Letting Out My Inner Party Girl in Los Cabos
When my mom first suggested that we take a trip to Los Cabos, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little apprehensive. From what I knew, Cabo was synonymous with spring breakers, and not being much of a party girl, images of lushes fist pumping in Oakley sunglasses flashed through my mind. However, there were three redeeming qualities: Cabo has the beach, we’d be there on my birthday (which I fondly refer to as Samantha Day, or SDay), and it’s in Mexico. I immediately eschewed all reservations and accepted, determined to have as good of a time as possible.
From what I knew, Cabo was synonymous with spring breakers, and not being much of a party girl, images of lushes fist pumping in Oakley sunglasses flashed through my mind.
Los Cabos is a municipality at the southernmost tip of Baja California Sur, one of Mexico’s 32 states. It is primarily divided into two parts, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Cabo San Lucas seemed to be the more densely populated area, while San Jose del Cabo is a little more spread out, but steadily growing. While getting around Los Cabos can be somewhat of a costly experience, as your options are either taxi, motorcycle/moped, or water taxi, like anywhere, it is possible to vacation on a dime. Forever the budget traveler, I resorted to walking whenever possible, and hitting up the local Oxxo for snacks and such.
The first few days of our week-long trip were spent tanning, hanging on the beach, and drinking piña coladas. I’m far more of a lie-back-and-kick-it type of traveler than a site-seer, so I was perfectly pleased to lie around and work on my tan. The weekend hit though, and SDay would be upon me that Saturday; I began to feel anxious to explore and experience what else was going on in Cabo besides relaxing in the sunshine.
Friday we took a water taxi to Playa El Medano, which was just across the marina from where we were staying. It’s a public beach, so it was crowded, full of gringos and vendors selling all manner of overpriced trinkets, and frequent woo!’s. We found a table with and umbrella at a place called Omega Bar, and I immediately jumped into the ocean for some sea swimming. After chatting with our server throughout the afternoon, I was invited to go out later the following evening, and I eagerly jumped at the chance to go out on my own.
As I’m sure everyone hears in the news, Mexico doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to safety. If it’s not a report of some heinous crime occurring somewhere in the country, it’s some cartel-related issue. However, I’ve never had a bad experience on my visits (in Sonora, or Tijuana), and while the female travelers of the world must accept the degrees of danger that exist, I have found Mexico, and Mexicans, to be some of the friendliest and most hospitable people around. So, after practically bribing my mother (Latina moms be like…), I managed to have a night to myself with my new friend to celebrate SDay.
Downtown Cabo is full of bars and nightclubs, mostly blasting some kind of top 40 hit or electronica. I don’t really listen to the radio anymore, so I felt really out of the loop, but dancing is dancing, and my friend and I spent the next few hours pulling shapes at La Vaquita, Mandala, and El Squid Roe (which arguably has the better music of the three). Another excursion to Saloon Cabo, a Wild West themed bar, had me chugging some horrible concoction called la cucaracha, or the cockroach, and rightly so named. But it was my birthday, and when in Mexico, I suppose.
Here I was, in Mexico, with a guy I hardly knew, in the middle of the night on a sparsely populated beach. And I was okay.
After another shot of godforsaken tequila at a bar called Happy Ending, and more dancing, I decided that a spontaneous trip to the beach at 1 a.m. was just the ticket. Off we went, to the less-festive edge of Playa El Medano, and as I floated in the salty waters of the California Gulf, singing La Sirenita, I began to have a familiar feeling. It was the same feeling I had experienced when I stayed in my first hostel alone in Japan; the same feeling I had when I went out with someone I had only just met in Hong Kong.
Here I was, in Mexico, with a guy I hardly knew, in the middle of the night on a sparsely populated beach. And I was okay. I was great, actually. As I’ve read time and time again from fellow female travelers, your gut feeling is a powerful thing, and as I’ve experienced time and time again, that while a good amount of precaution should be taken, most people are pretty cool. Most men are pretty cool. You can be a good judge of character. In that moment, drifting in the midnight ocean, I felt that familiar tingle of confidence. I was able to have a cool (and admittedly, slightly reckless) experience and live to tell the tale.
After being thrown around by the waves for a few hours and watching several booze cruises float by, my evening would soon draw to a close just a bit before dawn. I left Cabo the following Monday with a wonderful tan, some new friends, and a reaffirmation of my desire to move to Latin America. Feliz cumpleaños a mi.