Days 5 & 6: Cabo, Lands End, A Brush With Death & a Newfound Love

I’ve been to several Mexican towns but Cabo San Lucas is honestly the only place I can say I fell in love with.

My affair crept up on me as my mother-in-law Linda and I were teaching the kids to play shuffleboard on deck 4. As the Disney Wonder approached the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, Lands End came into view. We stopped in our tracks and marveled at these famously tall and stoic landmarks at the tip of the Baja Peninsula.

A colony of sea lions bathed on the rocks, sun-worshippers laid out on remote Lover’s Beach (only accessible via water taxi) and kayaks wove around Arch Rock. Cabo San Lucas impressively loomed with its mansion-dotted hilltops, testifying of Cabo’s reputation as Mexico’s most elite destination.

Lands End Coastal Cruise

I had foolishly signed up for the 40-minute Lands End Coastal Cruise ($33 adults, $19 kids) in a motorized catamaran. I say foolishly because I had wrongfully assumed we would be unable to see Lands End from the cruise ship and was disappointed we would not be experiencing anything new.

However, the excursion was not a total waste of time. We enjoyed getting up-close-and-personal with the landmarks and the informative narrative by J.M. Cousteau. But during my next visit, I’m renting a water taxi or kayaking to Lover’s Beach.

Because there will be a next time.

Cabo San Lucas’ Beaches

I had thoroughly researched Cabo’s beaches (a great resource is 10 Best Beaches in Cabo San Lucas) and had narrowed it down to Chileno Beach. Perfect for families, this beach skips the local party scene, has bathrooms, palapas for shade, snorkeling equipment and tide pools for exploration that I knew my kids would love.

The problem is Chileno Beach is located on what is called “The Corridor”–an 18-mile four-lane highway that follows a stunning coastline past championship golf courses, world-class beaches and luxury resorts.

OK, that wasn’t the problem because that sounds pretty darn idyllic. The quandary was the cab ride cost around $80 round-trip. Renting a car for $47 was another option, but one I was unwilling to take with self-professed map dementia, unfamiliar roads, a foreign country and no car seats.

It was my way of preserving my children’s lives.

Playa El Médona and My Baywatch Moment

People repeatedly recommended the very beach I wanted to avoid: El Médona. Sure, ithas a convenient location (just around the pier), a variety of restaurants and stellar views of Lands End but it’s also the crowded party beach.

In the end, the price was right. For $2/person, we rode in a glass-bottomed water taxi with a glass floor to our very own cut of paradise on Medona where we could rent boogie boards, jet skis, snorkel gear and anything our heart desired.

When we arrived at Medona, a cool Mexican dude offered us boogie boards but after taking one look at the relatively steep drop and undertow of the beach, turned him down. I did take him up on his offer to rent an umbrella for $10 for the day.

I didn’t tell him that I would have paid double that for shade.

Despite several annoyances that included locals toting their wares no less than every 30 seconds (not an exaggeration), we had a nice time. The temperatures were mild, Haddie got her hair braided by a local merchant and another made her a bracelet. The kids never tired of chasing the waves and it was a chaotic form of paradise.

After a couple of hours, I left to explore the shops along Marina Boulevard, the main artery that curves around the waterfront. When I came back, the tide was starting to come in and the waves looked more dangerous. Linda and I moved closer to the kids and not even two minutes after making this decision, Bode (who was body surfing) got caught in an undertow and gobbled by a following wave.

In a scene out of Baywatch, I surged forward into the water, surf splashing everywhere and snatched him from his death.

OK, more like instead of the sexy red bathing suit I was fully clothed after my walk and though scary, his situation was not life-and-death.

But for drama’s sake just work with me here.

That was our sign to call it a day. Despite our less-than-optimal beach conditions, we were reluctant to leave. As we rode our tender boat back to the cruise ship, sea lions and pelicans escorted us as a final, memorable farewell to glorious Cabo San Lucas.

Pirates IN the Caribbean Soiree

The “Pirate IN the Caribbean” deck party is the Disney Wonder’s most highly anticipated event. The evening starts with a pirate-themed dinner where everyone receives a pirate special bandanna and orders from a menu resembling the parchment of an age old treasure map. It ends with a buccaneer bash starring Mickey Mouse, games, a huge spread of food and the only fireworks display at sea.

Despite being worn out from our day at the beach, my kids insisted upon waiting up until 9:30 p.m. for the party. When we arrived, it was in full swing with interactive games on the big screen, a pirate-style line dance, black lighting, raucous music and Captain Hook.

Exhausted Bode and Linda bailed at 10 p.m. but Hadley was committed to wait up for the fireworks display and more importantly: the pirate-themed buffet at 10:30 p.m.Families huddled together in wonderment as the pirate pyrotechnics lit up the Mexican Riviera’s ebony sky. Haddie then raced over to score the very first spot in line for the buffet and indulged in treasures like The Black Pearls’ Beef Tenderloin and the Treasure Chest Meringue filled with tropical fruit, berries and vanilla sauce.

Because we hadn’t eaten enough food on the cruise already. But it was all worth the wait.


If you missed it:

*It’s a Wonder Cruising with Disney: A Day-by-day Guide
*Day 0.5: If Getting There is Half the Fun Then I’m in Trouble
*Day 1: Kids Club, Sail Away Party and Fat Kitty Stowaway
*Day 2: Stateroom, Oceaneer Club, Pools, Entertainment & Pyrotechnics, Oh My!
*Day 3: Our Slacker Character Breakfast, Oceaneer Lab’s Little Red Hen and the Magic of Animator’s Palate
*Day 4: Puerto Vallarta, Boogie Boarding and Not-nude Beaches
*Days 5 & 6: Cabo, Lands End, A Brush with Death and a Newfound Love
*Day 7: Farewells & Our Favorite Moment of the Trip

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