VILLA LA ESTANCIA ARRIVAL INFORMATION
Cabo San Lucas
Km. 0.5 Camino Viejo a San Jose
Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S.
Mexico - C.P. 23450
Tel. (624) 145-6900
Fax. (624) 145-6901
(When calling From the USA dial: 011-52-624-145-6900)
LOS CABOS AREA: The very popular Mexican tourist area at the southern tip of the Baja de California is known as the Los Cabos area. This area is made up of two towns---Cabo San Lucas, located on the very southern most tip of the baja----and its sister city, San Jose del Cabo, located 30 miles to the north of Cabo San Lucas. Originally a fishing village, Cabo San Lucas is still the premier port for big sport fishing. The last 20 years, however, the world has discovered it is also one of the premier spots in the world for whale watching, golf, beaches, great restaurants and bar----and just having FUN!!!!
The luxury resort, Villa La Estancia is located in Cabo San Lucas and it is in full view of the most famous geographical landmark at the ‘lands end’ of the Baja de California---“El Arco” and situated on the best swimming beach in all of Cabo---Médano Beach.
TRANSPORTATION FROM THE AIRPORT: When you arrive at the Los Cabos International Airport you will actually be just northwest of the town of San Jose del Cabo, After departing the customs area, simply walk outside (or buy a pre-paid ticket inside) and hire one of the airport taxis or shuttle vans to take you to Villa La Estancia— located in Cabo San Lucas. All the transportation companies know Villa La Estancia---it is about a 35-minute ride to the resort.
The shuttle vans are cheaper, about $15 per person, compared to the taxis, which charge $85 from the airport and about $60 back to the airport. Unlike a taxi, the shuttles stop at all the hotels to drop people off---but Villa La Estancia (will abbreviate VLE from this point) is usually one of the first stops. The taxi driver will be happy to stop and pick up some cold cervezas (beers) for the ride. We actually prefer the shuttles---aside from the obvious reason (cheaper)----because you get to talk to other people during the drive and you can often get a lot of great restaurant recommendations, as well as good places to shop--- (OR which bar makes the best margarita in town!!). RETURN SHUTTLES – You can arrange a return shuttle through VLE; however, it is best to do this no later than about 2 DAYS prior to departure.
The address for VLE is listed above, but knowing the name “Villa La Estancia” is more important than having the address. We are located about 25 miles south of the airport. The shuttle/taxi will drop you off in front of VLE and the helpful staff will be waiting to assist you with your luggage.
CHECK-IN: Walk into the beautiful marble lobby of VLE and go up to the reception desk and give one of the friendly staff members your confirmation #. They will also ask you for a credit card # for any incidentals or services purchased at VLE during your stay. (Example: food and drinks purchased at the restaurants during your stay can simply be charged to your room number). You will settle up at the time of your checkout.
KEYS: Upon your arrival, you will be given sets of “keys” from the staff at the reception area. For your protection and convenience, VLE, (like most resorts and hotels) actually uses plastic cards with magnetized strips instead of metal keys.
TIME ZONE: Remember that Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is in the Mountain Time Zone. If you are traveling during the summertime, it is good to note that Mexico also adjusts for Daylight Savings..
CONDO AMENITIES: Aside from having one of the greatest views of “El Arco” --from the giant balcony of our condo you will find a beautiful Master Bedroom & Bathroom suite featuring a King-size bed. There is a comfortable living room & dining area, as well as a full kitchen. Just off the living room area you will find another full bathroom. In the guest bedroom there are two queen-size beds and of course, it own full bathroom. For those of you who love to barbeque, there is a large gas grill for your use. Maid service is provided about every other day.
LAUNDRY FACILITIES: There is a washer and dryer right inside the condominium. They are located in a closet just off the kitchen area.
WALKING vs. TAXIS: One of the great features of Villa La Estancia is its proximity to where all the action is in Cabo San Lucas---the Marina and the Downtown area. VLE is just a 15-20 minute walk to the Marina/Downtown area---which not only saves on taxi fares but we find it is a great way to get in your exercise for the day. Cabo San Lucas is very safe and there is no problem walking anywhere. Taxi fares will run anywhere from $8 to somewhere close to $12 to go to the Marina—each way. Fares to go into the Corridor area (that area between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo) will usually run around $15-$20 each way. Fortunately, there are a lot of large taxi-vans in Cabo that will accommodate 6 to 8 persons---so if you are with a group, the taxi fares are not too bad if you are splitting the cost.
