Skip to content

Travel: Painting a masterpiece in Los Cabos

Mar del Cabo is a historic Los Cabos landmark built in the 1950s, with white villas spilling down the palm-treed and bougainvillea-choked hillside to the sea.

"Relax and allow your personality to come through," urges Karina Arriaga.

"Let the painting show what you see and how you feel."

It's the esoteric messaging coming from the activities agent at the Grand Velas Resort Los Cabos, here at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

My wife, Kerry and I, are sitting under big, blue umbrellas facing our easels and the glittering Sea of Cortez.

The powder-blue sky floats above the turquoise water that meets the ecru beach studded with palm trees and cacti.

It is indeed the ultimate inspiration for us neophyte artists to paint a masterpiece that captures our time in this paradise.

To help -- or hinder? -- our creativity and technique with the acrylic paints, the 10 vacationers in this class are also served a crisp and fresh Mexican Baja wine -- Sierra Blanca Sauvignon Blanc.

We sip and brush stroke, we take instruction, we have fun, we revel in the whole 'Painting and Wine' concept.

Our canvases turn out to be rudimentary at best, but they are colourful souvenirs that will remind us forever of a picture-perfect sun holiday.

The Grand Velas is the 307-room, all-inclusive, family-friendly, luxury resort that's part of the Velas trifecta on the ocean along the 'Tourist Corridor' between go-go Cabo San Lucas and arty and colonial San Jose del Cabo.

The other two adjacent resorts are the adults-only and pet-friendly, 48-suite Mar del Cabo by Velas and the brand new 79-suite, adults-only Velas Boutique.

Among the three resorts we have don't have to leave to have the quintessential Mexican experience.

We actually sleep at Mar del Cabo -- in a penthouse suite, no less.

Mar del Cabo is a historic Los Cabos landmark built in the 1950s, with white villas spilling down the palm-treed and bougainvillea-choked hillside to the sea.

It's where we swim in the mosaic pool, lounge on the beach and jog along the sand for six kilometres every morning to burn off the calories from what becomes a foodie fiesta of a vacation.

We join Mario Rueda, the chef at Mar del Cabo's open-air Encanto restaurant for a pool-side ceviche-making culinary class.

He chops up all the ingredients as we squeeze limes and oranges to marinate the raw fish, tomatoes, onions, peppers, herbs and spices.

We eat the results gazing out over the pool which we sip, of course, the perfect lime margarita, the ideal ceviche pairing.

The next day, we again meet Chef Mario, this time on the patio at Encanto for a taco and mezcalita tasting extravaganza.

Mezcalitas are often referred to as the margarita's bold, exciting cousin because the tequila used in the cocktail is actually mezcal distilled of roasted agave for a smoky, textured flavour.

Thus, bittersweet, pineapple and rosemary mezcalitas are paired with deep-fried oyster, short-rib and pork belly tacos, respectively.

To amp up our foodie frenzy at Mar del Cabo, we have a romantic, torch-lit dinner at a lone table on the resort's clifftop

The lamb lollipops are paired with a 2021 Sangiovese Cabernet red wine from Mexican Baja winery Casa Magoni.

The sweet finish is s'mores dessert making for two at the adjacent fire pit.

We'll venture off Mar del Cabo twice more.

Once, to sip the signature cocktail of whisky and chartreuse liqueur at sunset at the slick 51 Bar at Velas Boutique.

The other to indulge in the 'Water Ceremony' at SE Spa at the Grand Velas -- a circuit of sauna, ice scrub, steam room, sensory shower, cold plunge and whirlpools.

All three Velas resorts in Los Cabos can be purchased as part of flight-and-accommodations packages with Canadian airlines.

Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Flair fly non-stop to Los Cabos from various Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto and Montreal.

Check out