If you’re over the average Spring Break trip, consider Los Cabos, Mexico instead. Made up of the twin towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, Los Cabos offers amazing trips for everyone from thrill seekers to movie stars, to gourmands and the budget-minded.
Check out these 4 extraordinary itineraries depending on your interests:
Los Cabos for the Adventurous
What You Must Do: There’s no shortage of activities for the adventure-lover in Los Cabos. Book one of the many ATV companies in Cabo San Lucas, such as highly rated Cactus ATV Tours, to go on a thrilling ride through the desert and beaches of Cabo. A two-hour tour on a beginner’s track costs around $120*. For a more difficult off-roading adventure, try a track frequented by professional ATV racers for around $175 per person*.
If you’d rather see the beauty of Los Cabos from the air, brave Mexico’s longest and fastest zip line at Outdoor Zip Line Adventures. Feel the wind in your hair as you soar above the area’s beautiful canyons and rivers. Zip-lining begins at around $130 per person*.
Where to Stay: Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa in Cabo San Lucas is a gorgeous hacienda-style hotel, just a short 5 to 10 minute walk from the pier and most activities. The hotel has an onsite gym, volleyball area, numerous pools, and hosts a beach party. It’s easy to book activities through their concierge, though it’s cheaper to book with adventure companies online. Prices are also reasonable, with rooms beginning at $170 per night*.
Where (and What) to Eat: After a busy day, opt for the biggest adventure of all with a meal at Tenangos, owned by Executive Chef Liana Hernández Tur. Tenangos’s menu is based on classic and traditional Mexican dishes, the idea being to represent dishes and ingredients from every state and region of Mexico. Hernández doesn’t shy away from traditional Mexican delicacies that may be strange or distasteful to Western norms, so you might try scorpion, grasshopper, mealworm, and “Mexican caviar,” or the eggs of the ants that nest under the agave plant.
The Sope de Escamoles, a fried corn tortilla topped with ant eggs lightly sautéed in olive oil, is exceptionally tasty—simple, neat, crunchy and just a little nutty. Yes, you read that correctly: ant eggs are delicious! You can also enjoy Hernández’s guacamole, which is chunky in the traditional Mexican style, and can be served either with or without a crunchy, salty variety of insects on top. Or try the huitlacoche soup, made from the mushroom fungi that grow on aging corn. Topped with zucchini and beet blossoms, this soup is richer and earthier than typical mushroom soups, with just a little heat.
Los Cabos for the Glamorous
What You Must Do: Los Cabos is a party destination, but it’s also where the Hollywood elite stay. You too can easily live like the stars (at least for a few days). Grab 7 of your friends and rent a private yacht for three hours with Seashine Yacht Charters. You’ll snorkel or scuba dive at Santa Maria and Chilleno Bay, witness sea lions and whales in the water, and toast to a sunset at the famous Land’s End arches, all aboard your own luxurious yacht. Yacht charters begin at $1,200* for 8 people for 3 hours, which includes an unlimited open bar, lunch, snacks, and all snorkeling equipment.
If a private yacht charter sounds a bit too pricey, opt for the Cabo Adventures Luxury Sunset Sailing beginning at $85 per person*. You’ll sail to many of the same destinations as the Seashine Yacht Charter, but in a less private setting.
Where to Stay: Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Jenifer Aniston, and Eva Longoria like to stay at the ultra-pricey One & Only Palmilla. Starting at $710per night*, you can enjoy stunning rooms with private terraces, butler services for unpacking your luggage, daily fruit and cocktail deliveries, laundry for young children, and an aromatherapy turndown menu. Named by Travel & Leisure as one of the world’s 17 Best Hotels for Celebrity Sightings, you’re nearly guaranteed to run into someone famous while staying there.
Or, try the less expensive Westin Los Cabos, where Michael Jordan and Adam Sandler have stayed. The Westin is an all-villa hotel with one bedroom suites beginning at around $300 per night*, compared to the celebrity-preferred three-bedroom Presidential Suite at around $2,000per night*. One bedroom suite accommodations include a kitchenette and a washer and dryer setup.
Where (and What) to Eat: To see and be seen, make reservations at Chef Ángel Carbajal’s Nick-San, an improbably fabulous sushi joint with locations in Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, Christina Aguilera, and Nicole Richie have all stopped in for sushi at Nick-San. The restaurant is named for Carbajal’s Japanese cooking mentor, Masayuki Kiikura, whom he met in 1986 while Masayuki was visiting Cabo for the first time, and who taught him to love sushi. Carbajal wanted to “have something that nobody else [in Los Cabos] has,” he says—locally sourced sushi with natural, fresh, pure flavors. Though Carbajal never formally studied Japanese cooking, his sushi can stand up to any sushi master.
