Cabo is one of the few golf destinations I've test-driven with my wife, who is not a golfer, while leaving the kids at home.
Our 2012 trip ended up being a great couples getaway. While I was playing golf on some of the best golf courses in Mexico, she hung out at the spa and went kayaking at the famous Arch at Land's End where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific. We dined in a few of Cabo's five-star restaurants and even swam with the dolphins together at Dolphin Discovery Cabo.
After a tweet from @izzoappraisals -- i.e. "Joe," who didn't want to reveal his last name -- asking about a couples golf trip to Cabo, I was happy to share my experiences visiting the luxurious golf/fishing destination at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.
Los Cabos (called "Cabo" by gringo tourists) is a stretch of highway lined with exclusive resorts between the party town of Cabo San Lucas and the quaint authentic Mexican fishing village of San Jose del Cabo. Put simply, it is one of my favorite places in the world to wine and dine or relax.
@GolfAdvisor Couples trip to Cabo san Lucus. Any suggestions on where to stay
— joe (@izzoappraisals) July 25, 2016
Joe wants to spend seven nights and play four rounds of golf. With more than a dozen world-class courses already, he's got plenty of options. Where he wants to play could dictate where he wants to stay.
Cabo: Where to play and stay
To dance upon the cliff tops of Quivira Golf Club -- the latest Cabo stunner designed by Jack Nicklaus -- he'll need to stay at a Pueblo Bonito hotel or own/rent property in the development adjacent to the course. The Pacifica is an adults-only playground in a great spot because Joe will be close to downtown Cabo, yet far enough away for romantic walks on a secluded beach without being bothered.
Nicklaus routed Quivira through sand dunes and desert and perched high on rocky seaside cliffs. Its green fee includes all you can eat and drink at the course's comfort stations. As golf experience go, it's off the charts.
Cabo's other resort golf courses are open to all, including two "world top 100" choices -- the Dunes Course at Diamante and the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol. The Dunes Course by Davis Love III and El Cardonal by Tiger Woods -- both located near Quivira -- are essentially private, but first-timers can sit through a sales presentation to play each once. Not everybody wants to mess with that scenario.
Cabo del Sol's Desert Course -- a top shelf Tom Weiskopf design -- resides inside the gates of one of my favorite Cabo resorts, the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar. My wife and I shared a beautiful villa there. We also enjoyed the Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas and Spa, the other Starwood property in Cabo, on the same trip, but it still hasn't opened following extensive damage caused by Hurricane Odile in the fall of 2014. Its Web site lists an April 2017 reopening.
Perhaps the most luxurious golf stay-and-play comes courtesy of the One&Only Palmilla and the 27-hole Palmilla Golf Club, both across the street from one another along the tourist corridor. The boutique hotel, refurbished after the hurricane, is pricey but delivers the service and romantic vibe to justify the cost. Palmilla, the course that put Cabo golf on the map in the 1990s, is a strong Nicklaus effort that briefly visits the shore on the Ocean nine.
I've never stayed at Puerto Los Cabos -- a sprawling development closer to San Jose del Cabo that recently opened a JW Marriott and will be adding a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the fourth "six star" hotel in the world owned by the high-end chain. I can vouch for the Puerto Los Cabos golf course, though, which features nine holes by Nicklaus and nine holes designed by Greg Norman with an additional nine holes currently under construction.
Cabo: The verdict
I honestly can't find anything wrong with choosing to stay at any of the listed options. The decision ultimately comes down to cost and where Joe will want to play.
I'd recommend renting a car instead of taking expensive taxi rides between courses. The tourist corridor is easy to navigate and plenty safe. There are no drug cartel problems to worry about in Cabo. Joe and his significant other will have a great time, on and off the golf course.
Even if golfers miss out on Quivira or Diamante, the ocean holes at Cabo del Sol will still make up for it. From there, any combination of the Desert Course at Cabo del Sol, Cabo Real, Puerto Los Cabos, Club Campestre San Jose and Palmilla will surely please any golfer. The one bargain play in town, Cabo San Lucas Country Club, could be worth a look as well. I gave it a three-star review on Golf Advisor after a round in 2015.