Los Cabos with kids? Make it Cabo Azul!
by Beth Purcell
Ah, the yearly family vacation – a time for getting-away-from-it-all and making memories; and perhaps for some epic sibling squabbles and a little more “quality” time and togetherness than you’re accustomed to.
You know the dilemma. You want the time away to be enjoyed by all, but it’s hard to please everyone, and there are almost always time and budgetary constraints to consider as well. Parents often want to unplug, relax and get a break from work, domestic chores and carpools. Younger kids want water slides, games and all manner of physical activities, whereas all your teenager may care about is fast and reliable Wi-Fi access. If vacationing with grandparents or in-laws, you may also be contending with health and mobility issues so need to take those factors into account as well.
What’s the family vacation planner to do?
Most would agree that ease of access, cost to travel to the destination and quality accommodations are the is first items to ponder. Plentiful family-friendly local activities, natural beauty and good food would also likely place high on the checklist.
You can probably see where I’m going with this…. Los Cabos’ checks off all of those boxes. Its gorgeous coastline, year-round warm weather and proximity to the US make it a great option for American families. It’s a quick and easy flight from most places, especially from the west coast, and airfare is reasonable – often even on sale. There are currently flights into Los Cabos from more than 20 US cities. Rental cars are onsite at the airport (make sure to opt for insurance) and the toll road into town makes getting to your vacation destination quick and easy.
As Los Cabos’ grows in popularity there are ever increasing recreation, hotel and restaurant options for visitors too. There’s an accommodation type for every family — from condo, to VBRO, to standard hotel, to luxury resort – Los Cabos has it all.
We’ve found our perfect family sweet spot at Cabo Azul. It offers loads of luxury for a reasonable price, and is family-friendly in design. It is an all-suite resort, so you won’t be on top of each other during your stay, and all accommodation types excepting the Jr suites have a well-equipped kitchen, so you can opt to eat some meals in (a big savings for families). The service at Cabo Azul is outstanding and you can rest assured your teen (and you) will have excellent Wi-Fi coverage.
If you believe in the adage that first impressions matter, Cabo Azul leaves a lasting one. You’ll be greeted at your car with door-opening valets carrying trays of cold, fresh water. Your bags will be whisked from the trunk of your car and waiting for transport to your suite with you barely noticing while one of the friendly concierges meets you with the local greeting, ‘Bienvenido a su casa’ (welcome to your home), before assisting you with check-in and resort orientation. Even my teenager was impressed.
The VIP concierge lounge is just off the reception area; this is where you’ll be invited in for a complimentary Patron Silver tequila shot (Welcome to Mexico!) and orientation about the property layout and myriad weekly resort activities. There are so many daily options that you’ll receive a handy print out of the week’s schedule so you can reference it throughout your stay. The VIP welcome packet is full of information about tempting off-site activities that you can conveniently book right there in the concierge lounge. (Yes, this means no dealing with online bookings or pesky international phone calls.)
And by tempting off-site activities, I mean there is something for everyone in Los Cabos. There are snorkel and sailing tours, whale watching and glass-bottom boat tours, scuba diving and mountain biking. Don’t like to peddle? How about electric bikes? Not into biking at all? Well how does parasailing, kayaking, scuba, or zip lining sound? Or perhaps horseback riding, ATV tours, flyboarding or swimming with dolphins? You can even book a day tour to check out the many ‘hideaway villages” in the not-too-distant vicinity, swim with whale sharks (the largest fish in the ocean!) or experience an outback camel safari. Yes, you read that right. Oh, and let’s not forget golf. Los Cabos is one of the top venues in the world when it comes to golf, with options for both desert and ocean courses designed by likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Robert Trent Jones II, Roy Dye, Tom Fazio, and Greg Norman.
The options for activities are almost dizzying, but no need to feel overwhelmed because as already mentioned, there are plenty of great options on-site at Cabo Azul. In fact, you may well choose to spend most days on property, enjoying the three the gorgeous infinity pools, comfy, thick terry-cloth covered chaise lounges, beds and ‘cocoons,’ and the spacious swim-up bar (with daily happy hour).
The big highlight for those vacationing with younger children is the kids’ pool (Niños Pool) and the resort’s kids’ club, dubbed Camp Tortuga, which offers half-day sessions for ages 4 to 12 for a nominal fee. Daytime Camp Tortuga activities are mostly held at the aforementioned niños pool, which is set apart from the other pools and features a twisty water slide, shallow water areas, water sprays and gorgeous sea animal mosaics. My youngest spent many happy hours there, meeting new friends, going down the slide more-times-than-seemed possible and playing resort staff-led games.
