When most people think of Los Cabos, their minds quickly conjure up frolicking Los Angelenos and spring-breakers dancing on rooftops and thumping into the wee hours at iconic nightclubs like Cabo Wabo and El Squid Roe.
And I totally get it—even Hollywood celebrities and pro athletes gravitate like tin foil to an electromagnet to this wild west end of the 20-mile corridor that connects Cabo San Lucas to the more sophisticated town of San José del Cabo in the east.
But if golf is your passion, instead of asking questions like, “How do you cure a hangover?” and “Where, pray tell, is my hotel room?” perhaps you should ponder, “Is there a better place on earth to tee it up?”
That’s because, according to Meetings Alliance magazine, three of the top four public-access courses in Mexico, including the top two (Diamante Dunes and Cabo del Sol’s Ocean Course)—and six of the top 12—are located in Los Cabos.
For sheer wow factor, however, nothing—and I mean nothing—tops what lies a lazy three-mile drive west of Cabo San Lucas: Quivira Golf Club.
Situated along the western edge of Pueblo Bonito Resorts’ Towers at Pacifica, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Quivira will test the limits of memory space on your digital phone—particularly during the nearly three-quarter-of-a-mile cart ride from the fourth green to the fifth tee. I’ve described that winding 235-foot ascent from sea level into the adjoining mountainside as a “five ‘Oh my God!’” ride, as views of the tumultuous meeting of the Pacific and Sea of Cortez below grow increasingly endless. (The construction of a new St. Regis resort, slated for completion in 2021, below the fifth tee will add a new element to the vistas.)
While the sirens’ call of the following tee beckons one to drive onward, just before you reach No. 5, you must stop at the first of three on-course food-and-beverage stations. Holding on for dear life to a granite outcropping, it might be the most spectacular place on the planet to munch a breakfast burrito and sip from a premium tequila collection thanks to its sweeping view of El Faro Beach and Pueblo Bonito Resorts.
Nicklaus has called this “one of the great pieces of property in the world” for a reason—which is probably why my group mistook the drivable No. 5, the green of which hangs on the edge of the cliff, as the signature hole. This temptress of a par-4 actually demands a dead-straight long-iron or hybrid, followed by a downhill wedge to the putting surface.
And then you climb some more to the tee of No. 6, glued to the pounding surf far below on your left. And then your jaw pretty much drops onto the cartpath: here lies one of Quivira’s two spectacular all-carry oceanside par-3s (No. 13, cut into a huge shelf of sculptured granite, being the other). While the lucky 13th requires a mere wedge or nine-iron, though, No. 6 stretches to 180 yards with its green sitting within a huge dune.
Although El Arco—that distinctive arcing rock formation in the waters off the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas—is nicknamed “Land’s End,” the true mile zero of Land’s End lies just past the sixth green in the form of the region’s original lighthouse. This is the exact place where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean churn as one.
Staring due south out to sea from that lighthouse to a pod of breaching whales, I wrote: “Beyond them lies nothing but ocean until you hit Antarctica.”
Below, sharp rock formations rose from the bleached sand—little wonder this was one of the settings for the movie Troy. Indeed, Quivira’s 2.5 miles of oceanside frontage is the most beach exposure of any course in Los Cabos.
My home during my visit to Quivira was the Towers at Pacifica at Pueblo Bonito, a Top 100 Golf Resort in the luxury category of the inaugural rankings from GOLF Magazine, and home to a beach where the horizon stretches so wide that you can both watch the sun rise from the Sea of Cortez on your left and see it bleed into the Pacific Ocean to your right at day’s end.
But for those seeking a truly intimate setting, there are two spellbinding new luxury gems on the opposite end of Los Cabos. The Four Seasons Resort at Costa Palmas, which opened in October, lies on the Baja Peninsula’s isolated East Cape. Occupying two miles of virgin Sea of Cortez beachfront, this showpiece of contemporary design is Four Seasons’ first marina resort. With non-stop views of the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, “a long sandy beach and calm clear waters, our new resort is a one-of-a-kind tropical hideaway—just an easy flight from L.A.,” notes the resort’s general manager, Borja Manchado.
The resort will also soon unveil luxury beachfront and marina homes in this remarkable oceanside oasis, offering both privacy and space for your group, along with private pools, open-concept kitchens, and a dedicated chef to grill fresh seafood for sunset dining.
Catering to the even more Zen side of vacationing is the Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s Zadún. Described as “a desert sanctuary by the sea,” this unique resort, which opened in November, sits among gently sloping dunes overlooking the Sea of Cortez in San José del Cabo.
Within view of the beautiful Puerto Los Cabos Golf Course, the resort has interwoven nature and Mexican heritage into the guest experience, with sliding glass doors replacing traditional walls, plunge pools providing tranquility, and the ritual of bathing transformed into an opportunity to take in fresh air.
“Everywhere you turn, there’s a story that reflects Mexico, from pieces designed by local artisans to activities exploring nature and culture,” observes Rafael Gorina, Director of Guest Experience.
It’s certainly a world away from the pulsating beat of Cabo San Lucas.
But just 25 miles from Quivira.