Cabo with Kids
We’ve visited many spots in Mexico over the decades (both popular as well as obscure spots), and we finally made it to one of the more popular Mexican vacation destinations: Cabo San Lucas! We grew up going to inexpensive spots like Tijuana and Rosarito, and this is definitely very different.
PLAYA GRANDE RESORT REVIEW
After many blog posts and Youtube videos, we landed on Playa Grande Resort as our best option with kids. Many factors were at play, so we’ve laid out the pros and cons after staying here for a week.
Rooms – we upgraded to a suite with a kitchenette. It’s perfect for having kids, as there’s a pull-out couch bed and another small twin that pops out of a cabinet. So both kids shared a room separate from ours. We had the ground floor, which doesn’t have amazing views, but I’ll take it over anything else, especially with kids. We can walk straight from our rooms to the pool in less than 30 seconds. The kitchenette is worth mentioning again. Half of one suitcase was filled with breakfast items, lunch items, snacks, etc… It made life much easier not having to rush to each meal at various restaurants.
Fun Vibe – Though I’d be a little disappointed if I were still single and 20 years old (since more than 1/2 of the guests are older or kids), the pool activities and events are really fun.
Pool – The pools are great. 3 large pools along with an adult area pool. The Jacuzzi up top is massive and perfect temp. For such a big place, you need a huge jacuzzi. The adult area has its own jacuzzi.
Fireworks during Fiesta – They didn’t last long, but we also got fireworks from a few other resorts on other nights. The events are a lot of fun, and worth doing too.
Close enough to town – You can walk, but in July, it’s HOT. We walked a bit, but usually just because we didn’t have enough cash on hand. It’s oppressive walking around in this heat, so definitely bring enough cash for taxis. Uber isn’t recommended here yet, so look for the big white vans with green stripes. Easy and not terribly expensive. Have Cash!!!
Games – ping pong, kids area, corn hole, bracelet making, painting stations, and more. We did the mini golf course, which was fun despite it being in disrepair and HOT as all hell.
No bugs – I don’t know if this is because we’re in the desert, or if they just spray heavily. Let’s hope it’s a desert thing.
Room Amenities – comfy beds, good A/C, Blow dryer, good mirrors for the ladies
No ocean access – The beach here is massive and up against the Pacific Ocean. With no break in raw energy, this beach gets slammed with shore break waves. Granted, we did visit during one of the biggest south swells to hit in decades, this area is known to always have shore break that doesn’t suit normal vacation swimmers.
Black mold in showers and heavy smell – It smelled like a mix of mustiness and nasty chemical fragrances from cleaning supplies. Even the toilet paper had the fragrance. Some people would love that, but we don’t. Also, we didn’t notice till later in the stay how much mold was in the showers.
Food – We knew from reviews ahead of time that the food wasn’t stellar. That being said, Calima had some nice meals (the fried red snapper was delicious, but the short rib was the worst we’ve ever had). We opted to not be tied to the meal plan, and we were so grateful. The food we ordered at the pool was pretty terrible. The worst quesadilla I’ve ever had. But the worst meal we had here on the property was at the most expensive restaurant. Brigantine has a nice view and decent service (despite being understaffed), but the food was subpar. My 14oz medium ribeye was well-well done and flavorless. Each meal was underwhelming and we walked away $240 poorer wishing we’d gone back to one of the taco stands we learned about while on Juan More Taco Food Tours. (read about them below.)
Pool chemicals – Each night they shut down the pools fairly early for chemicals. I don’t know if they put these signs out just to keep people from swimming late and making noise or if it’s legit. Regardless, it was a bummer to have them close after sunset.
Music could be more varied – I mean, they play everything under the sun, but it’s looped daily. Same playlist from morning to night.
THINGS TO DO IN CABO SAN LUCAS
We share some of the Cabo San Lucas activities we did during our week stay. The video shows much of what we did.
Juan More Taco Food Tour
I’ve never been on a food tour and never thought it’d be something worth doing. But wow, it turned out to be a crucial intro to Cabo. The importance of great food is paramount for us when traveling. We want the best (not necessarily the fanciest or most expensive). We want the freshest local ingredients put together by masters in their cuisine. We would never have known these places existed if we’d asked other tourists, the concierge, or just shot in the dark. Much like when visiting Vietnam, we found the best spots at hole-in-the-wall spots. Spots where they obviously didn’t care about dining aesthetics. It was all about the food with our amazing guide Miguel, who was enthusiastic and full of Mexican history. This guy loves food and loves his country.
We enjoyed sopes, tacos, tequila, tacos, quesadillas, tacos, ice cream, tacos, churros, and more tacos. The amount of food we were given the opportunity to eat paid for the tours in themselves.
At the heart of Cabo San Lucas is the Marina. It’s worth spending time here, even if you’re not planning on a boat ride. The kids loved the feet-eating fish, shopping for little knick-knacks, and eating at spots along the water. We also taught some good lessons in haggling. If they wanted it, they had to haggle the price down a bit.
We took a glass bottom boat to see the arch and Land’s End. It was beautiful. Again, we went during a massive south swell, so we couldn’t go very close, but the wave action made for a pretty dramatic view of this area. We wanted to go out on the boats completely made of glass, but they said they weren’t running due to the swell. Still worth the quick trip.
Flying high above Cabo was a major highlight. You get a real understanding of how things are laid out, while enjoying the peace and quiet of being incredibly high!
We loved this area. The beaches are spectacular! It’s worth renting an umbrella and spending the day here. The only cons are all of the vendors constantly hammering you. They literally will come back again and again. But, it was still worth it. Find a spot far away from the boats, as the exhaust is nasty. We especially loved this area because of the epic restaurants on the sand.
CABO SAN LUCAS RESTAURANTS
Though we found even more incredible food options when staying in San Jose Del Cabo, later in the trip, we had some of the best Mexican food of our lives! (We’ll share San Jose del Cabo in a future blog post. For now, you can watch our San Jose del Cabo video.)
This place is pretty legendary, and was PACKED! We loved the food, ambiance, and tables in the sand.
This was one of the best restaurants we’ve ever eaten at. Seriously, everything was perfect. Expect to drop some coin, and try lots of different things.
So, we did it because we felt obligated. The food was ok, ambiance not super great. If there had been a show, I could see how it would be amazing.
CABO REVIEW RECAP
- Quick flight from California. Airport isn’t very far either.
- Great food in town.
- Water temp and color at the beach is Perfect!
- Everyone takes the US dollar. Also, credit cards are accepted at most spots.
- HOT. If you’re going in the summer, expect it to be sweltering. Pools and beaches will be your best friends.
- Street merchants. They’re pretty relentless.
- Everyone at the local stores were really nice. The only exception was the gal at the Billabong store.
- Resort food. Be VERY wary about any food plans for all inclusive. You don’t want to be stuck with terrible food.