When: Depart Denver on a plane at 9am Friday April 17th, Arrive 1am to the Beach in Cabo (direct flights kick ass!), 3 nights in CABO
What: Andy’s 30th BDAY (I once heard it is best to celebrate a 30th out of the country…I couldn’t agree more!)
A quick weekend trip to the less explored East Cape of the Baja was a perfect adventure for my birthday weekend. While Cabo San Lucas is know for tourism, and cruise-ships, it is beautiful but usually crowded (we have visited Cabo before!). The other city, San Jose Del Cabo is known for Art and traditional plazas. We were about 25 mins outside of town staying on the road that turns into the East Cape. A place that is usually reserved for Surfers and Divers heading into Cabo Pulmo National Park and the remote lands. Our trip was focused on seeking deserted beaches and delicious seafood!!
Food was devoured (in order of consumption): As always food in Mexico is the best!
- Lunch: Buzzards Bar and Grill; Fish Tacos
- Dinner: Meson del Angel; Tuna Steak + Crazy traditional stuffed pepper + blueberry mojoitos + Ice-Cream “sushi” roll + Marachi singing Happy B-Day (we ate here before!)
- Breakfast: Mango Margaritas + Mexican Pastries + Sunrise
- Lunch: Flora Farms; Seafood Pesto Pizza + Pork-link sandwich (all food grown on the farm locally)
- Dinner: Tequila’s restaurant; Fresh Fish + Shrimp + Octopus appetizer + more Marachi singers
- Breakfast: Pastries + Sunrise
- Lunch: on the beach in the middle of nowhere: Chips+black beans+cured meats+margaritas+plums+avocado+cerveza
- Dinner: La Palapa in Cabo Pulmo; Aguachili Scallops (huge plate of scallops with lime+chili), Two Lobster Tails, Seafood Tacos, and another order of Scallops for dessert (because they were that good!). This seaside open air restaurant is right in the middle of Cabo Pulmo and delivered the best seafood of the trip!
- Breakfast: remaining tequila+fruit+pastry+ Final Sunrise
- Lunch: Jumbo plate of ceviche, Red Snapper fried whole+Jumbo Shrimp
Sunrise was epic every day as it rose over PUNTA GORDA!!:
Exploring the East Cape of Cabo:
Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, Los Frailes Snorkeling, Dirt Roads, and Deserted Beaches. That pretty much sums up our amazing experience.
We took the coast road which was no problem in our little rental car. The road was full of beautiful overlooks and interesting sights along the way. While worried a little about this road it actually was in top-notch conditions and was easy to travel on for what it is.
It was a Sunday and the beach was 100% deserted. A couple sailboats were moored offshore, and fisherman were 1 mile+ away. It was very enjoyable!! There was amazing covered shade PALAPAS on the beach for use making it really practical.
Looking back on the Beach from where we went snorkeling:
We spent all day at the beach enjoying the sun, snorkeling, and quite time. Lunch was snacks we brought along. For Dinner we decided to drive a little further up the coast to the city of CABO PULMO (maybe 15 buildings big) where we ate at the La Palapa and had amazing scallops, lobster, and shrimp!
We arrived home in the dark after the drive home, enjoying a few stops for the sunset:
San Jose Del Cabo:
We spent a lot of time eating at the many unique restaurants in the area. Flora Farms stuck out as being such an unique spot with incredible food.
We had one run-in with the law which ended with no problems. Apparently bumping down the pot-hole strewn road as fast as you can is not generally looked highly upon. After some exchanges in our poor spanish discussing why we were here, that we were from Colorado, that they acknowledged there are a lot of Mexicans in Colorado, that we had a rental car, and that we were going to a local farm for lunch (less then 1/4 mile away at that point), was enough to let us away with a caution to drive slower.
YUM Fried Snapper:
TIPS for Cabo San Lucas or San Jose Del Cabo or East Cape:
- MEGA Supermarket: As you come from the airport and hit HWY 1 the MEGA store is awesome. Bottles of top notch tequila for ~$13USD, pasteries, food, dried meats, beach stuff, fruit, booze mixers, etc. Load up here once and be happy!
