Renting a House in Cabo and Making It Feel Like Home
After going to Tulum 2 weeks before Cabo…I was a little scared. Tulum wasn’t my favorite experience. Not only did our apartment smell like sewage, but I got brutal food poisoning. People always talk about getting sick in Mexico but out of the 7 times I’ve been there, Tulum was the only time I personally experienced that. So having another Mexico trip after my stomach had finally healed…well, I was a little frightened. But luckily, CABO WAS AWESOME!! People always say that Cabo is touristy and “Americanized” which is definitely true compared to Tulum or other areas, but I honesty loved it. I loved having businesses nearby where I could get some of the same ingredients that I eat when I’m home, I loved the house we rented, I loved the beaches…I loved it all.
When my husband and I were traveling in La Jolla less than a year ago, we met up with some of our friends who had rented a house on the beach with their entire family. After my husband saw the amazing house they had rented and how much fun they were having with each other, he wanted to do the same with our family. We decided we wanted to do something over the holidays and started searching on VRBO to find the house that could fit around 10 people comfortably. And since we had never been to Cabo and it’s a direct flight from Denver, we nailed it down to that area then quickly found this amazing house that sleeps 12, is in a gated community, has a pool, spa, and volleyball court, and is in walking distance to a private beach. We were immediately sold and decided to ring in the New Year in Cabo!
After having a crappy experience in Tulum with a 5-star review apartment, I was guessing that this house might be a similar experience. But I was totally wrong. This house exceeded our expectations. It’s more stunning in person than in photos and it was incredibly comfortable. Not only does this house have 3 separate kitchens, 5 bedrooms, and huge living spaces, it also has a filtration system so you don’t have to worry about the water when you brush your teeth or wash the dishes. And the house comes with bottled water so you’re never out of clean drinking water!
The house is set up with two large bedrooms upstairs along with 3 bathrooms, a huge living room, dining room, kitchen and giant balcony. Then once you go outside and downstairs, you’ll find 3 rooms. 1 room has a kitchen and living room and the other 2 rooms are connected by a large bathroom and a small kitchen! And there is a rooftop patio to watch the amazing sunrise and sunset everyday. It makes being in a house with a ton of people super comfortable. We spent most of our days either at the private beach or in the pool. The pool is a decent size and the spa gets incredibly warm for those cooler nights. Plus there is a fire pit that we would all sit around at night!
No, that is not a photo of my husband. That’s my brother-in-law. He’s a little gem! When we arrived in Cabo, we used the All Ways Cabo Transportation shuttle service to take us from the airport straight to Costco then over to our house (which are super close to each other). If we do this trip again, we won’t go to Costco. It was a bit of a nightmare. It was the day before New Years Eve and it was PACKED. It took us over an hour to find just some of the items we wanted and then we found ourselves buying condiments like ketchup or mayo in bulk. We didn’t even open the mayo, damnit. So next time, we will definitely go somewhere else to get our groceries. But we loaded up on meats, vegetables, eggs, butter, alcohol and other drinks. One of my favorite parts about renting a home wherever I travel is that I can cook my own meals. And that’s exactly what we did! We made breakfast bowls, tacos, burritos, steaks…and more tacos. We even ended up making nachos towards the end of the week since we had run out of vegetables and they were AWESOME!! I haven’t had a good nacho in a while and my Cabo buzz made me even happier to eat every single last loaded chip!
