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“Loved Cabo, Not RIU” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
Ranked #31 of 71 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Certificate of Excellence
Canada
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Loved Cabo, Not RIU”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 14, 2005

We stayed at RIU Palace from 09/05 - 09/12 and here is our review:


Flight/arrival: We flew with Skyservice out of Toronto. The flight was good
and we arrived a half hour early. They were short room for some passengers on the buses, but they fixed the problem quickly. It took just over thirty minutes to get to the hotel and the ride was scenic. Check-in was fast. I had requested a room in the 3000's before we left and we were assigned room 2008. Disappointing. We didn't feel like going through the hassle of arguing for a new room (they were 95% booked), so we accpeted that room.

We wanted to note that on the way to our room we were assualted with a
horrid sewer smell. It is VERY noticeable as you pass the rooms in the
XX40's to XX60's (approximately) and it would pretty much affect all floors. I don't know if you'd be able to smell in in your room, but you can
certainly smell it as you pass that area and it is NASTY!

Our general impression of the hotel was that it is aestheically very
beautiful. They did a great job with the common areas - they are all well
kept, clean and beautifully decorated. At first glance it really looks/feels
like a five-star, but once you actually start experiencing the resort you
realize they fall short of actually meeting five-star standards.

Room: As mentioned we were in room 2008. We had a partial ocean view but it was blocked by some palms. Not the view we were hoping for, but we decided it wasn't worth making a stink over. I should note that we had problems opening and closing our door ...you really had to give it a hard push to open or close it and it was actually coming apart at the seams. The couch in our room had quite a few noticeable stains on it and the carpet had multiple cigarette burns. We were missing a remote and some of the standard hotel toiletries. One day we requested water and still hadn't received it hours later. It took a second request, but we finally got it. The first day we noticed we had a burnt out bulb and requested a new one. We never did get the replacement. Not the end of the world on any of those issues, but it lowered the value of the hotel in our minds.

Maid service seemed to be different for everyone - some people got really
good service and some people got the very basics. We didn't notice any bugs, etc.

On another negative note, there was a residence (we were told not related to the resort) next door to our room and these people own many roosters. Need I say that once they started crowing, they did not stop for hours. Sometimes it started well before sun rise, too ... like 3 - 4 AM. We found it was a bit better with the patio doors closed, but what a pain when you want to hear the ocean waves as you fall asleep, etc. Obviously this is not the hotel's fault, but if you do not sleep like a log you may want to avoid that area!

Restuarants - The reservation system that is in place does need improvement. We did not have to wait long in line, but we couldn't even get a reservation for the gourmet restuarant because it was booked solid for the entire week we were staying there.

We didn't bother with the Japanese (we were told it was pretty good, though) nor the Mexican. We did try the steak house and were completely
disappointed. The service was terrible. I know they were trying, but they
were totally disorganized. They were not serving tables as they arrived
...there seemed to be no method to their madness. One couple who arrived before us and long before many other couples, nearly left and complained to the "manager" that it was taking SO long for their food. When we received our order, it wasn't even correct but we didn't dare say anything for fear of having to wait even longer! The food we did get was alright, however (steak tender, etc.), so it wasn't a total waste. Our friends booked there too and arrived early and said they had a good experience. Perhaps the earlier you arrive, the better the service will be.


The buffet restaurant left something to be desired after the third day.
There is very little variety .. it is repetitive each night. I know there
was a "theme" night each night but if anything WAS changed to accomodate the "theme" we couldn't really tell. I think the quality of the food is better than many other places (DR, Cuba) but it is barely warm and I think this ruins it. They did have some great smoothies, the fresh pasta bar was *excellent* and the mimosas at breakfast were a really nice touch! Service in the buffet restaurants ranged from okay to pretty good. It didn't seem to matter too much about tipping, either. We were pretty disappointed with the cleanliness, too. I really thought other people might be exaggerating about this, but they weren't. There were always dirty plates mixed in with clean ones and one morning I was given a spoon that obivously hadn't seen a dishwasher as it was still dirty with someone else's coffee stains! We never made a big deal about these things ...but, again, just more issues that lowered the value of the hotel.