Apart from the water activities, there is also complimentary face painting and arts and crafts held in the Creature Club area some mornings, as well as a once-a-week kids’ mid-day movie in the kids’ cinema. Let’s be honest, these options are a dream-come-true for frazzled parents who desperately crave some kid-free time during their vacation.
Our favorite family activity was the Dive in Movie. We caught both movies offered during our recent week-long stay. Rated G, these movies are appropriate for everyone, and are a relaxing way to spend an evening together. Watching them on the big screen from the comfy lounge chairs on the sand, while munching on the complimentary, freshly popped popcorn with the waves lapping in the background definitely beats the movie theater (or Netflix) any day.
Not having to prepare every meal during vacation also beats the regular grind, and just might be listed by some (okay, me) as the very best part of vacation.
Again, Cabo Azul has you covered. Food choices are family friendly and the two on-site restaurants are both excellent. We ate at Flor de Noche poolside dining several times and enjoyed each meal. They offer a sushi and taco station from 11 am – 5 pm. Don’t miss the shrimp tacos and the avocado rolls. Javier’s, the resort’s signature restaurant (which requires a reservation during high season), is a true delight for the senses. From the incredible view of the ocean, to the aromas of the carefully selected wines to the incredible texture and tastes of the fresh seafood and contemporary Mexican offerings, Javier’s will leave you supremely satiated. For families with anglers who manage to reel in the big catch during their stay, Javier’s chef can even prepare your fresh catch to order.
In addition to the in-suite kitchens and resort restaurants, Cabo Azul also has a roomy coffee, patisserie and ice cream shop that can be a lifesaver in the mornings, and is a great option for impromptu desserts. A small marketplace is also located on-property, although the prices are high.
But that’s no problem because there are nearby grocery stores where you can stock up on supplies for any in-suite meals and snacks – a big bonus for families. You’ll also find some good restaurants in the plaza directly across the street from Cabo Azul, including Fish and Grill, La Forchetta, La Mexican and Rockin’ Brews. Most offer a happy hour of some sort daily.
Additionally, San José del Cabo is just a short drive or taxi ride from Cabo Azul. Here you’ll find many excellent restaurant choices and historic 18th-century Spanish colonial architecture. Consider visiting San José on a Thursday night, as it’s the night of the weekly Art Walk, which is held from 5 pm -9 pm between the months of November and June. This weekly event, organized by the Gallery District Association, is when the galleries often hold special events, open new exhibitions, or have an artist on-site.
But no sweat if Thursday doesn’t fit your schedule, because there are plenty of shops and galleries to peruse every day/night of the week, as well as plentiful good eats. On our recent visit we tried Tadd Chapman’s newest eatery, Local Uno, which has a laid-back attitude and offers diners “Baja Soul Food.” This bar/restaurant, like Chapman’s other venues, features fresh and sustainable local foods such as suckling pig from Carrizal ranch and a daily fish tartar (made from the fresh catch of the day). Some of the offerings were a bit too sophisticated for my kids, but they still talk about the roast organic chicken with caramelized sweet potatoes and the mango sorbet served as dessert. My highlight was the guaca-ceviche and the craft beer on draft from the local Baja Brewing Company (another welcome addition to the San José scene).
We much prefer to stay close to San José, as it is more family friendly and doesn’t offer the loud, late-night party scene that Cabo San Lucas does. This works out perfectly because you’ll want to head back to the resort early enough to enjoy the fire-lit pools and grounds, a night cap, an after-dark swim or an already mentioned dive-in movie.
Clearly, family vacation planning doesn’t need to be complicated. If you can find a luxurious ocean-front resort that offers top-notch food, an award winning spa, awe-inspiring architecture & design (by the renowned interior designer, Dodd Mitchell), impeccable service and also caters to families? One that’s in an easy-to-get to destination with year-round good weather, lots of activities and a jaw-dropping coastline? Well, there’s really no need to look further. So get off TripAdvisor and get packing. Cabo Azul will satisfy you, your partner, your pre-schooler, your high-schooler and even your mother. You’ll come out looking like a vacation-planning professional and not feel the least bit guilty about booking that extra treatment at Cabo Azul’s PAZ Body & Mind Spa.