We found a beautiful casita to rent from Kim on VRBO. Amazing views. Such a great deal in a very private neighborhood with 24/7 security:
One of the most beautiful places to watch sunrises as we enjoyed them from the house and also on the beach. The guard looked at us funny each morning as we strolled past him down to the beach before sunrise, enjoying the calm only a deserted beach can deliver.
Sea Shell Hunting:
Until Next Time MEXICO!!!
What: Our good friend Andrew was getting hitched in 3 weeks…so we threw him a good-ole bachelor party
Where: Lake Granby, Colorado ; 8,300 ft elevation
When: September 13th-14th, 2014
An early morning we left Denver after it literally snowed 24 hours earlier. As we drove-up and over Berthoud Pass the weather was incredible and we were stoked to be on our way. A quick 2.5 hour drive from denver and we were at the lake! Due to the size of the crew we had to take two trips to everyone to the campsite. The 2nd trip was a bit rough as the wind was strong and we were crammed into the boat:
1st order of business at the campsite: Beer-Drinking group shot:
The wind calmed down and we spent the whole afternoon waterskiing some excellent water. The water temp was the same as the air temp so the transition was freezing cold (in or out) but once you were in there with a wet-suit it was worth it:
We cooked ribeyes on the campfire like men, watched a beautiful evening happen around us, and had some campfire fun:
When: April 4th thru April 10th, 2013
Where: The city of Tamarindo, the city of Nosara and the Barra Honda National Park. Guanacaste peninsula, Costa Rica (Map Link)
What: A bunch of friends meeting up to celebrate Jake and Annie’s wedding while exploring a new country
he distinct smell of burning wood cuts through the jungle heat as we rumble towards another village perched deep in the countryside. This lone jungle road has us weaving through the hilly, thick-forested landscape of the Guanacaste Peninsula in Costa Rica as we head south from the city of Tamarindo to Nosara.
The previous 50 miles of road were devoid of vehicles but a highway for cow herds, iguanas, basking vultures, soccer matches, howler monkeys, and motorcycles with whole families on them. After several hours of travel, a couple points of confusion, in-accurate maps, and the occasional glance of the ocean, We turned the corner to face a pristine black sand beach just outside the city of Nosara:
This was our 3rd full day in Costa Rica with the prior few being spent in the somewhat touristy town of Tamarindo celebrating our good friends marriage. After the wedding a group of us headed south on a bit of an adventure to the vibrant, yet sleepy community of Nosara via a back-road route deep in the countryside. With 3 nights in Tamarindo and 3 nights in Nosara we just got a little taste of the good life (also know as the opt-spoken “Pura Vida”).
1st Stop – Tamarindo: Wedding, Surfing, Coconut Drinking
The first full-day of vacation and we quickly found ourselves some shade, a couple surf-boards, and cold-coconut water served in it’s shell. Gabe enjoying the easier and consistent waves of Tamarindo:
The first real evening ended with a perfect sunset, fresh seared ahi-tuna tacos, and meeting some new friends at the wedding recital party. Next day repeated with nearly the same routine: eat some pastries, make a fruit shake with tequila, go to the beach, surf, leave my debit card in the atm at the bank, burn our feet on the hot sand, enjoy life. Strolling through the town of Tamarindo:
Tamarindo is a town of transition as it becomes a world-wide destination for tourism. Less then an hour from the airport and with it’s beautiful beaches, it is easy to see why this place has become a favorite. First found by surfers in The Endless Summer, Gabe had the pleasure of meeting one of his life-long idols, Robert August, who runs a restaurant and surf-school there.