Even though we ate most of our meals at home, we did venture out for a few meals. My mother-in-law really wanted to go to Cabo Wabo so as soon as we went to town, we went straight there and I had some fajitas. In touristy spots like that, I expect the food to be crappy but that wasn’t the case at all. It was pretty good! We also hit up The Office which was one of the busiest beaches I’ve ever been to, but you get to eat with your feet in the sand. I also ordered fajitas there. And then we stopped by Toro for a late night dinner on our last night where I got a burger with fries. This restaurant was beautiful and in walking distance from our house. Plus we got to see Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo eating dinner with friends. It must be pretty swanky if they were eating there. Good thing I was hammered and still in my swimsuit. Always keeping it classy in Mexico. After getting sick from the shrimp in Tulum, I was pretty nervous to eat seafood again so I stuck with beef and chicken the whole time. And it seemed to work! But since we didn’t get to eat at many restaurants, here are some reader restaurant recommendations that were given to me while I was traveling to help you find the perfect restaurant when you go:
- Flora Farms
- El Farallon
- Acre Baja
- Sunset da Mona Lisa
- La Lupita
- The Cape
If we weren’t spending time in the pool or in town, we were walking to the private beach in the community we were staying in. This beach was less than a 10 minute walk and the views were stunning as you walked there. It was really nice being in a gated community where they documented everyone who came in and who left so you felt safe the entire time. Both my parents and my mother-in-law were nervous about Cabo after seeing different stories about murders in Mexico or people being held for ransom or drugged. But I truly never felt unsafe. And I didn’t feel that way in Tulum either. But the gated community was wonderful, especially because there was usually only 1 or 2 other people on the beach while we were there.
Another part I LOVED about the location of this community was that it was in walking distance to a local market called Santa Carmela. Since we didn’t rent a car, this market became our lifesaver for any little items we forgot or ran out of. And they even had some of my favorite paleo brands like MALK, Frontera, Glutino, Eating Evolved and a ton of others. It was so awesome to be able to get products I normally eat at home! The only problem is we had to run across a 4 lane highway to get there. Sketch. But we didn’t get arrested or struck by a moving vehicle so we are winning at life!
At that market, I was able to get the same ingredients I use in my coffee at home. So every morning, I would wake up by 6:30am, make the house coffee, then pour my own and head to the rooftop deck to enjoy the sunrise. One of my favorite parts about Cabo is that every single sunrise is absolutely stunning. And that beauty lasts for a good hour. So I would haul my computer up there and work while the sky changed colors every minute or so. It was the absolute perfect work space. While we were in this community, we saw a guy walk his 4 golden retrievers every single morning and when my sister-in-law finally talked to him, she found out that he moved to Cabo about 10 years ago and never looked back. And I understand why after waking up to those sunrises and those beautiful days. It’s really amazing there.
And since Colorado is completely colorless and none of the trees or flowers are blooming, it was amazing to be in a place that had color around every corner. Cabo is definitely a bit of a desert and the water isn’t insanely, especially compared to Riviera Maya and Cancun, but everywhere you turn there are palm trees and billowing flowers. It made for fun photos and easy workouts. Every morning in Cabo, I did a workout (you can see them here) and I never dreaded it because I knew the view no matter where I was would be stunning.
One of the absolute best part of Cabo and something I highly recommend doing is whale watching. From what we were told, it’s mating season so it’s pretty easy to spot some whales while in Cabo at that time. But it seemed incredibly easy. When we were looking up tours, they all cost around $80 per person but when we ended up with a great taxi driver named Alfredo, he recommended this company called Mr. Pinguin Tours and we met the guy in some alley where he charged us only $50 per person and asked for 1/2 the money upfront the day before. The next day, we waited for Alfredo and got pretty nervous that he wasn’t going to show up and we’d be left without half of our money. But that wasn’t the case at all! Alfredo picked us up, took us to the marina and we went straight for the famous rock structures and Arch of Cabo!
On this tour, you go by Playa del Amor (Lovers Beach), which is a small beach in the Sea of Cortez side, which is a great place for snorkeling and hanging out the beach. It’s only accessible by boat, but it’s still SO insanely busy so none of us snorkeled or went on the beach. Then connected on the other side of the beach facing the Pacific Ocean is Divorce Beach where the water is super choppy and the waves are pretty big. That beach was DEAD. Probably 4 people on the entire beach. But the views of the hotels and stunning homes was so cool to look at.
