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Villa Del Palmar

CABO SAN LUCAS TRIP REPORT

July 8 - 15, 2006


AIRPORT ARRIVAL:
We arrived at the airport about 12:30 pm, along with 6 or 7 other planes that had arrived just before we did. We stood in one of the six immigration lines for a little over an hour in sweltering heat before reaching the first checkpoint. Then we found our luggage and did the red light/green light for the luggage check. We turned left after going thru the first exit door. That turned out to be the wrong way. We should have turned right where all the ground transportation was waiting. However, we found Baja Ground Services shortly and were on our way to Villa del Palmar. ($34.75 per person round trip for a shared van. But, the four in our group were the only ones in the van.) We did make a quick stop for some ice cold Pacifico that started to take the frustration edge off, until we got to the check-in!


VILLA DEL PALMAR:
We were prepared for a goat roping at check-in and it did take over an hour to check in. We had four rooms and there were some computer glitches between Interval International and VDP. The Check-in Manager, Rodriglio eventually got involved. Once he intervened, the check-in got straightened out pretty quickly. We ended up with one 2BR, one 1BR, and 2 JR. suites (regular hotel rooms) for eleven people. This was better than the reservations we originally had. The 1BR and one of the JR suites had good views. The 2BR had a view of the ocean if you leaned way over the balcony and the other JR suite had a view of the parking lot and downtown. After we saw the view in the 2BR, we bargained with Anel(one of the timeshare people), that in exchange for an oceanfront room and gold cards, four of us would commit to the Villa del Arco timeshare tour. We moved to an oceanfront room Sunday morning and we went on the tour early Monday morning. Enough of us had Gold Cards to get the discounts most of the time to offset food and beverage prices that were a little high. The drinks were good and the food we tried was above average. The service was good and all the people we ran across were friendly and helpful. The deli had good items and the groceries weren't too high for the convenience. On our next trip, and there will certainly be one, we will make it 9 or 10 days. We'll come in on a Wed. or Thurs. to beat that Saturday Airport mess and stay downtownish and check in to a beach resort later. We now solidly agree with all of our "wish they were here with us" advisors who constantly told us, "one week is not enough in Cabo San Lucas!" The express checkout we received on Thursday was quick, painless and worked well. There was a $3.85 tip charge per day on our bill.
GOAT ROPING = a messy or disorganized situation! The nice definition!


HEAT:
We knew the temp. would probably be over 100 for the week. Sweaters, jackets, and long pants were not packed by anyone. We prepared a list of air conditioned restaurants, but we didn't use it. Surprisingly, if the restaurant had open ventilation and there was a breeze it was bearable. We did have A/C in Nik-San and Los Deseos. At VDP, if you got in the first row or two of chairs closest to the beach, there was always a good breeze. Forget going in the ocean. A few crazies tried it, but the ocean was red flagged and then yellow crime scene taped for DANGER. There was a tropical depression somewhere that caused huge waves in front of VDP, after the first couple of days. The pools worked just fine to cool you off and just watching the large waves was mesmerizing.


PEZ GATO SNORKELING:
We took the Pez Gato Snorkeling trip on Tuesday, July 11th. This was our only organized group tour event. The Captain and his three man crew were very professional and accommodating during the trip. The snorkeling was about as expected for this part of the world, but we did see some fish. Once snorkeling was over, sandwiches, guacamole, and salsa with chips were served. Adult beverages and sodas were also very readily available for the rest of the trip. And the crew made sure you had plenty of anything you wanted while the music played. The Captain also made a picture taking stop at the famous Arch on the way back. The Captain and his crew got a high recommendation from all in our group. We'll see them again next trip. The Captain also made a GREAT Bloody Mary using Clamato juice!!


GROCERIES/RENTAL CAR:
We did our grocery and liquor shopping at the City Club next to La Golondrina two or three times. Friday morning, we pooled all our breakfast items and had a final breakfast cookout in the 2BR unit. We also had after dinner drinks at the pool bar when we all got back from dinner Friday for an "adios" drink. We rented a 7 passenger van from Alamo from Sunday morning to Friday morning. It sometimes carried 9 passengers. The cost for five days going thru the Costco website and using the $25 discount coupon was $312 total, including liability and using the credit card damage waiver. We also used taxis, $7 each way downtown for 4 people. We didn't use the public buses, but we could have. They turned around at the bottom of the hill in front of VDP.


