My birthday in Cabo at the Worldmark Coral Baja

Airlines, Hotels, Southwest Airlines, Timeshare, Travel Tales, Worldmark, Wyndham 4

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Living in Southern California, Mexico is an easy destination for tropical weather, good food, and cheap drinks.  I booked a 5 day vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate my birthday with friends and family.  This was our first time staying at the Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja since it was redone after Hurricane Odile two years ago.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja resort

Booking the vacation

Usually, when we go to Cabo, we stay at our Diamond Resorts Cabo Azul location.  But, we wanted to try something different this time, and we knew that Worldmark had at location in Cabo, so we figured we’d give it a shot.When I first booked the vacation, I could only get 4 of the days (Sunday through Wednesday) that I wanted due to availability with our Worldmark timeshare.  So I put in a request for the additional day and

When I first booked the vacation, I could only get 4 of the days (Sunday through Wednesday) that I wanted due to availability with our Worldmark timeshare.  So I put in a request for the additional day and I re-booked the timeshare for 6,900 points and $92 dollars for housekeeping when the space became available.

This worked out in our favor.  When I originally booked, the unit was in the front building and had an ocean view.  That’s nice, but when I re-booked one of the back building units became available… and they all have hot tubs on their balconies!

Flying to Cabo

Southwest flies non-stop from Orange County, California to Cabo in a little over 2 hours.  You can usually find round-trip flights for less than $400 or 16,000-20,000 points.  Take note that there are airport taxes of approximately $90 per person when flying on a round-trip to Mexico.

The only bad thing about flying Southwest internationally (at least to Cabo from Orange County) is that they told honor TSA PreCheck, so we had to wait in the normal line at SNA instead of skipping the line like we do on domestic flights.  If you want Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, check out how easy it was to book for me and my kids (Timmy and Scarlett).

The lines in Cabo after you get off the plane can be horrendous!  They literally shut off the escalator on our trip because the lines were so backed up!!!  Luckily for me, I have the Mexican version of Global Entry (Viajero Confiable), which allowed me to skip the lines while Travis and his family were stuck in lines longer than a Disney ride.  If you go to Mexico once a year (or twice like us), it’s a worthwhile investment at about the same cost as TSA PreCheck.

While Travis and family were in line, I sampled a little free tequila…

SJD airport tequila sampling

… and grabbed a drink outside before found our Transcabo ride to Worldmark by Wyndham in San Jose del Cabo.

SJD airport waiting for friends

The best deal on transportation we found was a private ride from Transcabo.  For less than the normal per person charge (since there were 6 of us) where we would have to share a ride with others, we were able to book our own private transportation in a Chevy Suburban for about $168.

Arriving at Worldmark by Wyndham

One of the things I like best about staying at resorts in Cabo is that the entrances are guarded 24 hours a day.  If someone really wanted to get in, I suppose they could find a way, but the attended gate is certainly a deterrent for most criminals.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja front gate

We were warmly welcomed upon our arrival and the concierge gave us a few drinks to help cool down in the summertime heat.  We took a group picture to signal the start of our adventure… Timmy and I have been to Mexico several times over the past few years, while this was the first time in Cabo for Travis and his family.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja lobby

At reception, greeted with choice of beer, soda, or margarita.  This is an opportunity for the sales team to talk to you about attending a presentation or to sign you up for an activity.  We spoke with the concierge and they told us it would be an “owner update” (aka they’ll update you for 5-10 minutes while trying to sell you on more timeshare credits the remainder of the 90+ minues).

The deal:  Attend presentation at 9am for an hour while eating a buffet breakfast at Mama Mia’s (the on-site restaurant).  In exchange, we’d receive an hour of swimming with dolphins (3 kids + adult was $85, plus $85 each additional adult), and a 20-minute speed boat ride, which was to include a buffet lunch and unlimited drinks on their private island.  Additionally, we would receive 25% off any other excursions we wanted to book.  We agreed to do the presentation, and gave a $20 deposit.

Swimming at Worldmark Coral Baja

Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we’re given access to the Hospitality room 108 to change into swim clothes until the room was ready.  That was totally fine with us, since all we were going to do was hit the pool after we dropped off our luggage anyway!

