Last month my husband and closest friends pulled off an epic surprise for my birthday: a trip that revolved around an unforgettable weekend in Los Cabos.
As far as I knew, the plan was for just my husband and me to go away together on a romantic weekend. I am the travel planner in our house, so when my husband insisted he arrange hotel, flight, and transportation, I begrudgingly agreed. That morning, the town car picked us up at 3:30 a.m. for an early-morning flight. We made our way through security and to the gate to board the plane. As we approached our seats, I looked to my left and recognized two familiar faces grinning from ear-to-ear. Then from behind me, two more friends popped up to say hello. In the back, two more hands went up and they all shouted, “Surprise and Happy Birthday!” It was a surprise indeed.
If you have kids, you know how difficult it is to arrange a babysitter for a weekend, let alone coordinate four families for a long weekend trip with friends. I’m so grateful for the time everyone invested to coordinate their busy schedules, and for this special birthday weekend in Cabo San Lucas with friends. We had a blast. And the memories will last a lifetime.
While this particular Cabo weekend involved renting a home for our group in the private Cabo San Lucas neighborhood of Pedregal, the original plan was to stay at one of the many all-inclusive hotels in downtown Cabo. We were perfectly content to spend our days lounging by the pool with margaritas, playing cards, and relaxing in the sun. If you are planning a laid-back trip to Cabo with a large group, renting a home or booking several rooms at an all-inclusive Cabo hotel can be great ways to stick to your budget. Here are four tips for planning your next trip to Cabo with friends.
Skip the rental car and get a taxi at the airport
Our original Cabo transportation plan was to rent two rental cars for our group of eight adults. Instead, we opted to take one of the official white taxi vans at the airport. Our taxi driver made the 45-minute drive from the airport in San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas so easy. If you ask nicely, your taxi driver may even make a quick stop at the grocery store, so you can grab food and supplies for your weekend stay. Be sure to ask your taxi driver how much the fare will be before you leave, so there are no surprises or misunderstandings at the end of your ride. We paid US$20 per person (US$40 per couple) from the airport to downtown Cabo.
Viewfinder Tip: Assign one person in your group to collect receipts of shared expenses to divide among the group.
Eat breakfast together at The Office
We spent our first morning in Cabo at The Office, a beachfront bar. Here, we ate a delicious breakfast and mimosas under a big umbrella. The Office is one of our favorite places to eat and drink in Cabo, because it’s right on the beach and owners encourage customers to take off their shoes in the sand. The Office was hit hard by Hurricane Odile in 2014, but has rebuilt and is better than ever. Don’t let the mellow mood of the morning crowd fool you; this beachfront bar has some of the best atmosphere, music, cocktails, and views of the ocean anywhere in Cabo.
Split up and explore by day, gather together at night
When you vacation with friends, it’s important to remember you don’t have to spend every second together. During our weekend in Cabo, my husband and I and another couple went for a walk to explore downtown, while our four other friends relaxed by the pool and played cards. We all met up for happy hour by the pool in the afternoon and then ventured into town as a group of eight for a night out. By giving yourself and others the freedom to explore on your own during the day, you give the others in your party the space and freedom to relax and enjoy the trip at their own pace.
Eat dinner at Mi Casa Cabo San Lucas
If you are looking for a fun and authentic local Mexican restaurant for a larger group, consider Mi Casa Cabo San Lucas in downtown Cabo. Mi Casa is known for its delicious signature chicken mole, and the atmosphere is great fun. Tucked back in a tiny little courtyard, Mi Casa has eclectic décor, table-side entertainers, and mariachi bands. I recommend calling ahead to make a reservation in advance for parties of six or more.
No matter how busy your schedule might be, taking time out to vacation with friends is simply good for the soul. I went for my birthday, but you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to plan a trip. The best travel plans can start at a dinner conversation, over drinks, or at the playground with the kids.
Where is your favorite place to vacation with friends?