DO YOU NEED A CAR? – We often get asked whether it is advisable or necessary to rent a car while in the Los Cabos area. As mentioned above, VLE is conveniently located for walking or short taxi rides. Car rental in the Los Cabos area is expensive ($70+/day) with insurance add-ons for foreigners. You can take a lot of short taxi rides far more economically than renting a car. Our advice is not to rent a car unless you plan to take a number of excursions away from the area. If you want to take a day trip by car, you can rent a car just for the day. Just ask at the concierge desk and it is usually advisable to request a car a couple of days in advance. If you do drive, it is highly recommended not to drive outside of the city areas at night when cattle roam freely, the roads aren’t lighted and some drivers have started hitting the Tequila.
HOW MUCH MONEY TO BRING – As mentioned, ATM’s are located at the banks in downtown and some convenience stores. Also, all restaurants accept credit cards such as VISA & MasterCard. USD are accepted everywhere in Puerto Vallarta but they will not accept bills that or torn or defaced in any way as their bank will not accept. Bring enough to get started for a couple of days and then get your Pesos from the ATM. Also, DO NOT bring in big bills such as $50’s and $100’s. Many places won’t take $100’s and it is very difficult to get change for $50’s. I recommend bring in smaller bills such as $20’s, $10’s, $5’s and $1’s as they are just much easier to use. TIP: DON’T BRING TRAVELERS’ CHECKS – Most merchants won’t take them and it is difficult finding anybody to cash them.
USE OF THE TWO TIME-SHARE FACICILITIES NEXT DOOR: There are two time-share facilities located on either side of VLE. The one to the north is called Villa Palmar---it is about 6 years old. There is a newer one just to the south; it is called Villa del Arco---phase I has just been completed. The same management company that runs VLE runs these two time-shares. Any guest at VLE may use any of the facilities at Villa del Arco or Villa Palmar, including their pools (there is a great slide at the pool at Villa Palmar that children love), and restaurants. However, guests at Villa del Arco and Villa Palmar CANNOT use the facilities at Villa La Estancia.
FULL-SERVICE SPA: There is a wonderful full-service spa located in the building directly across from Villa Palmar. It is always best to call ahead and make reservations for beauty treatments or massages.
VLE CONCIERGE SERVICES: In this same lobby area as the reception desk you will also find the concierge desk. There are usually 2 persons working in concierge and they are very professional, friendly & knowledgeable. Most of all, they are customer driven. They know every good restaurant in town; they will be happy to make dinner reservations for you. They can also book your sunset cruises, snorkeling trips, or even horseback riding (on the beach!!). Our favorite sunset cruise and snorkeling guide is Captain Eduardo on his small catamaran the Rissalena. You can book his boat through the concierge. It is best to book ahead as his boat is limited in occupancy and very popular. Another trip that can be booked through the concierge desk is the ATV trip through the desert and on miles of beautiful white sand beaches just 30 minutes north on the Pacific side.
TELEPHONES: When the subject of the use of telephones in Cabo comes up, we always seem to preface the discussion with an apology. Presently, the telephone system in place at VLE is inconvenient at best---at worst outrageously expensive.
1.) When making local calls: You will be charged $1 USD for every local call made.
2) When calling the USA or other countries: If you just pick up the telephone inside the condo and dial out, you will NOT be charged any connection fee BUT you WILL be charged a rate of $3.50 per minute! If you use any calling card---and make a call from inside the condo, you WILL be charged a $10 PER CALL “connection fee”---but the per-minute charges are usually only about .50 per minute. If you use a specific calling card (the “Hello” card) you will NOT be charged a “connection fee” IF---and only IF---you make your call from one of the VLE courtesy telephones located in the lobby of VLE.
Best Suggestion: Communicate over the Internet as much as possible.
- Bring your own laptop-All of VLE has a wireless environment, including pool area.
- If you have a smart phone, there are a number of apps you can download that will allow you to make a phone call over an internet connection for. For example, one of them is called "Viber."
