Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Thanksgiving in the Mexican desert!
We decided to spend Thanksgiving this year somewhere warm and some place we had never been - so we booked an Alaska Airlines flight for Cabo San Lucas and found an Airbnb with a deck and a beautiful view! We knew we would have warm weather and fresh seafood waiting for us when we arrived! What we weren't sure about was what we'd do, where we'd go or how many games of cribbage we'd play while lounging on the deck.
We arrived after dark at Los Cabos International Airport and immediately went to Cactus Car Rental - oh yes, we rented a car. Renting a car from Cactus was one of the fastest and easiest rentals we have ever experienced. We headed to Cabo San Lucas in the dark with directions on our phones traveling 28 miles in the dark, with limited road signs - but we made it! And that was just the beginning of our driving adventures! Due to roaming cattle and goats, it's better to make this drive during daylight hours!
Here is one of the best Airbnb condos we've experienced! If you want to stay in a fantastic condo, close to town and with everything you need, take a look at Karin's condo here on Airbnb. And here's a quick one-minute tour from when we were there.
We quickly checked into the Airbnb and headed into town to grab a late-night bite to eat. We enjoyed a great meal at a small, local outdoor restaurant - experiencing the first of many delicious seafood meals.
Grocery Shopping in Mexico
We went to the local supermercados, Soriana and La Comer, in the morning to stock up on basics for our stay. A couple of things you'll notice about shopping in Mexico is the FANTASTIC selection of pastries at the local supermarket. Another thing to note - you can buy a scooter or ATV at the checkout in some of the larger supermercacos!
Off to Todos Santos and the West Coast of Baja Sur!
After a quick trip for groceries that morning, we headed to Todos Santos, a small "pueblo" on the West Coast of the Baja peninsula. Todos Santos is about 48 miles from Cabo San Lucas, or about an hour to drive there on Highway 19. You will cross the Tropic of Cancer on your way! The road is excellent and there are some nice beaches along the way, including Cerritos Beach and Pescadero.
Todos Santos is a small town with a population of around 7,000 or so, next to the Pacific coast. Even though this is definitely a tourist stop, it still maintains a charming small-town feel.
The Hotel California is a favorite stop because of the well-known Eagles' song with that name. Since the band filed a lawsuit against the hotel, the hotel continues to use the name but denies any association with the song or the band. But it's a nice hotel. And there is great ice cream across the street at Baja Tasty!
Back at the condo, we decided we wanted a nice dinner and looked for a "local" restaurant close to the condo. We found a great place with fantastic fresh seafood and wonderful service. It was so good; we went back more than once for dinner!
Calle Cabo San Lucas Entre Lazaro Cardenas Street and 5 de mayo street
Half a block north from the Town Square
Cabo San Lucas 23450, Mexico
Thanksgiving and Los Barriles on the East Coast of Baja Sur!
The next day - Thanksgiving! - we decided to travel up the East Coast of Baja Sur to explore Los Barriles, San Jose del Cabo, and the pueblos we would discover along the way.
Los Barriles is on the Sea of Cortez, about 71 miles and 90 minutes north of Cabo San Lucas on Highway 1. There is another route along the coast that is about 30 minutes longer. Los Barriles is a small town with about 5,000 residents and many of those are ex-patriots. Even though the town still has a small-town feel, it is still obviously a town for tourists who come there for diving, fishing, windsurfing and kiteboarding.
Los Barriles is part of The East Cape region which includes the entire eastern Sea of Cortez of the Baja peninsula from Punta Pescadero, just north of Los Barriles, south to the eastern edge of San Jose del Cabo. There are several small pueblos including Santiago, La Ribera and Cabo Pulmo within this East Cape region. Activities in the East Cape region include fishing, kite boarding, wind surfing, sea kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, whale watching, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, off road motorcycling, tennis, yoga classes, exercise classes, art classes, art fairs and more.
For our "Thanksgiving dinner" we drove out a very sandy road/trail to the beach where we found Lazy Daze, an open-air restaurant, and sat at the beach eating very fresh shrimp and fish tacos while watching 20 or more windsurfers skimming across the Sea of Cortez!
Back in Cabo San Lucas
We made a few more drives out around the southern tip of the Baja peninsula during the next few days but mainly concentrated our explorations in Cabo San Lucas and nearby areas. We walked around downtown and along the marina out to the mouth of the harbor.
Some of the main attractions in Cabo San Lucas are the fishing and traveling by glass-bottom boat out to the arches - a major attraction. The marina is very large with a malecón (a wide stone walkway that is built along the waterfront), where you will find restaurants and shops. It is here you will also find glass-bottom boat taxis to take you out to see the arches and the huge variety of fish beneath your boat.
The arch of Cabo San Lucas is an impressive three-story arch, also known as Land's End, at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas, which is itself the extreme southern end of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez. On the Sea of Cortez side of The Arch is Lovers' Beach and on the rougher, Pacific side of The Arch is Divorce beach.
The waters in this area are home to a wide variety of sea life including mahi-mahi (dorado), striped marlin, sharks and rays - and many more varieties! You will also find many sea lions out by the arches - as well as on the docks at the marina! If you like to dive, be sure to check out safe places to dive, as many of the beaches near Cabo San Lucas are considered unsafe for swimming or diving due to the currents and under tows. So please check for the recommended safe beaches for swimming before venturing into the water.
In the winter, pods of whales can be observed in the area. Whale watching is very popular. Pods of whales travel from Alaska and Siberia to the warm waters of the Gulf of California, where they bear their calves.
Night life is also very popular in Cabo. One of the most popular clubs in the area is Cabo Wabo Cantina, a nightclub founded by rock star Sammy Hagar and other members of Van Halen. The club is named after their hit single 'Cabo Wabo'.
We found a charming restaurant, El Jarro Cafe & Grill, where we had a delicious breakfast, accompanied by a few birds. The coffee was much prettier before I took a sip - and then took the picture.
Close to the condo, we had lunch at Caprese Cafe where, naturally, I had a beautiful caprese salad and absolutely delicious coffee!
We finished our trip with some jewelry shopping for family. We were very fortunate to do business with two jewelry stores where the jewelers were thoughtful, considerate and really listened to what we were looking for. We highly recommend both shops!
Rodrigo - a truly nice man - was the jeweler at: Flores Jewelry (the shop in the picture on the left) Madero y V. Guerrero Cabo San Lucas
Adolfo and the very kind woman working with him were at: La Turquesa Madero St. #7 Cabo San Lucas
STARTING POINT: Boise
WHEN WE WENT: Thanksgiving 2022
I'm Here - Now What?
Bring your smart phone or a camera
Bring your kids!
Wear good walking shoes - some streets are cobblestone and uneven
Most important - bring a sense of adventure! Try new things!
There is so much to do here that you can either do your research up front - or just jump into your adventure and make discoveries along the way! We have only highlighted a few of the many adventures you could have here! This was our trip to relax, sit on the deck and play a little cribbage! Your adventures here may include fishing, diving or even riding a camel - yes!