My husband and I went to Cabo a couple of months ago for an all-inclusive stay at the Hyatt Ziva Cabo in San Jose del Cabo. We hadn’t been on a vacation for about 6 years. The price of an all-inclusive resort includes your stay, all meals, cocktails, taxes, fees, and gratuities. This trip was our first all-inclusive vacation. I share my gluten-free experiences both at the hotel as well as at an outside restaurant, along with other aspects of this resort.
Transportation To and From the San Jose Cabo Airport
The Hyatt Ziva Cabo recommended TransCabo, a transportation service which offers extremely large vehicles to pick you up at the airport and bring you back for $150 round trip, or you can take their shuttle which costs $14 per person each way. You must obtain the reservation forms from the hotel or TransCabo prior at least 48 hours prior to your arrival. Instead, we decided to rent a car. The hotel recommended Budget Pacifico. It’s located just across the street from the airport.
Cabo San Lucas vs. San Jose del Cabo
If you’re not familiar with Cabo, imagine being at San Jose Cabo airport. Drive almost in a straight line for about 20 minutes and you’ll almost dead-end into the Hyatt Ziva in San Jose del Cabo . To go to Cabo San Lucas, you’d turn right once you reach the dead-end and go about 25 more minutes.
While there are several resorts in San Jose del Cabo, you’ll find many more hotels, resorts, condos and timeshares along the shore on your way to Cabo San Lucas.
Cabo San Lucas
We went to Cabo San Lucas one day. Once in San Lucas, you can go to the marina, which is similar to San Francisco’s Fishermen’s Wharf. It’s extremely touristy with shops full of trinkets. I did, however, find a wonderful little jewelry shop where I purchased some stunning turquoise earrings. I’m happy if I purchase just one thing on a vacation, but I also found some other things for my newly decorated bathroom, at another shop. You’ll find San Lucas has the best prices for souvenirs. Our hotel had a couple of similar items priced at five times the amount, including sun dresses. However, is it worth a 5-day car rental or not, is the question.
While in Cabo San Lucas we not only did some shopping with our friends but stopped in the famous Cabo Wabo Cantina. At the time, I had no idea it was famous. We had never been to Mexico. I loved their live entertainment and have since learned that it is even livelier at night. It’s owned by Sammie Hagar. They were very accommodating to my gluten free and other food allergies. They made me up something special and asked me if I need to avoid cross-contamination. My waiter automatically checked with the chef but was extremely hatted himself. We all had a wonderful time! Someone indulged in the 2-for-1 margaritas, but I’m not naming names! (It wasn’t me!)
Yes. Children are allowed at all Hyatt Ziva resorts. No children are allowed at the all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara resorts.
First, let me remind you if you are gluten intolerant, one of the worse places to eat is at buffets. Crumbs can fall into any dish; people tend to use the crouton tongs for salad, and more. No matter where you eat, inform your wait staff of your food intolerance(s) and have them ask the chef what he/she recommends.
As a Hyatt Diamond member, we were able to make reservations at restaurants. Normally, this is not allowed. Because there are not a lot of Diamond members, I had to remind some hotel phone service staff that I was told that we could do so as Diamond members. A few people were already aware of it. However, when we went, reservations were not needed. We checked in on a Sunday and checked out on a Friday. However, I was told weekends is when reservations are most useful.
Italian: Italian food can be found at the Zaffiro Beachfront restaurant for lunch or dinner. On our first night, we dined there with our friends at about 6 pm. I spoke to the waiter about being gluten free and told him about my other food allergies: tapioca, tomatoes, citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit). He immediately spoke to the chef. After serving pizza appetizers to the non-gluten-free guests at our table, he brought me my own mini gluten-free pizza. Unfortunately, I had to insist that he be certain that it didn’t contain any tapioca. Anytime dough is chewy there is good chance it contains tapioca. He doubled checked and stated that there wasn’t any tapioca. He was very patient with me. I really appreciated it. After all that, I had a few bites, and it was just way too salty to eat. My friend had a bite, and she loves salty food and thought it was too salty.
Japanese: Their Japanese restaurant, Dozo, provides you with three different dining styles, a Benihana-style show, cooking in front of 10 – 14 people; their sushi bar; and a regular table menu. We chose Benihana-style. The knife show and tricks by our chef were too short and too few. I’ve seen better shows from this restaurant shown online by other guests. So, he may have been short on time due to having 14 of us at one table. It was an extremely large table. They have a few tables around the restaurant in little coves.
Because I am gluten free, they served all of my food straight from the kitchen off of the table menu. I ordered beef and chicken (not a seafood fan). Our friends who ordered different types of seafood raved about it all. The main dish I had was incredibly tasty! However, the edamame (fresh soybeans) had no flavor whatsoever. The ones that the chef made in front of us was made with oil and soy sauce. Mine appeared to be boiled. Yuck! By the way, if you’ve never eaten fresh soybeans, you only eat the beans and discard the pod.
My friend was able to go to the sushi bar and request a special order which they delivered to our table. We first sat at the bar because we hadn’t made reservations. This is one place I suggest for Diamond members to make reservations. We only waited about 10 minutes or so.
