You’ve heard about the golf in Los Cabos, and maybe even seen photos of the courses that hug the sun-kissed beaches there. But you’re probably wondering: Is it worth the time and expense to travel to the tip of Baja California Sur? The answer is an unequivocal si!
Seventy-five years ago, Americans made tracks to Los Cabos mostly to go sportfishing and drink cheap beer. Trophy marlin were—and still are—prevalent in the area. And with beautiful beaches on both the western (Pacific) and eastern (Sea of Cortez) sides of the peninsula, there are few more scenic places to relax and enjoy a few cervezas.
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But that all changed in the 1950s, when word of the area’s splendors began to reach the ears of resort developers. Today, Los Cabos is one of the hottest golf destinations in North America, with spectacular courses from the game’s top designers, luxury hotels, and a spirited Mexican vibe that’s as exciting—or as relaxing—as you want it to be.
Los Cabos is really a tale of two cities, or in this case, seaside towns. Cabo San Lucas is the gregarious, younger brother who never says no to a shot of tequila and parties ’til sunrise. San José del Cabo is the older sibling who’s more cultured and refined. It’s in these towns that you’ll find most of the restaurants and bars. In between them lies the Tourist Corridor, 18 miles of stunning resort hotel properties—and equally stunning golf courses.
Playing these courses is similar to playing in Arizona—only with stunning ocean views. Expect to enjoy those views from every course, and to have to contend with sandy waste areas and arroyos as you chart your way around. Expect also to be tempted by the offerings at the Cabo courses’ famed snack shacks, or chocitas, where you can indulge in everything from M&Ms to fresh fish tacos, and lubricate your swing with a nip or two of tequila or mescal.
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To start, the three Questro group courses—Cabo Real, Puerto Los Cabos, and Club Campestre—are upscale daily-fee courses that welcome all comers. With design work by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman, they’re courses that reward good shotmaking but aren’t overly penal. Cabo Del Sol’s Cove Club (formerly the Ocean Course) is another Nicklaus design that anyone can play (for now)—get there and experience its thrilling oceanfront layout while you can. The One&Only Palmilla Resort’s Palmilla Golf Club is also open to non-guests; its three nines (Arroyo, Mountain, and Ocean) make for a great day of golf. Finally, there’s Rancho San Lucas, with its ever-present ocean views and testing island-green 17th hole.
To play any of the other great courses of Los Cabos, you’ll need to be a guest of an affiliated hotel. To play Quivira, Nicklaus’s newest course in Cabo and one of the area’s best, you’ll need to stay at any of the four Pueblo Bonito group hotels: adults-only Pacifica, family-friendly Sunset Beach, the Rose Resort & Spa, or the Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos Beach Resort. To play the Tiger Woods-designed El Cardonal Course or the Davis Love III-designed Dunes Course at Diamante, you’ll need to stay in one of that property’s luxe rooms, suites, villas, or casitas. Similarly, to play the Tom Fazio gem at Chileno Bay, you’ll need to stay at the Chileno Bay Resort; and to play the Costa Palmas course at the new Four Seasons Resort on the peninsula’s East Cape, you’ll need to stay at the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas. In any case, you will not regret your choice of accommodations.
In fact, the hotel options in Los Cabos are uniformly excellent, if sometimes pricey. To be sure—there are nice options at lower price points, like Casa Del Mar and the Hacienda Beach Club. But Cabo has become a high-end destination specializing in luxurious properties with dazzling amenities. In addition to the already-mentioned choices, other good options include the JW Marriott with its quiet, contemporary design; the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, perched amongst the cliffs in its own private cove; and Esperanza, an Auberge property that offers the best of everything and something for everyone.
Off the course, visit the Arco, a stone arch in the sea at Land’s End—ideally by boat. Go whale-watching, sportfishing, diving, or snorkeling. Or shop at the colorful local markets. The spa and wellness offerings are amazing, too. As is the food. Whether you’re dining in an upscale hotel restaurant or go off-property to a locals’ favorite like Los Tres Gallos for its authentic local fare or Nik San for its other-worldly sushi, you won’t be disappointed. The nightlife doesn’t disappoint, either. For a rowdy time out, go to Squid Roe or the Cabo Wabo Cantina. For a quieter cultural experience, take in the Thursday night art walk in historic downtown San Jose del Cabo. Los Cabos truly has it all.
Right now, Los Cabos is one of the few golf destinations that Americans can visit. It’s easy to get there via many major airlines, and the hotels and other tourism providers have taken every precaution to help ensure a safe visit.
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“Los Cabos has always been a very special destination,” says Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “But today, with a global pandemic limiting travel and preventing people from enjoying the unique experiences that travel offers, we’re providing an even more important service to our visitors. Whether people come for the golf or just to relax, rejuvenate, and get away from it all, Los Cabos is ready to welcome them.”