Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cabo San Lucas in a Day

We had done nearly every attraction before it, but could not put it off any further without missing it entirely.  It was the day to finally rent a panga boat and visit Lands End at the bottom of the Baja peninsula!

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Only problem being…we’d need to drive through Cabo to get there!

I suppose from my last post, you can guess that Hans, Ursula, and I don’t much care for the parts of Mexico that are blatantly geared towards Gringo tourists—those areas (such as the Cabo San Lucas waterfront) where every sign is in English, prices are in US dollars, and if you don’t look too closely, you’d swear you were in the US.

Its not that we don’t appreciate some English-speaking help and signs now and then, or enjoy finding some of our favorite foods in the supermarket, but we travel for surroundings that are mostly new and different (rather than mostly familiar).

Heading south from La Paz to Cabo, we notice things starting to look “mostly familiar” right away—a U.S.-style 4-lane highway with wide shoulders, guard rails and the works.  We’ve seen nothing like this in our 1,000 mile journey thus far!  For a few minutes, I swear I am driving through Arizona…

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Until I hit the brakes for a cow to cross the road!  Nope, I guess this is still Mexico!

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Within a couple hours, we have made it to Cabo.  Our initial apprehensions of “mini America” are proving to be right.  There’s a McDonalds and a Hard Rock Café--

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A casino and lots of crazy bars like this cow-themed one--

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and dozens of gift shops, a few like this one even sell tequila and beers while you shop!

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We finally make our way through town and up to the edge of the harbor.  We find a quick parking spot to get out and get our bearings. Dozens of small panga boats zoom in and out of the harbor entrance.

IMG_4811and some big boats too (love this pic Hans got of the size comparison!)…

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The harbor is ringed by small hillsides loaded with Gringo condos.

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And boats of every kind are jammed into the rather small harbor.

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You can find a boat for just about anyone.  Contessa, a boat is waiting here with your name on it!

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Ursula finds a nice fishing boat for her too!

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There are a row of English-speaking vendors selling boat tours so Hans starts up a conversation with one of the more friendly ones and once he’s got him buttered up, he lets Ursula come in for negotiating us a good deal.  I’m continually amazed at how effective their approach works.  Within a couple minutes, Ursula has bargained the guy down to 100 pesos per person ($7 USD) for our 30 minute panga tour to Lands End.  Included with that rock-bottom price?  The tour salesman promises us his finest panga captain-- Antonio Banderas!!!

Antonio arrives in a few minutes to lead us to his panga.  His English is about as good as our Spanish, but it will be a private tour for just the 3 of us, and he’s got a glass-bottom boat, so all is good.  Antonio helps us aboard his boat, the Poolito, and Hans snaps a pic of Ursula and I in our deluxe life jackets (that have no working clasps, ugh!).

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Soon, we’re passing the giant yachts and dodging a half-dozen other pangas to make our way out of the small harbor entrance and into the very choppy waters of the Sea of Cortez.

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Hans gets a good view of all the beachfront hotels and condos--

P1020130Soon, we are nearing our first point of interest, a snorkeling cove where brightly colored fish come up to clean the bottom of the boat.

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Antonio then leads us to the famous set of beaches—Lovers’ Beach and Divorce Beach.  Lovers’ Beach is this one facing the Sea of Cortez.  Between the rocks is a small access-way and a hazy view of the Pacific beyond that (where Divorce Beach is located).

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The water, sand, and jagged rocks here are just outstanding!

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Antonio next takes us to see a small hole in the rocks where you can see the Pacific on the other side.  Its hard to capture with our little point-and-shoots, but its there!

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As we stop to take pictures, Antonio Banderas lights up a smoke!  The thought “you get what you pay for” begins to cross my mind for our budget-priced tour!

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But we are soon headed to the most iconic of Cabo’s rock formations—Lands End.  Hans gets a great shot off all the rocks:

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The skinny one in the middle is called “Scooby Doo” as it does kind of resemble the cartoon dog’s head sticking up out of the water!  As we reach the end of the rocks, there is nothing but blue seas—this is where the Sea of Cortez finally joins the Pacific Ocean!

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Antonio brings us up the Pacific side of Lands End to see everything on “the other side.”  Hans snaps a “typical tourist” photo of me in front of the arch.

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Then, Hans cracks a joke that makes Antonio Banderas give a thumbs-up and his biggest toothless-smile!  What a hoot this guy was!

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We see the hole in the rock, the witch profile, and the tall pointy rock (whose name escapes me).

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All told, a pretty fun little tour, and we give Antonio a big tip and friendly handshake for showing us the sights.

It’s now well after noon and we’ve worked up quite an appetite.  I’m so hungry, I think I could eat this giant Marlin!

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We look in vain for a restaurant not blaring American sports from their big TVs, but it’s the final Sunday of NFL playoffs and that’s just not going to happen!  So we settle on Captain Tony’s and it turns out to be a pretty decent place with descent prices.

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and we watch the Packers and the Seahawks go at it on the big TV above our table (are we really still in Mexico???)

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Before heading out of town, we stop at Costco to pick up some things for Wendy and Bobby (who have been dog-sitting Millie all day).  The store looks almost identical on the inside to those in the U.S. with lots of U.S. products and foods as well.

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By the time we get back to La Paz, the sun has provided an amazing sunset…

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and I discover that Peanut has now taught Millie how to be a Mexican guard dog!  The two are barking and wagging their tails as we pull up to the gate.  A fun day had by all!

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7 comments:

  1. The color of the water in the Sea of Cortez is magnificent. Don't think I'll ever get to Baja, not high on my list.
    All of Mexico is "open range". That is the main reason people tell you NOT to drive at night. That, and cars
    and trucks without tail lights. I once saw someone in front of me hit a black cow, not in Mexico but in Louisiana
    at night! The car was totaled and the people had to be medevaced to a hospital. It was not a pretty sight.
    But, your trip looks magnificent!

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  2. Yes, the color of the water is just awesome. So cool looking.

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  3. Captain Tony's doesn't look like it's changed in 10 years.

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  4. That is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. I'll take the boat. Thanks for spotting it Lynne. Love the fish from the glass bottom boat. The few times I ever was in one I never saw anything and here you get them with your camera. Yet another lovely adventure you experienced.

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  6. Great adventure. I want to go with Contessa on her boat.

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