Pools/grounds - Beautiful! We preferred the "relaxing" pool as it seemed to
be cleaner and less yahoos hanging around. We tried the busy pool one day and were treated to a bunch of drunk, ill-mannered tourists who thought it was amusing to pour beer on themselves in the pool, etc. - charming! Also, we couldn't understand why people thought it was okay to leave their glasses, empty bottles, etc. all over the resort - piled in ashtrays, in the bushes, etc. - get some class people! I think someone on here once said something about a five-star resort attracting 2-star clientele and now I know why! Thankfully, during our stay they were the minority.

We had absolutely no problem with service in the pool bars. We always
received prompt, friendly service. If you were waiting for service from the
waiters who were serving people in their loungers, you did have to wait a
long time. To us it wasn't a big deal - we'd just walk over to the bar and
get a drink.

The pools are huge, not terribly overcrowded and for the most part pretty
clean (save the pool/bar on the busy side). We didn't find them to be as
warm as some people said ...they were always cool enough to be a refreshing change from the hot sun.

The town of Cabo San Lucas was fun!

We stopped in at Margaritavilla for some margs - wow! Expensive ($9US a pop) but HUGE, tasty and well worth it!

Ole Ole - We had already eaten, but joined some friends who ate here for
drinks and a "snack". First round was on the house (nice!) and the food was really good. Our friends had lobster/steak combo and fahitas and we had the tortilla soup and shrimp cocktail. A little costly, but very tasty and worth it after days of repetitive buffet food!

El Squid Roe - We stopped by for a short while one night and it was
packed. They really do alot to get the audience involved and having a good time. It is geared more toward the younger, more rowdy crowd. We witnessed the bar staff run a 30-person conga line passed several 'tequila stations'. At each station they poured a shot of tequila down each persons throat using a shot nozzle that had been licked and sucked by all the others in the conga line. Not our thing but you probably care less if blitzed! Drinks are exepensive.

Office on the Beach - We had e-mailed them prior to leaving to request
reservations for the Thursday night Fiesta. We never heard back. We decided the day after we arrived (Tuesday) to head down there for drinks and lunch. The chips and salsa were excellent and the drinks (2 for 1) did not disappoint!! The lunch was only okay, however, and when we checked on our fiesta reso, we were told they didn't have it in the low season! Nice! I feel if they are going to offer online reservations, at least have the
decencey to reply to people.

Amarone - Can't say enough good things about this place. Awesome! We went there for a gourmet dinner and were not disappointed. We all had appetizers of pasta (lobster ravioli and crab ravioli - yum!) and our pasta entrees were great, too! Don't underestimate the place due to the modesty of the restaurant staff and their descriptions of the meals. We had no room for dessert! A warning - a decent bottle of wine is extremely expensive here! The service was excellent and the atmosphere (we ate out in the courtyard with a jazz band playing) was great!!

Johnny Rockets - We ate here one day for lunch. It was okay ...nothing to
write home about.

The only excursion we did was ATV'ing with Amigos which was a blast! The
ride was fun and the beach was so beautiful! Highly recommend this! Bring cargo pants (or jeans) and running shoes.

We also rented wave runners which was fun. We rented them for an hour but felt that a half hour would have been plenty. Our friends did parasailing and said it was great ...just a little expensive for the short amount of time you are actually in the air.

The beach - beautiful! The scenery is great. Nice view of the arches! I knew that swimming was treacherous from past reviews so wasn't expecting much. Most days the flags indicated you could swim though even at that I don't think I would risk it. It is no joke about that undertow! One thing we were not prepared for is how rough the sand is on the beach. It is not soft by any means! This wouldn't be an issue but for the fact that we like to walk the beach ...so, for anyone with tender feet - bring watershoes!

There were many more excursions and activites we would have liked to try and there just wasn't enough time!

