OK, I’m Here . . . So Now What? Los Cabos

Regular followers of this blog (in other words, the most sagacious among you), will know that I wrote a previous post in this category on the destination of Cancun.  It met with such a resounding reception from both of my fans that I have deemed it time to consider another tourist spot.   And what a destination it is!

Los Cabos, MexicoWithout a doubt, Los Cabos is one of the most beautiful resort areas Mexico has to offer.  Situated at the end of the Baja California Peninsula, it consists of three distinct localities: Los Cabos, Mexico mapCabo San Lucas (bottom left), San Jose del Cabo (on the right) and the Tourist Corridor that runs between them.    I promise to write another post soon that will enumerate the pros and cons of each locale.  (If you are keeping score at home, that would be pros “100″ and Cons “0″.)

As I pointed out in the Cancun post , it is not enough to simply select a great destination and the perfect resort.  You need to give a little serious thought as to what you will do once you get there.  What say we get you out of your dreary, drab, mind-numbing daily existence (just sayin’) and remind you what zest and gusto feel like!

Todos Santos Hotel CaliforniaLet’s Get Cultured:   Todos Santos

Situated between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, this charming village is famous for being home to Hotel California.  If you were born after 1977 (first and foremost, try not to gloat), this is the title song from the Eagle’s album of the same name. This desert oasis offers spectacular views of the Pacific.  It is nestled among ancient orchards of mango and palms.  Tours of the fascinating city of La Paz are also available.

Wild Canyon Tour Los CabosLet’s Get Crazy:   Wild Canyon Canopy Tour

When I say, “Let’s Get Crazy”, let me be clear.  I mean let’s you get crazy.  Entrusting my life to a series of cables strung between trees is not my idea of a sane pursuit.  The selling point of this particular adventure is that it is the only canopy attraction in Mexico in which you  can ride tandem with 1, 2 or even 3 friends.  Unless the thought of a joint suicide pact holds some bizarre appeal for you, I strongly suggest you invite your most anorexic friends along on this one.

Dolphin Encounter Los CabosLet’s Get Cuddly:  Dolphin Programs

If you find in impossible to see a cute animal without uttering the obligatory “Ahhhhh”, this experience is probably perfect for you.  As the website explains, “Your Dolphin Encounter begins with an informative introduction by our dolphin trainers who will help you understand the dolphins’ anatomy, physiology, etc.”  This sentence may sound innocuous but it is all about learning how to pet a dolphin and, much more importantly, how not to pet a dolphin unless you want a lot more affection than you bargained for!

Sport Fishing Los CabosLet’s Get Catchy:  Fishing Charters

Most of my fishing experience growing up was with a cane pole and a plastic cork in my grandmother’s East Texas stock tank roughly the size of a disco dance floor.  On a good day you might catch a 10 ounce Sun Perch only to get finned for your trouble.  I am assuming that bears no resemblance to sport fishing but having never experienced it, I can’t attest.  It is obviously popular because on any given morning in Cabo you can see up to 200 charter boats leaving the crowded marina.

Golf Los CabosLet’s Get Chippy:  Golf Options

At last we have reached a truly civilized activity.   Muslims have their Mecca, we golfers have our Los Cabos.  There are way too many great courses to mention them all but three of my favorites (Cabo Real, Puerto Los Cabos & Club Campestre San Jose) are operated by Questro Golf.   Throw my name around and you will probably get a couple of broken tees and all the tap water you can drink.  Seriously, tell Nubia I sent you and you will at least get a warm smile and cheerful greeting.

Amazingly, those are just a few of the many activities available in Los Cabos.

Sunset in Los Cabos

Now let’s close with a few reasons for booking your Los Cabos activities in advance on our affiliate site with our great partners at Amstar DMC:

1)  In many cases, the prices are lower online

2)  You avoid lines at the hotel and the possibility of sell-outs

3)  You get instant confirmation & tickets

4)  Most importantly, you contribute to the financial solvency of this humble blogger.  How is that for “fool disclosure”?

