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The Other Cabo

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Infamous for beaches bombarded each year with boisterous spring-breakers, the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, has an unexpected surprise up its sleeve: it’s got a quiet side.

By April Cumming, Photos courtesy of Murphy O’Brien

There’s a beauty to traveling abroad, even if it is just to Baja California, Mexico. Every new experience and each new encounter feels heightened. You exist outside your comfort zone and, perhaps because of that, you feel alive.

It’s debatable what your most memorable moment will be after your stay at Esperanza, a five-star Auberge Resort on the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. so, let’s start after you’ve told your friends, family and co- workers where you’re headed, after you’ve received all the suggestive nods and implicit winks more suited for a high- school senior planning a devil-may-care spring break. Let’s start at the beginning.

RENDEZVOUS

Stepping out of the airport, spot your chauffeur and be whisked into the dry heat that is Baja’s desert climate. Notice the lack of sweat streaming down your back and smile. The arid weather here is a welcome change from the double-punch punishment of Austin’s heat and humidity. Spot a complimentary facecloth resting stoically in the backseat consul of your driver’s Cadillac, and quickly unravel the cool, chamomile-scented godsend across your face. The past few hours of airport insanity—customs and security, anyone?—fade away as you gregariously exchange basic Spanish phrases with your driver, Enrique. “Hoy, el agua mira mas turquesa,” he says fluidly. (Today, the water looks more turquoise.)

Glancing out the tinted window, you’re entranced by chalky beige kissing cobalt blue: the dry desert meeting the glistening Sea of Cortez. The road from the airport to the resort parallels the curvatures of the coastline, giving you a surveyor’s view of a case study in contrast.

A pod of resort attendants greets you upon arrival. It’s a sea of hands. One takes your bags, one greets you and another promptly hands you a salt-rimmed frozen margarita.

RELAX

Safely delivered to your casita, sneak a peek at your watch. With half an hour to kill before you’re expected for your Tropical Essence massage (and foot scrub!) at the spa, continue to sip on the aforementioned margarita as you ramble about your room, checking off priorities. Espresso machine for all hours of the day? Check. Bathroom mirrors framed with radiant lights the Kardashian clan would envy? Check. Yoga mat in the closet? Check. Private outdoor terrace with your own personal hot tub? Check and check.

Robe ties strewn carelessly around your waist, you stroll through the palm-tree-studded property in search of the placid koi pond that marks the entrance to the spa. The world and all its stressors slip away once you cross over the pond’s narrow, drawbridge- like path.

Post-massage, lounge by the splash pool in the secluded, shaded patio. As you sip on a cold, blended concoction of cantaloupe and horchata, ponder which outfit you’ll wear to tonight’s five-course dinner.

REPLENISH

Sometimes, challenges in life can be a good thing. For example, the challenge to keep your gaze from drifting to the waves hissing, crashing and retreating below as you dine cliffside on seafood-centric dishes of scallop soup, leopard-grouper ceviche and tortilla corn salad—all accompanied by flowing glasses of vino. The culinary program here, which includes a grand total of six restaurants, is helmed by esteemed Executive Chef Guillermo Gomez, and touts meals that are just as postcard picturesque as the property’s views.

REST

Have you ever heard the saying, “Doing nothing is exhausting”? Maybe it’s the crisp, coastal air or that second glass of port wine you ordered after dinner, but it’s a statement that rings especially true in Cabo. The only activity you’re interested in doing after dinner is reaching for the blackout curtains and crawling into bed like you’re a caterpillar getting situated in the comfort of her cocoon.

Consider for a moment how being hugged by plush bedding is almost as nice as being hugged by a human. OK, fine, you confess: It’s actually much better.

REJUVENATE

Speaking of hugging, lining both sides of the resort is something other resort properties on the peninsula can’t lay claim to: two private, vendor-free, white-sand beaches.

When Odile, a Category 4 hurricane, pilfered the Baja California Peninsula in September 2014, none of the area’s resorts survived without enduring some sort of damage. In the aftermath, Esperanza underwent a massive renovation, which means everything from the sprawling beaches and casitas to the oceanside restaurants and pool areas look brand new.

Squeeze in a morning stand-up paddleboard yoga session and spend the majority of your afternoon languidly half-submerged in the glistening infinity pool. As you casually shift between watching deep-sea fishing boats disappear on the horizon and chatting with a couple who’s also, serendipitously, on vacation from Austin, a thought comes to mind. You wave over the margarita butler for another round.

REVEL

As you retreat to your casita, don’t be alarmed if you’re taken aback by a spontaneous crackle and boom. Rightly so, the property is a prime destination for beach weddings, meaning a fireworks show over the sea to cap off the festivities is in order. Curl up on your patio—lined with flickering hurricane candles, pre-lit as part of the turndown service—to enjoy the spectacle.

REFLECT

Before you slip beneath the sheets, place a breakfast room-service order from the bedside iPad-cum-electronic- concierge. You’ll thank yourself the next morning as, seated al fresco, you slowly stir a splash of cream into your coffee and break off a sugar-dusted morsel of pan dulce (sweet bread). Take a moment to lose your train of thought, to listen to the sound of the rustling palm fronds that tower above, to watch as the hummingbirds flit between one billowing magenta bougainvillea bush to the next. What would life be like, you ponder, if you just happened to miss your flight home?

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Late January through March: whale watching. Every winter, pods of gray whales migrate from the Pacific waters of Alaska and Siberia to birth their calves in the warm waters off the coast of Baja. Rumor has it that you can spot whales in the sea of Cortez without leaving Esperanza’s infinity pool.

Mid-October through December: deep-sea sport fishing. the deep-water canyons off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, paired with the warm waters of the sea of Cortez, make for prime striped-marlin fishing territory.

GETTING THERE

Unless you plan to travel by private jet, there are no direct flights from Austin- Bergstrom international Airport to Cabo San Lucas. (A girl can dream!) Daily flights to Cabo regularly route from Austin through Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Pro tip: The best time of the week to scout out a good deal on airfare is Tuesdays, when airlines update their ticket prices en masse. Average roundtrip airfare tends to hover at about $400 per person.

ABOUT THE RESORT

Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, overlooks the Sea of Cortez in Cabo San Lucas and offers an incomparable natural setting on 17 lush acres. Enjoy dining on delicious sea-to-table fare, practice your swing at one of five championship-level golf courses nearby or get your sweat on at beach boot-camp class before retreating to the award-winning restorative spa. Pro tip: Guests who book a stay before Dec. 18 get their fourth night free. esperanza.aubergeresorts.com

 

  

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