DINING:
La Golondrina - Two in our group arranged and paid for a welcome dinner Saturday night. We had two orders of "the works" for eleven and plenty of drinks. The food was quoted at $320. We had two vouchers for $200. The bill was $507 if we paid cash, or $557 if we used the coupons. We used the coupons and paid $557. La Golondrina doesn't recognize the vouchers as cash any longer. The same thing happened to part of our group that returned to La Golondrina Friday night for final lobster dinners. Even though vouchers weren't involved this time, they got a two total bill again. One if you pay cash and one if you use credit (approx. 10% higher). The lobster was very good both nights. All the other items tried were above average except the BBQ ribs and the tuna, which were just OK to below average. We will notify Los Cabos Magazine of La Golondrina’s failure to honor their coupons as cash when we return the two $10 coupons that we didn't use for a restaurant downtown.

El Meson de "Zapata's" - The food was rated as very good by all. We went there THREE separate times during the week. The tacos were especially good and low priced. Most of the tacos were $1.50 each. The exception was the scallop tacos which were excellent and were $1.80 each. "Zapata's" has ELIMINATED all the happy hours we had read about and were ready to enjoy.

Gordo LeLe's - The tacos and tortas were very good and of course, low priced. We were there TWICE and tried the carne asada tortas and tacos, pork tacos and a combo carne asada and sausage taco. We went across the street and about 25-30 feet down a narrow alleyway to a very small bar with ice cold Pacifico (3 for $5) and brought them back to Gordo's for our drinks. A CLASSIC experience!!

The Office - Four of the eleven in our group voted the breakfast we had here as their "BEST MEAL". The four basic meals were huevos rancheros, machaca burritos open faced, machaca burritos rolled up (3), and some large concoction of chilaquillas. They were large portions accompanied by several side items. The food portion of the bill was approx. $32. We also had coffee, orange juice, and two Bloody Marys. These prices may be a little high, but the food was excellent.

Pizzas - We all had the "El Diablo" 12" pizzas from La Dolce twice, and 16" pizzas from Baja Cantina once. The pizza at the VDP pool bar had a good crust, but the toppings were scarce. A large was $20.

VDP - The grilled sea bass was very good at the pool bar. The hot dog cart had large and very tasty hot dogs for $5. No one in our group found a margarita anywhere to rave about, but they had a lot of fun trying to find that special one all over town!!

Tabasco's - drinks and lunch, reasonable prices, good food and excellent spicy Bloody Marys.

Nik-San - Sushi, one pro, two semi-pros, and two rookies went. The pro gave the food a 5 or 6, the semi-pros gave it a 6 or 7, one rookie called everything interesting and one rookie wouldn't try any of it and had the shrimp which was good.

Love Shack - drinks only, good prices. Good cold Sol beer.

Lenny's - good deli items.

Solomon's Landing - drinks only. Fishy-smelling ice in drinks.

Los Deseos - authentic Mexican, good food. Had the melted cheese in a molten lava bowl, flamed with tequila at the table. Poblano soup and pecan-crusted chicken with poblano sauce were excellent. Reasonable food prices.

Latitude 22 Roadhouse - lunch was average, reasonable prices.

Villa Serena - breakfast was average, reasonable prices, good view.

Fish House - served tuna a friend caught that morning, good, but a little pricey for "our" catch.  It was super hot in this restaurant due to no cross-ventilation.  Update - closed some time before January 2007.

Alexander's Bistro - average food, pricey. One meal lukewarm, the "hanging beef" for two was more presentation than substance, a bunch of small pieces of carne asada on hooks on a cylinder with tequila poured on them and set on fire, with French fries.


NIGHTCLUBBING:
I know that some in our group participated in hanging upside down shots, and dirty dancing contests (I think we had a winner, but I haven't got all the details and maybe I won't). I know it was shoulder to shoulder packed in Cabo Wabo with the music so loud it would shake doors open. Giggling Marlin got a lot of participation until it was realized they were playing the same sets over and over every night. El Squid Roe got some of the money also. The Zoo was a jumping place Saturday night from midnight to 4AM according to a couple of the younger people in our group.


VDP:
The reviews on VDP can make you a little uneasy or apprehensive. However, to us it's like some of the people said; "a vacation trip is what you make out of it!" We had no complaints on beds or pillows either. We would all give the resort a good recommendation and we would definitely return to Villa Del Palmar, but we won't come in on Saturday. Unless it's 7 AM to check in, then come back mid to late afternoon to get the keys to an already assigned room.