Before attempting international travel across continents with your baby, it’s good to try something a little closer to home. Cabo San Lucas, with its beautiful beaches and views, is a perfect example of a destination that isn’t too out of your comfort zone. With this mom’s tips and tricks, the journey becomes a breeze.
Traveling internationally can be daunting for anyone. Throwing a newly walking 10-month-old into the mix? You can count on it. However, our first major trip as a family of three was most memorable and I would recommend to anyone to try and get your child on a plane as early as possible!
When our close friends (who have a daughter only a few days older than our son, Grant) announced they were getting married in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, we knew we couldn’t miss it for the world. Knowing the wedding would be baby/kid friendly, my husband and I jumped at the chance to bring our son and make a trip out of it. Making the decision to go was easy. Getting a very active baby to sit still enough to take a passport photo? That was another story.
We decided to head down to Cabo a couple of days before the other wedding guests were arriving so we could explore a little on our own. This worked best for us since we all had to adjust to the time change. As that weekend just also happened to be Daylight Savings Time, we were anticipating some tantrums. Thankfully, Grant adjusted fairly quickly and took some of his best naps in his stroller while we were on the go!
When we arrived back in the United States after a week away, we were so happy that we decided to make the trip with our son. Heading into it, the four flights in total, the layovers, the airport security–it had made us so nervous. However, Grant took everything in stride and we are so glad that he was able to add a stamp to his passport before he turned one!
Since we had a baby with us, we wanted to make sure we had accommodations with a kitchen making it easier to wash bottles and keep formula and snacks on hand. After researching a few options, we decided to check out what Airbnb had to offer. We found a wonderful brand new apartment right in the heart of downtown Cabo. Situated right next to the Puerto Paraiso shopping mall, we had easy access to the shops including a pharmacy. We didn’t want to be in a bind in case we landed ourselves in a diaper or snack emergency. The apartment was also right next to the marina, our source of entertainment and food for the first couple of days on our trip!
For the final days of our trip, we stayed at the gorgeous Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas Resort. This brand new hotel was the location of the wedding we were attending. Our friends’ parents graciously made all the plans for our stay there. Our room overlooked the infinity pools and Pacific Ocean, and the grounds were clean and breathtaking. A crib was provided for us. We were happy to see that we had both a shower and tub, which made things easy with our son. During the wedding reception, the resort even helped out with babysitting Grant and the other children. As a nervous first-time mom, they didn’t even bat an eye each time I wandered over to check on things and they stayed within sight of the guests the entire time. Knowing that our son was in good hands, I actually relaxed a bit and was able to have an amazing time!
During our stay in downtown Cabo, it was not difficult to find a good meal! As many of the places in the marina area catered to tourists, we could easily find something quick for breakfast or a snack. I can’t eat gluten, but it was never difficult to find somewhere to accommodate a meal for me. Since many Mexican dishes are naturally gluten-free or can include a corn-based substitute, I never felt deprived. Thankfully, my husband also speaks fluent Spanish and was able to explain the problem in detail at each restaurant if necessary. (If you or someone in your party cannot eat gluten, I highly recommend downloading the “Find Me Gluten Free” app on your smartphone. Additionally, if you don’t have someone who speaks the native language, you can also keep these restaurant cards on hand or download them to your phone.)
We decided to take a walk and explore on the way to Mi Casa which someone had highly recommended. We arrived at an off time, so we had the whole place to ourselves. The colorful space used to be a hacienda residence and features stunning architecture and natural gardens. The food was delicious, and we were able to easily share with Grant. He especially loved munching on the homemade tortillas!
On our last night before heading to the wedding, we just decided to see where the night took us. We ventured out for a walk and stumbled upon Restaurant Bar Isabel. Grant having fallen asleep, my husband and I enjoyed a “date” night–with Grant in his stroller right next to us! The food and drinks were amazing, the live music was great, and everyone working there was so incredibly nice.
