Los Cabos, the region on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, is a favorite of vacationers seeking warm, sunny weather and gorgeous beaches. The area has grown since Hollywood celebrities and dedicated fishing fans began visiting in the 1950s and ’60s, adding scores of luxurious resorts, golf courses, and spas. Los Cabos consists of two resort cities: San Jose del Cabo, the closest when heading southwest from the airport, and Cabo San Lucas, both offering hotels, restaurants, and stunning beaches.
I’ve enjoyed visits to hotels in Los Cabos, harbor cruises with views of the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, fish tacos, guacamole, and many margaritas and pink sunsets. On my recent trip, I discovered and fell in love with a new part of southern Baja, the East Cape, and the spectacular Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas. Set on the Sea of Cortez with the Sierra de la Laguna mountains in the background, the resort is the first in the beachfront community.
Arriving from our two-hour flight from Los Angeles, my husband and I were met by the resort’s driver who explained he was heading in the opposite direction from the Los Cabos resort area — and a left turn instead of a right had us driving north on an inland route among cacti, dense shrubbery, and an occasional cow or horse along the side of the road. He pointed out small towns, and we passed roadside fruit stands and taco shops. After nearly an hour, we turned towards the coast and the East Cape.
Combining the Best of the Desert and Sea
We entered the 1,000-acre development, neatly landscaped with desert plants, cacti, palo verde trees, and palms, passing two security gates with a wave before we were greeted in the hotel’s outdoor lobby. Check-in was a relaxing affair accompanied by a mezcal cocktail, and we were driven to our room in one of the many golf cart-style vehicles on the property.
Our room faced the sea, steps from an infinity pool and hot tub, with our own plunge pool on the expansive patio, which was furnished with a cushy sofa and chair. An outdoor shower, large and private, was a great feature, and the indoor shower was spacious as well, with a sculptural tub nearby. Easy-to-work lighting controls, a Bose bluetooth speaker, ceiling fan, and bar unit with an espresso machine made us comfortable immediately. An iPad is provided in every room, and a chat line is always open to handle requests for housekeeping, room service, reservations, or information.
So Much Great Food — From Casual to Fine Dining
Dinner the first night was at Limon, an al fresco restaurant with the feeling of a backyard gathering, complete with strings of lights, lanterns in trees, and a smoky wood burning grill. Set in a lemon grove, the restaurant focuses on farm-to-table ingredients, fresh seafood, and grilled steaks, along with a selection of wines, including several from Mexican vineyards. We enjoyed a wine called “2V,” a blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc from Casa Madero, to accompany our sea bass and grouper main courses, prepared simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We returned to Limon on our last night for a delicious wood-fired steak dinner.
The resort’s signature dining spot is the Estiatorio Milos, a fine Mediterranean seafood restaurant founded by acclaimed chef Costas Spiliadis. A stunning curved building set on a path along the beach with outdoor tables for cocktails and dining, the restaurant features an array of seafood including local finfish, prawns, lobster, clams, and more, artfully displayed on a bed of ice. Delicious raw fish along with Greek dishes and wines were a reminder of the chef’s background. Dinner was exquisite, and we returned the next morning for breakfast overlooking the beach.
Lunch at the casual Casa de Brasa was delicious, but the most fun we had at a meal was at Lucha Libre, a “taco shack” between the 7th and 13th holes of the Costa Palmas Golf Course. Tasty tacos, salsas, and even wood-fired pizzas are served along with beverages and a choice of beers. The chefs encouraged us to relax there before we went back to golf, and we laughed as one donned a lucha libre wrestling mask for our photos. They also introduced us to a new sandwich, the choripan, an Argentinian street food specialty of chorizo sausage and chimichurri on a Mexican bolillo roll.
Golf, Fishing, Exploring, Relaxing, and More
We loved the golf course, a combination of desert scenery and sea views, challenging but fair with five tee options for players of various skill levels. A breakfast cafe with outdoor tables at the first hole and a casual food truck dining spot at the end, along with Lucha Libre, ensure that golfers are well fed and happy — even if their score wasn’t the best.
Our ATV tour through the dunes and along the beach was exciting, if at times just scary enough to provide thrills and laughs. Following our guide, in a safe four-wheel drive vehicle, we drove up and down sandy hills, through narrow paths with cacti scraping the sides, and along the deserted beachfront for miles. It was an educational experience as well as fun, since Lalo, our guide, pointed out trees that were used for dyes, cave paints, healing, and other purposes by indigenous peoples in the past. Many also have practical uses today, including the cactus that provides the seasonal pitaya fruit.
On our to-do list for our next visit — and there will be a return visit — is a trip to Cabo Pulmo, just 45 minutes away, a UNESCO World Heritage Marine Site known for sea lions, turtles, whales, bull sharks, Mobula rays, and a variety of sea life. Perfect for diving and snorkeling, Jacques Cousteau called it “the aquarium of the world.”
As much as we enjoyed our room, the restaurants, the beach and pools, and the relaxing atmosphere, my husband and I agreed that the Four Seasons staff was our favorite part of this trip. Everyone was friendly, outgoing, welcoming, and professional in a very natural way. We were so impressed with the resort’s staff, from the front desk to housekeeping, restaurant, and golf club. Many have been there since the development began, and they returned in July after a closure of several months due to COVID.
COVID Precautions Are Evident Throughout the Resort
We saw resort-wide emphasis on health guidelines and procedures throughout our stay. Every employee wore a mask at all times, and guests are required to wear them while entering restaurants or public areas. Small bottles of hand sanitizers are provided at all the restaurants, and masks are available for anyone who needs one. A large container of sanitizer, wipes, and masks were set up in the room, and housekeeping services are offered upon request via the iPad, keeping personal contact to a minimum.
In addition, Costa Palmas features open-air public spaces including the lobby and nearly all dining venues, six pools, a two-mile-wide beach, and architecture that eliminates the need for shared elevators or hallways. In other words, social distancing comes naturally there.
The Future of Costa Palmas
The Four Seasons Resort, with 118 guest rooms and 23 suites, is just the beginning for Costa Palmas. Private residences on the golf course, beach, and marina are planned. Homeowners will be able to join the Costa Palmas Beach & Yacht Club which will feature an expansive clubhouse with pools, gym, theater, restaurant, bar, Sports Park, and Aventura station with access to scuba diving, jet skiing, surfing, fishing, hiking, and more. A full-service marina is underway as is construction on Aman's first Mexico property, Amanvari, scheduled to open in 2021. Baja California's East Cape development at Costa Palmas will join the already popular vacation destinations in Los Cabos, all within non-stop or one-stop flights from most United States and Canadian cities.
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