Saturday, June 24, 2006

Back from Cabo

We are back!
A bit crispy, but not too bad, amd quite well rested.
The resort was okay. The room we were in totally sucked. It was a studio,with a Murphy bed. A really short murphy bed that had Ethan's legs hanging way off the end, and mine as well. Not cool. was just cheap. Really cheap. Crappy furniture, cheap furnishings, just not the luxury condo we were expecting. And there is no maid service unless you pay $25 a day. Could not believe that. Our bed had only a sheet and that little fuzzy blanket they give you in most hotels, but no bedspread. I like a bit of weight on my when I am sleeping, so we called for another blanket, and got another ratty fuzzy blanket that was all unravelled. I mean, this is fine if you are staying at a cheap hotel, it would be expected. But at a *luxury* resort?? Kinda surprising. BUT...we still had a great time. And after all the crap at this resort (they couldn't find our reservation when we checked in, ants everywhere, etc...), would you be surprised to learn that we purchased a time share?? We did.
But not here.
While we were at the grocery store stocking up for the week, we were approached by a guy who sucked us in to going to a timeshare presentation the next day. We were promised $500 pesos, a nice breakfast, and an additional amount of pesos equal to the amount we just spent at the grocery store ($1550 pesos). So, we went. Had a nice breakfast, toured an amazingly beautiful resort that was still under construction (the rooms were, but the pool and restaurant and things like that were all done and really nice), toured their demo unit, and were sold. Well, not that easy. Took a couple hours and some number crunching, but after all was said and done, we bought a package that gives us one week every other year, plus they threw in a bonus week (so we have one week EVERY year), plus they threw in 25 extra weeks (can be used all in one year, or one a year for 25 years or somewhere in between), plus if we wait to book a week within 60 days of when we want to go, we can pay a flat fee (max of $499 for the entire week), and not use up our banked week.....for example we (meaning the entire family) could go to the Oregon coast in December, get 2 3 bedroom units at, say Depoe Bay Worldmark (where we went the week before I got married), and pay a max of $1000 for the entire thing, thus spending less money on accommodations than we have the past few years, but staying at a place we already know to be awesome. The coast is really slow business-wise in November/December (except over the actual holidays), and will have lots of availability. And the price is for any size unit--1, 2, or 3 bedrooms. Wouldn't that be nice?!? Just a possibility.

We can also send friends and family places, we get an email once a week telling us all the places less than 60 days out with availability for cheap, not using up our week.

We like this much better than Worldmark, where you can get cheap accommodations if you book within 14 days, and we paid a TON less than the Worldmark offer, and feel pretty good about it. Our first trip?? Thinking about asking Justin and Kim if they have interest in going to Hawaii with us. Or maybe we will go to Vegas. SOmething.....the cool thing about the within 60 days stuff is that you can book only a week at a time, but if you want to show up a couple days late (stay only 4-5 days instead of the whole week), you can just call them and let them know, no problem. So there.

It will take about 45 days to get all of this set up, and we can't use our paid-for week until 2007, but that is only 6 short months away, and we can book the within 60 days travel as soon as our membership is all processed (around 45 days from now).

Pretty cool!!

So....Sabrina, if you want to travel, here is an option where you get cheap places to stay, a full kitchen to cook and save money on dining out, and only need to worry about actually *getting* there......

That having been said, we bought WAY too much food. We spent about $US 130 on groceries, and left probably half of it in the fridge. I would recommend just getting breakfast and lunch snackie stuff, because it is not realistic that you will eat dinner in very much. We had scrambled eggs with ham and turkey and cheese almost every morning, with some yogurt, and sliced cheese and crackers and sliced salami/pepperoni for snacks. It was nice to have our own drinks (and CHEAP), too. At the store, they have 10 liter bottles of water, so we bought one of those, along with a 10 liter bottle of orange juice. These things were enormous!

Okay, enough of that......for fun, on the 19th we went on a dinner/sunset cruise in Cabo San Lucas, saw the rock formations, had a nice time, got good pictures. The only other paid tour we did was a snorkelling tour, which was a ton of fun. Definitely the best we have had. The guides gave us bananas to feed the fish, and they would eat it right out of your hand! There was one enormous bright blue fish with a yellow vertical stripe that was particularly greedy. I am sure Sabrina would love him for her tank!! But I think he was a bit big......about7-8 inches tall and maybe 8-9 inches long, one of those vertical sort of fishes that are like 1-2 inches thick. But so pretty! We snorked around a bunch of rockie areas, and swam to a little beach afterwards, nice and quiet and secluded. The boat we used was cool, too. There were only 4 of us on the tour, which was nice. The boat is set up so that you are straddling a seat, like sitting on a horse. There are handles on the seatback in front of you to hold on to, and the boat goes fast and jumps waves, getting airborne. But you feel safe since you can squeeze with your legs to hold on, and your hands are firmly attached. They took us right up to the arch and gave us a nice tour of the rock formations and their names and history. Pretty cool. We wandered Cabo San Lucas on the days of both tours, took in the sights, had a few margaritas...
We ended up taking the bus both times we went to CSL--it is like $US40 each way to take a taxi, and only $US2 per person for the bus, and not hard to do. Our hotel was on the edge of San Jose del Cabo, which is like 20 miles or so away. You can't swim most places, since the waves are so big and the undertow so strong, but there is one area with really good surfing, which was close to us. Less undertow, and a longer break. Our waves just showed up out of nowhere enormously, and broke quickly. Cool to watch, though! Happiness is watching your husband giggle as he battles the sneaky waves and gets knocked over in knee deep water when they suck him out to sea (or try to...I suppose it would be a bit less happy if they actually sucked him out).

I learned a lot about Ethan this trip. He is a poker. He likes to poke. He enjoys taking the corner of the sheet, and folding it all up so that the pointy corner is there, and poking me with it. He also does this with napkins. All folded up and pointy. I do not know where this comes from. But....I did get him good on the plane. After hours of waiting, as we landed in Seattle I got him to look out the opposite window and got him good in the neck with my pointy napkin. Yes, I paid for it with a quick wrestling match that I lost spectacularly, but it was worth it. A good poke in the soft, sensitive unprotected neck. Bwuuoohahaha!!!


Mama-Beans said...

You're silly.

Sounds like a BLAST! Maybe we can somehow utilize this into the big Christmas trip in a few years? Somehow?

alyca said...

Actually, my thought was to use it THIS year for the Oregon Coast....I still think all-inclusive is the way to go for a big trip--food can get spendy, and it would be nice for everyone to get to do all the fun activities together without worries about affordability.

Mama-Beans said...

Sounds great! Hey, what about a cruise for the big trip? Wouldn't it be cheaper, and aren't they all-inclusive? Plus then the kiddies don't leave the country... just an idea.

alyca said...

No, cruises end up being spendy....only food is included (no juices, no alcohol, and if they catch you bringing alcohol on board, they confiscate it), and no trips/activities are included. And.....I don't think there ARE any cruises that don't leave the country--there are Mexican Riviera ones (leave from California), Caribbean ones (from Florida or Texas), etc, but all go to foreign ports, and you need a passport to get on the ship.

I don't know. It sounds like you and Davinie are really reluctant to do the whole Christmas trip thing, so maybe it just won't happen. We can just stick with the coast.

Davinie said...

You organize the Christmas trip for '06 and I'll show up.... I don't fully understand your timeshare deal, but if you are offering me yearly free lodging at a resort somewhere, airfare excluded, well, I'm all for that! I support you purchasing a timeshare 100%!

alyca said... the deal works is that if you book last minute (within 60 days), they give you a great deal--better to get a little bit of money than just have an empty room. So the max fee for a week (it is all by the week), is $499, for any size unit (studio up to 3 bedrooms), they tell you what is available, and you choose, first come, first served (within the 60 days). So...the Oregon coast, per the chart they gave me, is least popular for the last 5 weeks of the year (how convenient...), which makes me feel that we will be able to snag a great deal. There are 4 or 5 resorts that I like (haven't received the code to get onto their website and see all the resorts, but my other book that has some of them shows some...including the Depoe Bay one we stayed at), so I figure at least ONE of them will have a couple free rooms, and we will snatch them up. If we get 2 3-bedroom units, that is a max of $499 each (probably less....on the current offer sheet there are very few that are that high--even penthouse suites are in the $300's), which would total less than $1000, and last year we paid like $1100 or so.
Not exactly free, but really nice places for a great deal. And a pool. Worth a try.....we could have some sort of backup plan to go to the Happy camp or whatever it was that we stayed at the first time, in the event that people decide to flock to the coast.

Davinie said...

Who is the timeshare through? FYI - Worldmark/Trendwest timeshare did this too.....

alyca said...

We went to the Worldmark/Trendwest timeshare presentation, and did not buy because:

They wanted A LOT more money

We had already bought at their neighbors a coupld days earlier

The last minute cheap weeks that don't use up your alloted weeks can only be purchased within 14 days, not 60 like the one we did purchase

We have the same access to the resorts that Worldmark does

The salesguy at Worldmark called us 'crazy' and was really rude when we said we were reluctant to buy. Not such a good sales tactic, in my opinion

We bought through Playa del Sol, which has 5 current properties in the Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos areas, with more currently being built in Cancun and the Mexican Riviera. They are contracted through Interval International and Holiday Systems International (very similar to RCI), so we can stay at any resort that is also contracted there. You can go to the Playa del Sol website and see a few pics of some of their resorts. With this system, we don't ever have to stay in an actual Playa del Sol resort if we don't want to, but we are really eyeing the ones in Puerto Vallarta, since we had such a good time last year.

Davinie said...

take me with you to Puerto Vallarta! Forget Justin! I'm not as much fun because I have small children.... but I'm your sister!

Anonymous said...

Super color scheme, I like it! Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site with us.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!