INTERNET SERVICE: Villa La Estancia has a great wireless environment that works OK in the common areas, albeit a little slow if a lot of folks are on it. In our unit, we have an Ethernet connection in the Master B/R by the desk and an Ethernet Cable in the desk. So you can hook direct.
To Use the Wireless – You should see an available wireless Network with the name "baja2301" – The Security Key is the same as the network name, "baja2301"
Troubleshooting the wireless –
- Make sure the wireless is enabled on your computer
- Try to connect hooking the cable directly to the computer and bypassing the router
- Make sure cables are connected properly – The Ethernet Cable should be connected from the wall below the desk into the Yellow input on the router on top of the desk.Make sure the power adaptor is plugged in. If you can connect via the Ethernet Cable direct and not by the wireless, disconnect power to the router, wait 30 seconds, and plug back in and/or shutdown your computer and start back up. If still no luck, please contact the front desk for assistance.
If you do not have a laptop with you, your best bet is to simply walk across the street to the Internet Café located inside the Palmita Mini-Market. The charge is $9 USD per Hour---or a minimum charge of $5 for a 1/2 hour. (That is, you can’t just sign on to use it for 10 minutes---without paying for the minimum 30 minute charge of $5). There are many other Internet Café establishments in downtown Cabo that are less expensive.
FAX MACHINE: If you need to send or receive a fax, just go down to the lobby and ask anyone in Guest Services to help you. If someone wants to send you a fax from the USA have him or her dial: 011-52-624-145-6901
NON-SMOKING – There is no smoking anywhere inside our condo at Villa La Estancia. Smoking is available only outside.
NO PETS: Our condominium does not allow pets.
QUIET TIME: VLE provides a very relaxed environment. Excessive noise and music, particularly on the balcony after 11:00 p.m., is highly discouraged and can create a call from VLE personnel.
POOL: There are two very large swimming pools available to guests at VLE---an attractive rock formation/walk bridge separates them. One pool features a great swim-up bar. (This bar is connected to the outdoor poolside restaurant named “La Parilla”. The pool opens at 7:00AM and closes at 10:30PM.
(There is a Children’s’ Pool is available next door at the time-share, Villa Palmar. Anyone staying at VLE has full use of any of the facilities at Villa Palmar. Guests at Villa Palmar CANNOT use the facilities at VLE, however)
JACUZZI HOT TUB SPAS: The resort boast 5 huge outdoor Jacuzzi spas in the pool area. (At night, adjacent to theses spas you will also find lighted outdoor gas fireplaces to add to the incredible atmosphere of the Jacuzzi spas.
FITNESS CENTER: There is an impressive fitness center located on the lower level with VLE. It boasts state-of-the-art machines in a spotlessly clean environment along with steam rooms & saunas.
SPA SERVICES – The Desert Spa is located between VLE and Villa Del Arco. It is 31, 000 square foot spa and fitness center offers a host of indulgences to refresh the mind, body and soul. Guests can enjoy massages, body wraps, facials, hydrotherapy, couples’ experiences and a full service beauty salon, as well as a la carte services and special spa packages.
With the Desert Spa's exclusive line of desert-inspired body products, guests will be wrapped, bathed and pampered with extracts of agave, lime, nopal, melon and vanilla. Using fruit and herb extracts native to the Baja California area, the spa's body products have been specifically developed for the restorative and nutritive powers they possess - and for the enjoyment they provide spa guests. Designed in Mexican Hacienda style, the Desert Spa insets into Los Cabos’ timeless merger of desert and sea by complementing its natural setting with earth tones, ample natural light, and the scents and flavors of Baja. Among its spectrum of contemporary amenities are generous hydrotherapy centers for men and women including a spacious Jacuzzi, cold plunge pool, cold pressure showers, body temperature pool, steam room and sauna.
SAUNA AND STEAM ROOM: You will also find separate steam rooms & saunas for men & women in their respective locker room areas of fitness center.
RESTAURANTS AT VLE: VLE has two restaurants on the premises.