A Vacation Without Golf? Say It Ain’t So!

Your reaction when you hear the phrase, “Say it ain’t so!” is a barometer of your interests and, perhaps too, your age.  If you are an aficionado of  baseball, you immediately think of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and the famous Black Sox scandal of 1919.  If you are a rocker, on the other hand, you will recognize the phrase as the title of a song written and performed by the American rock band Weezer.  I am appropriating the term, however, with deference to neither but rather simply to register my shock and horror at such a heretical idea.  A vacation without golf?  Please!

Even I am astute enough to recognize that the entire populace does not share this view.  Therefore, this post will attempt the impossible.  (Why squander our time on the merely difficult, right?)  I shall attempt to deconstruct and reprogram the minds of those of you whose opinion of golf tends to parallel a popular quip attributed to Mark Twain, among others. “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”  Whoever may have said it first, it succinctly sums up to the opinion of a multitude of non-golfers.

As seems to be the case ever more frequently in my advancing years, in this matter I am convinced my view is the proper one and all those of a contrary opinion are sadly misguided.  Having shed all pretense of modesty, let me begin to marshal my evidence before I lose your attention altogether.   Here are three incontrovertible reasons why golf should be part of every vacation.

1)  Golf Affords The Opportunity For A Fresh Beginning

I have a preacher friend who once told me that he loved preaching in black churches.  When I enquired why, he replied, “In black churches,  you get to start over every week.”  He did not mean this in any derogatory sense.  Quite the opposite.  He admired the black churches’ emphasis on forgiveness and manifold grace.

This may seem a bit of a stretch but golf is like that.  When you stand on the first tee, youQuestro Golf Cabo San Lucas have nary a blemish on your scorecard.  The card in your hand looks positively pristine, not unlike the closely mown grass under your feet.  You may have gouged and hacked your way through the previous round to the utter consternation of the groundskeeper but all those snowmen (8′s for the uninitiated) on your last scorecard are but a wispy vapor of the mind, melting into nothingness in the morning sun.

As you peer down the first fairway, in a moment of sheer delusion, you ask the starter about the course record.  You pretend it is idle curiosity but inwardly you are fantasizing.  You never know, right?  Sometimes that seductive mirage even lasts a hole or two.  I once started a round with two birdies.  If they could only bottle euphoria like that!

2)  Golf Is Played In Idyllic Surroundings

Questro Golf Cabo RealHave you ever walked the grounds of some palatial estate dreaming that some day your ship would come in (personally, mine broke apart on the twin reefs of poor judgment and bad advice several years ago) and when it did,  you too would finally live in such breathtaking environs?  My humble suggestion . . . in the meantime, of course . . . is to just take up golf.  I have strolled the grounds of the Palace of Versailles and I have ambled through London’s Kew Gardens.  I have also played the incomparable Pebble Beach and Maui’s stunning Plantation course and the former pair have nothing on the latter.

Golf by the seaIf you are a lover of nature, if you like beautiful panoramas and grand vistas, if you like endless variety, fresh air and the sound of birds chirping, if you like gently rolling fields and  towering pines . . . you get my drift . . .  may I gently remind you that the game of golf is played in the great outdoors where nature in all its grandeur is, at least  temporarily, your private estate.

3)  There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Round Of Golf.

OK, admittedly this blanket assertion assumes no freak accidents such as golf cart rollovers, lightning strikes or beanings of your fellow golfers.   Let’s dismiss those negative thoughts at the outset.  Barring such rare occurrences, golf reminds me of a comment I once heard about sex.  Even when it’s bad, it’s good.  As long as you go to the golf course with the right attitude, every round can be a pleasure.

I know what you are thinking.  Precisely because golf is played outdoors, isn’t it true that the vicissitudes of nature are always looming to spoil your outing.  Au contraire, mon ami.  As Oscar Wilde famously said, “There is no bad weather . . . only inappropriate clothing.”  That is precisely why they make rain gear!