Not long after going out to sea, we saw our first whale. And it was truly magnificent. I’ve seen dolphins and I’ve seen sea turtles, but this whale was mesmerizing. He jumped out of the water probably 20 or more times and it never got old. From what I understand, it’s their mating call, but in that moment it feels like he’s just putting on a show for you and waving his little flipper to say hi. It was so rad. And this is exactly why I don’t snorkel. Whenever I’ve snorkeled in the past, I feel like I’m in someone else’s home. And this is proof right here that I am. This guy was beautiful and whale watching is something I will never forget. I’m not huge into excursions because they normally let me down on vacation, but this was worth every penny.
One of our goals is to save up enough money one day to have a vacation home somewhere that we love and want to go back to time and time again throughout the year. And we are thinking Cabo may be that spot. Not only is it only 2 hours and 45 minutes away, but it’s stunning and it has so much to offer. We have friends getting married there in April and now we really can’t wait to go back and experience more of it. And this time I will absolutely make a reservation at Flora Farms. I want to go there so bad after so many people recommended it!
If I could go back and do this trip again, I would definitely want to rent a car so we could get places a little easier than in a cab. And I would go to a different grocery store other than Costco. Oh, and I wouldn’t have gotten completely hammered on the last day. That turned out to be rather embarrassing. Especially around my parents who I never saw drink while growing up. But our homemade dirty bananas (frozen bananas, almond milk, peanut butter, cacao powder, maple sugar, and vodka) got the best of me. No hangover though! While we were in Cabo, not one of us got a hangover no matter how the night went. Isn’t that weird? I’m not sure how that happened but we were cool with it.
If you haven’t been to Cabo, go now. It’s warm, it’s beautiful, the people are friendly, and there are so many things to do. We plan to go back soon and get to know the area more in hopes of maybe calling it a second home someday. Until then, it’s time to work my ass off so hopefully our dreams can become a reality someday!
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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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28 thoughts on “Renting a House in Cabo and Making It Feel Like Home”
Hi Juli, I was wondering what camera you used to shoot these photos. They’re beautiful! Also, do you do any photo editing and what do you use for that?
most of these photos were taken on my Canon EOS-5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens. and yes, i use lightroom to edit all my photos!
I’ve been impatiently waiting for this update since we’re going to Cabo in one month (also renting a big house – but with friends). Thank you for the tips and restaurant recs (and workout ideas)!
glad i could help, amber!
Great post! May I ask how much the rental wasn’t was?
it has the price per night through the link!
Great review! I’m deep in Cabo Research for our honeymoon in June… still trying to debate all inclusive vs. hotel vs. vrbo…. These pictures got me super excited!!
Wow!!! This trip looked amazing!! Renting a house is great…we’ve done it several times as well…gives everyone their space if they need (read…me!!). As usual you look beautiful and strong!
it’s so so nice to have your own space while having a space to share with everyone else!! and thank you for the sweet compliment, carla!
I loved reading your review and I also LOVE Cabo! We were there the same time you were with our whole family of 10. I’m going to have to remember your recipe for the dirty bananas – sounds amazing! Whale watching never gets old – it is truly incredible to see them. We went to Guacamaya’s for the first time this trip and they had the best al pastor tacos ever with fresh grilled pineapple so def keep that place on your list for next time! And yes, Flora Farms is also a must do. We always ask our taxi drivers where their favorite places are to go that aren’t touristy and we have always had great luck (if you’re not intimidated to go into the local areas). People ask me if we are scared to go there with our children and in all the years of going I have never felt scared or uneasy about anything – always been treated warmly by everyone down there. There are bad headlines in any city you go to, can’t let that stop you from traveling! Cannot wait to go back!
i felt the same way! i think no matter where i go, i always stay aware of my surroundings and drinks and whatever else. i’m watching over shoulder when i’m walking the streets of my neighborhood for gosh sakes. i can’t wait to go back and experience more of it! especially guacamaya’s!