“La Parilla” is located at the pool area. This is a very casual restaurant with a limited menu but the food is tasty and the beer is nice and cold. Guests can order sandwiches and/or drinks right from their pool lounge chairs from the servers-who are ever present-or you can walk over to the tables provided (near the swim-up bar) and eat there. Hours of this restaurant are 10:30AM until 6:00PM
“La Casona” is the other restaurant on the grounds of VLE. It can only be described as a gourmet restaurant. The food and service is absolutely terrific. This restaurant is located between in the lower level adjacent to the fitness center. It features a great breakfast everyday from 7:00AM until 10:00AM. Dinner is served from 6:00PM until 10:30Pm. It is a good idea to ask the concierge to make a dinner reservation.
(The two time-shares also have good restaurants that we use frequently. Villa Palmar has “Tortugas” for inside dining and “Bella California” for poolside. The restaurant at Villa del Arco is called “La Perla”.
WATER: Drinking water is safe for all the guests staying at our condo at VLE! You can feel perfectly safe drinking and or/using the water right from the tap. VLE has their own de-salination plant as well as a state-of-the-art purification system right on premise. Feel safe to drink any water or use any ice products located anywhere in the resort.
The same is true of any of the better restaurants in the Marina or the downtown area. Cabo San Lucas is a very tourist-friendly city and they are very insistent about keeping the quality of their water safe for their visiting tourists.
For The More Cautious Guest: Obviously, if you still choose to drink bottled water, you will find that it is available everywhere in Cabo San Lucas. If cooking, wash fruits and vegetable thoroughly---just like at home.
TELEVISION – There are three televisions in the condo. There is one in the living room, one in the Master bedroom, and one in the guest bedroom. There are a number of US channels that are included in the package.
DVD/VCR PLAYERS - Each bedroom and the family room is equipped with a DVD/VCR player. In the Palmita Plaza across the street from VLE there is a small movie rental store for your convenience.
AIR CONDITIONING: The condominium has central air conditioning. The A/C system is programmed to shut off when the sliding glass doors to the balcony are left open .
TIPPING: Although tipping in Mexico is not as common as in the USA, the restaurants and cab drivers in the Cabo area have come to expect some tip from the American tourists---even if it is less than what you might normally tip at home.
RESTAURANTS & BARS IN CABO: Cabo San Lucas has literally dozens of wonderful restaurants ranging from relatively inexpensive to gourmet. Just ask Erick or Joaquin at the concierge desk for some recommendations. They will make your dinner reservations for you as well. The bars are world-renowned.
Our Personal Favorites for Restaurants:
Dinner: We recommend reservations just to be sure.
- Italian – Salvadore’s – Nice Courtyard, small, quaint.
- Alcaravea - Very tiny, small, great food & atmosphere.
- Traditional Mexican – Hacienda Cosina - Direct on the water great food, great atmosphere.
- The Office (short walk on the beach), La Casona, Bella California, Los Ajos, Panchos and the Baja Cantina (on the marina)
Cabo Wabo, El Squid Roe, Giggling Marlin However, there are many others to explore as you walk around the marina and town. If you take a trip up the pacific coast on route 19, a must stop is a place called “Art & Beer”, a small cantina on the left side of the road about 4 miles before Los Ceritos. You can view works of art, however, the Bartender Alfredo is the real artist in our opinion with specialties of Margaritas and Bloody Marys. PLEASE NOTE: As of Dec, 2010, the road to Todos Santos is undergoing a lot of new construction. Allow an additional 15 minutes from Cabo AND under no circumstances drive this road at night until the construction is finished. The detours and lane changes are not lit at all and are a challenge in daylight, much less night time.
BUYING GROCERIES & LIQUOR: Just across the street from VLE is a resort-owned retail complex called Palmita Plaza. Among the stores in this little plaza is an Internet café, an ice cream shop, a doctor’s office, as well as a mini-grocery story/pharmacy. This is very convenient but also very expensive.
If you have the room in your suitcase, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring a small amount of dish soap, detergents, salt/pepper, coffee, coffee filters, baggies so you won't have to purchase when you arrive. This will save you a few bucks at the mini-grocery.
If you plan to BBQ or cook some meals in the condo, your best bet is to go to the City Club store, Costco or Sam’s, --where prices and selection are very good. City Club is within walking distance & most convenient and very much like a small Costco. The Costco and Sam’s are a $10 taxi ride—each way.
