For years, I filed Cabo San Lucas away as a vacation party paradise, right up there with other raucous epicenters like Las Vegas and Ibiza. The Mexican coastal town would instantly bring up visions of debauchery, all-night ragers at El Squid Roe, and a teenage Laguna Beach-era Kristin Cavallari dancing on bars with her high school pals (if you know, you know). And while I harbor no judgement or ill will toward wild, tequila-filled getaways south of the border, at 36, I simply don’t have the energy for them. I’m literally exhausted just thinking about it.
These days, the perfect OOO trip involves lazy pool-side hangs with a frothy blended margarita in one hand and a true crime novel in the other, indulgent spa treatments, decadent meals, and early bedtimes (10 p.m. is ideal for this sleepy gal). So, when I was promised all this and more for a recent stay at the newly renovated ME Cabo, I was both skeptical and intrigued. Rest and relaxation in the party capital of the Western hemisphere? Not likely. But, in the name of research, I decided to test the Mexican waters for myself.
And, as it turns out, I stand corrected.
Yes, like so many other destinations known for their nightlife, Cabo has had a bit of a makeover in recent years, with a number of it resorts and hotels investing in more relaxation- and wellness-focused experiences.
“Los Cabos is much more than just a party destination these days,” explains Luis Domínguez, general manager of ME Cabo, to TZR in an email. “We are surrounded by the natural beauty of the Pacific Coast and picturesque landscapes that can give visitors more than their average vacation experience. In addition to enjoying refreshing cocktails and entertainment poolside at hotels like ME Cabo, visitors can spend their vacation exploring Cabo’s local culture, arts and artisan markets like Flora Farms or discover the beauty of the town of San José as a picturesque place with a truly Mexican aesthetic and vibe.” (For its own mid-pandemic upgrade, ME Cabo debuted KORPO, a wellness and spa experience that offers beauty treatments, relaxation techniques and services, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility.)
Ahead, read on about my recent trip to Mexico, which ended up being one of the most relaxing and pampering trips of my life — and without a hangover in sight. Here’s how a 36-year-old does Los Cabos.
As soon as I entered my suite at the ME Cabo resort (I got the Superior ME+ room, which includes a terrace that overlooks the pool and stunning ocean views), I felt myself instantly relax. Previous Mexico trips from my 20s often found me sharing a suite with two to three of my pals, leaving me with little privacy or quiet time. Granted, we didn’t spend a ton of time in our rooms aside from sleeping off the wild antics of the day. Now, in my 30s, I appreciate a beautiful hotel room as it is a now a vital component to my vacations. In addition to a full night’s rest, I love a room that allows for lazy mornings with room service, lots of closet and counter space to get ready comfortably, and of course a solid view. This spacious room was just for little ol’ me, meaning I could sprawl out on my queen bed and enjoy the massive powder room solo (no sharing!).
Outside of my luxe room was the pool, which, at first glance, resembled that of a Vegas pool party environment (my personal hell). But, in observing the scene from my deck, I got the sense that this was not that kind of scene. Yes, during the midday hours of about 12pm to 4pm there was some music blasting and dancers scattered throughout the space. But, it was far from a “club” vibe and more of a “chill” one — I could still enjoy myself poolside with a Mezcal cocktail and good read and not feel overwhelmed by the environment. And if I did get a wild hair for exploring and socializing, the swim-up bar was a great locale for scoping the scene and meeting a new friend or two.
Marcos Ramirez, a luxury travel concierge with EMBARK Collective, says Cabo also offers a wealth of outdoor activities that can be done throughout the year as the weather is typically quite good. “Many properties in the area are now offering wellness-focused activities, so visitors can join a yoga group class in the morning to start the day fresh and relaxed,” he says. “There are other options such as hiking or meditation as well. Sports like surf or golf can also be practiced in the region, and some properties can arrange a day full of activities according to visitors' interests and needs.”
When on vacation, I always make time for a spa day, so a hotel with a solid wellness facility is a huge selling point for me. ME Cabo’s aforementioned KORPO experience served me well on my Mexican getaway. I never turn down a massage, and the spa’s CBD-infused body treatment was a true treat and complemented my easy pool day nicely.
Vacations, for me, offer an opportunity to experience something new and outside of my comfort zone — and food is a big part of this. Luckily, Cabo’s local cuisine is super diverse and layered, offering me a garden variety of options to indulge in every day of my trip. Within the hotel, I was able to sample Mediterranean-inspired dishes at the sexy Taboo Beach Club — which I recommend visiting for dinner for ultimate sultry date night atmosphere — tapas and craft cocktails at the Confessions Sky Bar rooftop (which turns into a club at night, if that’s your jam), and elevated Mexican cuisine at Mamazzita (I still dream about the tres leches cake!).
Outside of the resort, you can find fresh local fare at the uber-popular Flora Farms, which you’ve likely spotted on Instagram at this point. The organic working farm is located in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, just north of Los Cabos. Here, you can feast on farm fresh meals and house-made sorbets. Also, if you like a little moody ambiance, Lumbre is a must. Located in San Jose del Cabo, this spot offers fine dining focused on “the culinary magic that takes place in the old wood stove, the imposing grill and the iron and brick oven,” according to the restaurant’s site. Think unique dishes like seared fish tataki, Oaxacan cheese cocote, and Picanha barbacoa. Yes, please.
While there is certainly a thriving night life and club scene in Los Cabos, for those who choose to be in bed at a decent hour (read: before midnight) there are still good times to be had. For days I wanted to venture outside of my pool and spa sanctuaries, I found joy in seaside experiences like sunset boat trips around the famous El Arco.
There’s also plenty to explore in Los Cabo’s downtown centre. Visit local artist galleries, boutiques, and souvenir shops for artisanal goods that you won’t find anywhere else. (I picked up a neon hand- painted clay Nativity set for my holiday decor scheme as a souvenir!).
And for the more the more adventure-inclined — not me — there’s a ton to do to get the heart pumping. “If you're looking for something more adventurous than lounging by the pool with a margarita in hand, there are many activities that can keep you busy for days — from scuba diving with dolphins to horseback riding through the mountains (and everything in between),” says Fred Baker, the Senior Travel Editor of Travelness. “And if you want someplace quiet and peaceful? You're covered there too: There's lots of space outside city limits where people can go hiking or fishing without running into anyone else from town.”
All in all, I returned from my 4-day excursion to Los Cabos well-rested, well-fed, and surprisingly Zen. Yes, the city will always be a destination for party-going travelers, but I’m happy to report that the more self-care-inclined will find themselves quite fulfilled as well.
“Los Cabos is so much more than a just a beach destination,” says Domínguez. “We are rich in unique outdoor adventures, year-long cultural events and culinary offerings. Guests can do everything from ziplining to exploring art galleries. There is something unique and exciting for every kind of traveler!”