Last minute romantic getaway to Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas


What do you do when your original plan for an anniversary getaway is looking cool and rainy in June?? Change gears at the last minute and head to guaranteed sunshine and heat!!  We just celebrated our 27th anniversary.  Not being a momentous (5/10) anniversary we had agreed to do something low key and stay at Black Butte Ranch near Sisters, Oregon for a few days of rest and relaxation.  But as the day to leave grew nearer the weather report of 60s and rain was not changing.  We were set to be gone Sunday-Thursday, and the Friday before I said to hubby, “I’ve been watching the weather and it looks grim until the day we leave, what do you think about going to Mexico!” His response was, “Let’s do it!”  We still had our $99 companion fare from our Alaska Airlines Visa so that helped a lot with the last minute airfare.  We had stayed at the Esperanza Resort before but it had been a few years.  However with only four nights available to be gone we decided we would go for the splurge and try to book there.  After checking Expedia,, etc. I found Esperanza’s website to have the same prices so I booked directly through them.

Esperanza is a 5* resort and I will admit, quite expensive (though going in the off season helps).  But, just a few minutes after I clicked “reserve” their amazing service began when my cell phone rang.   It was a call from an Esperanza Rep calling to confirm our reservation, find out if we were celebrating anything special, get our sizes for bathrobes and spa sandals, and to help us with anything else we may need when we arrived.  This impeccable service carried on throughout our entire stay.

We stayed in one of their top floor rooms with the palapa roofs, which provide an even more open an airy space then the two floors below.


The views are spectacular from all of the rooms.


Second and third floor rooms have outdoor hot tubs and the first floor has a hammock.


There are also large balconies with table and chairs and a built in bench with comfy pillows.



The rooms are quite large with king beds, a divan, round table and chairs, big flat screen tv, large closet with a TON of hangers, a toilet closet, two sinks, double showers and bathtub.   The decor is beautiful and serene.








When you arrive there is no waiting in line to check in.  Our personal concierge, Fernando, greeted us upon a arrival and took us directly to our room.  A few minutes later we were welcomed with chips, salsa, guacamole, colorful macaroons, margaritas and a bottle of champagne and welcome note.


We had dinner that night in the open air bar where, once again we had exemplary service and a delicious meal, where we started off with a ceviche tasting.


The bar sits right on the edge with breathtaking views.




Breakfast every morning is at their main restaurant Cocina del Mar which is under a giant palapa roof and also sits a long the edge with the spectacular views.

They have a great menu with all kinds of juices, smoothies, museli, oatmeal, eggs, breakfast meats, waffles, pancakes, and mexican specialties like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros.


Breakfast was included for us and we could order anything off the menu we liked.  The only thing we had to pay extra for were espresso drinks.


Stephen had a deep tissue massage at the spa which he said was fabulous and really enjoyed the private outdoor showers attached to each spa room.

By our second day there everyone knew us by name and greeted us warmly.  The pool/beach area is beautiful with an infinity edge pool and nice beautiful bathrooms nearby.  The service around the pool was excellent (the ahi tuna tostadas delicious) and big padded chairs with towels big enough to cover the entire chair and a comfy neckroll.



They would come by with complimentary water, popsicles, mini smoothies, back or feet massages during the day.

Everything was absolutely perfect about our stay.  We loved the laid back, casual feeling of the place without any compromise on service.




We wouldn’t change a thing and are so happy we acted on the spur of the moment to change our plans.  Thinking we may have to make this an anniversary tradition….

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21 responses to “Hanoi and Halong Bay”

  1. Micaela says:

    Hello! I just recently discovered your blog via tripadvisor. Loved all your Vietnam posts, thanks for all the info and photos! We are travelling to Vietnam (from Australia) for the first time in March 2013 with a pretty similar itinerary to yours and can’t wait!

  2. Oh wow…this post is like a dream to me! The photos are very inviting, looks like you had a wonderful time 🙂

  3. Elizab54 says:

    Thank you for your detailed posting! Found it via the forums on TripAdvisor. We were struggling with having to choose between Vietnam and Thailand for a 7 day trip in February 2013. Vietnam it is! (Given the time constraints, just seems like the right choice for us.) I think our families have similar traveling styles so perhaps I should read up on some of your other adventures for future travel inspiration!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Glad the blog was able to help you make a decision – and I know you will have an amazing trip! Happy to answer any questions you might have. Hope you can be inspired from our other adventures!

  4. Scott P says:

    What a huge help. We are your Pacific NW neighbors (live in Seattle) and are doing Christmas in Vietnam this year! Taking our kids (10 and 12) for their first trip abroad. We are a little nervous that they are a bit young (for it to be fully enjoyable for all of us) but we are going to take it easy and just take it all in. You provided just enough detail and the photos are fantastic. I will now feel like I am returning to a somewhat familiar place. Thank you!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Scott – We took our kids on their first trip abroad when they were 9 and 12. We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out great and we’ve been traveling with them internationally ever since!! I think it’s good that your plan is to “take it easy and just take it all in.” Your kids will have a fabulous time, and definitely a Christmas to remember!