As for the comments like "some people just like to complain" - I think that is unfair. Yes, some people cannot be pleased at all ..but we are not "whiners". We feel that overall we got a good deal for what we paid, but I would never pay for this resort at high season because for US it was not a five-star experience. I imagine others had a better expereince than we did ...but I believe it's important for people to get a variety of opinions so they can make an informed decision. Just because other people may not have had the same wonderful experience as you, doesn't mean they are perpetual complainers.

I would likely to return to Cabo ...but there are other places I have on my "list" to visit first! It was a beautiful place with lots to see and do. So, I say go to Cabo but if you want a true five-star experience then avoid RIU Palace. If you can go with lowered expectations, then you will probably be suitably impressed with RIU.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
21 Thank shenaniganzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,549)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2005

My wife and I visited there Aug 21-Aug26. We had a great experience. Looking at this before we left we too were a bit skeptical about the place with everyone ranging in opinion from 1-5 but it was awesome. Our view was spectacular. Our room over looked the rock formation and we had a giant balcony that was far enough away from the nightlife we could sit out and listen to the ocean after a day of partying before heading back out.
I do think everyone is dead on when they say the food is so so and especially at the specialty restaurants. We ate at the steak house and were very under whelmed. Speaking with the other guests at the pool this is common place and the service is very slow. We cancelled the reservation at the Japanese place and stuck to the hall. The buffet is the way to go. The service was far superior when it came to getting drinks and a table. The food was still nothing to write home about but they had a wide variety and always some staples and some new things to try.
The pools were great and all of the bartenders were excellent. Even though tips are included in the all inclusive with the Europeans there you throw some cash to anyone and you get another drink before you are half way done with your last, your room made up awesome and first seating on the cab into town.
We had no problems with the place, except the food and are planning to go to another Riu early next year in another location because of our experience.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
19 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottesville, VA
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2005

We just got back yesterday from the Riu Palace. We were there for 6 days. Our experience was wonderful! My first impression of the hotel was that it was a cross between The Palace in Madrid, Spain and the PUENTE ROMANO in Marbella. Both great properties! Check-in was fast and friendly. We were immediately served drinks and then taken to our room. We had a direct view of the ocean. The maids came daily. They know very little English but are willing to try to figure out what you need. We had dinner in the main dining room that night. The food was very good. The selection was great! Each night is a different 'theme' night in the main dining room, but always has some of the same basics. There is some Mexican, but I gather that they are trying to please Americans and Canadians with our standards as well. On the buffet you'd find an array of fruits, salads, desserts, cold cuts, vegetables, dressings, meats, cheeses, a slew of entree's from casseroles to meats to seafood selections. Breakfast is the same way, you can be really healthy or really really bad! Mimosa's are always served! We made reservations (took about 10 mins) in 2 of the dining rooms. We ate dinner in the 'steak' restaurant, but I had seafood Kabob. It was a casual evening and you had waiters to wait on you. The food was plentiful and good. We opted to eat out the 3rd night at a place in old Cabo called 'The Trailor Park'. It is a seafood restaurant. A taxi will take you there for $12.00. It was awesome. I ordered petit lobster tail of course and I was served 2 lobster tails that were at least 3 pounds of lobster. It was 25.00usd for my meal. I'll attach a picture if I can figure it out. We highly recommend it
Beware, there is a 'trailor park' restaurant that is almost in front of the hotel. This is not the real 'trailor park' restaurant, it is a take off of the orginial. I didn't go, it may be good who knows.

In the excursion dept, we kayaked and snorkels with a company called Baja Wild. It was a nice trip to 3 bays and lasted about half the day. The kayaks are double open ocean ones, so if you want a single I would request it. We did a sunset cruise with La Princsesa catamaran. There was an open bar and snacks and a beautiful sunset. We went out to the arch and back.

We also had a his and her massages at the Spa. It was a great massage, they are very well trained, but there was this loud noise coming from somewhere that was kind of distracting. Maybe a pool pump running or something...The gym has an awesome ocean view while working out on the treadmill.

