Amanda McGraw

Amanda McGraw

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Cabo San Lucas: Where to eat, drink, swim, adventure, & relax!

I just got back from Cabo San Lucas Mexico, my third time spending at least a week there. I’m very much a creature of habit and when I find someplace or something I like, I keep going back. These are my favorite places in Cabo! None of them are off the beaten path.. they are all in/near el Centro so if you ever visit, you can walk to most of these locations! While Cabo is definitely full of tourists, it’s also still very authentic and awesome. This is where I stay, eat, drink, and adventure in Cabo... 

STAY: I stay at Sol Mar resort. It’s on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo and while the giant waves are beautiful and loud, you cannot swim in that water! However the big waves are great for delivering whole, beautiful shells high up onto the beach where you can collect them! The pool there is great, you can order sushi at their swim up bar! It’s also close enough that we can walk into downtown every night for dinner and/or bars, but not so close to downtown that its rowdy and you can't relax during the day. 

SWIM: I’m pretty sure being born on an island in Alaska has caused me to have a deep appreciation and desire to be near or in water. I love the ocean more than anything, but I like I said in the “stay” section, swimming in the ocean outside our resort is out of the question. While the pool is great, I gotta get in the ocean whenever possible! For ocean swimming, head straight to Medano beach! It’s pretty much the only option, but oh my, the water is awesome there. It’s a pretty poppin’ area thanks to popular beach clubs and restaurants like Mango Deck and The Office (both have good food and drinks) and there are a lot of beach vendors pushing you to buy random stuff - but if you’re happily floating in the ocean getting some salt therapy, they can’t sell you anything! Problem solved. However, there was one vendor I couldn't turn down... this man with a giant iguana named Pancho, who was wearing a tiny sombrero. 

EAT: we always taxi to Walmart the first or second day to stock up on snacks and light meals for the week, I usually eat breakfast in the room. Lunch and dinner is when it’s time to go HAM. The seafood options in Cabo are incredible, and the prices are usually extremely reasonable. One of my favorite seafood options is Maro’s Shrimp House. Their seafood combo deals cannot be beat! I had the $29 special with tortilla soup, jumbo shrimp, steak and a lobster tail! Another favorite is Romeo and Julieta’s, an upscale Italian restaurant. The prices are a little higher but the atmosphere and the food are totally worth it. I always get the Frutti de Mare - seafood pasta (photo below). It’s incredible, I can’t say enough good things about that restaurant!It’s pretty safe to assume that no matter which restaurant you go to in Cabo, you’re gonna eat amazing, reasonably priced food and enjoy impeccable service.

To DRINK: Oh yes, the fun part! You can grab cheap beer and cheap margs anywhere - but for a amazing deal on a huge custom cocktail, Jungle Bar is the spot! My pick is their cucumber mojito - for real one of the best mixed drinks I’ve ever had in my life. But they have lots of options sure to please anyone! When we go out at night, it’s great to start at Jungle then go right across the corner to Giggling Marlin. They do nightly entertainment with games and competitions and it’s a lot of fun. I lost a round of Guess that Tune (I was very disappointed in myself but it was all 80s music and I’m a 90s baby!!) They also have awesome drink specials and great food too - I like getting their guac and octopus tacos.

To DANCE: I always think I’ll try to hit up new clubs but nope - I always end up at El Squid Roe! It’s just the coolest place. The inside is a 3-level London bus styled club and folks of all ages are dancing on the first floor, or go up to the second level to people watch down below! Right next door to Squid Roe is Mandala and we usually bounce between the two. Being at Mandala feels like you’re in a Vegas club!

To relax: There are amazing deals on massage and other spa services! Just get away from the resorts - find the tiny spots downtown that are reliant on your business and have amazing deals. My friend did a 35 minute back massage for $20... TWENTY DOLLARS. I saw plenty of hour long massage signs for $30-40!! While I didn’t get a massage this time around, I did try something new! A fish pedicure... yeah where you put your feet in water and tiny fish suckle your dead skin off. Sounds insanely weird, I know, and trust me it feels weird too.. but OMG my feet have never felt softer!!!

To see The Arch: The most famous Cabo landmark - el arco del Cabo! I was so excited when we arrived because multiple locals told me we arrived during the one month that you are able to WALK under the arch!! This month long window happens only once every 4 years!! But after reading some experiences online of folks who went at low tide and still were hit by rogue waves and felt very unsafe, we decided against walking under it. Instead, we booked a sunset cruise that took us right up to the Arch and we got great photos and enjoyed the ocean safely. 

To tattoo: While I did not get any new ink this trip, I wanted to include this because I do have two tattoos from Cabo! Both are by the same artist who I met on my first trip in 2013 - his name is Aaron Kreiss and I highly recommend him! I first got tattooed at Baja Tattoo when he was there (they have other great artists too) but Aaron since opened his open shop, check out Roads End Tattoo. Here's some throwback instagram posts of getting tatted in Cabo!

Random things to know - most places accept USD, I didn’t convert any money this trip. Some places differ on the exchange rate but not by more than 1-2 pesos. Everywhere I went this trip was 17-19 pesos to a dollar and I never felt overcharged for paying in USD. that being said, any change you get will likely be in pesos so if you want to avoid exchanging those back to USD, bring smaller bills so you can pay exact. Also, ATMs there charge HIGHHHH fees for withdrawals. Like $23 fees.

While Uber or lyft are not in Cabo, taxis are everywhere. Getting around is not a prob at all. We try to walk as much as we can but I’ve taken many a late night taxi and they all treat us very well with fair prices.

Many service employees in Cabo have great English skills but I think it’s a little uppity to go to another country and expect them to speak in YOUR language, so I try to brush up on my Spanish skills (at least for simple questions/statements) before I go. Trust me, everyone in Cabo lights up when you use even the most basic Spanish and in my opinion, using it to the best of your ability is a sign of respect for being let into their country. Now I’m not trying to say if you know zero Spanish you shouldn’t go visit!! Just be open to learning simple terms and using them when you can. But English will get you by just fine.

If there’s anything I didnt mention that your curious about - feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @amandaisonair! You can also see more videos and photos from my trip on my Instagram page (I have a highlighted story up!) @amandaisonair. And if you’ve been thinking about checking out Cabo, I highly recommend it! I know the news can make Mexico seem scary, and yes some bad situations have happened, but those are few and far between. There are risks traveling anywhere, unless they are super major, they shouldn’t stop you from exploring and enjoying other places! And lucky for us, the flights are super quick to Cabo - SMF even has non stops! 

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