The ME Guide to Cabo
As part of the collaboration between VICE and hotel brand ME by Meliá, Angela Suarez and Pia Riverola explored the stunning scenes of Cabo, taking in the best parts of the city and collecting recommendations from local tastemakers.
Photography by Pia Riverola
Before arriving in Los Cabos, I was surprised by the different opinions that it provokes. Some never return, others come back year after year. In fact everyone is right. Los Cabos has some incredible elements and others that can make you hesitate. It is a magical place full of life and nature that I will not hesitate to visit again and again. A place that harbours the best of two cultures, coming together at one of the tips of the earth.
Checking in at the hotel ME Cabo, I am captivated by its Mediterranean-style architecture, especially its vaulted windows reflecting the orange light of dawn. The location is perfect and from the pool, one can see the famous rock formations that shape El Arco and La Playa del Amor on the horizon. The influence of the assiduous American visitors has been felt from arrival at the airport, Los Cabos is a place of communion between American and Mexican culture, something that makes this place unique. Every culture has its positive and negative clichés, in Cabos you can enjoy the hospitality, good service and know-how of American character, alongside a Mexican passion for fun, gastronomy and the land.
A great example of this is Flora Farms, a place founded by the Greene family in 1996, where you can enjoy delicious organic food while musicians play live music. Browse the clothing, jewellery and natural cosmetics stores; attend a painting lesson or take a guided tour around the medicinal plants garden. At the small market buy homemade breads, fruits and organic vegetables from the grove. They even have spa and yoga lessons. The list of possibilities seems endless!
This is not the only must visit place in the area. Located in the valley of the Sierra de La Laguna is Los Tamarindos, without a doubt my biggest recommendation. Los Tamarindos, is an authentic farm dating back to 1888. Its chef, Enrique Silva, an agronomist and a reference to the hospitality industry in Los Cabos, surprises me with his ability to remind you that the simplicity and quality of the product in gastronomy is always a guaranteed success. Forgetting all pretence, he offers nothing more and nothing less than a good, classic meal. One of those that transports you to summer sunsets, good conversations and the singing of the cicadas amongst the grass.
The farm is simply a beautiful place. Ubaldo receives us, and personally guides us through the property, explaining with great care and detail each and every one of its corners. From jars of canned sauces made from 28 different types of tomatoes and chillies that grow in the grove, to a pre-Hispanic oven called Tatema, that they use to cook tamales. Enrique also tells us about the history of the place and how this privileged valley irrigates, fertilises and reproduces naturally, due to the underground river that floods the whole area and the sediment that comes down from the mountains. He even reveals to us the secret of the chef’s delicious dishes: virgin olive oil, flavoured with the best sprouts from the garden.
The best part is that you can take your own straw hat out of the closet and feel like a true country cook with cooking classes offered on the terrace, overlooking the orchard and banana trees. Here, the breeze runs through the valley as man and nature live in perfect harmony. In my head I think and hope that in the future, we can all adapt to this way of consuming, at least in one way or another. An enriching experience, built from humility, that will change your life forever. Additionally, I recommend ordering the guava cake for dessert, an absolute delight that will also change your life forever.
At the reception, we are informed that there are tours that can take you there by boat directly from the hotel, as well as a stairs taking you down to the beach where Tio Sport can be found. An abundance of activities are offered in Los Cabos. Horseback riding through the desert and the beach, paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, quads, catamaran rides. As we feel like immersing ourselves even more in nature, we opted for the boat ride to the arch with immersion to the bottom of the Ocean included. There is nothing I can recommend more than scuba diving at least once in a lifetime. It is an experience that completely changes the perspective we have of planet earth, completing it and enriching it. There is equal or more life in the unknown depths of the sea than on the surface.
After a few brief explanations and preparing to dive, we fall like two drops of water and melt into the sea. It's hard to believe that you're not dreaming. Schools of fish that reflect flashes of light on their backs, curious neon coloured little fish, purple seaweed, strange hedgehogs, starfish; a whole repertoire of fauna and flora that are so exciting to contemplate. The feeling of floating, the equipment, the curious creatures, are we in galactic space or on earth? What a fantastic experience! Shagy, our instructor, is the best companion one can imagine; he has the sense of humour and charisma that characterised all the staff during our trip and shared in our excitement during the descent. On the way back, we lay on the prow, exhausted from so much beauty, to enjoy the sun and the wind whipping and ruffling our hair.
There is another stop you cannot miss if you want to know one of the most fascinating beaches in Mexico, Playa Balandra. This experience must be considered as a day-trip due to its location in the municipality of La Paz, approximately 2 hours drive by car. However, it is absolutely worth going, not only for the beach itself, but also for the roads and landscape that takes you there. The paths snaking between mountains are worthy of a road trip movie and the views of immense cacti distributed over the mounds, dyed in burgundy and pink tones, make the road an absolute spectacle.
