Los Cabos, Mexico
Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby and John Wayne, lured by the legendary sport fishing, initially put Los Cabos on the tourist map in the 1950s. While fishing still draws avid anglers to what’s called “marlin alley,” Los Cabos, where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez, has become the undisputed golf capital of Latin America.
The International Association of Golf Tourist Operators named Los Cabos “Golf Destination of the Year” in 2017. No wonder. All the public courses can be found within a 28-mile stretch of coastline from Quivira Golf Club, a few miles west of downtown Cabo San Lucas, to Puerto Los Cabos golf course, a few miles east of San José del Cabo.
Jack Nicklaus officially opened his epic gravity-defying layout, Quivira in 2014, arguably his most daring design to date. Quivira boasts more oceanfront exposure than any other course in Los Cabos. All 18 fairways feature views of the Pacific. From December to March you will likely spot whales leaping in the wild blue yonder. Quivira and many other courses in Cabos offer golfers an all-inclusive experience serving complimentary drinks and snacks at various comfort stations on the course.
Los Cabos, where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez, has become the undisputed golf capital of Latin America.
Cabo del Sol, the 36-hole resort that put Los Cabos on the international golf map when its majestic Ocean Course debuted in 1994 is another “must” for your bucket list. Intent on creating the “Pebble Beach of the Baja Peninsula,” Jack Nicklaus charted holes across gently sloping terrain creased by sandy arroyos and dotted with tall cacti and tawny rock formations. The Ocean Course is currently ranked No. 70 on Golf Digest’s “World 100 Greatest Golf Courses” list.
Cabo del Sol’s second venue is the Desert Course, Tom Weiskopf’s first design effort in Mexico. Routed in rolling foothills, all 18 holes on this shotmaker’s layout offer panoramic views of the Sea of Cortes. Shoehorned into rugged desert terrain crisscrossed by canyon-like arroyos, the Desert Course presents broad fairways framed by granite rock outcrops and a dense cactus forest.
One&Only Palmilla can rightly claim to be the “Grande Dame” of Los Cabos. Palmilla, was the first Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in Mexico and home to the Senior PGA Tour’s 1997 Senior Slam. The Ocean, Desert and Mountain nines are brilliantly routed layouts over ponds and around desert scrub. Following a recent $3.5-million refurbishment, Palmilla’s 27-hole complex is better now than ever.
The Tom Fazio-designed Chileno Bay is receiving rave reviews. The unique routing takes swingers on a journey toward the mountains of El Sauzal while delighting with ocean views on all 18 holes. The Chileno Bay Resort & Residences have been named the Number One Resort in Cabos for 2017 by the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards.
Puerto Los Cabos now offers 18 holes by Jack Nicklaus and nine by Greg Norman. All 27 holes are perched above the Sea of Cortez and backdropped by the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains.
Many new courses are slated to open in the near future in Los Cabos, including a Robert Trent Jones Jr. course at Costa Palmas on the East Cape and another Tiger Woods layout at Diamante San Lucas.
Villa del Palmar Resort at The Islands of Loreto’s golf course has become part of the TPC network and is now known as TPC Danzante Bay. Rees Jones’ debut design in Mexico waltzes players through a variety of settings, including valleys, arroyos, dunes, lakes and foothills with 250 feet of elevation changes. Fairways feature panoramic views of the sea, the mountains and the surrounding Islands of Loreto, a World Heritage national marine park.
DID YOU KNOW?
French undersea explorer, Jacques Cousteau, called the Sea of Cortez “the World’s aquarium.” It’s a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise.
► GO WHALE WATCHING. From December to April seven different kinds of whales, including grays and killer orcas migrate to The Sea of Cortez to feed and give birth before heading back up to Alaska.
► PUB CRAWL. Hit Cabo San Lucas’ local watering holes at Happy Hour. Sample a Cabo Waborita at Cabo Wabo and try to avoid being strung upside down at the Giggling Marlin where the motto is, “If our food, drinks and service are not up to your standards…please lower your standards.”
► GO ARTSY. Thursday night in San José is Art Walk from November to June. Studios and galleries around Alvaro Obregon stay open until 9 p.m. They encourage guests to browse and buy by handing out free drinks and snacks.