With all the conflicting news about travel continuing to confuse would-be vacationers, it can be hard to plan a safe family getaway right now. We get it. After full vaccinations, a ton of research and lots of conversation, we decided a summer holiday in Los Cabos would be a safe bet. And we were right – it was! We organized a safe family vacation in Los Cabos without a ton of stress and anxiety. And you can too with our 6 tips for planning a safe family vacation in Los Cabos.
Of course, so much of any travel plan relies on your own set of standards. In our family, I (Jon) tend to be a little more of a risk taker. Triton is a great balance for that, because he is more cautious and always wants to know where the nearest hospital is located. (Just in case, y’know).
As we planned a last hurrah for Sophia before she headed off to college, we wanted to choose a location that she would enjoy. We also wanted to choose a place we felt comfortable and could navigate easily. Since we’ve been to Mexico so many times, it seemed like a good choice. And after looking into the way Los Cabos has been handling health and safety during the COVID crisis, we booked our trip. We knew it was possible to have a safe family vacation in Los Cabos.
Los Cabos is a Great Family Destination
Without a doubt, Los Cabos is one of the most beautiful destinations in Mexico. The rocky desert terrain drops down into azure blue seas. The resorts are designed for maximum beauty, comfort and enjoyment. Most hotels, restaurants and shops all cater to an International clientele. And that gorgeous ocean offers bountiful ways to enjoy its riches. Americans love to flock here, which has helped Los Cabos become a top destination – particularly for Californians like us.
Living in San Diego, the flight to Los Cabos is an easy 2 hours and 15 minutes south. We flew on Southwest Airlines direct from SAN to SJD because we had rewards to redeem, but easy flights are also available via the CBX Cross Border Xpress. This convenient bridge crosses from the US directly into the Tijuana International Airport, bypassing the border congestion. You can learn more about the advantages of using CBX here.
Tips for Planning a Safe Family Vacation in Los Cabos
Now those that know us well are aware we are not nervous travelers. We typically are not overly worried about germs and other travel phobias, but COVID is another thing entirely. We did our homework. After all this research, we wanted to share our top tips for planning a safe family vacation in Los Cabos.
1. Choose Your Hotel Wisely
After researching many options and looking at a lot of websites for COVID-safe practices and guest reviews, we decided on the Hyatt Ziva Resort Los Cabos. Sophia wanted to stay in an all-inclusive resort, but that is not the only reason we chose this particular resort. First and foremost, we wanted to feel confident we would be safe and healthy while staying at the resort. We looked at their protocols and cleaning practices, and were comforted by the rules they have in place. Many other resorts also clearly stated their COVID-safe policies and we would have also felt good about staying at the Hilton Los Cabos where we have stayed before. There were several other hotel companies that communicated their policies clearly, and all passed our test in this regard. This is truly one of the most important tips for planning a safe family vacation in Los Cabos.
We chose the Hyatt Ziva because it has a large beach with cabanas on the sand, a swim-up bar and disappearing edge pool. There were Sophia prerequisites, so we felt obligated to comply! More on this hotel later, but it was a great stay and we all left very happy.
In fact, both Sophia and Ava claimed this was among their favorite family vacations we have ever taken.
2. Check That Your Hotel Has COVID Testing On-site
Equally important in our tips for planning a safe family vacation in Los Cabos is the location of the nearest COVID testing facility.
The United States requires that all travelers returning from Mexico have evidence of a negative COVID test, even if fully vaccinated. Our family was vaccinated the moment we could, so we felt some level of protection. But nonetheless, we did not want to bring anything home with us other than the souvenirs we had collected! The Hyatt Ziva Resort had on-premise testing facilities, which made it very easy for us to get tested and travel to the airport with our negative results. Most of the larger hotels have similar on-site arrangements.
We met some nice people staying at an Airbnb in town, and they had to seek out a clinic to get tested. Although it was not that complicated once they found a place, they said it was difficult to manage and the facility wanted cash up front. We are told that other independent testing facilities take additional forms of payment, so if this is your route just be prepared.
3. Wear Masks Everywhere
All the staff and employees at the Hyatt Ziva Resort wore masks at all times. Guests were required to wear masks on property and inside restaurants, bars and other on-property facilities at all times except when eating or drinking. All restaurants took our temperatures before seating us. Many had shallow trays of disinfectant they asked us to step into before entering, which we were happy to do.
The hotel and every place we visited in Los Cabos were all very strict about wearing of masks, and would not allow guests to wiggle out of compliance. It was impressive to see such a solid and collective effort to keep their tourism business strong and travelers safe. After all, if they had a serious outbreak and the news reached the US people would be less inclined to visit.
4. Consider an All-Inclusive Resort
I never thought I would be the one saying this. All-inclusive resorts have not typically been appealing to us, but in this case it was a fantastic choice. Not because of all the food, activities, entertainment and fun (which were pretty great). Consider an all-inclusive resort because you don’t have to leave it very much. Everything you need is right on-property. If you find a resort where you feel safe, the vacation experience can be more relaxing without worrying about all the touchpoints and interactions you might encounter out and about.
5. Maybe Use a Car Service or Car Rental
Many travelers suggested we hire a driver if we wanted to explore the area. This way, we could be sure the vehicle was ours alone to use and that the driver was COVID-safe. After researching the cost of this, we decided not to do it. Cost was the primary reason, because if it had been more affordable than $100 an hour we might well have considered it.
Still, we did go off property a couple of times during our week-long vacation. We did not use a car service, but we managed those excursions carefully. Uber transported us to and from lunch at Flora Farms, which is one of my favorites restaurants in the world and I highly recommend it if you go to Los Cabos. We wore our masks for the entire ride. When we went to dinner in downtown San Jose del Cabo one night, we also took an uber for the very short ride there. A local taxi brought us back to the hotel, and we also felt safe with this driver and vehicle.
We saw several families renting cars at the airport, and the vehicles appeared to be in good condition. This option would ensure the car was yours only, and you could disinfect it to your heart’s content. Because we planned to stay on-property most of the time, we did not want to waste the money on a rental car that would just sit there. The hassle of going to get a rental car on only the days we wanted to explore also sounded daunting. But, to each his own!
6. Plan Extra Time at the Airport
The Cabo San Lucas International Airport is bustling. All the time. We’ve never seen it not bustling, and during COVID times it was no different. Plan ahead, be prepared for long waits and give yourself at least an hour longer than you think you should. In this case, when they tell you to arrive 3 hours before your international flight, believe them. Ok, so maybe this isn’t exactly one of our tips for planning a safe family vacation in Los Cabos. But it’s still a really important tip!
The airport itself is modern, clean and very nice. However, the check-in process during the pandemic adds another layer or two of mind-numbing lines that snake like Disneyland. Eat a Snickers Bar, have some water, spell each other for bathroom breaks, and just stay the course. Your patience is a virtue, remember?
The added time has to do with ensuring everyone has their negative COVID test results verified at the check-in counter. This must be accomplished before anyone checks bags, goes through security and perhaps boards a bus to be transported to the waiting airplane. It’s a process any traveler who has been to Mexico will understand. Although not the most expedient or efficient, they do have bars throughout the boarding areas to help ease anyone’s nerves.
Most Important: Have Fun!
Listen, you’ve done your homework, you’ve read this blog post all the way to the end, you’ve done everything you can to plan a safe and fun holiday in Los Cabos. Now go enjoy it and stop stressing!
More Fun Things To Do in Los Cabos