Like many places in North America, the coldest month of the year on the Baja Peninsula is January. Unlike many places in North America, however, the average daily temperature in January is 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30° Celsius). Talk about your “Endless Summer”! The two major cities here – Cabo San Lucas and San José Del Cabo – are collectively referred to as “Los Cabos”. In the 1950s and ’60s, the area was rather remote but highly regarded for its fantastic sport fishing. Tourists by the thousands were soon pouring in, and hotels and resorts were just as quickly being built along the beach. Over time, though, the thought of a three-day-drive – both there and back – had an appeal to only a hardy few. Vacationers wanted to spend their time being here not getting here. This led to the construction of Los Cabos International Airport near San José Del Cabo in the mid-1980s, and it meant that paradise was now mere hours from most major cities.
Linking San José Del Cabo with Cabo San Lucas is a 20-mile-long stretch of highway known as “The Corridor.” Many of Los Cabos’ best hotels and resorts are located along “The Corridor” and all are close by to the good times and great golf.
A hard-to-beat choice for golf if you’re staying in San José Del Cabo – a much more laid-back town than Cabo San Lucas, which features a bustling nightlife – is the 27-hole facility at the One & Only Palmilla Resort. Depending on your style, Pamilla is pronounced either “Pal-me-ya” or “Pal-me-ja.” Either way, it means the same thing: excellent golf. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1992, Pamilla is ranked the 7th-best facility in Mexico by Golf Digest. The three nines here – Arroyo, Mountain, and Ocean – all feature numerous forced carries over sandy waste areas, surprisingly steep elevation changes, superb conditioning, and stunning views of the Sea of Cortez (be sure to keep an eye out for passing gray whales). The Mountain/Ocean combination is the longest of the three at 7,129 yards from the back tees (four others are available). The Arroyo/Mountain pair is next at 6,939 yards, but Arroyo/Ocean is still pretty sturdy at 6,864 yards from the tips.
Should you be fortunate to be staying at the wonderful One & Only Palmilla Resort, be sure to take time out from golf to enjoy the other amenities that are available, including snorkeling, deep-sea fishing and the spa and fitness center. The excellent restaurants and bars at Palmilla Resort is another perk of staying here. “C” was created by Chicago’s Charlie Trotter, whose Windy City establishment of the same name is considered one of the best restaurants in the U.S. At “Agua,” the cuisine on the menu is “Mexiterranean.” For something light, or just to cool off, there’s the poolside “Agua Bar & Lounge” and “Breeze,” a balcony bar that overlooks the ocean.
Further west along “The Corridor,” less than ten minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, is a golf course that’s been reborn in recent years. Opened in 1994 and originally called Cabo San Lucas Country Club, the golf course was heavily damaged by a hurricane in 2001 and basically required reconstruction. Through a partnership with North America’s Intrawest Golf Group, however, the layout was reconstructed, redesigned and renamed. And by all accounts, the sparkling new Raven at Cabo San Lucas is even more challenging, more beautiful and more fun to play than ever. The folks at Golf Digest certainly feel that way, ranking the Raven the 15th-best course in Mexico. While it’s true that the Raven doesn’t offer nearly as many stunning views of the ocean as the facility at Palmilla Resort, there are still quite a few. And for once, this is not a good thing: you need to concentrate on staying out of trouble or this golf course will chew you up and spit you out.
Rather than rely on forced carries for its difficulty, though, this layout is mostly about length – featuring more than its share of 200-yard par threes and perhaps the longest hole in Mexico: the 610-yard, par-five 7th. Ready to jump out of your shoes, Rhiannon? Now is the time, and this is the place. Following golf, fun of a different kind is waiting for you in the very exciting city of Cabo San Lucas – before and after the sun goes down. The water sports are wonderful, the beaches are some of the best, the shopping is superb, and the food is fantastic. Be sure to get some rest, though, because many of the city’s nightclubs (Hard Rock Café, Cabo Wabo, El Squid Roe and the Giggling Marlin, to name just a few) don’t even get going until midnight … and the dancing often lasts until dawn. Great golf, great weather, great scenery, great times and much, much more – all in one great spot at the southernmost tip of the Mexico’s beautiful Baja Peninsula.0