Golf in bad weather

I once arose at six in the morning keenly anticipating my first round of golf ever in Ireland.  I flipped on the TV to catch the weather only to be told that I should expect rain and gale force winds off the North Sea.  When my friends and I entered the clubhouse, we were met by the club manager who made the sign of the cross muttering, “God bless you, my children” under his breath.  Not even the locals had ventured out.  True to the forecast there was steady rain and forty mile an hour winds all day.  Ever prepared, I was wearing the proper gear for the conditions.  This undoubtedly renders my sanity suspect, as if it took this final bit of evidence, but I have to say that experience is one of my favorite golf memories of all time.

A Walkabout at the Westin Kierland

Last post I acknowledged the remarkable reward trips we in the travel industry are privileged to experience.  I failed to mention, at the risk of spiking the ball, that our business meetings aren’t exactly shabby either.  Now if this strikes you as rubbing salt in the wounds, to mix metaphors, go back and read the last post about the “other side of the coin” (warning:  metaphor pile-up!).  I am pretty sure a quick, side-by-side comparison of our respective bank accounts will have you suddenly feeling much better about your life.

My most recent meeting was a Travel Leader’s FAB (franchise advisory board) meeting at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I know what you must be thinking.  “YOU were elected by your peers to serve on an advisory board?”  I know, I was every bit as shocked as you are.  Apparently none of my constituents have stumbled across this blog and honestly, I would just as soon keep it that way.  Why disabuse them of their harmless illusions regarding my sound judgment and sterling character?

When I arrived at the resort, I had a little free time so I embarked on what the Aussies call a “walkabout”.  Granted that term may be a bit of a stretch since I am neither an AustralianWestin Kierland Resort & Spa Aborigine nor did I spend six months tracing the paths of my ancestors.  In point of fact, I got tired after half an hour and plopped down in the Dreamweaver’s Canyon Courtyard,  sipped a Negra Modelo and gazed at all the swells strolling by.  It doesn’t take me long to get the lay of the land, especially when my favorite beer is beckoning.

Why don’t we reenact my little stroll to give you a bit of a feel for this magnificent resort?  Once I had gone to my room and stowed my gear (something I feel compelled to do in the first ten minutes upon arriving at any hotel . . . can you say OC?), I walked out a side door and this is the very first view that greeted me.  The similarities with my landscaped back yard were startling.  Or maybe it was the dissimilarities.  Westin Kierland Resort & Spa Sandpainter's CourtyardI would return to this very table below at Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Cafe a little later in the evening for a delicious repast.  The resort has numerous charms but dining al fresco as the sun sets behind a bagpiper in traditional Scottish dress piping his haunting melodies is toward the top of my list.

Dining at the Westin Kierland Resort & SpaBagpipes at sundown at the Westin Kierland Resort

Even the golf is unique.  Read this sentence from their website, “Only at Kierland Golf Club can a golfer – novice to experienced – enjoy innovative amenities and experiences like Segway transportation, Fore-MAX golf training, climate-controlled golfing and Scottish-themed Golf.”  As an avid golfer, I can say without the slightest fear of contraception, that is not a sentence that would apply to 99.99% of the golf courses anywhere in the world.

After a tough day of climate-controlled golf, what better way to cool off then tubing down the winding 900-foot lazy river.  How is that for a nice segway . . . I mean segue?  There is also a 110-foot water slide and even Aguamiel, a quiet retreat for adults.  But without a Westin Kierland Resort FlowRiderdoubt, the feature causing the greatest waves (pun intended) is the FlowRider.

My only regret was that I arrived on a Monday afternoon and left on Wednesday afternoon which didn’t permit me to enjoy all the amenities as I would have liked.   If you happen to have the responsibility in your work life for planning meetings or incentive trips, I strongly recommend this resort as a suitable site.  Based on my brief experience, you will not be disappointed.

Have you ever stayed at the Westin Kierland and how did you find it?  No wisecracks about using Garmin or TomTom, please.  That would be way too easy!