¡Vamos a México! – A Christmas 2021 Adventure

If you thought my recent road trip to a Doctor Who convention was exciting, you better buckle up! While both that trip and September’s NYC sojourn were our first COVID-era trips, our current adventure in Mexico is our first international trip since…well, since our last trip to Mexico, shortly before the pandemic. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s been great to both travel internationally again and to be spending the holidays in a warm, sunny location. Read on to learn about this tropical escape!

The idea for this trip started earlier this year, when things with COVID were looking more positive and we hadn’t even heard of the Omicron variant yet. In talking with a couple of our friends, we all agreed we wanted to do a warm weather getaway to beat the Minnesota winter around the holidays. Knowing we’d all been to Mexico before and that it’s relatively easy to get to, that’s where we focused our search. My own experience has been limited to Cancun (the trip linked above, plus two others – one in 2014 and another in 2015), but both Scott and our friends have been to some other spots around the country, so had some good insight to share. We weren’t married to any one location, but narrowed things down to Cabo as we researched resorts. Not only was it a new-to-us city, but it seemed to have some great resort options.

For this trip, we knew we wanted a higher-end, adults-only all-inclusive and we ultimately found that in Secrets Puerto Los Cabos. Not that we were looking to break the bank, but we wanted something nice, with good pool space and tasty restaurants, and what we found gave us a lot of hope that Secrets would provide that. Of course, when you fall down the rabbit hole of online reviews, there are always some that tell you to STAY AWAY because that resort is the WORST ever, but those were pretty few and far between for Secrets. And, as you’ll learn, they were pretty wrong as we’ve been loving our time here so far!

So we ultimately pulled the trigger on booking Secrets, plus airfare, through Apple Vacations. While I think we all would have preferred to get flights on Delta, the best deal and flight times through Apple were on Sun Country. If you aren’t familiar with that airline, they’re based in the Twin Cities and, up until a few years ago, they were a nice, reliable, budget-friendly airline. They changed their model a few years ago to be more like Spirit Airlines, which means lots of cheap flights to popular destinations, but no freebies (even carry-on bags aren’t free, though your smaller “personal item” is) and no chance of nice seats as they don’t have First Class, Comfort+, etc. Their seats in the first few rows do have some more legroom and also come with a free alcoholic drink, so at least that’s something! While cost wasn’t a primary driver for this trip (we wanted a nice resort and we were very willing to pay for it), none of us felt the need to pay hundreds of dollars more just to be on Delta. And honestly, that probably worked out for the best because Delta and United ended up canceling nearly 2,000 flights on the day we traveled! But good ol’ Sun Country didn’t. 🙂

We flew out on Christmas Day, which felt weird, but ultimately worked out fine as the airport wasn’t busy at all because of the holiday (though I’m sure the fact that we flew out of MSP’s smaller Terminal 2 helped as well) and the flight itself went smoothly (the flight was full towards the front where we were in our “nicer” seats, but there were plenty of empty seats starting a few rows behind us). The plane didn’t have any built-in monitors, so hopefully no one was planning on them for entertainment purposes! They do have an in-flight wifi network that gives access to a selection of movies, games, etc. on your own device though, so I took advantage of that and watched Jingle All the Way (’tis the season, after all). In just over four hours, we landed in sunny (and warm!) Cabo!

A nice view from the plane.
Ocean from the plane.

The airport in Cabo was totally serviceable. We deplaned on the tarmac and hopped on a bus for a very short ride to the terminal, where we headed for Customs. Although multiple flights had clearly arrived at the same time, the line for Customs wasn’t too long and we were through within 15 minutes. We then had to wait another 10-15 minutes for our bags before one final Customs stop (less than 10 minutes to get through that one) and then we were on our way…to the parking lot to grab our transfer to the resort. If you’ve ever been to a touristy destination in Mexico, you’re likely VERY familiar with the song and dance of walking past Customs with your bag to find lots of different companies vying for your attention. They’ll tell you they want to help you book excursions or that they’ll get you to your resort/hotel (they may even reference your resort by name!), but if you’ve already pre-booked your transportation (which is pretty normal with package vacations and resorts), just keep on walking until you’re outside. Once there, look for the name of your resort or your package planner (Apple Vacations for us) and they’ll take care of you. That’s exactly what we did and, after another short wait, we were in the van for the ~30-minute drive to the resort. Success!

