Sheila F. Buckmaster, Traveler editor at large, just came back from a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
It was my first Destination Wedding–“my” not as in “bride,” but, rather, “guest.” And it was in one very special destination: Cabo San Lucas. Whales, beach, and margaritas. Sunny Mexico, where smiles are in abundance. Good friends Kevin and Bethany had planned several days of fun for us, from deep-sea fishing to scuba diving, endless eating to a grand finale party on the beach at Las Ventanas (from $625). This was wedding central. Vows would be accompanied by Sea of Cortez breaking waves.
In the days leading up to the trip, my thoughts focused squarely on the wedding: my husband’s role as groomsman (blue blazer and khakis), Bethany’s footwear (this Montana cowgirl was going to sport custom-made boots with her sleek white strapless gown), the two sets of parents whose names I vowed to get straight.
But as soon as we touched down it was “destination” that preoccupied me. This was, after all, a trip. And that meant exploring. First, the Las Ventanas resort, with its perfectly-tended cactus gardens and bushes flush with hummingbirds. I saddled up to the outdoor sushi and tequila bar where I found some just-right spicy tuna rolls made from very local catch. At the spa, after my massage, I was asked if I wanted some fruit. Just wait here, I was told. Five minutes later I was handed a wooden plate with thinly sliced melon, pineapple, mango, and kiwi with, on the side, something I didn’t recognize. That’s a mix of chili powder and salt, I was told. Dip your fruit into it. Perfect. This sort of care and service characterized every moment at the resort. As my friend Susan (a psychotherapist) once told me, Everyone wants to be mothered. Las Ventanas gets that. Running into friends here and there was a great pleasure. We all felt like lucky kids at camp, but with margaritas rather than Kool-Aid.
I skipped the fishing and rented a car to drive along the coast (just over an hour on a speed-limit-be-damned two-lane highway) to the artist town Todos Santos, home to the Hotel California. But before I left, my personal butler, Mercurio, gave me maps and showed me good swimming spots along the way. Then he tossed a towel-filled duffel in my back seat. I drove through saguaro-filled hills. At one point, I was passed by a red truck that carried an untethered horse in the back.
After checking out Todos Santos’s church and shops, I pointed the Jetta toward the dirt-road hills and Posada la Pozo (rooms from $170), a cozy retreat of a hotel on a lagoon (you row across it to the beach). It is the dream-made-real of a Swiss couple. Libusche, the wife, is a professional painter and amateur landscaper whose gardens and paintings set the tone here. Husband Jurg, a former banker, does the cooking (my lunch of salad with grilled scallops and shrimp hit the spot) and keeps a cellar of more than 120 different Mexican wines (the Mexican chardonnay he served me easily rivaled whites from California).
Then it was time for the wedding. Yes, the bride wore cowboy boots (brown with colorful designs) and so did the two flower girls (red, a match for the rose petals they tossed, and the boots lit up as they walked).
We were on vacation in a spot 50 degrees warmer than the place from which we’d come. And, in the company of friends (including the new ones we’d made: various members of the two families), we were attending the wedding of dear pals. A destination wedding. Not a bad idea.
Photo: Sheila Buckmaster
- Nat Geo Expeditions