As we departed from our plane, I could almost hear Jimmy Buffet’s “Escape” playing from the Riu Sante Fe Hotel.
We left for Cabo San Lucas in November 2014–the first family vacation since 2012 or something like that. (Thanks, Groupon!) Now, it goes without saying that family vacations never go as planned. You arrive 20 minutes late for your tour, you spend 35% of the time babysitting, you witness your mom getting hit on, among some things. Those things are inevitable, but here’s a list of things that surely can be changed!
1. Go snorkeling earlier in the day
While vacationing in Cabo, you’ll notice that snorkeling is one of the more popular activities. Most tour companies will offer a boat ride from your resort or Medano Beach to the desired site at a dedicated time; the rides to and from are usually every hour and will leave exactly on time. (We arrived literally 5 minutes after 2 and we missed! Learn from my mistakes.) Many companies allow you to stay for as long as you want, as long as you don’t miss the last ride back to shore. I suggest that you leave around 1 pm-2pm and snorkel up until the last ride. The beautiful marine life will make you never want to leave; you’ll be glad you got in that extra hour. TRAVELER’S TIP: Instead of using the fins they offer, it might be more beneficial to bring water shoes to protect your feet while preventing any painful souvenirs you might bring home.
2. Bargain better (especially for taxi)
You always hear about the damn scams in Mexico, and its undeniably accurate. While Asians are known to be cheap-o’s, even we have problems with bargaining. Locals were selling “real silver” for $35. Say WHAT? I’m better off shopping at Walmart. Taxi was the real issue here, though. My family and I never really needed to travel for from our resort–only about 5 or so minutes–but the prices we got were always $12-$15 US. Talk about rip-off. TRAVELER’s TIP: Do NOT use the exchange rate in the airport! You’re safer using an ATM or your hotel. Airport conversion rates are typically around 11 pesos:$1, but outside rates are up to 13.5 pesos:$1!
3. Play sports during my leisure time
Many resorts have fun sports, like water polo, volleyball, and even soccer! If not, you can probably find a pick-up game somewhere along the beach. On my last night, I spent about an hour playing beach volleyball with Canadian strangers (yeah, lots of Canadians in MX this time of year). I had been eye balling the games the first few days but was too chicken to jump in. Finally, I grew some lady balls, which definitely payed off because I had a great time!
4. Go paragliding
This is another tourist favorite! It’s a bit pricey, but if I had to choose between the tour with Dolphin Encounters and paragliding, the latter one wins by a landslide.
5. Sip on more Piña Coladas!
Throughout the entire trip, I had two Piña Coladas, a strawberry smoothie, two margaritas, and my first Kahlúa, which wasn’t a bad way to pamper myself, but I definitely could have taken better advantage of the all-inclusive resort. I was in Mexico, for god’s sake! Pulling up a lawn chair by the ocean, wearing a bikini and over-sized sun hat, sippin’ on my cold beverage would’ve been ideal, but I guess I’ll just have to save that for Cancun 😉