On the promenades the young kiss for the first time and the birds watch over incessantly, drawing the sky with the tips of their wings seemingly to guide us to our final destination. Balandra is a beach to lose yourself in. It has innumerable corners, cavities, paths and small hills that you can explore, the water is crystal clear and its gentle oscillation makes it look like a mantle of fine silk. The earth colours of its hills merge with the translucent turquoise of the sea in which the pelicans collide like projectiles to catch the avid little fish that haunt all over. It's one of those beaches that make you sigh with satisfaction. I recommend bringing food and drink. Although there is a fresh coconut stand and little else, this is exactly what makes Balandra such a special beach. It is preserved in the natural, maintaining the calm and beauty of the virgin.
When the sun goes down the fun doesn’t end. Edith's is a traditional Mexican restaurant that fills the nights of Los Cabos with colour and joy. The multiple waiters dance around, serving tables and giving smiles, while in the kitchen the cookers warm up the night preparing grilled garlic shrimp and juicy fish fillets. The passion fruit cocktails and homemade desserts sit on the table as gifts and at times I feel like I am witnessing a joyful and luminous show. There is music, laughter and good atmosphere! It’s an ideal place to start the night.
Another wonderful place, if you are feeling fancy tonight, is Sunset Monalisa. Located on the edge of a cliff, the view will take your breath away. It is a romantic place and the lights that decorate it are intertwined with the starry sky that covers it like a cloak. The scent of the sea comes wrapped in the breeze and the author's dishes makes this place an ideal choice for couples. If you are single, travelling with friends or alone and just want to feel special and give yourself away, this is your place.
A huge pleasure that you can experience every day is to simply sit and watch the sunrise and sunset. From our hotel, we could enjoy the sunset from the ME Cabo pool and the sunrise having breakfast on the terrace. The views made us feel privileged. One of the nights we could not resist the beautiful light of dusk. Although we were already a little late for our dinner reservation, we went down to the beach, located just in front of the hotel, called Playa El Medano. The light bathed the entire coast and the view was spectacular. Local and visiting families enjoyed the last few rays of sun and while we stared at the view, absolutely abstracted, a foaming wave completely wet our shoes! (Remember to always be barefoot at the beach!)
A corner of Los Cabos that you can not miss is the Barrio del Tildillo, also known as the art district. It's like a small town that keeps the traditional buildings, cobblestone streets, old houses with large patios and interior gardens that you can discover while walking quietly. Art galleries, craft shops and souvenirs make this neighbourhood an ideal place to spend a morning shopping and touring its streets. When it's time for lunch, I recommend going to Jazmin's, where they serve traditional Mexican food at a very affordable price. The atmosphere is very cheerful and in the interior garden you can sit and enjoy the sun and a very fresh meal. On weekends in this area, it is also highly recommended to visit the Organic Market of San José, where local producers sell their products. It is a great plan to buy prepared food, delicious homemade desserts and picnics on the lawn. There is also live music, activities for children and workshops, an ideal plan for Saturday morning.
In the afternoon it is very nice to see the light fall over La Parroquia de San José and Plaza Mijares, it is a very simple, but charming parish and you can sit in the plaza benches and have an ice cream while you watch people go by and the streetlights beginning to light up the night. sometimes it is important during the holidays, to stop and enjoy doing nothing. Be calm and ramble.
We return to the ME Cabo hotel to have a cocktail and enjoy the breeze and good atmosphere there. This afternoon there is a pool party with a DJ set and many young people, like us, enjoying their last few hours in Los Cabos.
Our trip ends a few hours later, and we discuss how it is possible that the entire time, we had everything necessary to enjoy a perfect vacation. I leave with the feeling of having done a bit of everything. I have enjoyed fresh and sustainable cuisine, learned about the importance of taking care of our environment and nature, conserving and taking care of the natural reserves of Mexico, both on the earth, as under the sea. This place is a paradise and deserves to be taken care of as such. I have enjoyed cooking and I understood that it is possible to consume in a conscious way, taking care of our bodies and the environment. Taking back a relationship almost lost with the origins of the products we consume and the way in which we consume them. I have lived fascinating moments listening to music in the car simply by looking at the landscape, discovering beaches, traditional villages and swimming in the translucent sea. The offer of sports and activities was so wide that we could hardly decide. And of course, our sea immersion that we will never forget. The atmosphere of Los Cabos and the people, make you always feel good. It is something so unique that in a holiday and tourist destination, it does not feel like one. Los Cabos in just a few words the ideal place to find excitement, relaxation and delicious gastronomy.
Find out more at #MECabo.