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja pool

The pool is warm like bath water.  I would guess that the pool was 90*!  The warm water made night swimming really enjoyable.  The pool was shaped like a plus sign, with each arm offering something different.  One side has a swim up bar with happy hour 2-for-1 drink specials from 2p-4p.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja swim up bar

Another side has a Baja step and a jacuzzi…

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja jacuzzi

… while another has a volleyball net, and the last side has a kiddie pool.  Tucked away from where most of the people are, behind the restaurant is another hot tub that we never even got to.  It’s probably where the adults go to get away from the families in the main pool.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja second jacuzzi

There is a restaurant called Mama Mia’s just behind the swim up bar where Timmy and I ate on our last day in Cabo.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja Mama Mia's restaurant

The food was good.  I had a chicken sandwich and a couple of margaritas, while Timmy had fish sticks.  Totally reasonable prices, especially being on-site at a resort.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja Mama Mia's restaurant chicken sandwich

…and there is a small sports bar called Papalote attached that has 2-for-1 happy hour drink specials from 4p-6p.  So, if you do it right, you can enjoy 4 continuous hours of 2-for-1 drinks at the resort… 2p-4p in the pool and 4p-6p at the sports bar.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja Papalote Sports Bar

We grabbed our drinks at the sports bar, left our tab running, then brought them back to the pool so we could continue to enjoy the water.

Unfortunately, there were no specials on food at any of the restaurants, however, with the strong US$ (at almost 20:1), the food was pretty discounted already.

Pro Tip: Always use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and pay in the local currency for the best exchange rates.  If you pay in US dollars, you’ll be paying approximately 10%-20% extra!  Click here for my affiliate link to credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Our 2 bedroom unit at Coral Baja

After we were done swimming, we grabbed our keys from the front desk and had the bellman take our bags up to our room.  Our room was really spacious at about 1,000 square feet.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja two bedroom floor plan

The main room living area had a full L-shaped kitchen, complete with dishwasher, full-sized fridge, oven range, and microwave, plus all the necessary tools to cook your meals.  There was even a breakfast bar where you could sit and eat or talk with whoever was preparing the meals.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja kitchen

There was a dining table space for 6, a couch with a coffee table and two chairs for everyone to gather around, and a Murphy Bed on the other side of the main living room.  A flat panel TV with a DVD player and a radio helped provide some entertainment options.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja living room

Just past the living room, is the deck with your private hot tub with room for 4 adults.  It has a view of the main Coral Baja building’s entrance, the basketball court, mini-golf putting green, and the BBQs below.  Having your own private hot tub on vacation is such a great benefit… when the kids go to bed, nobody has to be left behind if you want to enjoy a little more pool time before you end your day.  Or, it’s a great place for the kids to hang while the meals are being prepared.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja view from balcony

There are 136 units at Coral Baja, but only the 15 in the back building have their own hot tubs on the balcony.

The master bedroom has a king bed and it’s own entrance to the balcony.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja master bedroom

And the secondary bedroom had two twin beds with its own entrance to the second bathroom that is also accessible from the living room.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja second bedroom

It was horrible how much devastation hit the Cabo area from Hurrican Odile two years ago.  The silver lining is that this property received a much-needed upgrade in decor as a result of the hurricane.  Here is a picture of what the units used to look like…

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja living room

To me, it looks like something my grandma’s house would have looked like back in the day.  Because of how the interior of the units looked, we were not interested in visiting Coral Baja until their recent remodel.

Groceries to save money

Travis and I walked the 0.7 miles to the Mega (now La Comer) to grab groceries for our stay.  Our cart was overflowing with food and drinks, and we only spent about 3100 pesos, which is about $180.  This saved us tons of money on food.  With an average of only $10 per person per meal, our party of 6 would have spent about $550 for the meals we ate in our room.

At the grocery store, we signed up to do a presentation at the Grand Mayan timeshare.  We were offered 6 complimentary dolphin excursions and 6 glass bottom boat rides.  By doing this presentation not only did we save the $255 that we would have paid for the 3 dolphin excursions not covered by the Worldmark presentation, we also received the glass bottom boat tour.  The breakfast was also a much higher end buffet than the breakfast that we were to receive at Worldmark.

More on that timeshare presentation in another post… stay tuned.

