Los Cabos On Our Own

photo credit Shel Hall

In reading about Cabo San Lucas before we set sail, I’d had the very strong impression that it was a tacky tourist resort, and that we’d be much better off visiting the neighboring town of San Jose del Cabo.”Hurray, adventure,” we thought, “no ship’s tours for us, let’s take the bus to San Jose.”

In the event our day exemplified the optimism of under-informed travelers. The bus, as it turned out, didn’t come anywhere near the cruise pier.  No problemo, we found a bicycle cab to take us to the bus stop. The bus itself traveled the 22 miles between the two towns seemingly for the benefit and comfort of resort workers, who got on and off at the long series of fancy resorts strung out along the beautiful coastline, and who, judging by the narrow pitch of the bus seats, are not allowed to be taller than 5’5″.  And there was one other little problem: we had no idea where to get off the bus. As I’ve mentioned, we don’t have more than a few words of Spanish between us, so we had to rely a lot on the help of our kind fellow travelers, who through signs, gestures, and their own few words of English, told us where to alight and thenin which direction to walk a dozen blocks or so.  I was in search of a particular restaurant, whose address I’d seen given as the centro historico, the historic center.  Until I saw the place, I couldn’t tell why everyone I asked looked so puzzled, surely my accent wasn’t that terrible?  But really, it was just a plaza, the center of town, even if not particularly historic.  And although it was possibly less touristical than Cabo itself, the margin was not great.

Shel and I spent $28 on a bowl of fish soup and a plate of chiles rellenos, which, while very good, seemed shockingly expensive considering where we were. 

The restaurant, however, was very pretty and very well air-conditioned, which was all we cared about, dripping and flushed red as lobsters as we were after our long walk on another 100° day.

And so we ate, we shopped for a really beautiful guayabera for Shel, and we contemplated our terrible fate, having to walk back up that long, long hill to the bus stop. 

Seeing a tour bus guide, we begged to be allowed to hitch a ride back to the pier, paying her for the pleasure, naturally.  She said “Sure, no problem, since you want to tip me, just get on the big blue bus in half an hour.” And so after admiring the town center for a little while, we got on the big blue bus and drove off. But wait, where was the tour guide? Criminy, we were on the wrong bus! As it happened, the bus was going to the pier,

photo credit Shel Hall

where the marlin fisherman were flaunting their catch, and until the moment when we got off and the guide noticed that we were stowaways all went smoothly. 

 We slunk off with her muttering in the background, and hurried past some bathing pelicans to the protection of the ever-present security forces that you see everywhere around the pier.

Once safely back on the ship we immediately fled in search of ice cream and cold drinks,and sat watching the parasailers, grateful to have gotten into no more trouble than we could handle.

Today the captain told us that here, 20 miles out to sea, the air temperature is 89°and the water temperature is 82°, which explains why we’re mainly staying indoors. And, in our own enlightened self interest,we’ve arranged with a crew member to give us Spanish lessons, starting immediately. Hasta luego!

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2 Comments on “Los Cabos On Our Own”

  1. Gigi Petery Says:

    HOT! Ugh! But it looked like a cute enough town, a little less touristy. If you are stopping in Puerto Vallarta, grab a taxi to Busaria. It’s a little town about 10-15 ride north of the harbor. While touristy, it is charming! And if you are really lucky there is a guy that sets up a seafood cocktail cart right on the town square. You get to choose your seafood, which is fresh from that morning, and have this fantastic dish created right before your eyes. Insanely good! There are also delish taco carts all over the town square. Top off your meal with an ice cold cerveza. Or stop in the restaurant that’s also right on the town square (it has a large covered patio for seating) and order a cielo rojo (red sky), which is sort of like a poor man’s bloody mary. It’s made with tomato juice season up with secret seasonings and topped with beer. It may sound gross but it is so refreshing.

    Busaria is a thriving artist community. If you walk through the open air market and over the foot bridge you will end up on a quiet street that is lined with shops selling beautiful crafts and jewelry. Lots of ex-pats down in that area.

    Enjoy!!!

  2. Judy K Says:

    SO Mexico. The cruise people do not want you off on your own, they want to sell their tours, and tell you all the dangers of getting left behind. Now that it is over you can laugh at your adventures and enjoy the pictures.
    When we cruised we would hear of the great fun groups of people had, off on their own, with/without a taxi driver or tour from the pier. We were too timid to try it. But we have learned that in most places the need for a taxi, along with some money will get you back….as long as you can tell them where back is.
    Good for you for exploring! That was expensive soup though. Enjoy your trip!


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