Downtown Cabo San Lucas
On Sunday, we ventured out to explore downtown Cabo San Lucas, visit Medano Beach and go for dinner. The main mall, Puerto Paraiso, was just a mall, very Americanized with nothing special we haven’t seen before. We bought kids overpriced ice cream and went for a very warm walk by the marina, where we saw the cutest “show” ever: seal begging for fish carcasses as fishermen were dealing with their catch of the day.
We quickly got tired of intoxicated almost naked spring breakers, pushy sales people and overpriced restaurants. I am really past the stage of being taken advantage off knowingly.
Medano Beach is main hotel zone beach where I stayed at Riu Santa Fe when went to Mexico by myself 5 years ago. While back then it seemed beautiful, now I do agree that the water is beautiful but the amount of people is overwhelming. However, I went in June vs. now being March – high season.
I still don’t know if we will take a taxi to visit the Lover’s Beach because I simply can’t justify the price vs. time vs. people. I would much rather soak in the pool, relax at a private beach and watch sunsets.
“On the Other Side”
I did my research before and found this post on 10 best cheap places to eat in Cabo. I quickly understood that if we want authentic Mexican food at Mexican prices, we have to go where locals live. So off we went, to “the other side”, literally steps across from the mall that sells $8 Haagen Daaz ice cream, where you truly see why Mexico is a third world country. The side where Americans and Canadians have not invested their money or do not reside 6 months our of the year.
Me and Alex know exactly how this world operates because we lived this life before – knock off $15 Skechers, street food without a health inspection, an elderly woman selling a gum, homeless dogs, smelly public transit and people who are genuinely poor. I have to admit I was genuinely curious to see it all again, with a different perspective at life now, from “this side”. I wanted to see how it feels and looks, knowing I am going home on April 1st to my safe Canada. Many of you won’t understand but for years I have been on that side looking at American and Canadian tourists as aliens.
My kids, on the other hand, were in complete shock, specifically a 10 year old. He was totally floored by this “other side” and refused to eat churros and had tears in his eyes. Good! A 6 year old couldn’t understand why there are wondering dogs instead of deer, bears and bunnies LOL. We will go back, even though I got completely ripped off at a wheel barrel “candy store” and paid $4 for what costs $1 in a dollar store. But I happily gave in for the experience and the seller.
Tacos Los Claros
Los Claros is one of the best spots to eat tacos in Cabo, that is what they say. I have to say that eating authentic local food was one of the reasons we all got immunized for hepatitis, which was neither cheap or painless. I’m not a flu shot gal but I do immunize my kids and was not willing to risk this whole hepatitis thing while living in Mexico for a month. Again, being raised in Ukraine, I know exactly how things are done in third world countries. Rules are almost non-existent, however this fact has built my great immune system.:)
Los Claros tacos were good. It was really our first time eating real tacos, in Mexico. We tried smoked marlin, surf and turf, scallops and carne asada. Me and Alex also had a Michelada, which was basically beer and lime juice, so good. Ad for tacos, you basically get a tortilla with the filling and then go load up on fixings.
The thing I have to say is that we definitely stood out in that part of town. I really experienced what it feels like to be “on the other side” – everyone stares at you. I can’t say I felt completely safe, whether it was because it was our first time really submerging into another society (so different fro mCanada – home) or because we know how things truly are “on the other side”. I don’t think I will ever get to the point like many North Americans “Oh, it’s all totally safe out there” simply because I know that human life doesn’t matter much when you gotta eat. But tacos were great! Honestly, nothing I can’t do at home but still tasty and the total bill was US$28.
Until next time!
I’m really enjoying all your Mexico posts! Your brave to venture to the other side. I don’t think I would every really feel safe either. There are parts in the states that I wouldn’t want to venture. lol. It looks like you guys are having a great time and the kids are getting some life lessons. 😉
Well, I couldn’t resist. I was scared myself but legs kept moving. My mom thinks I’m insane but at same time she hasn’t done even 1/100th what I have done in life. Must be the last 10 years of being confined to my home with kids. We went back again and this time went way deeper and it was amazing!!! Baby steps. We saw so much cool street food OMG, this time kids were less shocked and had a ton of amazing treats and were genuinely curious. So much fun! I mean I’m still cautious but hopefully one day we can go to Thailand and Asia. I will keep posting, I’m really enjoying writing travel posts and not recipes right now.
Hi, Olena and Co.! Hello from third world and beautiful yet gloomy Saint Petersburg, Russia!
I was stuck reading your blog about travelling to Cabo/Mexico. Brought back my memories visiting Mexico. Been there last autumn, but lived in La Paz and went to Cabo San Lucas for a day. To me Cabo – its “Disneyland”, plastic and not true Mexico and I like to see that you tried to go to “another side”:). Even though your kids were shocked:) its important to show them differences in life and another world, it might make them being curious to discover the world. Other world is not just all-inclusive look like resort:).
You are amazing mom! And I can understand your worries about sanitary and cleaneness, you remind me myself when I visited Asia with my 8 y.o.son. In Asia street food just amazing (and cheap), but I was soooo afraid of deseases that could take him only to the well established or well known restaurants. When Im alone – its another story! Banana pancakes from Malaysian street girls – I would sell my soul..even though it ruins my body shape:).