Oh, back to the food, we had reservations at the Gourmet restaurant one night. The food was very good. I had snapper file, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a wonderful salad with feta and olives. My husband had the duck, which was also excellent! Service was fast and friendly.

I noted someone mentioned the 'smell'. Well, there is a horse farm between the hotel and the highway that is very well hidden. We saw it when we took a taxi into town the 'back way' because of road construction. It's huge and you could really smell it as you drove by. I think the hotel is downwind of this property.

I would definitely stay at this property again. It's a great place to unwind, have fun, do nothing, meet great people and make wonderful memories.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
25 Thank Lynne055
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Rosa, Ca
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2005

We stayed 9-3-05 - 9-10-05. My husband and I had a great time. We hated to return, but, are very relaxed. Do not let the bad reviews turn you off. Sometimes people just need to complain. For restaruant reservations you do have to wait in line, we suggest waiting at 10:45 and you will be 1st or go between 3 and 4p.m. All food was good, drinks were great. The view and hotel was heaven. Still new, so sometimes you have to be patient when it gets busy, but certainly all staff are very accomodating and friendly!!Definately will be back. You can walk into town along beach, its wonderful. Have fun, relax and remember...Your on Vacation!!

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
18 Thank lms2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2005

First off, let me begin by saying I had read alot of recent reviews for this place, and was feeling a little anxious as to what I would find. Seems most people either loved it, or hated it (lots of 1's and 5's) Me and my girl went down there from Aug/20-sept/05, 2005,Im 42, she's 39.

First lets start with the good, and there was lots of it! The building itself and the grounds were very, very nice. Lots of pools, bars and lounges and the hotel itself was set up very nicely. The rooms were nice and the beach/location were ideal. The food for the most part was excellent, especially in the main buffet area and the Steak resteraunt. The mexican place we heard was so-so, and the Japanesse resteraunt was poorly serviced, food was cold and not the greatest quality. But as for comparision, this was by far the best food at a resort Ive had in mexico,(7 times in last 5 years, always 5 star, but mostly in Cancun/maya riviera area)
Most of the staff in the main buffet seemed to try very hard to please, and we felt very well taken care of, with very few exceptions. Weather was awesome, some would say too hot! Most dealings with hotel staff went smoothly, in spite of the ever-present language barrier, and MOST were resolved to our satisfaction.
Now for the bad. The reviews regarding the "smell of poo" as someone else eloquantly put it are true...some areas smelled a little ripe, and our room smelt a little funky on some occasions after returnng form the days activitys.
The "line up" situation for the resteraunt wasnt too bad, but if you want a good resteraunt/good time, you better line up early. For instance, we got 4 times out, but always too early/too late..and we never could get availability for the gourmet resteraunt. I guess for decent times/selections, thats when you have to line up early and wait..if you go around lunch time..you never wait for longer than 5 minutes.
But what peeved me the most about this hotel, and turned what would have been a 5 star review into a 3 star review, was a couple of incidents I shall now disclose. On our first full day, I had left a 3 dollar U.S. tip for the cleaning staff when we left the room at 900 am, but when we returned to the room at 330 pm, we were shocked to discover the money was gone, but the room was unmade! I immedialtley reported this to the manager (Carlos) who said he would check the key log and find out what happened. A few hours latter he told me it was the mini bar staff who had entered the room, and presumably took the money thinking it was a tip for them. But, a couple things dont make sense. First, mini bar staff only come every second day, and this was our first day. Second, the money was far away from the mini bar...so, whats the deal? Third, and most importantly, the mini bar was NOT restocked,...i had drank 3 beers our first night and they were still missing. Hey, if your taking the tip, do the job! Fourth, even if this explanation was satisfactory, why was the room still unmade at 330 pm..a little late in the day, no? So, Carlos assured us he would make sure the room was made earlier in the day from now on...and I left that initial "tip buisness" on the backburner. HOWEVER, on our last full day, I left (stupidly) a 5 dollar U.S. tip for the maid..and when we came back our room was done..but my girlfriend was shocked to see that someone had rifled through her clothes/drawers and stole about 2 dollars U.S. in mexican change from her purse! There was no doubt about it, I saw her put the change in there myself that morning, and my girl knows how she leaves her stuff ( a little anal that way, lol).The funny thing was, canadian change was left untouched, only the mexican change was taken..after leaving a 5 dollar tip...disgusting! All I can say is if you want to tip your maid at this resort, you SHOULD HAND THE MONEY TO HER YOURSELF IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE SHE GETS IT! Im not sure whats going on, but someone is scaming those tips..I spoke to a few guests who noticed missing cigarettes from open packs,...nothing big, but annoying all the same. Ive never had/heard of stuff like this in 20 years of travel at 5 star resorts. Needless to say, I informed the manager, but what could he do...this sort of thing really soured me on the whole trip and made me feel taken advantage of. I cant prove what was going on, but someone in authority there is making a little extra on the side...tip carefully and watch your small stuff!
There were a few groups of especially loud idiots taking full advantage of the booze bottles in their rooms, but this isnt the hotels fault..but they could have been a little bit more dilligent in making sure the loud, drunken idiots werent screaming and banging around at 4 in the morning through the hotel corridors..hello?..security?
One last thing, the mattress was so hard my girlfriend couldnt sleep until she got the mattress pad..I liked it the way it was, but plan accordingly, she was really [--] after 2 nights of little/no sleep!
Although I saw a few great things about this place, if I end up returning to this area..I wont be staying at the RIU again...shame, a few changes and this could have been a excellent resort :(

