Switching Gears at The Cape, Cabo San Lucas

by Brook Benten Jimenez on August 8, 2022 in Wellness,

‘Pivot’ was the 2020 “Word of the Year.” But it’s 2022. It’s passé to pivot. We’re Switching Gears.


The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, in Cabo San Lucas, MX, offers a once-a-year event called “Switching Gears.” For these three days, bartenders become chefs, chefs become DJs, and you and I become mixologists. It’s not about leaving one thing to begin another. It’s about trusting your potential to be great at multiple things, then being brave enough to try.

Switching Gears 2022 included novel activities, such as concocting cocktails, judging a culinary competition, sketching a model, sculpting with clay, and surfing on land. The year prior included hiking, cycling, and actual surfing. 

Switching Gears was built on the belief that people are hungry for retreats that give a new perspective, break burnout, and refresh their outlook. 

The Cape, A Thompson Hotel

The ace in the hole for this particular event is the beautiful boutique hotel it’s hosted at: The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas, MX. (Photo Matt Ferreira)

The Cape was the first Thompson Hotel to open in Mexico (now there are also Thompson Hotels in Playa del Carmen, Zihuatanejo (near Acapulco), and one coming soon to Monterrey, MX). The luxury resort features 161 guestrooms, all with unobstructed views of the Sea of Cortez. Guests enjoy two pools, an infinity pool and a saltwater pool carved into a natural rock formation found on property.  Big props go to the fully-equipped Technogym fitness center with Woodway treadmills (the most expensive commercial treadmill). The fitness center also offers two Peloton bikes, including compatible shoes that clip into the pedals. These extra touches are unexpected, but much appreciated by wellness travelers. Another natural benefit for the fitness-seeking traveler is the tide of the ocean flowing with a left break, which means that the waves break to the left: a surfer’s dream. With spa, fitness, a rooftop relaxation area, guest rooms (suites with hot tubs), transcendent ocean waves and pools, and a breathtaking view of El Arco (the rock formation Cabo is famous for), it’s sufficient to say that The Cape is a wellness enthusiast’s dream. 

The Cape features an intimate spa with a green wall in the tranquility room.  Every Thompson Hotel has a green wall somewhere. Javier Sanchez, founder of The Cape, decided to put it in the spa. (Photo Brook Benten Jimenez)

Repeat After Me: “Yes and

There were only two American journalists at this intimate event, and both of us were prodigies of this yes and perspective: embracing new opportunities while hanging on to the old. Tim Chan, of Rolling Stone Magazine, enjoys his full-time job writing and editing music and lifestyle articles, and also co-owns a canned wine business, called So Gay Rose in 2020 (more on that story to come in our upcoming TLM article, “5-Minutes with So Gay Rose”). Yes, and.  I am a fitness personality, but took an opportunity to begin writing wellness travel stories in 2020. Yes, and.  Neither Tim nor I pivoted. We said “yes, and” to a bigger life with more career diversity.  

Instead of limiting ourselves to doing this instead of that, we chose to do this and also do that. “Yes and” is the cornerstone of Switching Gears. (Photo Brook Benten Jimenez)

The Cape’s Pillars: Food and Beverage, Surf, Music and Art

Switching Gears 2022 was focused on four pillars of The Cape’s mission: F&B, surf, music and art.

In a dueling Gastronomy Battle, The Cape’s talented chefs competed against creative mixologists, each taking a veer into the other’s lane. The chefs had limited ingredients to create a unique cocktail. The mixologists had limited ingredients to concoct a culinary dish. The teams got to work with the pressure of a running clock. The judges, Switching Gears attendees, unanimously agreed the winner here was the mixology team’s delightful risotto. 

Mixologists seamlessly Switched Gears behind the stove to become cooks. They wowed judges with a savory risotto with fresh shrimp, fish eggs, and a drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar. (Photo Daniela Fernandez)

After the mixology team caught our attention that they knew their way around food, we were intrigued to learn what they could do in their eminent domain. Over the course of half an hour, the team taught everyday folks how they can mix margaritas, mojitos, caipirinhas, and cosmopolitans like pros. 

We learned that the recipe for almost every cocktail is liquor, tart juice, and a sweetener. (Photo Daniela Fernandez)

Surfing is one of those physical activities that is so much harder than it looks. My thought used to be: if Cameron Diaz can do it, you can do it. My bravado was quickly humbled when I gave it a try in 2007 and ended up spinning through the waves like laundry in a washing machine. Lucky for my ego, the 2022 Switching Gears schedule entailed simulated surfing on land, not the real deal. The group fitness class was called Surfit. 

Surfit used surfboards on sand, hoisted by three inflatable balls underneath. It provided balance and core work and a bit of muscular endurance, but was doable for most populations. No high velocity spin cycle, like with bona fide surfing. (Photo Daniela Fernandez)

A celebrity presenter at the 2022 event was Christopher Leacock, otherwise known as Jillionaire. He turned on the rhythm dance party on Saturday night at The Cape’s rooftop bar – which should be no surprise, considering that he was formerly in an EDM band with Diplo

Jillionaire is a Trinidad and Tobago DJ who spun turntables while learning the culinary arts in his free time. He is now also a renowned chef. (Photo Daniela Fernandez)

While noshing on lavish charcuterie and drinking summer wine, Switching Gears attendees got a few lessons in art. Led by local talent Casa Musa and Maria Exchevarria, we learned to sketch a model by focusing, first and foremost, on body position angles. After drawing came pottery-making with clay. 

Starting with just a mound of clay, some water, and etching tools, we created bowls, plates, and one attendee even attempted a clay wine glass. (It was a failure, but we gave him an A for effort)

Of course, the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore scene in Ghost became a topic of conversation while molding the clay. Unlike in the movie, this was get-your-hands-dirty art. Not sexy at all. (Photo Daniela Fernandez)

The Cape’s team is currently brainstorming the events for Switching Gears 2023. It will take place in late June or early July 2023. Follow The Cape on Instagram at @TheCapeHotel to stay up to date. 

With the azure blue ocean waves breaking to white suds over your bare feet in the sand, it’s a given that whatever the itinerary, you will Switch Gears, peacefully, at The Cape, a Thompson Hotel. (Photo Brook Benten Jimenez)

The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, is located at Carr.Transpeninsular Km.5 – Fracc. A, L-21 Misiones del, 23455 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico. Book on Hyatt.com or call 877-284-8652. 


Cover Photo from Julie Soefer

Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed., is a fitness expert in Austin, TX. She recently completed writing a book on resistance training, low impact cardio, nutrition, and wellness for active aging women. It is scheduled to release in March 2023, published by Hearst. Follow Brook on Instagram at @BrookBenten.