One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
I arrived at Cabo Azul, a posh resort at the point’s southernmost tip which offers villa-style accommodations to Travelzoo subscribers, in time for sunset. Contemplating the expanse of blue before me, it appeared that the ocean was the vast extension of the infinity pool that I was now immersed in; the illusion only interrupted by a dotted line of palm trees at its contours.
There was work to be done -- vacationing is, after all, serious business, and authentic tacos don’t eat themselves. Dinner was served, mariachis were tipped, and outdoorsy pursuits were arranged.
From the hotel, you can travel down a gleaming highway to Cabo San Lucas, the site of a multimillion dollar marina filled with luxury yachts, to feast on freshly-caught lobster and partake in a myriad of sailing excursions.
As I stopped for directions on the way, a local named Braulio inadvertently steered me away from the high life and towards a treacherous dirt track that goes northbound from San José along the Eastern Cape, through a landscape where stray donkeys rule the road and eagles circle in the sky.
It turned out to be the best bad advice I’ve had the fortune to receive. The vast expanse of desert he sent me to juts directly into the ocean, one of the few places on earth where you can swim with views of arid cliffsides and forests of cacti in the distance. Continuing along the road to Cabo Pulmo national park, an aquatic nature reserve, I was offered the opportunity to snorkel along a coral reef and swim with a colony of sea lions.
The next day I left the resort armed with new determination, and this time, a plan. I was to head to Santiago – 90 minutes from San José along a new highway -- to meet with a guide and go hiking in the hills. The guide never showed up. A farmer pointed towards a pile of boulders on the horizon, where I could go for a walk. It turned out to be the site of natural hot springs and cascading waterfalls, where I bathed and whiled away the scorching afternoon.
Away from the resorts, the golf courses and the crowds of partying students, yet surprisingly close to civilization, I discovered the true beauty of Cabo. All it took was a little bit of bad luck.