Oct. 18, 2012 Honeymoon Adventure At The Beautiful Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort On The Sea Of Cor
Written By: Brooke Cyphers, October 19, 2012
Location: Kinney Reservoir,
It was bright and early the morning after our wedding and Bobby and I were off to the airport. Our wedding had gone down in a beautiful blur, and we couldn’t have been more excited to be starting our honeymoon. The lovely Hotel Buena Vista was our destination and we were only a short plane flight from paradise!
Flying into San Jose del Cabo, our driver, Max, greeted us in Buena Vista’s airport shuttle van and we promptly headed off to the hotel. The resort is situated on the southern tip of Baja in-between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas on the Sea of Cortez, and only about 45 minutes from the airport. Bobby, and I were pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy the process had been. Customs was a breeze and Max had an easily legible sign and waited for us right at the exit. For my first time flying into Mexico, it made me feel right at home.
No sooner had we set foot off the plane than we were awed by how lush and beautiful the landscape was! Max explained that August and September are the rainy months for the southern tip of Baja. The land had absorbed all the water it could from three previous years of drought, and the flora and fauna were just bursting with life. Just before we landed, Bobby and I saw the last remnants of a thunderstorm butted up against the mountains above San Jose del Cabo. It had made the air thick and fruity, and we were soon reassured that clear skies were in forecast for our whole trip.
A short drive later we pulled up to the front fountain at Hotel Buena Vista. No sooner had we set foot out of the van than it became immediately obvious that this hotel catered to fisherman as the two billfish in their logo would suggest. We chatted with two gentlemen who where checking out, several coolers of fresh fish in hand. They had wonderful things to say of both the fishing and the hotel, bragging of the number of dorado and marlin they had caught on their latest adventure. Their marked enthusiasm piqued our anticipation and excitement as Bobby and I looked forward to our fishing trip the next morning.
They were the last few people to check out that day, filling a large bag of returned room keys that sat atop the receptionist’s desk while we checked in. It was clear they were very busy, but it was so nice to be greeted with warm smiles, fast service, and abundant hospitality.
As soon as we checked in and checked out our room, we quickly donned our bathing suits and headed straight for the swim up bar. Two margaritas on the rocks gave us our first “Cheers” on our honeymoon and we followed that with a wonderful dinner by the ocean to close out our first evening. Let the relaxation begin!
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at the hotel and marveled at the sunrise over the Sea of Cortez before boarding the 3 Hermanos with our captain Ramon and deckhand Tio.
We started off the morning with three rods loaded with live bait and settled in for a nice slow trolling pattern off the coast in waters about 400-800ft deep. The lines couldn’t have been in the water 10 minutes when a fish came knocking. I ran to the deck to reel in the first fish of the day. It turned out to be a feisty 10 pound dorado.
As the captain put us back into the trolling pattern, the winds slowed, the waters calmed and the fishing died. Lulled to sleep by the smell of the sapphire blue ocean and warm desert sun, I nodded off while watching the rods. My mind waiting for the next “zip” of line against the drag that would spring me back to life.
At about 11:30, the captain explained to me that we were going to switch gear and target marlin. The radios had been lighting up so he knew the marlin were biting.
About a half hour later we thought we had struck gold. A marlin was on the line and making a run for it. After about five minutes of jumping and writhing, he wrestled the hook loose and won his freedom. A palpable sigh fell on the boat as we set back to trolling again.
We were nearing the end of the day, and despite the calmer winds and multiple doses of Dramamine, the waves and tequila from the night before were catching up to me. In an act of desperation, I turned to the captain and asked him how our odds looked for the afternoon. Should we change baits? Locations? An excited but reassuring voice told me “10 more minutes, 10 more minutes!! One more run. The radios are hot!” With renewed excitement, we agreed to another run. At the end of that run, and two more after that, I was greeted with the same upbeat optimism. “10 more minutes” our captain would say, as if he knew that a big fish was circling the waters just waiting for our bait.
It couldn’t have been any more into the 11th hour when the deckhand popped from his chair, wide-eyed and ready to hand the rod off to me. “It’s a marlin!” he said, “and a big one!”
Oh my goodness! Bringing in a marlin is a little different from a dorado or a striper in S.F.Bay! They fight, and they fight hard! I heard my uncle’s advice ringing in my ears, “Just keep reeling…” but after about ten minutes, with the burning pain in my left arm turning to numbness, I gripped the rod with both hands and watched the line flow out of the reel. My only thought was, “Oh no, I have to reel that all back in!”