Nick-San remains a celebrity favorite because Carbajal goes fishing every morning and catches his own fish for the sushi. As a result, Nick-San is known for having some of the freshest fish of any restaurant in Cabo. In the evenings, you can find him cooking alongside his chefs in the front line of the open kitchen of his Cabo San Lucas location. Standout include the Tuna Tostada, a unique melt-in-the-mouth treat made from the scrapings of the meat from between and behind the rib bones of yellowfin tuna, and laid delicately across a rice cracker with sliced avocado and habañero-infused onion and sesame
Los Cabos for the Foodie
What You Must Do: Head to Huerta Los Tamarindos which offers cooking classes, farm tours, and a restaurant for the serious foodie. Enrique Silva, chef and farmer at the farm-to-table restaurant, is one of the area’s pioneering chefs who, despite having no professional training, has created a restaurant concept focused on “fresh herbs, good oils, and very fresh protein or vegetables,” which results in “very tasty but at the same time very light” menus, as he explains. Because Silva’s menu depends on exceptionally fresh and high-quality ingredients, he started the farm at Los Tamarindos to source vegetables, fruits, and flowers for his own restaurants, as well as local high end hotels and resorts, such as Diamante and One & Only Palmilla.
Silva explains, “Here at Tamarindos, we try to do the complete cycle. We produce seeds, we produce the plants, we produce the crop, we harvest, and then when harvest comes, it comes in big volumes. So what we do, we process part of that production, especially that production that gets ripe, gets the most sweetness. We process those by using the canning process. So we make soups, we make jams, preserves, all kinds of stuff, and then we store that . . . We sun-dry tomatoes, we sun-dry mangoes.”
Guests at Los Tamarindos reap the benefits of Silva’s obsession with fresh, locally-sourced produce. He offers cooking classes where students will gather produce from the farm and then learn to make dishes like a mint ceviche, with shrimp from the waters of the coast of Los Cabos and mint picked in the garden mere yards away from where you’re cooking and eating. Cooking classes are $95 per person*, plus local tax.
Where to Stay: Stay at boutique hotel Casa Natalia, which has 19 luxury suites surrounding a small pool, near the main strip of San Jose del Cabo. The real charm, though, is Mi Cocina Restaurant, which offers stellar cuisine and innovative drinks by putting a European twist on Baja favorites. Grab a Spicy Mango Martini and enjoy this lovely spot in Los Cabos. Rooms begin at $170* per night.
Where (and What) to Eat: It’s too hard to pick just one great restaurant for a foodie to try, so we recommend checking out a few of the restaurants that participate in the region’s annual culinary festival, Sabor a Cabo.
The festival began over a decade ago and has grown steadily every year, with multiple events taking place over the course of a week. Musical performances and a growing list of impressive chefs and restaurants get in on the action each year.
According to Alfonso Vazquez Olivas, President of Sabor a Cabo, “The inspiration of the festival is to have all of the food that Cabo has, so that everyone knows that in Cabo . . . we have a lot of good chefs in the kitchen.” Best of all, all of the event proceeds go to local charities so it’s an easy and delicious way to do some good for the community.
Even if you can’t attend this ultimate foodie fest, the prestigious reputation of the fine cuisine offered by the participating restaurants is reason enough to dine at a few of them.
Los Cabos for the Budget-Minded
What You Must Do: For those watching their pennies, the beach is the thing. Besides being free, the Los Cabos beaches are truly gorgeous, with large swathes of golden sand leading on to the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. Between December and March, hundreds of whales migrate from the frigid Arctic waters to the calm warm waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula, and while you’ll get better views on a boat, whale sightings are frequently observed from the beach. So grab a beach towel, put on your sunscreen, and enjoy a lovely day at one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches.
Where to Stay: Hotel Mar de Cortez is a perfect choice for even those not on a budget. Located in the Centro district of Cabo San Lucas, the hotel rooms are basic but clean and very convenient to the marina, shopping, and most restaurants. Hotel rooms begin at $85 per night and include access to a small pool.
Where (and What) to Eat: Of course, everyone is going to look for great tacos while in Los Cabos, but delicious, authentic food can be hard to find in a tourist-driven city. So look no further than El Gran Pastor, which is known as the place locals go to get great meat. Pork is charred until tender on a spit and then sliced thinly on to tacos, served with a variety of fresh condiments, all from a small roadside stand. There isn’t much space to sit and you won’t find any two-for-one drink specials here, but you’re bound to have a delicious and authentic meal. Three tacos cost 75 pesos*, or around $6 USD*, so this is the best spot for a quick, delicious meal, without breaking the bank.
No matter which itinerary you choose, Los Cabos is a unique alternative to the mundane Spring Break blues.
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Akila McConell and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
*Prices indicated in this article may vary according to season and guest demand. Please check corresponding website(s) for current pricing and availability.
Image credits: Visit Los Cabos
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