My family’s trip to Mexico, my first time being out of the country. Photos, stories, and bucket list successes.
Our view from the hotel was spectacular. Not only could we see the hotel’s gorgeous green grounds and blue pools, we had a view of the ocean. Massive cruise ships sometimes came near shore, and it was exciting to imagine what their view of the hotel must have looked like.
My brother and I had to sleep on the pull out couch in the hotel room, which was less than comfortable. But it was very worth it considering we were having the adventure of a life time.
California beaches had always been pretty frigid, so it was a real treat to be able to jump in the waves without being timid of the low temperature. Walking from the concrete to the sand was a bit difficult, though: the dry sand was HOT. Burning hot, and you had to sprint to the cooler wetter sand.
I ended up filling an empty water bottle with sand from this beach, and it’s currently sitting in my room in California.
Of course, if you were ever sick of feeling sand in your britches, you could opt for the pools. Walking along the beaches, we could see the neighboring hotels’ pools as well. I think we got the best one, and that other hotels’ guests were jealous.
Fountains, little water falls, dolphin statues, a swim-up bar, and hot tubs? Paradise within paradise.
One evening, we went to a family event on the beach hosted by the hotel.
Kids could play on the sand while parents sat down at white-tableclothed tables.
An MC announced a few different contests, one of them being limbo, which my brother had a blast with.
I don’t quite remember what we had for dinner, but I remember that it was fun to have a fancy dinner while dipping our toes in the cool sand. The view of the beach was also noteworthy, and we got to watch the sun set over the water.
Along with this family beach party, the hotel hosted a Fiesta, with a cultural show and meal. We lined up in a massive line that wound through a hotel ballroom. Vendors sold jewelry along the sides of the line.
There were so many people, and we happened to be seated at the best table in the area. Front and center. As other hotel guests filtered in, I had to stretch to see them waaay in the back. I felt so lucky to be able to view the show without obstruction.
The performance was unforgettable. A ten-piece mariachi band played lively music on an array of instruments. I was so close that I had to turn my head to see them all.
Soon, the band was joined by dancers in colorful clothing. They danced beautifully and swiftly, and having so many things to look at all at once was almost overwhelming.
For a few of the dances, the men wore ceramic masks that resembled doll heads. They were a bit creepy.
Sometimes one of the dancers would pick out a member of the crowd to join them, and I was one of them! They put a wide-brimmed hat on my head and I clapped and shuffled along with them. Another reason I feel so lucky to have gotten such a good spot.
At one point, two roosters with colorful plumage were brought on the stage, and they fought fiercely. The winner was held up by one of the dancers for the audience to see. It seemed a bit cruel (although exciting), but I’m glad I can cross off “watch a cock fight in Mexico” off of my bucket list.
One of the great things about our hotel is that it was in walking distance to town. Every single restaurant we went to had amazing food. Burritos and chips and quesadillas and all other manner of authentic and delicious Mexican food. Colorful metal lanterns in the shape of stars decorated some of the patios of these restaurants, and the seaside restaurants allowed views of the docked boats bobbing up and down.
Vendors were common along these streets. Offering their crafts to tourists passing through. Ceramic plates, hand sewn dolls, necklaces, ponchos, shirts. Some vendors were very persistent, and it was difficult not to be guilted into buying things to help them make a living. At one point, we tried to buy a little hand sewn doll with a dress in colors of the Mexico flag, but we couldn’t bargain the price down low enough.
Along with the restaurants and vendors, a fair number of higher-class shopping areas were available. It was fun to explore a mall in a different country for the first time.
All the restaurants were amazing, don’t get me wrong. After over a week of nothing but Mexican food, though, I was getting a bit eager for more variety. I ordered a macaroni and cheese off of a kid’s menu. Big mistake. DO NOT ORDER AMERICAN FOOD IN MEXICO. It’s not the same. I didn’t learn my lesson the first time. Cinnamon-sugar donuts enticed us from behind the glass of a bakery near our hotel. One bite and I was down and out. It tasted like mushy cardboard covered in sand.
Food is the best part about traveling to a new place. Experience that locations cuisine, not food you can get back home. Lesson learned.
On one of our days in Cabo, we got to take a boat to some famous spots around Cabo.
The cool ocean spray felt amazing as the sun warmed the tops of our heads. Sea lions could be seen lounging on the sunny rocks.
We saw the famous Arch
Which was gorgeous and imposing against the blue sky and bluer ocean.
We also got to step off the boats at one point onto a beach only accessible by water. Here we stood on the beach that was used to film the final scene of Planet of the Apes.
Swimming with Dolphins
The excursion that I loved the most (and that I was looking forward to the most at the time) was swimming with Dolphins. We didn’t book the full dolphin swim package, only the dolphin encounter deal, in which we would sit on a raised platform in the tank so that we could pet the animals and interact with them. As we got on our life jackets and watched the happy dolphins through the windows of the tank, we began to regret not going all the way and paying for the full swim.
When it was our turn, we met Michelle (pronounced the masculine way, mee-shel). He was the alpha dolphin in the pod, and he was the dolphin assigned to our group. It was so invigorating to pet his velvety sleek back, and watch him perform tricks just for us. I got to take a picture with him giving me a kiss, and to this day I still say “a dolphin in Mexico” when anyone asks me about my first kiss.
Then, I got to do something unexpected. They let me swim with him! I held on to his top fin and he took me for a little spin around the tank. It wasn’t as long of a duration as the dolphin swim package would have been, but it was perfect. And now I get to cross “swim with a dolphin” off my bucket list!