Finally getting caught up on some stories that have been sitting in my drafts FOREVER. Cabo is an absolute favorite of ours and I have documented all of our loves in this post.
Spring break 2023 was another one for the books. We headed to one of our favorite places for sunshine—Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We’ve been there a number of times and it was the hot spot for this year’s high school senior class. It was absolutely the first choice spring break spot for our senior Annie.
As some of you may know, my husband’s mother grew up in Mexico so he spent a lot of time traveling there when he was a child. So, we’ve always had a great level of comfort going there. But even if we didn’t have this, Mexico is one of the most warm and hospitable countries I have ever been. English is widely spoken and we have always felt so welcome. While there will always be a need to be cautious when you travel to an unfamiliar place, we have always felt safe in Cabo.
Because this wasn’t our first visit to this beautiful place, this vacation was very low key for us. But in this little recap, I do share where we stayed, what we ate, and what we did—on this trip and on those in the past.
How We Got to Cabo
For the first time in as long as I remember, we flew direct on United from Chicago to Cabo. It’s just under a five-hour flight. Typically, we connect through Houston or Phoenix, but it was pretty dreamy to leave at 7 a.m. and be in Cabo by early afternoon.
For those traveling to Cabo for the first time, the airport can feel a little overwhelming when you land. You first have to pass through Customs, which this year was incredibly efficient despite the crowds. After customs and picking up anything you may have checked from baggage claim, there is one last-level of security. If you get the green light, you pass on thru to exit the airport. If you get a red light, your belongings have to go through an X-ray machine. This always seems so random to me, but it doesn’t take long either way.
Then, you’re off! We typically rent a car, which means just finding our shuttle to the car rental place that’s about a half mile off the airport property. This does involve milling through lots of drivers and car services who are a little aggressive trying to get your attention. But once you get to the other side of this, there’s a fun outdoor bar that always seems to be hosting a party and you can navigate your way to a taxi or shuttle to wherever you’re going. Cabo San Lucas is about 30 minutes from the airport and Los Cabos is about an hour.
Where We Stayed
Cabo is divided into two primary parts—Los Cabos and San Jose del Cabo. We have stayed in both areas and have decided that the older we get, the more we prefer San Jose del Cabo. It’s just quieter and less of a “scene.” Most of the clubs and bars that attract the younger travelers, and the spring break set are in Los Cabos.
For the last two years, we have stayed at Cabo Azul in San Jose del Cabo. We love it here! My husband still prefers staying in a hotel over renting a house, even though that has become a very popular option for people traveling to Cabo with their families.
Cabo Azul was purchased by Hilton in December 2022 but this doesn’t seem to have impacted what the resort offers. For the last two years, we’ve been blown away by the beauty of this property. It’s unbelievably clean, well maintained, fantastic service, and the food is some of the best we’ve eaten in Mexico. I love that they have beautiful pool cabanas and covered beach chairs that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis free of charge.
Even though we were at Cabo Azul at a peak travel time, the property never felt busy. We could always find a chair at the pool or the beach and it always felt peaceful—not crowded. The hotel staff services the rooms twice a day, which is especially nice after the Covid years of recycling towels and emptying your own trash (it really feels like vacation!).
I think relatively speaking, Cabo Azul is moderately priced. It’s not an all-inclusive, so that rules out a lot of the high school and college kids that are traveling in big groups. And because it caters to families, there always seems to be a lot going on from pick-up beach volleyball games to poolside trivia. Security at the hotel is somewhat strict and again, I think that’s to ward off big groups of kids who aren’t staying at the hotel from congregating there. If you are like us taking a family spring break with a high school senior in tow, it was nice to have this provision in place. Our kids could host a couple of guests for an afternoon, but any more than that wouldn’t have been allowed.
One more thing about the location of our hotel. It’s almost a mile from Cabo Azul to the town center. My daughter Annie and I would walk daily to get our coffee and a few steps in before the day started and felt super safe doing so. We loved having this option.