As the days went by, our supply of drinks dwindled.  Rather than make the trek back to the Mega, we bought drinks at the on-site market, which was relatively comparable in price… and certainly worth the time it would have taken to walk or the cost of taking a taxi back and forth from the Mega.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja market

Enjoying the Coral Baja property

After the timeshare presentation we went back to Coral Baja to swim the rest of the afternoon.  While everyone was relaxing before dinner, I hit the gym to work off all the tacos and beers that I was enjoying on vacation.  I’m pretty sure I still gained weight on the trip, but at least hitting the gym once could be considered a moral victory!

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja working out

They managed to fit in quite a bit of equipment to give you a good workout in a relatively small space.  If there were more than 5 or 6 people working out at once, this space would have become too crowded to be effective.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja gym

That evening we BBQ’d some steaks and cooked some pasta for dinner.  Then we hit the hot tub on our deck to chill out and relax.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja BBQ steaks

The kids enjoyed playing by the ocean while we were at the Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja… however, be very cautious with the water there.  There is a major undertow in the water, and it isn’t recommended that you go into the water unless you are an experienced swimmer.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja down by the ocean

At Coral Baja, there is also a pool table room for guests to enjoy, although we never used it.  It is located in the main building near the lobby and across from the gym.

Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja pool table

We slept in on Tuesday and had a lazy breakfast inside our unit.  After relaxing in our unit, we left for Cabo San Lucas for the day to explore the city and do our glass bottom boat tour that would take us to Lover’s Beach, the famous El Arco (aka The Arch), and around to the Pacific side of the peninsula.

Cabo Glass Bottom Boat Tour

And more from this trip and our experience swimming with dolphins in an upcoming post.

Dolphin Discovery Timmy and dolphin

To see the reviews of others who have been to the Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja timeshare… or any other resort in the Cabo area, use my affiliate link to TripAdvisor for all the best reviews and prices on rooms.

Conclusion

We had an amazing time visiting the Worldmark by Wyndham Coral Baja for the first time.  It was a great place to celebrate my birthday… although I wish Anna and Scarlett would have been there.  Unfortunately, some last minute things came up at work, so they couldn’t make it.  I look forward to building more family memories when all 4 of us can go back to Coral Baja!  I hope this journal has inspired you to visit Cabo and experience all the wonderful activities and local cuisine…. I mean, who doesn’t love tacos and beer, right?

The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed or endorsed by any company or third-party, unless clearly stated otherwise. The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the advertiser. It is not the advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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About the author / 

Lee Huffman

Lee grew up loving to travel with his parents. Now he explores the world with his wife, Anna and his two children Timothy and Scarlett. He enjoys being spoiled as a Kimpton Inner Circle Member and taking full advantage of Southwest's Companion Pass. Lee wants to teach his readers how to 'Travel More. Spend Less. Live Better.' using miles, points, tips and tricks.

4 Comments

  1. John the Wanderer July 23, 2016 at 2:12 pm -  Reply

    Did you have to do some creative talking to get the guys by the market to give you all those gifts for the timeshare presentation? Typically they offer one or two free activities but to get enough for all of you that is amazing!

    Were you able to get your deposit back on the first one?

    The resort looks pretty nice. How did the steaks turn out on the night you used the grill?

    • Lee Huffman July 31, 2016 at 9:24 am -  Reply

      Like anything, it’s always a negotiation. Some cultures are more open to negotiation than others. I’ve found that, in Mexico, the first price offered is never going to be your best option. If you don’t negotiate, you know that you’re overpaying.

      Yes, the timeshare presentation we attended not only gave us all of the gifts, but they also refunded us the $20 deposit we gave for the other timeshare presentation.

      The steaks were great. I find that we spend the same amount per person (often less) by eating at the resort, but the quality, quantity, and variety of the food we prepare is so much better than if we ate at a restaurant. We’ll still eat out a couple times while on vacation to enhance our travel experience and ensure we sample the local cuisine, but a majority of the meals we eat are from the groceries that we buy.

  2. Cathy March 24, 2017 at 6:54 pm -  Reply

    All airlines charge that fee when flying to Mexico!

    • Lee Huffman March 26, 2017 at 7:40 am -  Reply

      That is true. The taxes are charged by the Mexican government. When paying cash for a ticket, the taxes are included in the price you pay. When using miles or points, the taxes are extra.

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