And so as Mexico – best tacos we tried were from the small place we passed on our way to Cabo.
I know you said you come to Mexico for lazy time and relax, but suggest you taking your guys out of Cabo towards Cerritos Beach, Todos Santos (they have nice art community) and maybe reach La Paz. Its not as touristy as Cabo. And the best restaurant we tried in Mexican local style range – La Costa. Its just next to Marina La Paz.
AND another advice for your food adventure and discovery local stuff – try to find local small food stores with no added flavoures dried mangos, few types of natural fruit marmalades and special kinds of cheese made by locals. They also had some other stuff. I bet everything was organic.
Hope my advices will be helpful.
Enjoy your time in sunny Mexico!
Hi RiaRia. I have to reply to your elaborate comment.
St.Petersburg is gorgeous, I have never been but it is my dream to explore Russia and show the world to kids before they venture out on their own. So, they grow up appreciative, not entitled, well rounded and open minded individuals. There is life outside of North America.
You nailed it about Cabo = Disneyland. Not interesting to me. We are yet to go to Disneyland only because me and Alex both hate crowds of that type, it is expensive and kids are not asking about it LOL. Not sure if we ever make it there and that is fine. I hate to be a stereotype instead of doing what I feel like.
Street food – I think we are scared of the unknown, that is what it is. Once you try a bit and see everyone is fine, you try more .We did and we are still fine. I agree – Alex said the same thing if he was by himself he would go explore all of Mexico, but with kids a bit scary.
Not sure if we will make it to La Paz BUT we are definitely going to Todos Santos, and thank you SO MUCH for recommending Cerritos Beach, it is on the way to Todos Santos. One of the parents on Kyle’s hockey team recommended it to us and we forgot the name.
Do you have any idea how these local stores would be called?
Thank you for all recommendations!
Olena, hi again! Thank u for reading my comment and replying.
Be aware Cerritos Beach is a perfect spot for surfers cos of big waves, so make sure your guys are safe and being watched enough. And water is a bit colder than Sea Of Cortez.
Unfortunately I cant say how you can recognize those local food stores..It looks like a simple Mexican style place, no any particular signs or something.., maybe near town’s market area (as it was in La Paz)..as a hint?
We were lucky to be taken there by our local friend, who knew his way around..which was easy.
But I believe you can locate such place some day ocassionally too.
Love your colorful pictures of the market! Awesome!
Again – enjoy your time for fullest with your guys in that wonderful place:)
P.S. Read your replies for last comments here..Somebody is going to be converted into the globetrotter slowly, huh?;) When you are set on for Asia with kids – welcome asking questions, I would share my experience with pleasure!
Yes, I’m well aware of the undertow on this side of the ocean and do not let boys go in below their knees. Thanks for the warning, many people do not realize the danger of the ocean!
I will try to look for a market. We are venturing out to San Jose del Cabo tonight and will go again to Cabo.
Haha, travelling the world was the plan all the way, we have been waiting for kids to get older. I still think Adam is too young for Asia (6 y.o.) or Europe but old enough for lazy Mexico vacation. I will definitely ask you for recommendations!!!
I love that your son was so sensitive to the “other side”. What a sweet boy! My adult heart still breaks when I see a homeless person and I think it is sad when people become desensitized by other people’s or animals hardships. Compassion and sensitivity will take him far in life…when you are a good person, good things happen to you.
🙂 Canadians are very compassionate and sensitive people. It is actually the main focus of current curriculum, believe it or not. I agree with you, it is very sweet etc., and great, I just wish academics and discipline were paid more attention LOL. AND less compassion in nutrition and health – so much junk gets into my kids’ routine from compassionate coaches, team managers, parents, teachers.:) But it is great, I agree with you. It is better to be surrounded by nice people than assholes.
Well, I was educated in Catholic school so we were taught compassion ( in fairness we were taught to model our lives after Jesus…we all fell sadly short of that!!!!) and there was no sassing, slouching, being rude, lazy or disrespectful, so I hear you! That’s what made teaching so hard for me…most parents these days are very easy on their kids, and it shows. Being strict is not always popular, but it can be done in the right way. Enough of my opinions and jabber…go get some vitamin D for all of us!?
I am all for compassion and kindness when the real need for it exists. Canadians are one of the kindest people I have ever met, however I believe because the importance of compassion and kindness has been pushed so much, it is overused quite often nowadays. “The bubble wrap” and soft parents are a result of this, just a bit too much. A bit of toughness wouldn’t hurt for many reasons. But like I said, I would rather live with overly compassionate people even with the loopholes of this concept than overly assholes LOL.
Being a teacher in Canada is tough, in a way, I think, when you have all these parents telling you what they think is better for their “babies”. And sadly enough all these parents care about are their “babies'” hurt feelings and barely anyone cares about academics, sad truth. Kids are catered to way too much, many kids have no respect for adults. I have definitely felt judgement on my parenting views and actions from a few parents, which made those parents feel like I’m a mean parent, which is actually funny. We laugh about it at home with Alex, I don’t care, I find friends of my own kind.:) Everyone is so scared to be true themselves nowadays. Anyways, I can talk about this all day. I can complain and all but actually if I raise academically and spirit wise stronger kids than majority of their peers, only a huge bonus for my kids. So I should stop complaining. Vitamin D is calling my name.:)