Surfers and artists have bolstered a delicate balance in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Surf hounds manage to keep the vibe laid-back and the taco stands hopping, while the art scene draws more discerning travellers and hotel development.
Recognized as one of the top destinations in all of Mexico and La Paz’s only five-star resort, Costa Baja Resort and Spa is the centrepiece of this commanding 550-acre real estate development. Set on the magnificent Sea of Cortez overlooking a 250-slip double-basin marina and white sand beach, the resort offers exclusive access at Mexico’s only Gary Player-designed golf course. A true sanctuary, hummingbirds are among the regulars in the courtyard gardens while whale sharks frolic in the bay. Intimately scaled, the hotel features 115 rooms with private balconies, each with a unique position to the surrounding ocean, mountains, golf course or marina. Enhanced by the all modern conveniences you expect, it’s a luxury experience amidst the raw beauty of Baja California Sur.
Unmatched in La Paz, the real estate opportunities here are unreal when compared to more overrated “hotspots”. The topography of Costa Baja rivals Hawaii with its mountains and magnificent surf at a fraction of the cost. A haven of harmony and tranquility, striking contemporary buildings are set amongst tropical plantings, filled with beautiful design touches. Luxury nest seekers who visit fall in love with multiple homesites, often buying one and referring the other to a family member or friend.
Everyday La Paz is incredibly warm, full of upbeat locals offering friendly greetings of “Hola, como estas, buenos dias” everywhere I went. Daily life is colored with impromptu parades, town sponsored baseball games and the occasional town hall concert. In the evenings, people of all ages congregate in the plaza. There is absolutely nothing to fear here and it’s like going back in time. People are relaxed; the kids sport school uniforms and complete families, including teenagers, flock and frolic in the surf together. Picnics on the sand every weekend. You’ll likely hear a Buddy Holly tune or two. It’s like San Diego 50 years ago down here.
Compare this to Cancun, where you’re constantly told by locals and hotel staff to be on guard for pickpockets. Not only that, there’s the infamous crooked cabbies and counterfeit money. Too many things to be wary of in Cancun’s hedonistic playground. La Paz is a satisfying blend of cool colonial architecture, quaint cobbled streets, funky street sculptures and palm-thatched shacks. Why follow the crowd to Cancun when you can follow your heart to La Paz?
If you’re into holistic wellness and custom crafted essential oil blends, a visit to the resort’s Espiritu Spa is a must. Soothed by the close relationship to the Sea of Cortez, spa goers sampling from a menu of locally-inspired Baja Sur treatments. After a beautifying steam, spend the evening under a carpet of bright stars, enjoying an alfresco table at Steinbecks, Costa Baja’s signature restaurant.
An hour’s boat ride from La Paz, spot spectacular sheer red cliffs and the secluded beach of Isla Espíritu Santo. The island is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Bioreserve with zero development so the desert landscape is beguilingly serene. Sea hawks nest on the rocks as pelicans skimming the crystal glass sea. The isolation gives you a real sense of being in the wilderness. Kayak alongside humpback and gray whales migrating to the balmy Baja California Sur for winter. Snorkel amid schools of vibrantly colored fish and coral reefs, and meet a playful, dare I say flirtatious colony of sea lions. Clearly, this is why Jacques Cousteau dubbed the Sea of Cortez the “Aquarium of the World”.
Then again, you can simply stay in your suite at Costa Baja – getting off your bed/sun lounger when you want, wading in the warm sea waters, sunbathe, nibble on the freshest ceviche, drain a mango margarita, repeat…
If you’ve been to both, tell us your favourite in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.