We woke up excited for the day ahead: Andi arranged for the five of us (Andi, his mom Janie, Tory, Aden and I) to go whale watching with Rissalena Cruises. March is prime whale season around Cabo San Lucas, so Andi and I thought it'd be the perfect activity to do as a family. I couldn't wait to see Tory's reaction to whales swimming in the ocean and if we planned it right, Aden would be protected by shade on the boat.
Early Tuesday morning, Andi and Tory walked the few blocks to Cabo Bakery and brought back freshly baked pastries to the condo for breakfast. Then, we loaded the kids in their strollers and made the short five-minute walk to Cabo San Lucas' marina. (I'm going to do a recap about traveling with little kiddos later but worth mentioning here, Tory's stroller was such a lifesaver). I give Andi mad props for doing his homework to ensure we had the best experience on the whale watching tour. He researched and consulted with several companies about timing, boat size, number of guests, food and other accommodations before ultimately booking with Rissalena Cruises.
The boat crew welcomed us with warm hospitality the minute we stepped foot on the catamaran. The price of our excursion included open bar and lunch served on the boat. There were two other groups of about six people each with us with plenty of room for everyone. Andi checked with Rissalena beforehand to make sure bringing kids was acceptable (it was) and luckily, none of the guests seemed to mind small children being around them. In fact, one of the female employees rushed right over to me once we were settled and asked to hold Aden. Now, this isn't something that happens often in the U.S. - strangers don't usually walk up and ask to hold your baby and really, I can't imagine handing Aden over to a stranger if they did! - but I wasn't shocked when Laura (the boat employee) reached out for Aden. The same thing happened the day before with one of the Casa Dorado waiters on Medano Beach. It must be a part of the Mexican culture; to gush over babies and allow other women to hold them. Almost every Mexican woman we saw on the trip was enamored with Aden and his gorgeous blue eyes.
|Aden and Laura, one of the Rissalena employees|
After everyone on board was situated with a cocktail, the boat motored out to Lover's Beach and to the famous Cabo San Lucas arch, and we had our picture taken as a family before it. Andi and I had taken a smaller water taxi out to Lover's Beach a few days prior, but this was the first time Janie and Tory saw the rock formations up close.
Next, we boated into the Pacific Ocean toward a group of boats already stationed by gray whales in the water. But before we got to them, our catamaran ran over a rope in the water and it tangled around the propellor. The boat captain, Eduardo, changed into swim trunks and jumped into the water to cut it free. When he returned to the boat, everyone clapped as he took pictures with the knife between his teeth like a superhero who saved the day. It was pretty funny.
With the prop free and clear, we continued on our tour. A few minutes later, we saw several whales in the water and they were huge, easily 50-70 feet long. They gave us a show as they spewed water out of their whale hole (??) and dived up and down in the water. The gentle rocking of the boat ride caused Tory to nod off to sleep on my lap, so I woke her up (something I hate doing to the child who never sleeps!) so she could see the whales swimming. See them, she did. We were fairly close to four or five gray whales swimming along. By this time, Aden had fallen asleep in his car seat and remained asleep for the rest of the boat tour. Andi said he couldn't believe Aden slept through all the noise of people partying, drinking as the open bar flowed and loud music on the boat.
I thought our luck of no toddler meltdowns had run out as Tory started to whine she was hungry. Of course she didn't want any of the snacks I'd brought along for her, so I asked the boat crew for some tortilla chips to tide Tory over until lunch was ready. Shortly after, we feasted on rotisserie chicken, cold salads, chips and guacamole and fruit for lunch. The food was delicious and it tasted great having something home-cooked by Laura, one of the staff.
After the boat tour, we walked back to the condo and put Tory down for a nap. Aden was up now since he'd slept for the last few hours, so I stayed with him while Andi caught up on some work emails and phone calls.
When Tory woke up, Andi and I decided to take her out on a little "date" with just the two of us while Janie stayed back at the condo with Aden. We decided to rent one of those bike taxis (the ones where a guy peddles a bike attached to a cart on the back) and take a tour of the downtown Cabo area. We'd already walked around some, but it was fun to see some of the backroad streets we hadn't yet explored. One of the sights was the marina's fishing dock (away from the more ritzy part of the harbor with shops and restaurants) and a few fisherman were there cleaning their freshly-caught marlin. It was neat to see the big fish up close. They were huge!
We hopped out of the bike taxi and decided to walk back the rest of the way to our condo. After walking in the heat for a while (and carrying Tory half the way because we hadn't brought her stroller), Andi and I were thirsty so we stopped at an outdoor bar. This was Tory's first bar experience (ha!) and not a shabby place to be, sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and a refreshing beverage. Andi and I each had a margarita from Cabo Blue and ordered Tory her very first Shirley Temple. She was in love! She took one sip, her eyebrows raised and she gave Andi and I the biggest the smile. Cherries became a favorite treat of Tory's on this trip.
Later, Janie said she wasn't hungry for dinner so Andi and I decided to take advantage of a free babysitter and go out for a sushi date night. We ate at Nick San where I had the best sushi roll (the Magure Lime Roll, for future reference) I've ever eaten. The flavors were so complex with a bite of lime that hit your tongue at the end. Delicious. Andi and I walked around downtown Cabo for a while after dinner and just enjoyed each other's company.
