The arid desert terrain of Baja’s southernmost region, Los Cabos, is in stark contrast to the two deep blue bodies of water that flank the peninsula on either side. With the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Gulf of California to the east, the narrow strip of land in between is an oasis, and lately, luxury hotels of a new breed have been popping up all over this paradise.
While the Cabo that lives in most prospective travelers’ minds is one of spring breakers, frozen cocktails and all-inclusive resorts, only part of this would be accurate today. Much has changed for the better over the past few years, and this was among the first few things my driver shared with me en route from the airport to the JW Marriott Los Cabos on a beautiful, bright Friday afternoon (his other notable anecdote being that yes, the weather is indeed like this throughout most of the year).
In the three years since Los Cabos was struck by Hurricane Odile, the region’s rebirth has placed a particular emphasis on luxury, with new developments like JW Marriott, Villa One, The Resort at Pedregal, Las Ventanas al Paraiso and The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, opening in rather quick succession and trickling down to cause a simultaneous high-end restaurant boom.
Pulling up to JW Marriott Los Cabos, it becomes obvious that this hotel serves as a beacon for the area’s resurgence, and what awaits guests beyond the entrance makes it easy to spend the entire weekend without leaving the grounds once. But no visit would be complete without at least an outing on a catamaran or a jaunt in the chef’s preferred produce gardens, so without further ado, here are my suggestions for the perfect weekend in Cabo:
Friday: From Los Cabos International Airport, you’re looking at approximately a 30-minute ride by car, and upon arrival to your destination, the JW Marriott Los Cabos staff will make you feel right at home from the get-go (the spiked sweet tea might have something to do with it). Once you’re all checked in, take a few moments to drink in the view (and the tea) while your bags are whisked up to your room.
Once you’ve settled into your accommodations a bit later, you’ll want to walk around the property to acquaint yourself with the restaurants, spa and particularly with the numerous pools before selecting the perfect chaise longue next to one that calls your name. Your bracelet (which doubles as your room key) grants you access to a long list of spirits, so order a margarita or something stiff on the rocks before heading back to the room to spruce up for dinner.
Cafe des Artistes is counted among Cabo’s finest restaurants, and it’s conveniently located right on the JW Marriott grounds. Request a table on one of the terraces and prepare to be utterly enamored by Chef Thierry Blouet’s French-accented Mexican cuisine.
Saturday morning: Pack a tote with some sunscreen and a pair of shades and head down to the lobby in your swimsuit, where your chariot awaits to escort you to your party’s chartered catamaran (your morning and early afternoon have been sorted, thanks to JW’s very thorough concierge). Get ready for snorkeling and a nap on the boat’s sundeck with a few cocktails in between.
Saturday afternoon: You’ll likely be famished after the catamaran excursion despite the light boatside lunch—snorkeling can be exhausting. Back at the resort, the sprawling and seemingly endless buffet lunch at Uá Culinary Artisans is a sight to behold, particularly by those who have just come from an entire morning in the hot sun. Load up on carbs before heading back over to the pool of your choice.
Saturday evening: Nak Grill & Bar, also on the JW Marriott Los Cabos property, is the perfect way to stretch a sunny afternoon into the evening. Take your pick from the open grill specialties on offer before heading off to bed after a nightcap at P’yote Rooftop Bar on the upper terrace of the main building.
Sunday morning: The resort’s Temazcal experience is an ode to the beauty of Aztec culture and is designed to both cleanse the spirit and shed light on an age-old ritual that uses steam, herbs, and intense heat to promote healing over a 90-minute period, an experience best enjoyed earlier in the day versus later as it’s recommended you do so on a relatively empty stomach. If you can’t take the heat, opt for one of Jasha Spa’s exquisite massages followed by a dip in one of the nearby calming pools — either way, it’s a perfect ending to an all-around perfect weekend in Cabo.