If you are a US member of the Costco or Sam’s, your US card works in Mexico. You can also get “daily passes”. Upon entering the store, just go up to the Customer Service desk & buy your membership card and you are all set. Have you taxi wait for you and he will be happy to help you with your groceries. When you get to VLE, they will load the groceries on a luggage cart and bring to your room.
RUNNING THE TIME-SHARE GAUNTLET: We love Cabo a lot. However, one of the comments we hear from guests is their annoyance with the ever-present time-share sales people. Avoiding the timeshare sales people can be a challenge for first-time visitors to Cabo. Every tourist area has time-share sales people but Cabo seems to have way more than their fair share.
You may be a visitor who really doesn’t mind listening to a timeshare sales pitch (including the 2-3 hour tour at the time-share venue)---in order to get a free dinner and/or round of golf, etc.---BUT---there are many people who are on vacation and prefer to avoid these pitches.
Of course, after getting off the plane in Cabo, you will need transportation---to get to Villa La Estancia----you can take a taxi or take a shuttle. As you leave Customs at the airport, you will get “ambushed” by salespeople working for timeshare venues---unfortunately, a lot of them will lead you to believe that they are with a shuttle or taxi company---but in reality, they are trying to talk you into signing up for a 3 hour timeshare tour.
VLE are strictly private condominiums but the same developer owns the timeshare resorts on either side. You will likely get an invitation to breakfast for Villa Del Arco next door. You will likely receive a call welcoming you and that your “welcome packet” is waiting for you in the lobby. This is an invitation to view the timeshare project next door. So if you don’t want the tour, you may want to skip the invitation. This is probably one of the least high pressure pitches in the area so a free breakfast and free perk may be worth the visit.
Although you will run into these timeshare people all over town, the first onslaught you will face will be upon arrival at the airport. When you exit from security, those friendly guys in white uniforms asking you if you need transportation, etc., also represent timeshare companies. So just say, “no time share, just a taxi”
If you want to avoid this pitch, here are some helpful tips:
At the airport - Just keep walking until you exit the disembarkation area. You will enter another room, and are now in the area where the Shuttle Buses tickets and taxis rides are sold. Go buy your shuttle/taxi ticket (you will be given a shuttle van #) and walk outside & hook up with your shuttle driver. If you are offered discounted or free transportation, just say you don’t want a timeshare presentation and you want to pay the regular fare.
Even in the town area you will run into timeshare people…
Some tips other guests have offered to newcomers to avoid timeshare pitches:
1) Question from someone: Is this your first time to Cabo?
- To avoid timeshare pitch, say you own a Condo at Villa La Estancia. (This is an easier sell if you have a tan!!)
2) How long are you staying? (This means, do they have enough time to schedule you through a presentation and sales pitch) – To avoid this pitch, say this is your last day.
3) Do you want to go fishing, play golf, etc.?
– (Usually a lead in to a timeshare pitch)
4) Anything offered for FREE…is usually a timeshare pitch
5) You can book your activities through the concierge at Villa La Estancia or other reputable tour operators----without the annoyance of listening to a sales pitch.
CURRENCY – It is not necessary to have Pesos as US Dollars are accepted everywhere. ATM machines provide the best exchange rates and are available at Villa Palmar next door and in town. Although U.S. currency is readily accepted everywhere, it is nearly always better to transact business in Pesos (and more fun). Local vendors like to pretend that 10 Pesos and $1 U.S. dollar are exactly the same as this has been the case the past few years. However, check the exchange rates before you leave. As of Nov, 2008, the exchange rate is running 12-13 pesos to the dollar. MAKE SURE – you have plenty of pesos and don’t get stuck with your dollars where you will certainly be paying more. Make sure you get your restaurant bills, etc., in Pesos.
LANGUAGE – Cabo is a great place to practice your Spanish but English will work just fine 90% of the time. However, the two most important words you will need to know as it relates to vendors and timeshare salesmen are simply “No Gracias”.
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: Hopefully, you will never get sick while you are on your vacation…….but if there should be a need for medical assistance, contact the staff at Villa La Estancia and they will direct you to the most appropriate health care provider for your problem.
We know you will love Villa La Estancia. Enjoy our Villa & come back soon!!!
Judy & Gary Feigenbutz
Kathy & Scott Wessel