Mexican: We also ate at their Mexican buffet restaurant, El Molino. If you are highly gluten intolerant, I would suggest avoiding buffets for the previously listed reasons (cross-contamination), but I bet you can get them to make something special in the kitchen for you. They are very accommodating.Due to my multiple food allergies, I used a translation app that came in handy quite a few times during my trip. It is
Due to my multiple food allergies, I used a translation app that came in handy quite a few times during my trip. You can download Speak & Translate on iTunes. I am not super-sensitive to gluten; therefore, I indulged in their buffet. However, to get them to cook me up some soft gluten free corn tortillas that were incredible, I had to use the app. I asked at least twice to make sure they didn’t contain any flour. They said that they were also amazed how good they are, but their supplier won’t give away their secrets. They tasted like gluten-filled flour tortillas. Therefore, they probably contained some modified starch as some gluten free bread manufacturers use. I didn’t care! I was on vacation living it up! I wasn’t worried about eating organic that week. It was wonderful! I even met the chef who shared his classic recipe for flan. It was the best I’ve ever eaten!
French: One night we had French food. It’s not my husband’s favorite. However, he enjoyed the steak he ordered. They provided me with my choices for gluten free which were perfect. I had the duck which was okay, but since I couldn’t have the orange sauce, it didn’t have much flavor (I’m allergic to oranges). The servings are small. My husband wasn’t full after dinner until we were served dessert. We had creme brulee. Then we were satisfied. Just so you know, it’s the fanciest dining place there.
Steakhouse: La Hacienda Beachfront was the restaurant my husband chose for his birthday dinner. All-American food! That’s what he loves. We all enjoyed this restaurant thoroughly.
There are food carts and a taco/burrito walk-in joint near the pool. They have the same amazing soft, corn tortillas. However, when I ordered something I had to use my translation app to communicated that I needed it gluten-free and free of citrus and tomatoes. One cook approached the order-taker and offered me a burrito that later a chef said was not gluten free. I stuck with my soft tacos without lime.
They even have an ice cream shop! I only had it once, but boy what a treat! – all the ice cream you can eat! Kids would love it! Heck, anyone would!
See this blog post from One Mile at a Time that I found online for tons of photos of Hyatt Ziva Cabo restaurants. I was too busy having fun!
Alcohol: If you’re a beer drinker, you’ll find that they only offer Dos XX and a few others. Whatever the top shelf beer one of our friends wanted, they didn’t have. However, you can buy just about anything you want from the Big Max store across the street. It’s similar to a Costco here in the United States.
For champagne, the Hyatt Ziva offerings were not to my liking at all. It tasted very inexpensive, more like Cold Duck (smile). However, if you desire, in such restaurants like the French, you can order a better bottle of wine or champagne.
They offer upgraded rooms so that you receive a better view and premium brand alcohol in your room’s refrigerator. We had the upgrade and was provided with Bacardi rum, which is gluten-free. We didn’t drink much from our room anyway. So, it wasn’t a big deal. I can’t recall the other bottles. The mini-fridge cart guy comes each day and refills it. You can ask him for whatever you desire, including chips (if you’re in your room when he stops by.) I wouldn’t suggest an upgrade just for the high-end alcohol. It’s not very high-end or much of a variety.
The only time things were not quiet was the evening we went to Spirit of 68, a sports bar at the resort. It was the night of one of the big Warriors games. You could probably hear all of the Americans cheering from the other side of the hotel. (There are three buildings, one of which was rebuilt after their big storm.)
They also have a tequila bar on the second floor, overlooking the pool. They have many available tables and sofa-like chairs.
They also have a swim-up bar and I believe another one in near the lobby that we did not visit.
Activities and Excursions:
The only thing I booked was a dolphin adventure. It was an experience I’ll never forget! It’s just about 1/4 block up and across the street from the Hyatt.
The hotel has nightly entertainment at no additional charge. We saw many dance shows when we were there, but once they had a magic act which I thoroughly enjoyed. The first night’s dance performance was the best. However, the evening I was chosen to go up on stage ranked high just for that alone. I had a ball though it only lasted a few minutes.
You can do everything under the sun for additional costs. We went horse back riding and I even swam with a dolphin. The dolphin swimming is just across the street.
I advise not renting the horses that people bring onto the beach as they are so thirsty and exhausted. They have to bring the horses down from the mountains, an extremely long distance. Rent horses through the excursion office at the hotel instead.
The resort is right on the beach, so you can always do free things like walk on the beach, collect sea shells, wade in the water, and sometimes, run away from the high waves.
They have several pools, adults only or family. None are very deep. Even the family pool was quiet. The children I ran across were extremely well behaved and quiet. You can’t say that very often. Were they real? Bribed? Anyway, it was a quiet and relaxing stay. Most of the time.
We booked the Master Double. They also have Master Kings. However, we were upgraded to the top/7th floor, in the newest building, with one of the best views due to being Diamond members. We could see the ocean and all of the pools below us. The room was the cleanest hotel room I have ever been in, and I’m pretty fussy.
However, you don’t need to have a super nice room. You’ll basically just sleep in it, get dressed, and order room service for breakfast, or whenever you desire. It’s wonderful!
The All-Inclusive Experience
The above doesn’t cover everything available at the Ziva Cabos Hyatt, but I could write a book on it! We hadn’t been on a vacation for about 6 years. The bottom line is that we loved our vacation so much, the day after we arrived home, we booked a trip to stay at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. (Thank you Gold Passport points!) Being at an all-inclusive resort must be what a cruise is like, but on land for this gal who gets sea sick!
Meanwhile, I’ll try to take lots of food photos in Puerto Vallarta early next year.