Food and Fun: Cabo San Lucas Style

Article & Photos by Noreen Kompanik

Cabo San Lucas in Baja, Mexico is know for its adventure opportunities and many of the most fun in the sun diversions take place right in the warm cerulean waters of the Sea of Cortez. And because there’s water everywhere, there’s no shortage of things to do.

Exploring Lands End

Magic happens when the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez meet the turbulent waves of the Pacific Ocean. Glass bottom boats and water taxis take passengers past magnificent rock formations to the ico of nic Cabo san Lucas arch. We love kayaking out to this area, then taking a break on beautiful Lover’s Beach and walking across to the wild, dangerous surf of the Pacific. Its wind-swept beach facing the churning tumultuous sea is aptly and not surprisingly named, Divorce Beach. For a higher-speed water fun experience, renting a jet ski can get you out to the arch faster with an opportunity to explore more of the Sea of Cortez.

Diving and Snorkeling

It’s no wonder the late Jacques Cousteau called Baja California Sur the “aquarium of the world.” Cabo’s unspoiled turquoise waters contain a treasure trove of tropical fish, forests of living coral, and other  incredible marine life. Waters of Chileno and Santa Maria Bay coves are calm, clear and teeming with sea turtles, manta rays and hundreds of tropical fish.

Fishing

Cabo San Lucas is known around the world for its sport fishing. People from all over the world come to its legendary waters hoping to snag a world-class billfish or other prized catches like Tuna, Snapper, Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and more. If you don’t prepare and eat the fish while there, airlines, subject to individual restrictions, allow passengers to take it home with in well-frozen and leak-proof containers.

Beaches

Like pearls on a necklace, a string of sparkling beaches stretches through Los Cabos along the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific Ocean, each with its own uniqueness. Medano Beach rocks the fun and excitement of the ultimate beach party with its safe and swimmable waters. Chileno, a beautiful, horseshoe shaped beach has palapas for shade and its reefs running parallel to the beach are home to over 80 species of marine life. Sea turtle sightings are common here. Santa Maria, a photographer’s dream, is more intimate with rocky coves perfect for a romantic or family picnic. An iconic feature of this beach is its pinkish colored sand.

Sunset Sail

One of nature’s most inspiring scenes occurs as the sun approaches the horizon then dips into the Pacific Ocean, splashing a glorious display of color over the sky. There’s no better way to witness this spectacular event than on a 65-foot catamaran wine and jazz cruise courtesy of Tropicat. The sail took us past Lover’s Beach, Pelican Rock – named for the pelicans that perch there, around El Arco with its colony of sea lions before heading out to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean for a stunning Cabo sunset.

Zip Lining and Off Road Adventures

The Baja desert and its picturesque canyons are best viewed from the air and zip lining has become quite the popular adventure activity in Cabo. Mexico’s longest, highest, and fastest zip line with speeds up to 60 mph is located in an absolutely beautiful oasis that is part of a UNESCO protected biosphere. If not exhilarating enough, guests can finish their adventurous day with a wildly careening dune buggy ride over the bumpy mountain and desert terrain.

Cabo Dining

Delectable dining experiences abound in Los Cabos due an impressive offering of international cuisines, daily access to fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and some of Mexico’s finest chefs. One of our goals is trying new restaurants on each of our Cabo vacations, but, there are some so irresistible, they command a repeat performance.

The Office

Cabo’s coastal cuisine is all about the seafood and nobody does seafood like Baja. Setting the standard for excellent food, top notch service and entertainment, the Office provides guests at this Medano Beach location with the opportunity to literally dine with feet in the sand. With their multi-hued tables under a thatched palapa roof, great food and stunning ocean views at no extra charge, this is the place to be.