Love the pictures and review. Do you take a travel steamer to keep your clothes looking fresh? If so, what brand?
yes!! it’s a lifesaver! this is the one i have – https://rstyle.me/n/cwkkedbq557
Cabo is the best, I’ve been going for 10 years! I have two homes there and one is for sale! Nothing beats being able to just pack a few things and head down there. Walmart is just down the road from Costco, that’s were I pick up condiments, soda’s, liquor and snacks. Cabo is seasonal, I would not recommend going there from July to October, it’s extremely hot and humid. There are so many more restaurants, Flora Farms is pretty cool, if you go late morning you don’t need a reservation and Acres is right next to it. The Office is to busy and touristy, if you head east on that beach there is a smaller beach restaurant called Tobasco’s that us part time locals hang out.
that’s so cool to hear from someone who owns homes there! do you rent them out when you’re not living there? and was the purchasing process tough not being a native or living there (i’m just guessing you’re not a native, but i have no clue)? i’ll have to check out those others restaurants! i thought the office was just too overwhelming and not really my style.
I live in Vegas. The plan was to rent one home and leave the other for us . We decided not to rent one out to vacationers and now have full time renters in it. We are selling it though. I believe (and could be wrong) but you need to have cash or a way to pay for it as US banks don’t give loans for property in other country’s or at least Mexico.
So beautiful! Whenever read about group trips, I wonder how people decide who stays in which room. Was it a free-for-all dash to pick…or something different:)?
it was definitely weird for a second. we thought we would get to pick since we paid for the house, but that wasn’t quite the case lol. but it worked out because we had the parents upstairs so they wouldn’t have to walk up and down the stairs in the morning or night
We were there the same time you were (I was the weirdo who didn’t say hi at Cabo Wabo and instead commented on your Instagram)… we actually got married at a resort on the other side of the Arch on 12/30/17! (You were one of the people who inspired a destination wedding) Anyway… so jealous of your whale sighting! We went out too but only got some backs and tales… those photos of it breached are amazing! 100% agree that Cabo is unlike any other place… we can’t wait to go back!
congratulations!!! you totally should have said hi! i hope you absolutely loved your destination wedding experience. i loved it so so much! and i feel the same way, i’m so excited to go back!
I’ve been waiting for this blog! We went to Anna Maria Island in Florida between Christmas and New Years and it was awesome, but Cabo is looking pretty good for our next spot! Thank you for updating us on your vacations.
i’ve never heard of Anna Maria Island, but now I totally want to look into it!
I LOVE Cabo! We went last year for spring break and had an amazing time. When you go again you should absolutely check out Flora Farms, and Acre. We went to both and had an amazing time. Such a great atmosphere, and farm fresh food! I had a beet margarita that was so good! Thanks for reminding me that I need to go back ASAP.
I absolutely love Cabo! We usually stay kind of in the middle of the hotel zone in a condo (so it’s about 20 min either way to each of the cabos). We absolutely love going to THe Mega (I guess it’s now called la comer) cause the groceries have never disappointed and they have everything you could possibly need plus a little espresso stand. You should totally venture into San Jose del Cabo next time. It’s so cute and old timey- still a little touristy, but beautiful! La Tropicana in SJC has the BEST mojitos I’ve ever had!
I’ve been going to Cabo for 20+ years and used to have a home there. I cringed when you said Cabo wabo and the office, very touristy places and so so food. Definitely rent a car next time you go but beware they try to wrangle you to sit through a timeshare presentation before you leave and they are relentless. The car allows for so much freedom! The regular grocery stores (la comer) are pretty good but am thrilled to see the products offered at the market you mentioned. Some excellent food to be found next time you go!
Thanks so much for the Cabo review. We went last year for the first time and planning to go again. I tried looking up Mr. Pinguin tours but couldn’t find anything. Do you still have contact information that you can share?
i don’t, i’m sorry! i’ll try to see if my parents how their info to add into the post!
The Office – that brings back some fun memories 🙂 Glad you liked Cabo – we’ve been twice & have loved it both times 🙂