As far as tipping goes, it’s very appreciated. My husband always tipped the valet when they brought us our car and we left a nice tip for the staff that had taken care of our room during the week.
I can’t recommend Cabo Azul enough. I hope that Hilton continues to let this resort operate as it always has because it certainly works for us. And while they do have a “vacation club” package to sell that they mention at check in, they kindly kept accepted our “not interested.”
Where We Ate
So much of being on vacation for me is trying the local eateries—everything from our morning coffee to dessert after dinner to everything in between. Here is where we ate in Cabo.
Almazen: This is a little coffee place, right across the street from the church in the city center of San Jose del Cabo. It’s a sweet little shop that that has homemade crepes and baked good and the most delicious coffee. My favorite drink on this trip was their espresso tonic—espresso, orange juice, and tonic water. It’s so weird but was so good! (I’ve even tried now making it at home and it’s pretty good!)
Lolita Café: Whenever we travel and find ourselves at a restaurant filled with locals, we know we’re in a good spot. This little restaurant was such a surprise. I think we tried everything on the menu and it was all amazing. The churros are a must order.
Cream Café: Located in the Shoppes at Palmilla, this is one of our favorite places for breakfast/lunch. They have delicious fresh juices, acai bowls, and egg dishes. Something for everyone.
Flora Farms: This restaurant lives up to all of the hype. It has a seasonal menu where absolutely everything is an experience. I think I loved it more during the day than at night because you could see the beauty of this Mexican gem.
Ruba’s: Another darling, newer restaurant that had delicious homemade breakfasts.
Flor de Noche: This is one of the restaurants at our hotel—Cabo Azul. It has one of the best breakfasts we have eaten in Mexico. If you don’t want to leave the hotel property, you don’t have to. The food is that good.
Acre: This restaurant was a total vibe. Imagine the coolest club you can imagine built into a treehouse. The décor and lighting are just breathtaking. We had a cushy corner table the night we visited and the perfect vantage point to see guests as they arrived.
Edith’s: Located in Los Cabos, this was our one venture into the spring break crazy but we couldn’t go to Cabo again without having dinner here because it had received so much hype. Edith’s is stunning, but it feels like an operation from the moment you walk in the door. There seems to be almost no-chance of ever getting in without a reservation and the maître de doesn’t even make eye contact with you until he knows you have a confirmed reservation. Once you pass that test, you’re escorted to your table and the walk through the restaurant is something to take in. Everything from the tank full of live lobsters to the art-inspired light installations over the open-air dining room, it’s very special. But the actual dining experience is only okay. It’s a bit like a dinner at Disney World where the team of servers is working at such a pace to get you in and out that it’s hard to fully enjoy.
Javier’s: This restaurant was located in our hotel and I think it’s part of a larger chain. It was swanky and chic and incredibly welcoming. Their menu is mostly traditional Mexican fare but elevated. It was a lovely first night in Cabo and super convenient to have it located right at our hotel. However, had we not been staying on the property, I’m not sure I would seek this one out.
Los Taramindos: This was the runaway hit of our trip. Located not far from Flora Farms at the end of the darkest and dirtiest road is this unbelievably beautiful surprise. Designed and lit in such a way that would make the designers at Serena & Lily swoon. It’s just gorgeous! Everything is homemade and served in such a special way. This is a must when you visit Cabo.
Tres Gallos: A fun restaurant in downtown San Jose del Cabo that serves traditional Mexican food and has the best musical trios entertaining while you eat.
Churros: My husband is always on the hunt for yummy churros and there is a place on the square in San Jose del Cabo that has them made to order.
Almazen: Our favorite coffee place also serves ice cream. A great way to cap a fun night out!
What We Did
There is so much to do in Cabo. Shopping, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, ziplining, golfing, laying by the beach and pool, and UTV riding. Cabo Adventures is a great source for booking much of this. We also book our fun through the recommendations on Trip Advisor and have always had great luck.
I hope this helps you plan your warm weather adventure to Cabo.