Once at the Rancho San Lucas resort, we also had no shortage of delicious meals. During our days at the pools, we were able to eat at the bars that had ocean views. These meals were simple and quick, but flavorful. We also dined a couple of times at Anica, which is the finer dining restaurant on the resort grounds. This restaurant offered gluten-free items clearly marked on its menu. They were so nice about having a baby dining with us!
During our last night in Cabo, we took Grant and ventured back downtown with several of our friends. Locals who worked at the hotel recommended some spots to us, and we did a little food tour! One member of our party had directions to all the specified places, and they all were fantastic. All were little holes in the wall (not even sure if they all had names!), but this was the perfect way to end our time in Mexico. I highly recommend finding some authentic tacos al pastor whenever you travel to Cabo!
Finding things to eat for Grant was incredibly easy wherever we went. Tortillas, rice, and beans were plentiful (and happen to be some of his favorites). Cheesy breads, fruits, and yogurts were also readily available.
We didn’t have to go far to find something to do when in downtown Cabo. As we were there during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations, each night was filled with music and dancing in the marina area. Different groups prepared elaborate ofrendas, which lined the marina, and talent shows and singing competitions were held on stages. Grant loved all the music and was fascinated by all the Catrinas and calacas.
We also decided to go on a glass-bottom boat ride. We easily found boats that would be willing to take us, but I was insistent on making sure that the boat we took had an infant life-vest for Grant. One of the porters we dealt with was amazing–he ran all over the marina to track down a vest for us to use. The boat took us out to the Sea of Cortez and to El Arco. While the water was a bit choppy at times, the excursion and the views were worth it!
While at the Rancho San Lucas resort, we took full advantage of all the saltwater pools on site. One area had a “beach” area with sand, and they even had a kids’ section with fountains and big beach balls to push around. Grant was in heaven. He’s definitely a little fish and was upset each time we had to leave the pool for the day. Plenty of lounge chairs and towels were available, and servers were on hand to bring beverages. All of the adults were able to feel like kids again as well, with water slides, rope swings, and kayaking.
Water –We made sure to always have large water bottles with us. We used it for mixing formula and kept some on hand in the basket of our stroller everywhere we went.
Sunscreen–Of Irish descent, I burn easily and am always reapplying sunscreen. Even though my son has South American blood in him, I’m still a stickler about making sure he is protected. We have been happy with sunscreens by Mustela, Blue Lizard, and Aveeno Baby for Grant.
Backpack Diaper Bag–I have always used a backpack as a diaper bag, but got the HaloVa right before our trip. It is so roomy–bottles, snacks, water, changes of clothes, diapers, you name it. It all fit in the bag. Having multiple pockets and compartments is key!
New Toys–We packed a couple of new small toys for Grant for our travels. Since he had not seen them before, they were a great distraction. We made sure they were portable enough to throw in our bag or stroller. We also made sure they didn’t make too much noise to avoid annoying people on our flights.
Easy Fold Stroller–I wanted a light stroller that could be quickly folded. I could not be more pleased with the Mountain Buggy Nano. It came with a travel bag and shoulder strap and can be folded down into thirds, not just in half! It has a shade for sun coverage and reclines. (Grant took A LOT of naps in it during our trip.) We were able to fold it so quickly and compactly that a couple of people in the airports even asked us about it.
Willingness to Go with the Flow–We didn’t stick to a schedule while on vacation. Naps were in strollers and bedtimes were all over the place. Meals were on the go, and snacks were plentiful. We didn’t want to completely change the way we normally do vacations just because we had a baby with us. Sure, some of the things required us to, or we knew it would be easier for us if we did. However, “winging” it worked for us, and Grant was a good sleeper and in a good mood the whole trip!
My husband and I are so happy that we decided to bring Grant with us to Cabo San Lucas…and already want to go back! I’m so happy that we have these memories with him, and hope that he loves to travel as he gets older. Traveling with children isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but we think exposing him to different cultures and parts of the world is valuable. While it is not always going to be in our schedule to travel internationally, we plan continuing to instill a love of new places. Whether it is a road trip to another state or a trip that involves passports and long plane rides, say yes to the adventure!