Jake and Annie’s Wedding at the Cala Luna Hotel:
A simple ceremony on the isolated beach on our second full-day finished up just as the sunset began to show it’s true colors. I set-up my gear and snapped a few shots of everyone as the sunset lit-up the ocean. Under this perfect sunset I took a lot of photos: Annie+Ashlee+Laura, Tom+Nancy, Annie+Ashlee+Laura (2nd shot), Liz+Matt+Bret, Below is a group shot (L to R: Justin/Liz/Matt/Jake/Annie/Gabe/Dani/Bret/Andy):
Gabe and Danni:
Jake and Annie:
2nd Stop – Nosara: Land of many Sunsets
It’s sunday evening and we stroll to the main beach for our first taste of Nosara, after spending the day driving there via back-roads. It appears the entire community has gathered to enjoy the cooling afternoon air highlighted by an incredible sunset. Golden hues dominated the beach as we worked our way to the rocky point to watch the sunset fall behind waves crashing. Just Another Sunset, This Time Pink, over Playa Guiones at Nosara:
Every evening the sunset lasted for-hours changing from brilliant orange, to pinks to deep blues; this is a shot overlooking the beach of Nosara:
Nosara is beautiful as all of the development is set back off of the beach. The town is stretched over a handful of roads with villas, local hotels, and restaurants tucked into the jungle. The waves were bigger and much more fierce, which everyone struggled with except for Gabe and Matt. We spent a whole day baking under the sun surfing as the high-tide rushed in. Liz Winding Down with a bit of Beach-Yoga:
While Tamarindo was a nice place to visit, Nosara is a place you come to and forget to leave.
Side-trip – The Caves of Barra Honda:
At the entrance to the park we picked up our guide, an weathered gentleman whose name translates to Saturn (Saturno). Our first objective was to hike to the cave. It was just three of us this day (Bret/Matt/Andy) and through our guide’s partial english and our partial spanish we had a very enjoyable and informative hike. Along the way Saturno pointed out trees with spikes on them, plants that smell like anise, howler monkeys, bee hives, hollow ground above other caves, and numerous other items in this unique forest.
After crawling down a 50ft overhanging-ladder (somehow Matt did this with a cast over his thumb), the massive main chamber of the cave surrounds you. The main cave called “Terciopelo” (name of the fer-de-lance snake) with the small entrance and the barely visible 40ft ladder (Cave Map photo):
Looking Deep into the Abyss of the Cave:
Luckily there was one other group of two that we did the tour with as one of them was fluent in spanish and we were able to learn specifics about the history of the caves. These limestone caves were split into a few sections that we crawled through each offering different formations ranging from large fins on the walls to typical stalagmites/stalactites.
The end of the trip we were brought to an overlook of the valley which provided us views all the way to the other-side of the peninsula to the Nicoya Gulf.
On the way home we stopped at a restaurant along the road that overlooked a valley below. Easily the most beautiful location we ate at it also had some of the best casado’s (traditional Costa Rican dish) of the trip.
“Pura Vida”, yes it is a well-overused term but after spending our evenings watching sunsets melt into the ocean, spending the days playing in the surf or exploring the various wonders of the landscape, eating delicious food, and meeting great people, you begin to understand why that phrase is so deeply rooted into this country. Overall a really easy place to travel to and to explore and a special place one should not miss!
Click below to see the Interactive Trip Map along with photos in the map:Read More»
Dates: June 9th – 11th, 2012
Where: Outside of Grand Junction on the Ruby/Horsethief section of the Colorado River ending in West-Water, Utah
Who: Justin, Aaron, Adrienne, Caitlin, Whitney, Hawk, Justin’s parents, Hawk’s Parents, some friends of theirs, a canine, and Myself. So a good sized rafting crew.
Caitlin’s “best friend from high school” Justin, was about to leave the country for a year and he organized a final raft trip with friends before leaving the soil of the USA. Caitlin and I were excited to join this adventure as rafting is one of the activities that we don’t get to very often. The put in for the river is just outside of Fruita (at Loma) and after a pretty quick car swap we were off in the early afternoon!
The whole crew at the Black Rocks Campground:
The river is really calm in this section, which is a problem when the wind picks-up and pushes your Shredder Raft up-river. Let’s just say me and Caitlin had some “bonding” time trying to fight the wind the first day and luckily we prevailed. Photo of Justin and Aaron showing us how to use a shredder properly:
Caitlin and Pat hanging-out on Al’s boat:
The water was a little low is spots:
We camped the first night at the Cottonwood campgrounds on the river, amply named due to the massive Cottonwood tree’s that are in this nice campground. Turkey’s were flying through the area and we played with the many toad’s that were jumping all over the place.
