In Cabo San Lucas the real deal isn’t a $300 golf course or a fancy resort it’s getting on the local bus for about $1.50 and taking a ride to what ever little adventures there are to find.
The bus is easy to catch it runs from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose on the main road. In Cabo and San Jose there are secondary busses that go all over these towns. During this trip we used the bus all most every day. A shuttle from the Fiesta Americana our time share was $24 dollars round trip, a Cab was $25 one way and the local bus was 28 pesos or about $1.50. Taking the local bus to Cabo San Lucas and San Jose was a no brainer. In the morning we walked the 1.5 miles to the highway to catch the bus and in the evening when we returned we walked the 100 yards to the guard shack and the resort supplied us with a free shuttle to the front door of the resort.
The buses are clean and comfortable and the people are open and friendly. The bus ride to Cabo San Lucas was about twenty minutes if you don’t miss your stop.
On Wednesday we had a special mission, we had a $100 gift certificate at a restaurant in down town Cabo San Lucas called the El Coral.
We left the resort about 2:00 and had a nice walk to the bus stop, about 30 minutes. The bus was pulling up as we got to the stop so no waiting.
After getting on the bus our first official act was to miss the stop to catch the Cabo San Lucas local bus. Well, we are just tourists so we got to see about forty more minutes of Cabo.
By 3:00 we were on the local bus heading downtown to the Marina and checking out the local neighborhoods.
We jumped off the local bus at the Marina and walked down town Cabo for about two hours checking out the local haunts.
Down town Cabo has a surprise around every turn and even the local market isn’t immune to surprises like an impromptu band and tasting tequila offered by the local vendors. After a great walk it was time to find the El Coral.
English is prevalent in Cabo and a short set of directions from our happy tequila vendor got us safely to the front door of our designated restaurant, the El Coral.
The El Coral is an open-air restaurant that has the reputation of being the oldest restaurant in Cabo San Lucas.
Rumor has it that the El Coral was opened in 1975 when Cabo San Lucas was still a sleepy little fishing village. As it has been the El Coral’s practice for years, the food is primarily cooked on the big grill at the front of the restaurant.
It was early when we arrived to the restaurant so instead of food we chose to sit at the bar and drink a couple of their amazing Mango Margaritas. Thick and sweet these bright yellow concoctions are a tropical taste treat.
After a few Mango Margaritas at the bar our bartender released us to our waiter, Nestor, Nestor has been a waiter at the El Coral for years and is a master at his chosen profession.
We chose a seat overlooking the view of Main Street. At Nestor’s recommendation we started our meal with the Fried Calamari a wonderful dish served on a bed of rice. The Calamari was prepared in a light cornflower batter and a subtle chili powder spicing that went well with our last Mango Margarita.
As the sun began to set we nibbled on our Calamari and Charlene went to the bar with Nestor and returned with a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Our next course was a real treat. Nestor hauled out his big wooden bowl and prepared us a wonderful Caesar Salad tableside (for a great Caesar recipe see the video of Nestor making his Caesar in Charlene’s recipe blog). One interesting ingredient that made Nestor’s salad special was the addition of Soy Sauce. The Caesar was a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 and Nestor’s presentation was masterful (again see the video).
After Nestor’s Caesar we rested a while. The breeze off the Sea of Cortez was cool and the people watching was excellent. After about thirty minutes of sipping wine Nestor showed up with our Grilled Seafood Dinner for two. The meal was a grilled feast of fresh local seafood including lobster, bay scallops, shrimp, calamari, crab and red snapper. We ate way too much but some times you gotta be bad.
After our seafood feast we again went into our relaxation mode enjoying the hum and bustle of the evening street’s sights and sounds. As the bottom of our wine glasses became visible Nestor showed up with a big slice of flan two spoons and two cups of black rich coffee.
The El Coral has the atmosphere of a friendly down town Mexican village and the food and service of a five star restaurant. The best news was the price was like the atmosphere, down town Mexican village; with 5 mango margaritas (we know) a bottle of wine, a fried calamari appetizer, a table side Caesar Salad, a feast sized grilled sea food platter for two and coffee and desert the entire bill without the tax and tip didn’t use up our $100 dollar gift certificate.
When you travel the world you look for gems like the El Coral. Some days when you decide to ride the local bus, hit the local bars and eat at a local restaurant every thing goes perfect and as Charlene and I slowly made our way home we knew we had just lived the real deal Cabo style.