Getting the flavor of...Cabo’s quiet side

The Mexican agency that created Cancún developed Zona Turística, a special zone between the airport and Cabo's party beaches.

Cabo’s quiet side

There’s a mature side to Mexico’s raucous Cabo San Lucas, said Gary Warner in the Orange County, Calif., Register. Seeking a new view of this “gringo playground” on Baja California’s southern tip, I stayed in Zona Turística, a beach area outside of town where tequila “comes in short fluted glasses, not poured into your gullet by a funnel.” The Mexican agency that created Cancún developed this special zone between the airport and the party beaches, and “the result shows that bureaucracy can be beautiful.” Every room in the massive Westin hotel has balcony views of the Sea of Cortez, and we took our meals at luxury dining spots nearby. Rocks and choppy surf make swimming “a no-no” on stretches of the shore, but it was a short drive past scattered desert golf courses to Chileno Beach. It’s the most natural stretch of sand in the whole area, and “the mix of locals, tourists, kids, and lovers made for a nice scene.”

Washington’s San Juan Islands

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I went to the San Juan Islands to see whales but left with something better, said Rosemary McClure in the Los Angeles Times. This archipelago off Washington state’s northwestern coast is known for its cedar forests and “rocky bluffs that overlook fjord-like inlets,” and I’d booked a stay at its most celebrated seaport. Friday Harbor, on the island of San Juan, is home to “waterfront mansions and multimillion-dollar yachts,” and it has a knack for coaxing visitors into “a blissful state of existence that locals call ‘island time.’” I had no luck spotting a whale at South Beach, or at an area nicknamed “Whale Watch Park.” But a scenic lighthouse and “panoramic water views” provided ample compensation, and I wasn’t even bothered when my whale-watching cruise on the Victoria Clipper III also came up empty. By then, I too was on “island time,” relaxed enough to enjoy the calm blue sea and the sight of a kingfisher diving for his supper.

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