Dreams of Mexico: Safe, Sunny and So Much Fun!
Our most recent trip to Mexico was last month during the filming of Travel With Kids Baja Mexico. When we first proposed filming there, we got a lot of questions about whether we felt safe visiting Mexico and our unequivocal answer is Yes! The Los Cabos area is incredibly tourist friendly and with sunshine and beaches is a great family destination.
We stayed at Dreams Los Cabos Resort in the Corridor…the strip of beachfront between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of the peninsula. On this trip we did something a little different for us, we booked an all-inclusive trip with Apple Vacations. While we don’t usually book package tours, we decided to give it a try and it definitely has its benefits. We were picked up at the airport by an Apple representative, so we didn’t have to figure out what transport to take to the hotel or negotiate prices. Simplifying the process is always nice, especially with kids and lots of bags (I swear we pack light, but it just seems to multiply in the suitcase!). As we wound our way through the swarms of timeshare salespeople at the airport, we were relieved to be able to say, “No thanks, we already have our ride and activities booked.”
Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort and Spa is a great place to stay for families. Even though it is an all inclusive resort, which is a great way to go with kids…when they want ice cream or to play mini-golf, you don’t have to reach for the wallet, you can just say yes…the food was incredible. No same-old, same-old buffets here. There is a seafood restaurant, a steakhouse, an Asian restaurant (the kids loved the sit-on-the-floor table) and an Italian restaurant. If you are in a hurry, or prefer the buffet set up, they have that too. As for entertainment, the kids always had something to do.
A beachfront infinity edge swimming pool with water slide and swim-up bar (which serves excellent smoothies) is the center of the resort. Nearby, there is monster size chess, mini-golf, croquet, beach volleyball and, our boys favorite, Euro Bungee, a trampoline that you are strapped to with elastic bands and are slingshot 20 or so feet into the air.
For those parents that are thinking “this all sounds great, but I was looking for some downtime myself”, not to worry. Dreams Resort offers Explorer’s Club for Kids with activities like iguana hunts and campouts with marshmallows on the beach, which allows parents to enjoy some relaxation at the pool, at the spa, at the beach or playing golf. At night there was beach parties with live bands and large screen movies on the beach. And, if you are here at the right time of the year, you can participate in a turtle release…letting baby sea turtles crawl into the ocean after they hatch. What a memory for kids and a lesson in conservation!
With all the amazing activities on property, it’s a wonder we found anytime to explore the Cabo area, but there is so much to see and do, we had to check it out. We booked all our activities through Apple, and their activities company, Amstar so they provided transportation to and from the hotel as well. We were in Cabo during whale watching season (about December to March), and on the first day we actually saw whales as we sat in the pool at the resort. The boys were eager for a closer look, so we went out with Cabo Adventures on a photo safari. The naturalist guide gave us lots of detailed information on the whales that frequent the waters near Cabo (Gray whales, blue whales and humpback whales are the most common) and the captain got us within shouting distance of the whales (humpbacks in our case). We could actually hear their spray as they surface, their black bodies rolling along the ocean. Back at Cabo Adventures, we get a feel for one of the areas most popular sea creatures, dolphins. At Cabo Dolphins, we can get in the water with the dolphins, feed them, pet them, kiss them and even ride them. The center is dolphin focused though…each dolphin is limited to less than two hours a day with guests on a voluntary basis. If the dolphin does not seem interested, they are not forced to play.
With dolphins and whales on the brain, we decide we’d like a closer look at more wild animals. With its location at the meeting point of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas has an amazingly diverse line-up of underwater life. We head out to the El Arco area (the famous arch of Cabo) to explore under the surface with Sunshine Dive and Charter. The boys were raring to go, and the dive instructors, Lars and Jonathan, are great with kids. They made sure we were comfortable with the gear, then took us down into the shallow waters where we saw huge schools of fish, giant parrot fish, Christmas tree worms and sting rays. The kids were amazed by the incredible underwater scenery! And they liked watching the sea lions on the rocks nearby.
Back in town, we decide to set out on our own for a little exploration. We peruse little markets(negotiating of course…the kids have become great little bargain hunters) filled with wood carvings, weavings, jewelry and other hand-made items along with t-shirts and other tourist paraphernalia. Everyone is very nice, and although we try to use our Spanish, most of the vendors speak English as well.
In addition to the ocean, the desert in Baja is a big draw. This is the terrain of the famous off-road race, the Baja 1000. So, we decided to check it out at Wild Canyon Adventures where we rode Tomcars with Green Zebra Adventures through the desert and out to the beach. We got an overview of the desert on Wild Canyon’s zip lines…they have eight lines one of which soars almost 300 feet in the air for the length of almost nine football fields! For a more natural look at the desert and beaches around Cabo, we also set out on horseback at Rancho Carisuva. The ride was lots of fun and as we trotted down the beach we saw whales breaching tying the whole environment together!
The trip was lots of fun for the whole family and we felt entirely safe the whole time. Would I wander around a border town in Mexico by myself? No. But, do I think Mexico is still a safe place to travel? Yes. The tourist areas of Mexico have been largely unaffected by the recent wave of drug-related violence and after visiting a couple of tourist hot spots, I am happy to report that I felt as safe as I ever have visiting the sunny shores of this exotic, culture rich country.
With its sunshine, beaches and exciting, kid-friendly activities, Cabo San Lucas turned out to be a great family vacation spot. For more information on the Los Cabos area (Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the beachfront in between), visit Apple Vacation’s Los Cabos page. For more information on the Travel With Kids television series, visit www.TravelWithKids.tv