Described on the menu as a Mexican Delight, the Beef, Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas sautéed with onions, tomato and green poblano peppers tantalized the taste buds. Chicken Tostadas, prepared with grilled chicken breast, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, avocado,

sour cream and an exquisite queso fresco crumbled cheese absolutely melted in our mouth. Grilled Flank Steak Tacos were a perfect blend of Mexican spices infused into tender pieces of locally raised Black Angus beef.

It was literally impossible to agree on our favorites. And sharing a few bites of each dish made it all the more fun. Where else other than Cabo can one have such a delightful time while wryly bemoaning the fact that they just spent the entire afternoon at “The Office?”

Hacienda Cocina y Cantina

The signature beachfront restaurant at the Hacienda Beach Club and Residences is located on the northeast corner of the Cabo San Lucas marina and spills out onto famous Medano Beach overlooking the iconic rock formations of Land’s End. Hacienda features open-air indoor dining and our favorite- outdoor lighted dining on the terraza near a beachfront palapa bar.

Hacienda’s menu showcases the regions and flavors of Mexico through expertly crafted authentic dishes using only the finest Baja ingredients. We had the pleasure of tasting several dishes all hand-selected by Juan, the restaurant’s chef. Each and every entrée burst with unique flavors and tantalized the palate. Pulpo Cantina, an octopus and calamari sauté was fresh and delectable as a starter. One of our favorite menu items is the traditional Oaxacan dish known as Molcajete- skirt steak, chicken, chorizo sausage with guero chiles, panela cheese, black beans, and avocado cooked together in a basalt pot. This savory dish is accompanied by freshly baked tortillas.

Dessert was a chef trio that included a berry fruit compote, quatro leches, a four-milk sponge cake and of course, traditional churros accompanied by a selection of dipping sauces. This was a true celebration of delightfully delicious traditional Mexican dishes at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Sunset da Mona Lisa

Literally carved into a cliff overlooking the azure waters of Cabo San Lucas and unending stretch of beach with breathtaking views across the bay of Cabo’s famous Land’s End arch, Sunset da Mona Lisais one of the restaurants in Cabo we cannot resist on our travels to the Baja peninsula.

Everything about this place indulges the senses. First there’s the setting. Linen-covered tables strategically set on Mediterranean-style terraced levels between rock outcroppings that reward diners with sweeping ocean vistas and a magnificent views of the famous Arch at Land’s End. Muted lighting from wroughtiron lampposts scattered among the tables and candle-lit walkways provide an ambience of warm serenity and romance for this magnificent outdoor dining experience.

The menu, though not extensive, provides ample choices of creative offerings. Incredibly knowledgeable waiters describe the menu items, including how each is prepared. Our waiter suggested a newly added off-menu special appetizer, Baja shrimp stuffed with mozzarella cheese and arugula, rolled in a phyllo dough crust with two dipping sauces. It was simply incredible.

As a serious seafood aficionado, it was only natural for me to choose the Branzino, a locally caught sea bass as my main entree. Crisped to perfection, the moist, buttery fish was served with a wine and peapuree
accompanied with whole-shelled clams.

My husband, a lover of meats selected the Stinco D’ Agnello all’Italiana, a tender, juicy, perfectlyseasoned lamb shank confit, slow-cooked for 18 hours and served with roasted fondant potatoes, fresh spinach and lavender baked apricot. Both entrees were superb culinary masterpieces.

Sunset, I must add, is always a special occasion at Mona Lisa. Diners stop whatever they’re doing as restaurant staff carries out an ancient tradition of striking a metal gong, then blowing into conch shells as the sun disappears into the horizon, giving thanks for yet another beautiful day. La vita es bella- life is beautiful.

 

Noreen L. Kompanik is a published independent travel writer and photographer based in San Diego, California. Fortunate to have lived overseas as a Naval Officer wife, she has traveled extensively and her many Italian and other European adventures have sparked her passions for cooking and wine tasting. She shares her latest adventures, photos, and published stories on her What’s In Your Suitcase? Facebook page. She is a frequent contributor to several online and print publications.

 

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