Day 8 - Wednesday
Andi and I had so much fun with Tory on our little date the day before, we decided to take her to the beach to play on our last full day in Mexico. After breakfast at the condo, we loaded up her stroller with sand toys and walked the short block to Medano Beach. Janie offered to stay back at the condo with Aden, so it was just the three of us.
First thing, we secured a beach cabana in front of Casa Dorado as had become our beach routine. Tory was biting at the bit to get into the water and chase the seagulls down by the waves. Andi and I ordered mojitos for ourselves and found a good spot by the water, built sandcastles with Tory (who promptly squished them with her feet as fast as we could make them) and had the best time together. If only every day was like this; quality time as a family, no worries - just time at the beach, making memories together in the sunshine.
We played for a while on the beach before Tory said she was hungry for a snack. Andi ordered her some French fries and a strawberry smoothie. She was such a delight on this trip. Really. I loved having her along, hearing the funny things she said and listening to her communicate with locals in Spanish. It's amazing how grown up our baby girl is becoming. And without the distraction of everyday schedules or caring for baby brother, it was nice to actually see Tory for who she is these days. After our mid-morning snack, Andi cashed out with the waiter and he took our nearly empty plate of French fries away. Tory looked at me and asked, "hey, where's he taking my breakfast?" (because she calls every meal /or snack "breakfast"). She's too cute.
Andi, Tory and I walked back to the condo and met up with Janie and Aden. We left lunch plans to Andi's discretion so he walked down the block to Gardenia's for more fish tacos and chicken tortilla soup to-go (our 3rd time visiting this place). Seriously, traveling with Andi is such a treat because he takes care of everything. He made all of our lodging accommodations, selected the restaurants we ate at and sometimes even ordered the food items. Janie and I loved it; Andi always has a good feel for things and rarely am I disappointed in his selections. The one thing Andi requests on vacation though is that we move fast, whether it's in the airport, getting ready to leave for an activity, etc. He joked on this trip that Tory and I might have to shave our heads if we end up traveling the world together someday. It takes time to get everyone ready to go. Plus, in the world of parenting, someone always poops the minute you're ready to walk out the door.
After lunch, I shoo'd Janie out of the condo for a little time to herself. Andi had some work to do on his computer, so he did that while I put the kids down for naps. I had high hopes of sitting on the patio while they both napped, reading a book and soaking up the sunshine, but the stars weren't aligned for me on this day. As soon as I got Tory to sleep, Aden woke up fussing and continued to be uncomfortable. I noticed the eczema on his neck and chest had flared up again and the poor little thing kept scratching at it. He seemed miserable, so when I finally got him to fall asleep in my arms (ahem, after two hours of pacing the floor with him), we all laid on the sofa and read / watched a cartoon on the iPad.
|Tory's new favorite game - beach party|
For dinner, we took the suggestion of the Marina Sol concierge and made reservations at Mi Casa for authentic Mexican cuisine. Andi taught Tory to hail a taxi from the parking lot of our place and we all died laughing when she raised her arm high into the air and said, "Oh, taxi!"
Aden was still a bit fussy and I had a feeling Tory wouldn't sit long at the restaurant, so luckily we were there early in the evening and our food came to the table quickly. Andi ordered for the table and we all shared el queso fundido, carne asada, the famous Mexican dish of chili nogata, enchiladas, and a quesadilla for Tory. While we waited for our food, there was plenty of entertainment to keep Tory busy. Janie took her over to watch a lady prepare fresh tortillas and a mariachi band performed music near our table.
|Always a gazillion things going on while I eat a meal|
We high-tailed it out of the restaurant as soon as we finished our meal as Aden was starting to get fussy. By the time we walked outside, he was in full-on screaming mode which is so unlike him. I felt so badly and based on the bright red color of his skin, I could tell the eczema was really bothering him. We asked the taxi driver to stop at a pharmacy on the way back to the condo and picked up some Benedryl for Aden to help him with the pain. I lathered him up with eczema cream back at the condo and by morning, he seemed better. It's so strange for Aden to be the one under the weather several times this vacation. My happy little dude wasn't so happy at times, but fortunately it wasn't anything too serious and we were able to remedy the issues with medicine.
Day 9 - Thursday
We left Cabo San Lucas on Thursday afternoon. Before we left town, the five of us walked over to Cabo Bakery for one last breakfast on vacation. Andi ordered a few pastries to share, a ham and egg sandwich and a steak Panini. The food was all so good, and the pastries were still hot and fresh from the oven. The employees in the kitchen were concerned we didn't like our food because we didn't finish everything on our plates, but that wasn't the case at all. The food was delicious, but too much for the three of us to eat alone (in true Tory form, she only helped eat the pastries). My favorite item was a baked pretzel bread smothered in melted cheese. To die for.
After breakfast, Andi took Tory to the pool for one last swim while Janie and I packed up our bags and organized the condo. As we loaded our bags into the airport shuttle, the driver was standing outside the van waiting for a few more passengers. Tory took it in her own hands to ask, "oh 'nother man, can you give us a push?" I find it hilarious how "well traveled" she became on this trip. She had no problem hailing a taxi, talking with guests or various employees we met, or even asking for more ketchup during a meal. I'm excited to see how our adventures unfold over the years with the kids. Our first vacation as a family of four (plus Grandma Janie) couldn't have gone any better. We truly had a wonderful time in Cabo San Lucas!