Spent one week at the Sante Fe, and one week at the Palace, so this review will cover both. Weather was very good for both weeks as Cabo apparently gets very little rain. It was the least humid beach destination I have been to as well. Be aware, the evenings are extremely cool, so you will need at least a hoodie. Both hotels are about a forty-five minute ride from the airport and are on the same property. For arrivals, once you have your bags, do not speak to anyone until you are outside. You will be herded into a roundish room with a couple of doors that will open to the outside. The timeshare people know that a Sunwing flight just arrived, and will try and trick you into believing they are with Sunwing. The room is deceiving, because if the doors are closed, it is not obvious, that they lead outside. There were a lot of tourists hooked into going to the counters. For departures, the airport is quite small, and not many stores to peruse while waiting for your plane. There is one sit down restaurant and a few fast food places. The tequila-tasting bar in the duty free may be a good place to kill an hour if you didn't get enough at your hotel.
The Santa Fe is a fairly large resort. Building seven is a “U” shaped building on the beach with the two pools and bars. This is where all the typical poolside entertainment occurs. There is a lunch buffet, which turns into the steak house a la cart in this area. The rest of the resort is set back with the lobby and other buildings forming a square, with a third quit pool and bar in the centre. The remaining restaurants and open stage area are in this area. Any of the buildings in the square are fine, however buildings five and six are the closest to the disco, which has a really good sound system.
There didn’t seem to be enough lounging chairs by the pools and beach. You have to get up early to save them. We didn't make it down to the beach one day until ten, and there were no empty chairs available. We were able to find some at the quite pool, however. This resort does not have servers waiting on the guests anywhere other than in the restaurants. You have to go to the bar for your own drinks, which were always backed up with people.
The food in the buffets was good. Great overall selection. My only complaint was that the omelettes were very poorly prepared. On the plus side, the bacon was abundant and always cooked to perfection. Skip the Mexican Restaurant, totally disgusting. The other three were good, each having their own highlights. The Hotel has premium liquor in all the bars, and they will give it to you, if requested. I found that if you didn't ask for Smirnoff or Bacardi, your drink would have a harsh taste due to the poor quality local liquor. That includes the assorted blended drinks that were available.
The gym was adequate, although there were no free weights, and a fairly limited number of machines. The crowd at the Sante Fe was younger, compared to an older, less rambunctious crowd at the Palace. The discos in both places were modern, and played current top forty music.
The Palace was five stars. It is one building that stretches parallel to the beach, so your room is close to everything. The liquor in the rooms was brand name, and you had lots of beer and water, which were restocked daily. The rooms were slightly bigger, and the chairs were more comfortable. The food was noticeably better than the Sante Fe. They had servers everywhere, although the staff in both places was very friendly and obliging.
We swam in the ocean everyday. After reading all the reviews on here about the not being able to swim in the ocean, I was a little nervous at first. The beach has a 45 degrees slope that carries well into the water, so the waves actually crest right on to the shore. On some of the larger waves, the water returning to the ocean, created a really strong movement. Once you were in the water, however, there were no undercurrents pulling at you at all. The slope continued well into the water, so it was deep instantly. The Palace didn’t drop of quite as fast as the Sante Fe. The water seemed a bit cold at first, but once you were in it for a minute, it was nice.
Took a water taxi to Lovers Beach. They give you a bit of a tour, and the area is very nice. I think it was fifteen bucks a person, and then the same boat comes back and picks you up at a negotiated time. Rented snorkel equipment for ten bucks and saw lots of fish near Pelican Beach, which was a very small hike to Lovers Beach. We also rented Seadoos for Fifty bucks (CAN) for half an hour. I negotiated an extra ten minutes with the guys renting them off the beach. The Parasailing is the lame kind where they winch you off and back on to the boat. If you have never done it, this is a great way to try it. Everything is done for you, and you don’t have to land the chute yourself. I think it was forty bucks. Buy that off the beach as well. All the vendors and sports guys take Canadian dollars at par with the USD, so you don’t have to exchange a lot of money.
Found the best deal for tequila at Costco, a three pack of assorted Don Julio 750mls for 670 pesos. Wal-Mart has a huge liquor selection as well, and is fun to look around, and both are very close by. They were the only two places that didn’t take Canadian or USD for payment. There are lots of markets, restaurants, and bars around the Marina, and the streets surrounding. The vendors are the least aggressive of any, I have seen. The marina/area is a twelve-dollar CAN/USD trip each way. El Squid Row was a very uniquely entertaining bar, and a must see/experience. Cabo Wabo was also a really good time, playing excellent music. Neither place had a cover charge, although CW was pricier. The in town restaurants all had deals to lure you in. We picked one that had a six-pack of Corona and nachos for 10 bucks. We also stopped at one of the massage places in town that had $20/hr Swedish and $35/hr deep tissue massages. Definitely cheaper than in the hotel, and very relaxing.
While I prefer the Caribbean, Cabo was a lot of fun, and I would definitely return.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.