It’s about that time! A month and a half out from spring break season…AND the cheapest time to purchase airline tickets. Around this time two years ago I was sorting through the logistics of my spring break trip to Los Cabos, Mexico with two of my good friends. Up to that point, I had not had the opportunity to take a real trip over spring break and usually ended up working or driving home to visit my parents. Our main goal for this trip was to relax and soak up some hot weather after escaping the Ohio winter, and not so much about the big party scene many people think of when they hear “spring break”. So in the end we avoided Miami and Cancun and ended up choosing Los Cabos because 1) the flights were relatively cheap; and 2) it’s Mexico, so we expected the trip as a whole to be more affordable.
Pricing and availability took us to San José del Cabo, the quiet neighbor of a well-known party town – Cabo San Lucas. We booked airline tickets for just over $500 round trip (Columbus > Atlanta > Mexico City > Los Cabos > LA > Columbus…if I can remember correctly!). From there we were on the hunt for an all-inclusive resort. Two of us had never been to a resort before and to me, an all-inclusive experience sounded like the epitome of relaxation. The Royal Decameron won us over with their nightly rates at that time of $100 with tax for the all-inclusive stay. With everything booked, it was time to enjoy the trip!
After arriving to the tiny Los Cabos airport at night, our only immediate choice of transportation to the resort was a fancy hotel shuttle company that we definitely paid too much for…but we arrived safely after a heart-throbbing 30 minutes at 90mph through the desert alone at night! Anyway, we arrived, checked-in, explored the resort for a minute, and went to bed. The next day we were able to enjoy all the amenities the resort had to offer, and we discovered that the place used to be a nudist resort: abstract paintings of boobies and naked people everywhere. Although it was a cheaper resort, it was still nicer than I could have ever imagined with clean facilities and rooms, good food and drinks available any time of day, a gym, a spa, activities, the beach, an adult-only section when you are looking to escape any screaming kids, and more.
Our mornings began with a yoga class and a breakfast buffet. The buffet served banana milk every morning which I had never heard of before, but I quickly became a big fan. They also had indoor or outdoor seating in which we always chose the outdoor setting to enjoy the nice weather and the sea breeze. Also, the servers at the buffet treated you like you were customers at the nicest restaurant in town! I might be making a big thing out of something that should be expected, but having that level of service was something I had never had the opportunity to experience before. We spent most of our peak hours near the adult infinite pool with a swim-up bar. This and reading some quality books kept us entertained and stress-free during the days. Our afternoons were spent at the lunch lounge with all-you-can-eat snacks…and by snacks I don’t just mean a bag of chips. I’m talking perfectly cooked burgers, ceviche, and fish tacos! This food was what I looked forward to every day, but it was a strange feeling sitting down, eating, and then just walking out like I was skipping out on a bill. That’s the convenience of an all-inclusive trip! Definitely strange at first, but you get used to it. After lunch settled, we would usually join in on some of the activities going on by the main pool. No, I’m not talking shuffleboard and bingo, but more along the lines of beach volleyball and latin dance lessons hosted by Jorgé (a.k.a. “Tarzan”). The evenings were spent eating dinner either at the buffet or the restaurant (which was extra money on top of the all-inclusive stay) watching the sunset, and lounging by the bar listening to the band play a different genre of music every night (caribbean, rock, latin).
At the end of the trip, we had our share of relaxation and more sun than our pale skin could handle, but my first experience with the all-inclusive lifestyle was highly enjoyable. It was nice being on vacation and not having to dig for your wallet every time you wanted to do something or eat something. Yes, it may seem like a lot of money up front, but remember that that accounts for your place to sleep, your three meals a day, as much alcohol as you wish to consume, and gratuity (even though it is appreciated if you tip extra for good service). The downside was that wifi and transportation were not included in our package, so those did cost extra. Wifi was about $10/day/person and we ended up spending $80 round trip between the resort and the hotel. Because we had spent the money to enjoy the resort, we enjoyed most of our trip there. However, we did take one $79 day-long excursion that we booked through a travel office across the street from our resort (looks like they have a website too!). The trip included a visit to a glass-blowing factory, tequila tasting (chocolate was the best!), and a catamaran tour in the Pacific that included snorkeling. I was so at peace on the boat with a tequila sunrise, the sun beating down, cool air coming off the ocean, party boats in every direction you look, and breath-taking scenery. For a full 3.5-day/3-night visit, we paid about $950 for everything including flights, the resort, the excursion, some minor shipping, wifi for two days, transportation, taxes, and some extra gratuity.
Having been to multiple areas of Mexico (not just the tourist destinations), I am happy to say that Mexico is a beautiful land with an exciting energy, and food that is out of this world. If you decide to go, do your research on safety and drinking water, and I am sure you will have the trip of a lifetime. At this point, you may see a common trend developing throughout our posts: every trip is going to have it’s questionable moments, but those are what give you a good laugh and make the trip even more memorable. To all spring breakers and Mexico trip takers, I’ll leave you to it!
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – Chesterton