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
27 Thank Steven G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2005

All in all a very nice experience from start to finish. The food was good , service was great, and the resort was beautiful. As with all the all inclusive resorts we have stayed at the dinners left alot to be desired. We compensated for that by going out to dinner and eating at the resort lunch and breakfast. We would stay there again anytime.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2005

My family and I ( 3 teens ) spent one glorious week at the RIU Palace in Cabo San Lucas from Aug. 22-29. It was a most relaxing and enjoyable vacation, words can't do this place justice. If you want a vacation with plenty of sun and seafood, go to west coast Mexico ( i.e Cabo, Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa ).

We arrived on the tail end of one Hurricane, Hillary, and left with news of another getting ready to strike the Gulf Coast ( Katrina ), talk about your weather extremes !

I won't add to what many others have said, except to say that the nay-sayers are dead-wrong. We made note of all the negative comments about the RIU Palace and made it a point to see if the bad reviews were justified. Let me say that if you WANT to have a lousy time and are determined to get that, you can make it happen, even though reality is otherwise.

As for us, all I can say is that our household has unanimously voted to go back to the RIU Palace next summer, same Bat-time, same Bat Channel !!

OLE !

Here is a link to my Webshots webpage where you can view our holiday pictures:

http://community.webshots.com/user/tonycavallari

You will notice that a lot of these pictures are of a personal nature, I hope you don't mind. The one picture showing a plate of shrimps, calamari and side veggies was an example of a lunch entree at the Jose Cortez restaurant near the active pool ! Seafood was very much in evidence the whole time we were there, something to keep in mind if you are an avid fish eater.

ENJOY :->>

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
24 Thank Cowboy59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
Address: Av. Camino Viejo a San Jose | Del Cabo KM 4.5 El Medano Ejidal, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Los Cabos > Cabo San Lucas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Business Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#18 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#21 Romantic Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#22 Family Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#23 Spa Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#26 Luxury Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#27 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas 4*
Number of rooms: 642
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the southern Baja California peninsula, 4.5 km/2.8 miles from Cabo San Lucas. 5-storey building. On the beachfront. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 32,000 m2 garden. 3.5 km/2.2 miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas. 40 km/25 miles from the airport. 500 m/1650 ft from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa, Diners. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel Cabo San Lucas
Riu Palace Los Cabos
Riu Cabo San Lucas
Riu Los Cabos
Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Los Cabos

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