I had forgotten just how perfect Cabo is in February. Of course, I’ve never been any other time of year – but I can’t imagine it gets much better than daily 80 degree sunshine and a constant parade of whales putting on a show just offshore.
When I visited the Westin last year, I got a good deal on a future week at their Regina Club property (of course, they try to sell you the whole timeshare shebang – but I came out alive and with all of my credit cards intact!). The end of this year’s trip seemed like the perfect time to use my Cabo week and after all the rain I’ve seen in the past few weeks, it was time to reacquaint myself with the sun.
The Regina Club is a stunning property, just like its Westin neighbor. Designed by a Mexican architect, the bold colors of its sweeping façade are literally carved into the side of a mountain. While navigating the steep hills of the property can be a little demanding, the visual effect is unbeatable.
My one-bedroom condo had all the essentials (including free wifi!) and since I had a rental car, I hit the grocery store and stocked up everything I needed for the week. After a month of eating at restaurants and hotels, I was really looking forward to having groceries and cooking for myself.
My first few days focused on total relaxation – morning yoga class on the beach followed by hours of sitting by the hilltop pool with a good book and a perfect view of the whale show offshore. Bliss.
By Tuesday, I was ready to get a closer look at the whales so I headed to the marina to book a whale-watching trip. It was another Chamber of Commerce day in Cabo, not a cloud to be seen anywhere. There are any number of options for whale-watching available at the marina. The last time I was here, I booked a boat through the tourism desk at the hotel for about $45. Pretty cheap, but I soon discovered it was super easy to just head to the marina and hire your own boat for a few hours for about $35. What a deal.
Last time I had one of the small glass-bottom boats all to myself, which was great. This time I decided to try a little bit larger boat. There was a 2-hour trip on a boat made for 40 or so people that only had 8 on board and was about to leave so I booked it. When it comes to whale-watching, I find the most important thing is to be on a boat where you don’t have to fight over other tourists to get a good shot of the whales. Personal space is key!
The boat was perfect and for $35 it even included cocktails – now we’re talking! As we cruised out of the marina, we first passed the famous Lover’s Beach – the only beach in the world that faces two seas – the Sea of Cortez on one side and the Pacific on the other. It’s a gorgeous beach that is only accessible by boat.
Next we passed the Cabo arch before heading out into the open sea in search of whales. And this time of year, it doesn’t take long to find them. We saw dozens of whales on our 2-hour trip making Cabo one of the best values in the world for whale-watching. I once went whale-watching in Maui and though we also saw lots of whales, the trip cost more than twice as much. The time I went in Auckland it cost twice as much and we didn’t see a single whale. Yes folks, Cabo is where it’s at for whale-watching.
For the next few days I went back to relaxing poolside and tried to re-adjust to U.S. time. Jetlag is always an issue with these RTW trips – time zone hopping, redeyes, it’s go-go-go for a month. I usually don’t realize just how tired I am until I’ve stayed in one place for a week and it catches up with me. I felt fine the whole time I was in Mexico so either A) I’m not jetlagged or B) It’s waiting to catch up with me when I get home. We shall see…
Whale-Watching, Round 2
By Friday, I decided I’d take one more shot at a whale-watching trip. I was running low on cash and didn’t want to get more, so I booked a boat through the resort. Since I had my own car and didn’t need transportation, it was only a few dollars more than booking direct at the marina. Worth it to not have to pay an ATM fee again.
Unfortunately, my final trip wasn’t nearly as good as the first two. We left more than an hour late because the guy was determined to fill every last seat in the glass-bottom boat. Frustrating, since at the original time of departure, there would have only been 5 of us. But no, this guy wasn’t having that.
Once we were finally packed in like sardines and heading out almost an hour late (a problem because I had a conference call later that afternoon), his first stop was to put gas in the boat! Really? Couldn’t you maybe have taken care of that before you had paying customers on board? Geez. To top it off, we only saw a few whales on the trip, way less than I’d seen on either of the previous trips. Definitely a disappointment.
I was so frustrated by the time I got back to the resort and I had to run to my room to make my conference call in time. After the call, I decided to go back by the activities desk where I’d booked the trip to make a friendly complaint. To my surprise, they refunded my money! I guess there are some benefits to booking through the resort after all.
I spent the final night of my trip sitting on my balcony watching the sun set and the whales putting on yet another show. I saw several of them leap out of the water in a full breach and even got a few good pictures. (Remind me again why it’s necessary to pay for a whale-watching trip in this town?) Of all the whales we did see between the two trips – that’s one thing I’ve never seen them do up close. So cool.
As I watched the sun set, I sipped a Chilean wine and reminisced about my first stop in Chile…it seems like so long ago. What a trip this has been, I can’t believe it’s almost over. I’m ready to go home, but at the same time not. Honestly, I feel like I could travel forever. Maybe someday I will.
Tomorrow, I’ll have a few final thoughts to wrap up this excellent adventure!