Tio put the fighting belt on me, and that gave me leverage for a minute or two. I have to admit, I had to pass the rod off to Tio to rest my arms for a few minutes. The marlin had taken a dive, and even though our captain had deftly maneuvered the boat to break it free of the dive, my arms were putty! No amount of advice could have prepared me for the tired muscles, but with the adrenaline running and the fish in sight of the boat, I took the rod back over while Tio put on his gloves and got out the gaff.
With the marlin on board, we headed back in for shore. I think Ramon and Tio were just as excited as I was to have the marlin on board. They laughed heartily with me as I proceeded to do my “I caught a big fish!” dance right on deck. He was a big beautiful fish and the only thing bigger at that point was the smiles of everyone onboard. What a way to cap off the day! It was truly a fishing trip of a lifetime, and Ramon and Tio were so incredibly nice and helpful! We couldn’t have had a better day on the water.
Back on shore, they took care of everything for us. We had 15 pounds of the marlin vacuum-sealed and frozen to take home with us and the rest went to the hotel restaurant along with our dorado for dinner that night. There is something uniquely satisfying about knowing that your dinner was on your line just a few hours before. And let me tell you, it was certainly gourmet! I’m a foodie by nature, and I can’t tell you how pleased we both were at the quality of the food at the hotel.
The marlin came out covered in garlic, butter and cilantro and served with rice, sautéed peppers, and fresh-made steaming tortillas. Try as we might to stuff ourselves with the fish, we couldn’t even begin to conquer the portions they gave us, at this meal as well as many others. We never had a meal we weren’t thrilled with at Hotel Buena Vista. All of the food, breakfast, lunch, and dinner were fresh, fantastic, and full of flavor. Whether you choose to have seafood that came straight from the ocean a mere 100 yards from your table, Mexican food that would WOW your mouth, or even some of the entrees that would remind you of home, everything was remarkably good.
That’s not all the hotel is known for though. Another reoccurring theme was just how friendly everyone was, hotel staff, boat crew, and other guests alike. You are definitely treated like family there. To quote Filipe Valdez, the Operations Manager and one of the sons of the owner Chuy Valdez, “Hotel Buena Vista is the largest ‘vacation home’ on the cape,” and I couldn’t agree more. It has an inviting homey charm that is paired with fantastic friendly service. Every member of the staff is incredibly helpful and they go out of their way to meet every need you could have.
Because we came between two busy weekends, we practically had the hotel to ourselves. We knew there were other guests there, but it felt so private and romantic. This location is exceptional for a honeymoon or anniversary, and we promptly told our family about this spot as a future location for a family reunion vacation.
Everything you can think of to take your mind off of society is here. There is no TV in the room, but a set of hammocks right outside. There is no loud music or activities board pressuring you to be busy, but at the same time they have a great nightlife tour that will take you into Cabo San Lucas if you so desire. The ocean is right out front, and the hotel is so open that you can hear the waves all the way from the reception desk at the top of the hill. There are views from your dinner table that can only be beat by lounging in one of the cabanas out on the sand. As honeymooners, we took full advantage of quiet evening walks on the pristine beach, and enjoyed the serenity of an evening swim in the pool before heading off to a nice cool room to sleep off the day full of sun and amazing memories.
Waking refreshed the next morning, we had breakfast and sauntered up to the massage room in the Hotel Buena Vista’s Spa. The masseuse was wonderful and so professional. We were lulled into deep relaxation by the scent of jasmine and eucalyptus while music played softly in the background. I’ve had my fair share of massages in the U.S. and I seem to remember every one of them using heated lotion or hot stones of some kind. In this tropical climate, I was so surprised that her hands were cool! I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing and relaxing the whole experience was. It was not something I ever would have guessed, nor do I have any idea how she kept her hands so cool for the whole hour, and both by husband and I remarked how the massages had far exceeded our expectations.
After our morning massages, we took a quick dip in the pool and put ourselves together to meet Max for a city tour of Todos Santos. It is about an hour and a half drive from the hotel to reach the city, but the views on the road had us so enthralled it seemed like half that time. Passing though ranch land and more flowers than you can count, we were captivated by the beauty around us.
Situated on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula, Todos Santos is it is called the Magic City, and it streets spark such wonderful flare that is hard to match. Our first stop was the restaurant Filipe had praised so enthusiastically when he arranged the trip for us, the Tequila’s Sunrise Bar and Grill. The owner, Manuel, and his wife greeted us with a warm welcome and that knowing grin that married couples give honeymooners.