  5. Elizab54 says:

    I have one more question: did you arrange most of the trip yourself (sounds like you did) or did you rely on any tour operators to help you arrange tours, transportation, etc. in advance? Would love to hear your thoughts on how easy it is to make arrangements from North America, maybe what were your greatest resources for finding the right tours: whether it was street-food tours or your Halong Bay Junk boat excursion, where you felt you didn’t need help, etc. Thanks!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Yes, I did do the planning and arrangements all by myself. I did not use any tour operators. I found all the guides/tours I used from posts and reviews on TripAdvisor. Then I contacted them directly via email. All of them responded quickly to my emails and were always very helpful in giving me all of the information I needed. I just booked with them directly via email. I did have our hotel in Hanoi actually book the Halong Bay tour, but I picked the company to use myself by reading TA reviews.

  6. Scott P says:

    Judy- How were the mosquitos that time of year (Hanoi, Hoi An, Mekong Delta)? Both of my girls seem to have sweet blood.

    • Judy Gambee says:

      We did come prepared with plenty of bug repellant (brought the wipe on kind), but didn’t really need it. We did not find any problem with mosquitoes at that time of year, particularly in central/north Vietnam (HoiAn, Hanoi) where the weather was cooler. My daughter is also favored by mosquitoes and she had no problems.

  7. You have amazing article about my country. thank you very much for your visiting. May i ask which is the best place in VIetnam? what is the place that you want to come back ?? Thanks again.

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Hoang – We loved visiting your country! Our favorite places were Halong Bay and Hoi An. We definitely want to go back to those two places. We also look forward to visiting Sapa and Hue on our next visit.

  8. Joan F says:

    Hi, we are heading to Vietnam in mid Nov so loved reading your of your family experiences. For better or worse we are on a small group tour, all friends of friends so it will be interesting to see how the group dynamics work out! However there are some free days in Hanoi and Hoi An so I was pleased to see your ideas for the bike tour, the street food tour, the cooking class and all your restaurant addresses and comments, very helpful thanks. From the reading I’ve done I feel that it wouldn’t be too hard to organise ones own tour as everyone seems to be so helpful. Starting to get very excited.

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Actually, when traveling with a small group of friends it may not be a bad idea to be on small group tour. That way you don’t have to worry about everyone agreeing on what to do next, someone just tells you!! Your free days might be a good time for people to do different things depending on their interests. For future reference though, it was very easy to organize everything on my own, and book everything online. Have a fabulous trip!!

  9. Angel says:

    Thank you for your great trip report on your vacation to Vietnam. I have spent my whole Sunday morning reading it and taking notes. Your detail and photographs are amazing. We are off to South East Asia at the end of June. Tickets are bought and now I’m doing research to book the actual trip. Though I will use a tour company, your blog gives me lots of ideas to impart to them. We are traveling with 3 kids ages 11, 9 and 5. They are well-traveled having gone on safari in South Africa at age 2 and 4. They have now taken 9 additional trips all over the continent of Africa and many trips all over Europe and the Caribbean. It was during elephant trekking in Namibia this past summer that they insisted on going to Asia for the next big vacation. So thank you again for all of the ideas. I am inspired!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Glad to hear that you were inspired!! You will have a fabulous trip, we all loved Vietnam. I am just in the research phase of planning our first safari for June 2014, but due to the time of year I think we will be going to Tanzania, so will have to do South Africa at another time.
      Sounds like you have done some great traveling with your kids – have an amazing time in Vietnam!!

  10. Lillian Chua says:

    Fabulous! Love your blog!! Thank you for taking time to tell us all about it!
    We are planning to go this December and wonder if we should do the 2d1n or 3d2n on Halong Bay as it seems pretty cold and we are quite tight on time. Any suggestions, please?

    • Judy Gambee says:

      I would recommend just doing the 2D/1N. It was pretty cold while we were there – too cold to hang out on the beach or do any water sports. We loved our time on Halong Bay, but in Dec. I would just do one night – especially since you are tight on time. I hope to go back someday when the weather is better and do the 2 night trip!

  11. Grace says:

    Your article is very informative! I’m glad I found this. My husband and I are going to Halong Bay in November. We came from a country where the weather is either very hot or rainy, so we look forward to a chilly weather (but hopefully no rain) when we get to Halong Bay. It’s great that you posted pictures of indochina junk. We’re considering right now to book either the Red Dragon or the Dragon’s Pearl, and your pictures and descriptions will really help us to decide. Thank you so much! 🙂

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