Now, for the resort! It’s really quite nice. 🙂 We had a pretty easy check-in process, including learning about our transfer back to the airport and our required COVID testing (we have to show negative tests when we go to the airport to fly home). These resorts are great about pre-planning those details! The lobby and common spaces looked very nice, including some nice Christmas decorations for the festive season (perfect since we arrived on Christmas Day!). Check out few photos below.

Just inside the resort.
The sun was already setting by the time we arrived, so the lighting was great.
Gorgeous Christmas tree where we checked in.
The lobby bar, Rendezvous.
A sunset shot of the pool.

After getting logistics taken care of, we were driven to our rooms via golf cart. This made us a little nervous at first as we thought that meant our rooms were far from the action, but we quickly realized the route they took to drive us there made it seem further away as it’s actually very close to everything we need. Whew! We had requested rooms next to each other when we booked, but that wasn’t guaranteed, so we were pleased when we realized the resort made it happen! We’re in junior suites with our own little private pools (officially called Junior Suite Swim Out Ocean View on their website) that we’ve actually been using every day (I was a little afraid they would be more gimmicky and we wouldn’t use them much). The rooms are well-appointed, a good size, and are very comfortable overall. There’s a good king-sized bed, a big bathroom with solid water pressure (always a joy to find outside the US), and plenty of storage space in the wardrobe and drawers. As you may remember from previous resorts, air conditioning is never guaranteed to work well, but I’ve been happy to find it seems solid here. While it doesn’t seem to run much during the day, it does well at night (I assume the warmer temps during the day factor into that as well). We have a free minibar in the room that’s restocked daily, but I was a little bummed to find it only has beverages and doesn’t have snacks like our last resort did. I know, I know – it’s an all-inclusive resort, so food is everywhere, but it’s nice to have a readily-available snack stash to grab from without having to go to a restaurant or waiting for room service. It’s definitely been a good home-away-from-home!

Our hallway.
Big bed and a peek at our private pool through the sliding door.
Half of the bathroom, showing one sink and the big tub.
The other sink and shower.
This is the “Secret box” (that’s really what it’s called!) through which room service can be passed from outside the room. Nifty!
The two private pools for our rooms. It’s nice to come back and use them for awhile after spending the day in the main pool.
Our “ocean view” includes a healthy dose of golf course, but it’s still nice.
Looking back at the private pools and patios for each room.

It’s now Wednesday morning – we arrived on Saturday and I’ve legit been writing a little bit of this post each day! Today’s the day I’m finally going to publish it though. 🙂

In terms of the rest of the resort, I’ll definitely do a review post after we’re home (like I did for Oasis Sens, GR Solaris, and Unico 20°87°), but everything we’ve seen and done so far has been really top-notch (I’ve since written that review – check it out here). The pool is nice (and big!), the service is very good, and the food has been really tasty. We’re following the same pattern I’m used to at these resorts – wake up, hold chairs (which has been a breeze), have breakfast at the buffet (my friends did room service one morning and said that was good, too), take a walk on the beach (which is a bit of a negative as the beach here isn’t as walkable as it has been at other resorts), and then spend the day lounging at the pool. I feel like I’ve been spending a lot more time in the pool (rather than laying out next to it), which I’m loving! We’ve been wrapping things up around 4p and then going back to our rooms to use our private pool there for a bit, play some card games, and then shower up for dinner around 6-630p. Not a bad daily routine!

Check out a few more photos of the resort below!

Sun and palm trees by the pool on our first morning.
Huge chess set!
Sun behind a palm tree as seen in the pool.
Justin enjoying our private pool.
The Barracuda bar near the beach has some fun swings.
Speaking of beaches, isn’t it gorge??
It’s a requirement that I take a photo of my feet in the water.
Part of the resort as seen from the beach.
These birds looked…hungry.
Rocks on the beach.
A tasty New York steak from our first dinner.
Shrimp-stuffed chicken from Oceana, the resort’s seafood restaurant.

And that’s been it so far! It’s been SO relaxing and the resort is a real stunner. Looking forward to three more full days (counting today) before heading home to the cold and snow!

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey!