Jackie’s Hawaiian Cruise Part 2

After 4 full days at sea with lots of relaxing and hand washing (Norvo virus was spreading) we docked at our first port which was Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. It rains a lot on the Big Island and the sky didn’t look very good. Lots of rain clouds and wind. We decided to take a free shuttle to Hilo Hattie (a well known Hawaiian store chain) If you see a couple with matching outfits (flower shirt for the man and a flower dress for the lady ) they most likely bought them there. We picked up a few little things for the kids and checked out the mail right next door. The sky cleared up so we jumped on the next shuttle and headed back to the ship. We were back at about 2 pm and we set sail at 5pm. We saw some whales as we departed. We had 5:30 dinner reservations and then when up to the Lido deck to watch another movie.

In the morning we arrived in Maui at 7am. What a beautiful island. We tendered to the shore (which means we were transferred to the shore in life boats). The boats hold over 200 people so it sure didn’t take long to get ashore. We jumped in a taxi and went to Whalers Village in Kaanapali. I loved it there. Lots of duty free shopping in an outdoor mall, restaurants on the beach and an awesome beach. We sat on the beach for a couple hours just taking it all in. The last tender was leaving shore at 5pm (set sail at 5pm) so we decided to head back at 4pm to beat the rush. The announcement from the captain came at 5pm with an update on the Noro Virus outbreak. The virus had spread to 2% of everyone on the ship and was expected to increase. To me it seemed safer to stay away from the buffets and enclosed dining rooms so we ate at the Smokehouse BBQ located on the Lido deck right by the pool. Again we watching the Movie Under the Stars. it was “Last Vegas” and was really good. Honolulu in the morning!

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Today was our first organized excursion. We were picked up at the pier and drove through Waikiki and down the coast. We stopped at Hanauma Bay. It is a huge bay with calm water and beautiful white sand beaches. From there we continued down the coast and stopped at another beach where “From Here to Eternity” was filmed (that movie was playing on the big screen at the pool when we got back) we drove part way up a mountain to Paili Lookout and saw an amazing view of the whole area from up there. After the tour we were dropped off at Hilo Hattie. In the entrance they have the biggest Hawaiian shirt ever made. It was a size 400XL. The store offers a compliment shuttle to Waikiki and back to the ship so we went to the one hotel I have always wanted to see: the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It is a huge complex with lots of hotel room tours, lots of shops (including 3 ABC stores). The resort has a man-made lagoon and it is featured lots on the new Hawaii 5-O series. I looked for McGarret and Dano but no luck. We hung out at the beach for a couple hours and too the shuttle back to the pier. On the way back the shuttle driver pointed out the area where President Obama went to high school and where is mother lived. We were back at the ship at about 5pm (not sailing until 11pm) so the ship was fairly quiet. Message from the captain was that the virus numbers had increased to 2.26%. He also advised that the show in the main theatre which was to feature local dancers etc from the Polynesian Cultural Center was cancelled due to the virus. The deck attendants were setting up for a deck party for later in the evening at 9pm. We were going to check it out but is started to rain so we went to our stateroom and ordered room service. We sailed a little late… they were waiting for a couple stragglers. In the morning we would be in Kauai.

We had booked a tour that went up to a waterfall, river cruise to Fern Grotto, Botanical Gardens, and Luau with a romantic ceremony. It was about a 20 minute drive to the waterfall. The waterfall was pretty small. The river boat held at least 100 people and it was a scenic cruise down the river. We got off and walked up a path to the Fern Grotto. It was beautiful up there. There was lots of flowers, plants and a small waterfall. There was a band and dancers that entertained us for about a half a hour. At the end they played and danced to the Hawaiian version of the Hawaiian Wedding Song. After we went back down the river we were picked up by trolleys and went for a ride through the botanical gardens… it was really nice. We stopped to watch the ceremony where they dig up the pig for the Luau and blow the conch shell. The food at the Luau was really good. There was a band and some dancers to entertain us. During the meal they started the ceremony. Any couple that wanted to take part had to sign up in advance on the ship (this is something they just do for the Princess guests) . When the couples name was called they were presented with a certificate and leis to give to each other. After the meal they asked the couples to get up and repeat vows to each other, kiss and then the band played the English version of the Hawaiian Wedding Song…it was an awesome way to finish our last day in Hawaii. When back at the ship the announcement was the virus was increasing at a slow rate….we chose to go with room service again and then went to the Lido deck to watch the Hobbit. When we got back to the room the bed had been turned down with an invitation from the Captain to join him for a Cocktail reception in a couple days…so cool!!!! I did take lots of pictures but I will wait until we get home to post them – the internet is really slow on the ship.

Jackie’s Hawaiian Cruise – Part 1

Wow…what a trip so far.   We left Saskatoon at 6:00 am on Apr 3. The airport was not too busy and the departure lounge was awesome (I forgot I was in Saskatoon) Westjet flight left on time. We had three hours in Calgary which gave us lots of time to clear customs and get to our next gate. We upgraded our seats on this flight. We had advanced boarding, front seats with extra leg room and when the cart came by our food and drinks were included..for $45 it was so worth it. When the satellite tv ran out we were able to watch the PPV movies at no extra charge so that was awesome! We landed in Los Angeles at 12:30 and Lisa and Veda were there waiting for us (Lisa is our oldest daughter and Veda is our 4 year old granddaughter) . On our way to the hotel at the San Pedro Pier for our cruise we made a few stops….Lunch on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Veda`s ballet and tap class in Sherman Oaks then a drive through Hollywood hills…..amazing houses and yards (didn`t find Brad Pitt lol).   Checked in to the Crown Plaza near the pier. Room was awesome and so were the beds…we didn’t go to bed the night before so we crashed right away.   The pier was about 3 minutes from the hotel and was so easy to find. Lisa dropped us off at the luggage drop. We loaded the bags on a cart and went to check in. We went through the line and went into immigration and boarded the Star Princess, We had a map and went to our cabin E224. It is an obstructed view cabin which means there is a life boat outside the window….we can still see some ocean and lots of daylight so that is awesome. Our bags arrived just after we did…we unpacked the clothes and headed to the Lido deck. We watched Top Gun on the big screen and had a piece of pizza (yum).   It was the first day for everyone to arrive so there wasn’t anything arranged for the evening so we went to our stateroom and watched tv. The captain said to expect some rough seas and was not kidding…we were looking for seat belts in our bed lol. In the morning we went to the Lido deck and everyone was wearing jackets we found a sheltered spot and it was warm and sunny. We had dinner at the Capri restaurant and then watched a Move under the Stars. Perfect 1st full day at sea!

Got up early and to find the perfect spot on the deck. Just relaxed for most of the day (watched Top Gun on the Big Screen again…such a good movie) it was formal night so was got dressed up and had dinner at the Crown Grill. After dinner we changed and watched another movie under the stars…popcorn and cookies :) Calm Seas and a great sleep. Spent next day in the adults section of the ship…..no kids splashing and nice and quiet…read a book and enjoyed the sun.   Waiting for our dinner reservation to hear this message from the captain…..there has been 8 cases of what appears to be Norvo Virus in the past 12 hours. I am sure we will be fine!!!! Internet is slow…pics when I get land!

Ed’s Portugal Final Week

Wow, it’s hard to believe but our 3 month sabbatical in Portugal’s Algarve is over. I am currently sitting in the Faro airport waiting for our flight and as I look at the weather forecast back in Saskatoon, I think we will be in for a rude awakening after 3 months of Mediterranean weather.

This last week has been a great end to our trip and our friends Randy, Cathy, Joy and Henry shared in many adventures and new experiences. We’ve decided that one of the things we love doing best is to explore new beaches and hiking trails, so most our time this week was to ferret out new locations that we haven’t been to. The first of these was Praia de Sao Rafael and you can see from the pictures, it is picture perfect. In fact, many of the tourist brochures use this beach as their “poster” scene…it’s clear to see why. There is also have a very nice restaurant on the beach beside it called Praia dos Arrifes where we dined on some exquisite sea bass…a bit pricey but excellent food.

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We decided to do another boat cruise but this time from Portimao. If you have read our previous blogs, this was a favourite activity of ours and we hoped the new itinerary would be just as spectacular. We met our other friends Pat and Sheila in Portimao for lunch at the Naval Club before our sightseeing cruise. The tour company was called Manguito and they had 3 parrots on board with us. While the day started out quite nice, shortly into our cruise, the wind picked up, the seas got quite rough and it cooled down significantly. In fact at one point, I think everyone wanted to turn back. Fortunately we did not and we were rewarded with exceptional views of various beaches and rock formations along the coast near Lagos…many places where we visited from the land perspective. PLUS we were able to see Ponta da Piedade. The captain of the boat was very experienced and nosed his boat in as far as he dares in many of the caves and grottos around that area. Truly the cold and wet from the waves crashing over the bow of the boat, were well worth the views we got to see!

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While our company made a day trip to Sagres (we had been there a few times), we decided to try yet another golf course called Vale da Pinta, part of the Pesana group. Had a very nice day and the golf course was very nice. We were paired up with a German couple that were very nice. We were on a twilight rate of 122 Euro for both of us and a cart but we did have to hurry to get all 18 holes in. We have booked a few rounds now with a company called Algarve Golf Smiles and the owner, Pat, seems to get some reasonable twilight rates plus he can get the twilight rate up to an hour earlier than anyone else. In case you need it, you can contact him at algarvegolfsmile@gmail.com.

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In the evening, we all met up for a dinner at a restaurant that had a hot stone feature if you ordered steak. A couple of our group enjoyed cooking their steak on the hot stone…apparently it was delicious, as was the grilled lamb’s leg that I had.

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We spent a day touring around to some of the smaller villages with Randy and Cathy, while Henry and Joy went off to do some exploring on their own. However, since this was Randy and Cathy’s last day before jetting off to Paris, we cooked them a traditional Cataplana meal complete with clams, prawns and Monkfish that we bought at the local market.

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We said a sad farewell to Randy and Cathy…their 4 day stay was way too short, but we were very please they made the considerable effort to come visit us. After dropping Randy and Cathy off at the Faro airport, we met Joy and Henry in Faro for a bit of a tour of the old town and the Chapel of Bones.

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We have blogged about this previously but Henry and Joy seemed very interested in the construction using various human bones and skulls. A quick trip to the car rental station to drop off their car and then off to visit the Quinta Dos Vales winery to do a tasting and pick up a couple of bottles of wine for gifts to our landlady and the property manager. The winery itself has a large display of sculptures and a very nicely landscaped area.

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We quite enjoyed the wines tasted and we ended up buying a couple more bottles for us to bring home…yikes, how am I ever going to pack all this stuff?!? A simple homemade supper and then early evening to allow them to finish their packing.

Our second trip to the Faro airport in as many days, this time to bid goodbye to Henry and Joy. We have had a marvellous time with them and they are the last of our company to leave. We were sorry to see them go! However, it will soon be our turn to pack up and end our time in the Algarve but not before we squeeze in a few more sites. We decided to take a hike into the hills around Loule called Fonte Benemola and had a wonderful walk except that half way through the hike we were supposed to cross a stream and one of the stepping stones had fallen over and we were unable to cross.

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When we were done that, we went to a small white church on the cliffs by Praia da Senhora da Rocha and Praia Nova beaches. We had seen it from one of the boat cruises we took and wanted to see the reverse view…beautiful!

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The weather was holding so we opted for another cliff walk and again were not disappointed! There are so many trails and wonderful walks along the cliff tops that we wish we could do more. PLUS so many beaches! I know we have focused a lot on the variety of beaches we have seen but they are so darn impressive!

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Our second last night we decided to go to a restaurant whose specialty is roasted suckling pig. I know it sounds kind of gross, but it’s a pretty big thing and we have tried so many other crazy foods this trip, so why not. It was very tasty!

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OK…one more round of golf before we go…this time at Sir Henry Cotton Championship course at Penina resorts. The rain more or less held off for our round although our rain jackets were brought out a couple of times.

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Since we had an early morning tee time, we were finished by noon and that allowed us to visit…yes, a couple of last beaches we hadn’t gotten to. Our farewell supper was at a beautiful beach restaurant we had been to before for lunch called Evaristo…great Sangria, grilled squid and chicken piri piri…nice sunset to end a wonderful vacation!

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Last morning before our flight out…guess what? We stopped at a couple more beaches on the way…yes, it’s true we haven’t seen them all but each one was fantastic and something we will always remember!

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Thank you all who have been interested in our adventures, enjoyed our pictures and have followed along with us. We have had a fantastic 3 months and we are now ready to get back to normal day to day living. We would not have changed anything! We have appreciated our company, enjoyed the food, loved the wines and everything that the Algarve, Portugal has to offer.
In the end, TravelRent, the car company we used was fantastic to deal with…would recommend them for car rental in Faro. We have the contact information for all of the accommodation we used and have lots of great recommendations for restaurants, sightseeing and general information if you want it. Please don’t hesitate to visit the Algarve and to contact us for any help.
Thanks for following…SAUDE!!!

Ed’s Portugal Week 12

Another fabulous week on the Algarve with nice warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. We also welcomed our friends Joy and Henry, who will be staying with us for a couple of weeks and we are excited that they are here!

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This week, we experienced a couple of new adventures with Pat, Sheila, Joy and Henry. The first of these was a catamaran cruise from Albufeira to Benegil. The boat company, Mara Tours, usually has up to 60+ passengers on this 4 hour sailing but because it is early in the season, there were only 16 passengers on board. Lots of room to move around and get some great pictures. They also served a BBQ lunch on board and we could buy beer during the cruise…what more could you want? We anchored at one point for the lunch and those brave enough to try, could go swimming. Actually a couple of guys from Romania did take the plunge but weren’t in the waters for too long. They also took us in groups of 6 in the zodiac to go right into some of the caves we could see from the boat.

This was one of the best adventures we have done since we arrived and we enjoyed it so much, we are hoping to do a second boat trip in another part of the Algarve in our final week here.

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The second great adventure of the week was doing the Seven Valleys hiking trail. This 6 km hike took us up along the tops of the cliffs for some fantastic views and nice trails. This hike was a little more intense as we were up and down quite a bit with a little more rugged conditions. It was fantastic! About 2/3 through the hike we stopped in Benegil for a nice lunch and refreshment before carrying on. Another great experience here in the Algarve that really took our breath away…several times actually!

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That’s not all we did this week. We of course went to the Quarteira market with Joy and Henry and explored a few new beaches. We had a down day at the house to enjoy the pool and sunshine, went out to several lunches and dinners and really have enjoyed all our company. Sadly, Pat and Sheila left us on Saturday to their accommodation in Lagos but we hope to catch up with them again before the end of our trip.

Other friends, Randy and Cathy were expected to arrive for their visit on Saturday as well but due to a mechanical problem in Saskatoon, their flight was cancelled and they had to be re-booked. Thanks to the hard work and effort of our travel consultants Joanne and Georgia at the Circle Drive location of UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel, we were able to pick them up on Sunday.

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This next week looks like another fun and memorable one with Joy, Henry, Randy, Cathy, Karen and I exploring more of what the Algarve has to offer.

Have a great week…I know we will!! Saude!

Ed’s Portugal Week 11

We had a fantastic week since our last blog.  On Sunday, Virginia Zalys joined us for a week and on Tuesday, Pat and Sheila O’Connor joined us for 2 weeks.

The weather was spectacular all week and looks like it will continue in the 20’s with plenty of sunshine.  Since we will be taking our company to many of the places we have already blogged about, I will limit these updates to new and exciting adventures we have with them.  We actually now have company until the end of the month and then it will be our turn to head back to Canada and our families.

Our first new stop this week was Praia da Gale, the beach closest to our house.  We actually hike through the rocks and along the beach to some very interesting sights.  We also walked to the marshes at Salgados for a look at some birdlife, most notably flamingos.  Each beach here is quite different than the last and we love going for these hikes as far as we dare or can.  These pictures really don’t do the scenery justice, but we hope you enjoy them.  We carried along a cooler with a picnic lunch today and had a nice little feast on the beach.

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Face Time with our Grandson Levi…

 We have been to Loule before as this was the site for the Carnaval parade we blogged about.  However, they have a nice market there and we had not been able to get into the castle in our previous visits.  This time, in addition to stocking up on some fish, fruit and veggies, we did get into the castle.  However, to our disappointment, there is really not much to see…

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Pat and Sheila O’Connor arrive from Lisbon!

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While we had been to Portimao before, we were able to extend our walk way past where we had been previously and hiked along the cliff tops for some spectacular views (Prainha Beach).  A little unnerving for a guy that doesn’t like heights but worth pushing my inner fears for.  This is a hike that we will definitely do again before we leave, it was so beautiful…

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A bad bit of luck on this beach hike…I lost my cell phone and didn’t know where or when.  In desperation, I started to retrace my steps and hadn’t gone too far when a gentleman approached me and asked if I had lost a phone.  As it turns out, his son and daughter in law had found my phone quite a way back and the family were scouring the beaches looking for the owner of the phone.  Talk about a sigh of relief!  Wouldn’t you know it but is was a Canadian family from Ontario who found it and they absolutely refused my persistent offers of a reward…great people and typically Canadian, eh!

After a return visit to the beaches around Aljezur, we decided to head home through the town of Monchique, best known for its mineral baths.  A quaint town that had a nice walk through its older streets, I am not sure it was a highlight other than if you wanted to visit the resort hotels with the mineral spas.

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On Virginia’s last day, we decided to tour around Albufeira a bit and discover some more new beaches (there are just so many of them!!)  For our last meal together, Karen and I decided to cook a seafood Cataplana, a traditional Portugese dish that we learned at a cooking school we attended way back in January.  It turned out very tasty and a dish we think we will make later in the month when the other two couples, Joy/Henry and Cathy/Randy arrive for their visits.

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Today is Sunday, the day I typically write this little blog and we have been up since 03:45 since Virginia had a really early morning flight and we drove her to the Faro airport.  As always, it is sad to say goodbye to our company but we are returning to the airport tonight to pick up Joy and Henry when another new adventure will begin.

Hope you have all had a great week…we sure did!!   Thanks for following the blog…I hope you find it fun and educational.  Saude!

Georgia’s Cuban Cruise – Part 3

The last day was spent in my new favourite place, Isle of Youth (aka Punta Frances.) We couldn’t anchor the ship because of the amount of coral underneath and we had to tender onto the island. There were no excursions; it was just a beach day, but I don’t think anyone complained. The beach was absolutely stunning and extended almost the whole side of the area with forest directly behind. Only about 100,000 people live on the island so the area was practically untouched and the locals set up beach loungers, a bar, and a few souvenir tables. We had to board by 1:30pm and I didn’t want to leave. On board they hosted a delicious good-bye barbeque party with the singers and dancers entertaining us. It was so much fun that the thought of having to leave in the morning made me sad.

 

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We visited the La Scala one last time for supper followed by the evening entertainment Cirque Fantastic. The talent they have for the entertainment crew is amazing and has many of the things you would see at a Cirque show in Vegas. We had to hurry back up to our rooms to pack as our checked luggage had to be out of our stateroom by 12am for pick up so it would be ready for us once we disembarked. It was sad getting ready to leave as the cruise was really personal and I got to know so many of the crew as well as passengers.

 

When we woke in the morning we had to be out of our staterooms by 9am so they could get them ready for the new passengers however, we couldn’t disembark until our luggage was off the ship and went through a customs check. At about 10:30am we were given the okay to disembark into Havana. This is where we got a bit confused because the crew had said our transfer was leaving right away but once we got outside and spoke to the Transat rep she informed us our transfer wasn’t scheduled until 1:30pm. It was a nice surprise because I didn’t think I would get the opportunity to see Havana from anywhere but the transfer bus. They kept our luggage so we went out on our own for a few hours walking throughout the four town squares they had right outside the pier. It is an interesting city and different from any of the other cities we saw during our trip probably because they have quite a bit of tourism. Where we walked it was only foot traffic which I liked because as a pedestrian in Cuba, you do not have the right away to cars or bicycles.. or horses. It was a clean city and the part I found most interesting was inside most of the buildings they had massive gardens with vines going up several stories. The buildings were very old and very colourful with stained glass windows and locals were polite. We made our way back to the pier for 1:30pm to meet our transfer bus which didn’t happen to show up until 3pm. The transfer again was about 2 hours from Havana to Varadero and we made it with a good amount of time to grab a bite to eat and look around at the shops in the airport before boarding our 8pm flight home to Calgary. Check in at the airport and boarding went very smoothly once again and we arrived shortly after midnight into Calgary where we are staying overnight and driving back to Saskatoon in the morning.

Stephanie’s Trip to Cabos!

Earlier in February, Stephanie paid a visit to San Jose Del Cabos. Here’s her take on her trip!
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Day One and Two

This is the first time either I or my husband have been to Cabo. I love being able to visit a new destination. So we started this journey in the very early hours on Monday morning, with a drive to Regina. It was easier to get flights, and saved us some money, which made it worthwhile.  Luckily the roads were good and the driver didn’t fall asleep on the way. We flew with Westjet, which was a nice change from the charters we usually take. Our luggage allowance 50 lbs, plus 22 lbs for a carry on. There is no meal service, so make sure you have a bite to eat beforehand. There are also seat back TVs with live satellite in Canada, and free movies afterwards. All the flights were on time, or at least within 30 minutes, which put us in Cabo around 3 pm.

Westjet lands in terminal 2 at the Cabo airport.  It was easy to navigate, and everything ran smoothly. Our bags were at the carousel by time we made it through immigration.  After you pass customs/security is when the madness begins.  You have to make it through 2 hallways before making it outdoors to where all the tour operators and shuttle buses are. Anyone in the hallways trying to talk to you are timeshare sellers, so unless you are interested just keep moving.  They will try to get you to go speak with someone, saying your transfer is over there. I booked us a shuttle with TransCabo (fantastic service by the way) who advise they are waiting in an orange shirt when you book. The timeshare sellers even had someone at their desk in an orange shirt in hopes you’d go speak with them. We made it outside, found the real TransCabo, and were on our way in no time.

For the week, we are staying at the Barcelo Grand Faro in San Jose Del Cabo. It’s about 20 minutes from the airport.  San Jose is quiet, with all inclusive hotels, timeshares and private residents.  If you want a more active area, head to Cabo San Lucas – that is where the cruise ships and busy clubs are. I prefer quiet, so San Jose works for me.

The hotel used to be the Hola Grand Faro last year, but Barcelo took it over in the fall. It’s not a typical Barcelo hotel, for anyone that has stayed with them before. They haven’t even changed all the signage, and many things still say Hola Grand Faro. Check in was a little slow, and our room wasn’t ready until nearly 5 pm. They did give use our wristbands right away so we could go for something to eat. Our room is on the 3rd floor, but the same floor as the lobby, so it’s nice and convenient.  The room has 2 beds instead of 1, but they are big enough for a couple to share. The bathroom is a nice size, but with only a shower. But everything is clean and in working order, so we chose to not be too picky about changing rooms.

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After settling in, we went for dinner at the buffet. Each night has a different theme, which I think will give good variety through the week. The food was good, and the service was decent. We were so exhausted by the end of the night that it felt really good to crawl into bed and finally get some sleep.

The first full day at the resort was nice and leisurely.  I got out of bed around 8, and headed to the buffet for breakfast.  The breakfast and lunch buffet is fairly small, so hopefully the menu will change throughout the week. There is a great made to order omelet station that seems to be the favorite, as there is always a line.

The afternoon was spent by the pool, which was all I had planned for the first day. There are 3 pools at the hotel. The largest has the swim up bar, but is quite cold. For this reason, it’s the quietest. There is another pool on the other side of the bar, and the 3rd is an infinity pool by the ocean. Since it’s smaller, the water is much warmer. There are games in the 2nd pool throughout the day, and the hotel staff isn’t pushy to make you play. There is some waiter service around the pool, which is a nice treat I wasn’t expecting.

Dinner tonight is at 1 of the a la cartes. There are Mexican and Italian, and they alternate each night. Reservations are made on a daily basis via a phone call to the concierge between 9 and 5. We decided on Mexican for our first visit. The restaurant is very nice looking, with a great bar area. The food was pretty good, but not spectacular considering we are in Mexico.  The shrimp pozole soup was really good though – you are brought onion, avocado, cilantro and Serrano pepper to add to your liking. Unfortunately the service was poor. I think our server had one too many tables and we were the ones to suffer. We might try it again later in the week to see if things get better.

It’s early to bed tonight, as we are still catching up on sleep from our travel day. We booked an excursion for tomorrow, so hopefully all goes well on that. More to come throughout the week, so stay tuned!

Day Three and Four

It’s Wednesday morning, and we are getting ready for our excursion.  We booked an Outback Safari and Camel ride with Cabo Adventures.  The bus is coming to pick us up at 1020 am, so no sleeping in today. A quick breakfast in the buffet and off we go. The Cabo Adventures meeting point is in San Lucas, so we have a bit of a trek ahead of us. After picking up at 3 other hotels, we make it there about an hour later. We check in for the tour, only to find out we have to wait another 45 minutes before it starts. There isn’t much to do around their center. You can walk around the marina, but you just get hassled by all the sales people for water taxis, glass bottom boat tours and fishing.  The Cabo Adventures center has dolphins, but you aren’t allowed to go to them unless you have a tour.

Finally, at 12pm we are ready to go. There are about 30 people or so, which I’m thinking is pretty big. We all load onto a bus, and get ready for another 30 minute transfer to the ranch where the camels are. By this time, I’m starting to get pretty tired since busses put me to sleep. When we get to the ranch, we are split into three groups and get into the 4×4 safari busses. The ride is bumpy, as it should be, but there isn’t a lot to see besides cactus. You can take photos if you want, up until the camel ride. Then there is a professional photographer, so you have to put your own away. You take some pictures with one of the camels, but you don’t have to if you are a little nervous (they are a lot bigger than I thought). After donning a helmet the riding begins. Two people per camel, and each has someone guiding you along the coast.  It’s about 30 minutes on the camel, but you don’t go very far because they walk quite slowly. It’s pretty windy along the beach, so make sure to take a sweater.  When the ride is done, there is a short walk through some trails to the lunch area. This was probably my favorite part – eating! The food was great, with lots of selection and a little tequila information and tasting.  The guide also shows everyone how to make tortillas from scratch, which is still how most locals do it every day.

Camel

When the tour is actually over, it takes us about 2 hours to get back to the hotel, since we have to go back to the Cabo Adventure center, and then drop off everyone we picked up.

When we are finally back, it’s right to the room to get ready for diner, as we made a reservation for the Italian restaurant tonight. I wasn’t going in with high hopes, since we aren’t in Italy.  Luckily, I was wrong and it was great.  The service was much better than the previous night, which was a lot of the reason we enjoyed it more. The food was pretty good too. We shared a capresse salad and thin sliced beef for appetizers.  Each of us had soup – mine was a creamy fennel, and my husband had a great vegetable soup. Main course for me was shrimp linguini, and lamb with mint sauce for my husband.  He was going to have veal chops, but the waiter was politely honest in telling him it wasn’t any good, which he really appreciated.  By now, we are both stuffed and aren’t thinking we want any more, but we get handed a dessert menu, and decided we better try the tiramisu.  It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was pretty good.

Now I am exhausted, so it’s time for a night cap and a good, long sleep.

Thursday is our 4th day here, and there are no big plans for the day. We sleep in, and don’t go for breakfast until nearly 10. Another great omelet, and I’ve started having this crazy chip thing too – tortilla chips, red or green sauce, onion and crème fresh – delicious!

After breakfast, we decide to explore the street a little. There is construction of a new hotel to one side of us, and the Royal Solaris on the other side. Our room has a partial view of their water park, which looks nice for younger kids. A little further down the street are a few shops, but nothing great. We did find a liquor store, and decided to get some rum for our room. I think tomorrow we will explore a little further, and maybe go to MEGA, which is kind of like Wal-Mart or superstore.

Really, all we did today was lounge by the pool and get some sun. The ocean wasn’t very rough today, so we wandered down to play a bit.  It was really nice to get in the salt water and play in the waves. You can still feel the current even waist deep, so pay attention to waves and how far from the shore you are. I wouldn’t recommend the ocean for small kids or nervous swimmers.

Dinner was just at the buffet tonight, and the theme was oriental.  Nothing was overly great, except the made to order stir fry beef which was fantastic.  Personally, I’ll stick to Chinese food at home. There is a Las Vegas show at the theater tonight, but I’m so exhausted from being in the sun all day that we don’t make it.  One of these nights I will be up late enough to catch a show.

Day Five, Six, and Seven

Our last few days were very relaxed. No excursions, just time by the pool and some exploring nearby. One of these days we decided to go to Shooter’s bar, which is owned by a Canadian Couple, who are originally from Saskatchewan. It was about a 40 minute walk from the hotel, and is pretty easy to find. I’m pretty sure everyone in the bar the day we visited was Canadian. There is great food, good Staff and inexpensive beer. We had 4 tacos, chips, salsa, guacamole and 4 beers for only 20 USD

Another day we went for a walk down the beach. There was a point in the distance I wanted to reach, but it ended up being a little too far away. It was still a great 2 hour walk. We made it to the start of Puerto Los Cabos, which is the new luxury area of Cabo. On the way back, we saw some dolphins as well as a stingray. I love being able to see wildlife in their natural habitat.

The special dinner of the week was on Friday, which is the Mexican Fiesta. They set this up in the theater Area of the hotel. No reservations are required, and dinner starts around 630 pm. It is buffet style, and of course, everything is Mexican cuisine. Fresh fajitas, Mexican rice, beans, chicken mole and my personal favorite, tortilla Soup! At about 7 pm the dinner show starts with a piñata for the kids, which was absolutely adorable. Then they continue on with a mariachi band. We didn’t make it much further than this, as unfortunately my husband wasn’t feeling great that night. We called it another early night in but that is just fine with me. I’d rather have early mornings and enjoy the sunshine, since there isn’t much at home.

Entertainment

Our very final day was the most relaxing, with pool time and a few final hours in the Sun. I always save the last day to completely relax before the journey home.

The trip home went very well, for the most part. We were picked up by Trans Cabo right on time and the service was great again. The Westjet bus was picking people up at the same time as us, and it probably took 30 minutes longer than our transfer. We beat the rush to the airport, and were able to check in and get through security very quickly. I would compare the Cabo airport to Calgary. There is a Corona lounge, plus a few fast food restaurants and a few shops. There isn’t anything too exciting, but it is an easy area to navigate. Our flight left Cabo on time, and was an uneventful 4 hours to Calgary. We had just over an hour for our Connection, which is cutting it close. It’s about a 6 Minute walk from the gates to customs and Immigration, and it can get pretty busy if there are multiple flights landing at the same time. All went well for us, and we got through without a hitch. Since we were connecting, we had to drop our bags off, and then go through security again. Just as we were approaching Security, the fire alarms started to go off. We were ushered to the exit and found out that one of the Westjet terminals had an electrical fire. Security was shut down, and the airport pretty much came to a halt as the fire and police departments were called in to assess the Situation. Even though the small fire was out, no one was permitted through security until the police determined that the incident was isolated. The whole ordeal took about 60-90 minutes before we were on our way. Luckily, because there were about 40 people waiting for our same connecting flight our plane was held back. We made it back to Regina that night, about an hour behind. With all the mix up in Calgary, one of our bags didn’t make it. Westjet was very good about it. We filled out a report, and they said it would be shipped to us as soon as it was found. By lunchtime the next day, I got a call that it was already in Saskatoon. We chose to pick the bag up at the airport instead of having it delivered, and Westjet provided us with a $100 travel bank in return.

All in all, it was a great trip. I’d definitely go back to the area, but hopefully I get visit a few new destinations first.