Eager to entertain his customers, Manuel suggested we order the house favorite drink, the Margarita Damiana. Made with Damiana liqueur and key limes, Bobby and I agreed it was hands down the best margarita we’d ever drank.
The meal was nothing short of a masterpiece too. You could tell that the 25+ years they had been in business had produced perfection at the plate. Bobby had their specialty fish tacos. Twice marinated, they were heaven in your mouth. I had the shrimp stuffed chile relleno, which surrounded by this indescribably lovely red sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds. The shrimp filling was so light and luxurious and the pomegranate was such an unexpected surprise that there is no better description than simply delicious.
To top things off, they brought us this beautiful slice of dessert that was chocolate cake on bottom, flan on top and drizzled with caramel sauce that together made it nearly impossible for Bobby and I to do anything more than roll our happy bellies out the door.
We walked through the open-air shops that neighbored the restaurant to make a vague attempt at working off our lunch and perused the front of the famous Hotel California before climbing back into the van to head home.
Max had pointed out all kinds of points of interest on the way to the city, but it was the setting sun on the way home from Todos Santos that really caught my eye. We stopped and took a few photos in the mountainous region that separates the pacific side of the peninsula from the cape in an area called San Antonio de la Sierra. From the hills you can also get a clear view of Cerralvo, also know as Jacques Cousteau Island, recently renamed to honor the French Oceanographer who frequently explored this area.
We arrived back at the hotel in time for an evening swim in the pool and a light dinner of fresh lobster. Even having split the entre, it could have fed a small horse. I don’t think I’ve eaten so much food in one day in more years than I can remember, but I can tell you that every bite was worth it!
On our fourth day in Baja, two exceedingly humorous gentlemen in an older Chevy Suburban picked us up just after breakfast. After a 10-minute drive into Los Barriles and up the riverbed, we arrived at the Dessertica zip-lining course. Aside from the fishing, this was the day my husband and I had looked most forward to. Our family had taken a zip-lining tour recently in Hawaii and had such wonderful things to say about their trip that we could hardly wait to get our gear on and fly down the lines.
The guides were so knowledgeable and friendly. They secured our gear and gave us a brief safety talk before strapping us to a line and letting us go! They give you hand breaks that you can use to adjust your speed. Depending on the line, you can go as fast or as slow as your heart desires. If you are up to the adventure, you can even have the guides help you ‘superman’ fly across the canyon or hang upside down and spin.
We had an absolute riot of a time, laughing and hollering across the canyon. My only complaint is that it had to end. There were about fifteen lines of different heights and lengths that took you on the most unique sight seeing tour you can have. At the end of the tour is a rope swing with a forty-foot drop that made Bobby scream with joy. After the tour, we stripped down the gear and dove straight into a beautiful canyon pool with the most refreshing and cool water we experienced the whole trip. After we dried off, our guides took us for a ‘Mexican Massage’ on the ride home, their joke for the bouncy car ride over the riverbed.
Bobby and I returned to the resort for a nice siesta after lunch and proceeded to spend the rest of our vacation lazily by the pool, books and cervesas in hand. The first arrivals of the next weekend’s group were starting to congregate at the swim up bar and we ate our dinner that night amid a buzz of laughter and hellos as a mariachi band started playing. The “Buds and Suds, Contractors Invitational” had sold out the hotel starting on Thursday, and we could feel the change in the atmosphere as they geared up for their getaway weekend.
We ate our last quiet breakfast while the contractors where out for their first day of fishing, and afterwards we reluctantly packed our bags for the trip home. Picking up our frozen fish at the front desk, Max made the drive to take us back to the airport. A few souvenirs and 15 pounds of fish heavier, we boarded the plane back to Phoenix. We spent the plane ride home reliving stories of our trip. With one final Bloody Mary on the plane, Bobby and I shared a closing toast on our honeymoon, and arrived home with a tan that can’t be beat.
We feel so very spoiled that we were able to spend our honeymoon in such a lush paradise. Our whole trip was filled with amazing adventures that we will cherish for a lifetime, and we are so very blessed and honored to have spent our honeymoon with the excellent service of the Hotel Buena Vista as our memory.
If you want to book your own getaway in Baja, contact the Hotel Buena Vista reservations desk at 1-800-752-3555 or view their website at http://www.hotelbuenavista.com.Back To Reports