Look at a map of the Baja Peninsula, and you’ll have no trouble seeing why Cabo’s Pacific coast has become such a coveted destination for those seeking serenity along with their sun and sand.
Just to the west of Cabo San Lucas, the “Pacific side,” as locals call it, feels worlds away from the bright lights and lively nightlife of the seaport town. On a recent trip to Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort, I got a chance to see what the fuss is all about, enjoying the indulgences of a world-class spa and golf destination along with plenty of opportunities to access the adventurous spirit of Baja Sur. (A highlight of said indulgences: A hot stone massage at the resort’s Armonia Spa.)
My base of operations was the new and elegant Towers at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, which fulfilled its description as a resort-within-a-resort with a full menu of activities, demonstrations and custom spa treatments. But I spent most of my time on aptly named Sunset Beach, one of Los Cabos’ longest unbroken stretches of sand, where locals have long walked at dusk to savor the Technicolor skies.
If you golf, chances are you’re probably already familiar with Quivira Los Cabos, a four-year-old Jack Nicklaus signature course that’s won numerous awards, including Golf Magazine’s Best New International Course when it opened in 2014 and Golf Digest’s coveted Editor’s Choice Award in 2018. Guests at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica and the Towers at Pueblo Bonito have full access to the spectacular seaside course.
While Quivira offers breathtaking challenges to even the most experienced player, I had just as much fun at my beginner’s lesson with director Antonio Reynante, who guided my swing patiently, no matter how many times I got distracted by the crashing waves and dancing dolphins.
I didn’t prove much better at surfcasting than I did at golf, but it didn’t much matter since the resort’s Hook & Cook class also included a lesson in preparing ceviche, and a chance to eat it while wiggling our toes in the sand.
Of course, there is much more to see and do in Los Cabos if you can drag yourself away from the sandy beaches and poolside cocktails of the Pacific shore. I spent one happy morning on a whale watching tour, laughing at the antics of cavorting humpbacks and snapping photos of The Arch, Cabo’s iconic limestone rock formation.
And San Jose del Cabo’s historic plaza and colorful galleries and shops deserve a full day of exploration. San Jose del Cabo is also the place for authentic local fare; try Las Guacamayas for home-style cooking in a festive garden setting, or hole-in-the-wall Taqueria Rossy, famed for their flaky fish topics topped by a variety of salsas.
But some of the best food I had in Cabo was in the Market at Quivira, an international market hall where Parisian crepes, fresh-from-the-sea sushi, and savory wood-fired pizzas are among the many choices, along with handmade helados (ice cream) and artisanal chocolate. There’s even a 1950s-style American diner that was packed every time I visited, though personally I’ll save my burgers for this side of the border.
On my last morning, I dashed down to the beach for a final stroll before the arrival of the airport shuttle, and saw clusters of people pointing out beyond the surf break. Sure enough, there was a pod of dolphins dancing parallel to the beach as if giving me a sendoff. I waved back, already planning a return trip to the quieter side of Cabo.
Melanie Haiken is a writer, editor and web project manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She operates on two simple assumptions: Everyone has a story to tell. And a story well-told will always find an audience. Her work is characterized by exceptional clarity, depth and insight – no matter the topic covered. Haiken writes for AFAR, Forbes, Via, Yoga Journal and many other national magazines and websites. She has also created award-winning marketing and custom publishing materials and communications campaigns for clients like Adobe, Wells Fargo, Lane Bryant, Kaiser Permanente and Safeway.