration I have ever witnessed and we were right in the middle of it.  We were at a table right along the marina walkway and the guys at Alexander's gave us buckets of candy to hand out.  What a blast!

This is our excellent head waiter, cooking us some food at our table, and posing with some poor unsuspecting Robin that was walking by.  Me? I had neither my camera nor my phone to capture all of this.  Argh!!!  Thanks to Julie for at least having her phone and taking a shot.
Thanks to Jeff and Melanie for a great, unexpected evening out.

I am so pleasantly surprised at how well the town had recovered from the hurricane.  They have a long way to go but most things are up and running and lots of things are back to 100%.  Hopefully they will make a lot more progress before peak season starts in January.

After a week of perfect sunshine and toasty days, this was our first day back.  Jasper was happy and we need the snow for skiing, but this sure was a bit of a shock to the system.

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