LOS CABOS — I wake up to a lovely but cool morning and gaze into the clouds knowing that in a few hours I will be in a much warmer place. Excitement builds as I stuff my bag with all the essentials for a spring getaway — bathing suit, check; suntan lotion, check. Who needs anything else?
My final destination is the lovely Sandos Finisterra Resort, about a 45 minute drive from the Los Cabos airport. I know I’m truly on vacation when my taxi driver cracks me a cold Corona before setting off to the resort.
The late-day drive is highlighted by a setting sun that turns the sky multiple shades of red, orange and purple as it starts its slow decent behind the silhouetted mountains that drop off into the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a truly remarkable sight and already I’m in a holiday state of mind even before we reach Sandos Finisterra, a unique resort that’s built up and into a massive rock outcrop.
The lobby is unlike any I’ve ever encountered — rooms, restaurants and bars dangle above my head as they cling precariously to the side of the giant rock.
Above: The Sandos Finisterra Resort sits perched on a rock cliff overlooking the ocean.
Gazing out on the rugged terrain that surrounds the property makes me wonder if this really isn’t a survival course disguised as a resort. Ladies, leave your thigh master at home. While there’s plenty of bridges and elevators to help those less mobile to get around, the winding paths that wrap around the rock face may pose a challenge for some. Wear high heels at your own risk!
Finally in my room, I swing open the balcony door and look down on a magical scene of twinkling lights dancing on the black surface of the resort’s marina.
There’s not a bad view in this resort — all 272 rooms offer either ocean or bay views. And thanks to the elevation of the resort, I’m treated to some spectacular views of the marina and downtown core off in the distance, especially at sunset.
I wake up to my first full day, grab breakfast and head out for a walk along the lovely marina, where there’s endless shops selling local crafts and souvenirs. Some persistent hawkers try to sell me fishing, snorkelling or adventure tours and will walk alongside you for as long as you engage them.
Later, I make my way to a local restaurant overlooking the marina where I enjoy a cool refreshment and marvel at the fleet of handsome private yachts docked here.
I’m joined by Rocio Fonseca, the resort’s sales manager, who tells me the property opened in 1969 and was one of only three hotels in Los Cabos at the time. How times have changed.
The resort was an instant success, mainly because of its Whale Watcher Bar, which quickly became a popular hot spot. The Whale Watcher still exists and sits atop the highest point in the resort, offering a stunning 360-degree view of the ocean, beaches, marina and city. Opening at 4 p.m. daily, the Whale Watcher lives up to its name — guests gather there between November and March in hopes of seeing the gentle giants pass by on their migration to warmer waters.
Left: The swimming pool are is breathtaking.
Rocio tells me the resort joined the Sandos portfolio in 2012 and some major renovations took place shortly after. New luxury suites were added and the entire property was given a facelift. The old resort was new again.
Rooms have been enhanced with all the 21st-century amenities and the only thing better than the accommodation is the service — staff are congenial and helpful and visitors are soon treated like family.
The dining options are many at Sandos with variety to satisfy all pallets. The resort offers three á la carte options, where dishes featuring local Baja specialties, as well as Italian and American favourites, are served. Bigger appetites will like the buffet option and those looking for some simple snacks will find those at one of Sandos’ six bars and the charming Cupcake Café.
There’s never a dull moment at Sandos — nights are spiced with lively variety shows that are performed in the resort’s “town square” and there are six bars dotted throughout the property to grab a cockatil.
A favourite morning meeting place at Sandos is the Cupcake Café, where I wash down homemade cupcakes and pastries with every type of coffee imaginable.
The café’s wall attract a lot of attention, too. That’s because it’s adorned with photographs of Rolling Stones legends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards — the latter married Patti Hansen at the resort in 1983.
Most days, the resort is bathed in glorious sunshine and guests find refuge from the heat at one of Sandos’ three large pools or on its sugary beach, which seems to stretch as far as the eye can see.
As the Rolling Stones discovered, Sandos Finisterra is the perfect spot for a wedding. Its romantic beach setting and impressive rock backdrop inspires many to hold their nuptials here and during my stay I witnessed several ceremonies along the sandy shoreline.
Because of its close proximity to Los Angeles, it’s not unusual to see Hollywood stars sitting at a local bar or restaurant and some entertainers have even invested in local resorts here.
Sandos is a Spanish resort chain which currently has four properties in Mexico, Rocio informs me. They are all-inclusive resorts and each is theme based. Sandos has two in Playa del Carmen — Caracol, offering an eco experience, and Playacar, which is a beach resort. Sandos’ other Mexican property in Cancun is a lifestyle resort.
Above: The lavish rooms with the ocean views and state-of-the-art spa are world class.
If you can tear yourself from the pampering at the resort, you’ll find Los Cabos one of the most unique resort towns in all of Mexico. It’s renowned for its many dramatic rock formations — The Arch, Neptune’s Finger and Scooby Doo being the most famous. Many a marriage proposal has been made on Cabos’ uniquely-named beach —Lovers and Divorce.
Many visitors like to take fishing and whale watching expeditions — Los Cabos is where the Pacific blends into the Sea of Cortez and the marine activities abound.
Los Cabos is also one of the few places in the world where a desert runs along an ocean — so don’t be surprised to see people on camels riding along the sandy shore.
A must for adventure seekers is a day trip into the mountainous rain forest that borders Los Cabos. There you get to see lush vegetation and hopefully some of the villagers that call the jungle home. A hike up the mountainside can be daunting but those adventurous enough to try it are rewarded with a jump into one of the many freshwater pools that line the trails.
Thanks to Sandos’ all-inclusive packages, you don’t need a Hollywood star’s bank account to enjoy this resort with the Hollywood good looks. •
• For more information on Sandos’ Mexican resorts, go to http://www.sandos.com / Air Canada, WestJet and several Canadian charter airlines offers flights to Los Cabos.