Field Guide: Inside Costa Palmas, a seaside golf retreat on Cabo’s emerging East Cape
As GOLF’s chief photographer and visual editor, Christian Hafer visits some of the most gorgeous and exclusive golf courses and properties in the world. Here, in his Field Guide, he’ll take you along for the ride. Lucky for us, Christian never leaves home without his camera. Ed. note: Golfers may not be traveling much these days but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about future escapes. To give you a little inspiration, here’s a 360-degree deep dive — words, photos and video — into Costa Palmas, a splashy newcomer to the Cabo golf scene.
Back in January, I joined a few friends to experience a part of the world that we’d never visited. The East Cape of the Baja Peninsula is just now beginning to develop, and Costa Palmas, a luxury resort and private residential community, is paving the way. Imagine what Cabo must’ve looked like shortly before it became a vacation hotspot — that’s what the East Cape looks like today.
But for us, Costa Palmas Golf Club was the draw, so we spent most of our time looping the walkable 7,221-yard links-style Robert Trent Jones II design, hitting balls on the range that doubles as a six-hole par-3 course, putting on the sprawling practice green and dining at Bouchie’s, one of the property’s five dining options that’s embedded in the practice area.
Costa Palmas has one core principle: ensure its guests have fun. There are few rules, no dress code and golfers may play as many holes as they’d like with as many partners as they’d like. Since most of arrived at Costa Palmas in the late afternoon, we knew we couldn’t squeeze in 18, so we walked as many holes as we could before sunset.
When we played more than five holes, we looked forward to spending time at Lucha Libre, an open-air snack shack located between the 7th and 8th holes, and also between the 13 and 14. The eatery serves made-to-order tacos and offers an impressively-stocked bar, and it’s manned by arguably the happiest chef in Baja. Since the course is open only to a limited number of residents and resort guests, we never felt rushed to complete our round in under four hours or rushed at the snack shack. Time slows down on the East Cape, and we were down with that.
While the opening holes at Costa Palmas are wide open and low stress, the middle six holes move inland, playing against the mountains and demanding more precision. The course’s closing stretch bring you back out to the coves and channels that weave through the region. We were intrigued from start to finish on what is one of the few walkable courses on the Baja Peninsula.
It’s becoming increasingly rare to feel like you’re discovering a new spot or that you’re visiting a destination that’s on the cusp of breaking out, but Costa Palmas offers just that. It’s a throwback to simpler, more peaceful times in Baja, albeit with luxurious touches throughout.
Scroll down for more photos and videos of Costa Palmas.