Floating the river the next day (we also did some hiking):
Sunday night we arrived at the Black Rocks camping area which is quite unique and full of some spectacular geologic features. The rock is Precambrian schist which would be the oldest exposed rock in that entire area and this area is the only spot along the River outside of Grand Canyon where this old of rock is exposed. Worn smooth from time, it almost looks like a giant water-slide created by maniacs:
Justin hiking around the rocks:
Sunset over the Black Rocks Campground (also picture link to what 3:30AM looks like when the Milky Way makes an appearance):
An incredibly rare sight happened on Caitlin’s and I last day on the river. A Cinnamon Black Bear was on the river’s edge and ran up the steep embankment when we floated past. I was able to snag a couple pictures of it before dropping a paddle into the river and causing chaos for our little shredder boat. We were literally on the boarder of Colorado and Utah and that bear disappeared incredibly fast for such a large animal.
More floating (now we are in Utah):
Caitlin and I got out at the Westwater BLM Ranger station while the rest of the crew continued on to do some rapids the next day. Since we had a few hours before needing to head home (and a convenient NPS parks pass) we checked out the Colorado National Monument which is a beautiful piece of nature tucked right off of I-70.
On the way home we were treated to a PINK SUNSET!
Great trip with old friends and new ones!
When: May 18th – May 21st, 2012 (4th trip to Southern Utah in 2012…)
Who: Myself and the my Old Man
- Friday May 18th: Denver to Moab, Camped at Ken’s Lake, Watched amazing sunset at Canyonlands
- Sat: Sand Flats Recreation Area on a Polaris RZR, Drive to Lake Powell, Kayak in 6 Miles to campsite
- Sun: Explore canyon on kayak, watch the Annular Eclipse, drink whiskey, smoke cigars
- Mon: Kayak back to Hall’s Crossing, take the Ferry, drive back to Denver
The Annular Eclipse over Lake Powell on Sunday May 20th, 2012:
lanning a last minute adventure with my Dad worked out quite well. As usual we had a idea but not a bunch of details and worked on combining a day with my Cousin in Moab with watching the Annular Eclipse in Lake Powell. Moab was the first stop after a windy drive thru Utah. Working our way up to Canyonland’s National Park we ended up at the Island in the Sky and timed a perfect 1 mile hike out on the Grand View Point Overlook right as the sun lit-up all of the dust in the air:
The Old Man enjoying the view from the Grand View Point trail:
Saturday morning we headed out with my crazy Cousin Al on his Polaris RZR in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. We did all of Fin’s and Things and Hell’s Revenge. The RZR is an awesome machine and while I am not too big on 4×4/off-roading, this thing was a beast. Cruising down Hell’s Gate:
Once we had our fill of off-roading my Dad and I took off on the road to Hall’s Crossing Lake Powell. We got our kayaks together and put-in right at 6pm with less then 2 hours of sunlight left. With some info from a local fisherman we headed down to Lake Canyon hoping that we would be able to find a spot to camp that night:
Crossing the large waters of Lake Powell in a kayak is a little unnerving especially since I have 1st hand experience on how quickly the waves can build and considering the water was still very chilly (~65 degrees). Luckily the boat traffic was minimal and instead we found ourselves racing against the sunset:
Nature provided a perfect camping spot with kayak parking, a sandy tent site, and 360 degree views of the area:
Sunday was spent exploring the large Lake Canyon:
Eventually we hit the inlet and hiked-up the river (and eventually ran into some cows who were pooping everywhere):
Annular Eclipse: The Main Event
We set-up just above our campsite for some great viewage of the Eclipse which happened over a much longer period of time then I was expecting. We came prepared with our solar glasses, whiskey, and cigars:
And the Eclipse was awesome:
Monday we packed up and paddled out enjoying the smooth water and making good time. It is always great when such a loose plan turns into a spectacular trip and it was awesome spending some time with my Dad.
More Utah trips in 2012 to come!