Our last stop on our journey through the Panama Canal landed us in Cabo San Lucas. The only port on our cruise that required the use of tenders, Cabo was once the playground of the rich and famous. Originally only accessible by air or sea-going vessel, some of the Hollywood royalty made Cabo their getaway destination.
In the mid-70s, Los Cabos; the area so-nicknamed because of the proximity of two areas, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo; finally became accessible by automobile. A highway was built that traversed the peninsula from Southern California, United States to the southern tip of lower California, Mexico.
Our selected excursion included a boat ride along the coast to the tip of the peninsula in the Gulf of California, then north along the Pacific Ocean side for a couple of miles. We would return the way we came back to the marina at Cabo. There, we boarded a bus for a trip through town where we would stop at a scenic point overlooking the bay, have a cerveza, and head back to town for shopping or to reboard the ship for our last day at sea.
Los Cabos is crazy with construction. The development of vacation properties is visible everywhere. Golf courses, resorts, time shares and other tourist venues abound. The tourist economy appears alive and healthy.
Our tour boat, a large double-hulled catamaran, was nearly full with somewhere around fifty passengers. We found a place to sit on the port side and waited to get underway. We were served coffee and juice as we headed out of the marina.
We bounced along on rough seas, happy we were on a larger craft. We might have selected a tour company on Cabo that sailed much smaller tour boats. We would have gotten much closer to the land. The cruise line’s excursions, however did not include any smaller craft options. Had we chosen that option, we would have been in for a much rougher ride. Those prone to motion sickness should stick with the larger vessel on a day like today.
As we neared the tip of the peninsula, it was hard to find a place to take photos of the iconic arch. Again, we picked the wrong side of the boat to sit, though as it turned out, we were just fine for the return trip. We got some nice photos of the arch without looking through the sea of people on the boat. However, it was now later in the day, and the haze and low clouds from an impending weather front many miles to the west, gave us a lackluster sky.
Rounding the tip of the cape, an outcropping of rock gave us our first and only view of wildlife other than seagulls. A lone seal lay in the hazy sun.
Rounding the tip of land, we sailed into the Pacific Ocean, past the other side of Lover’s Beach. There is no shortage of development on this side of Cabo. A long stretch of sandy beach invites tourists to stay in one of the many resorts built along the shore.
If the beach isn’t your “thing”, then you can vacation in one of the hillside resorts, or hit the links on one of the many golf courses. There is no shortage of things to do in Cabo. It is not the getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city that you would find in Huatulco or Yelapa. If you’re looking for a secluded beach, you probably won’t find it here.
After returning to the Marina, we walked a short distance to a waiting bus where we boarded for our city tour and scenic vista. On the way to our scenic vista, we passed such uniquely Mexican businesses, you know… Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco. Seriously, we could have easily mistaken this place for somewhere in Southern California.
Our destination turned out to be a beautiful restaurant and supper club. An exclusive place in a resort community, it was not open to the public in the mornings. However, they served beer and soft drinks, one only, please, while we overlooked the view of the bay from their outdoor terrace. We did not see the inside of the restaurant… remember, it was closed.
All in all, I can recommend NCL’s excursion on the boat around the cape, especially if you want a smoother ride than you’d get on the smaller vessels hawked by the tour vendors on shore. Though the view from the restaurant was beautiful, truth is, I didn’t think the view was worth the trip through town on the bus and the extra cost of the excursion. You can choose to purchase the excursion with or without the scenic tour. Next time, we’ll skip the scenic tour.
On our way back to the marina and our tender, we were given the option of being dropped off downtown for shopping. A nice walk or short cab ride would be necessary if we departed the tour bus here. Since we saw many vendors selling souvenirs in the marina area, we opted to stay on the bus.
I will admit at Cabo, we found the best deals in souvenirs. I purchased some pretty high quality t-shirts with embroidered lettering for only $5 each. That was less than a third of what we paid for screen-printed Panama Canal shirts on the ship. We loaded up with a few other souvenirs and boarded a tender for our short trip back to the Norwegian Pearl. There would be one more day at sea before our arrival in Los Angeles for our morning disembarkation.
My next, and final post on our Panama Canal Cruise will focus specifically on the ship, the Norwegian Pearl. Stay tuned. Hasta La Vista!