CostaBaja has a marina, a golf course and a prime location overlooking the Sea of Cortez. // © CostaBaja Resort & Spa
CostaBaja Resort & Spa is a destination in and of itself. Located just outside the Baja Sur city of La Paz, CostaBaja is a high-end oasis of sorts, with its own marina, championship golf course and a striking beachside/desert setting overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Although the resort bills itself as a boutique hotel, the ambience at the resort — while quiet and private — is that of a larger property.
The 18-hole, par 72 CostaBaja Golf Club was built in 2010 and is the first Gary Player Signature course in Mexico. The course, which is directly across the road from the resort, features panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez from 14 holes. The course also has a pro shop and a restaurant.
The resort’s marina adds flash and dazzle to views overlooking the sea. Marina CostaBaja has 250 prime slips that can accommodate vessels ranging from 30 to 200 feet. The double-basin marina’s amenities include floating concrete docks, a high-tech pump-out system servicing each slip, an on-site fuel dock and 24-hour security. The marina also has a dive shop, a sport fishing center and a crew lounge with satellite television, Wi-Fi access, restrooms and shower facilities.
The resort’s landscaping has lots of palms, cacti and flowering plants, featuring a gorgeous free form pool surrounded by blooming bougainvillea. While the 115-room resort features modernist decor along sleek lines, there are nice rustic accents throughout, such as ramada covered balconies and artwork that reproduces the centuries-old rock painting found in the region.
Costa Baja Resort guestrooms include complimentary Wi-Fi access and 42-inch flat-screen televisions. To maximize the space in the guestroom, all room components such as headboards, dressers and butlers are built-in millwork.
The glass-enclosed shower is in the middle of the room. An etched panel provides some modesty, but a person of average height would be visible from the knees down and the shoulders up. A detail to note is that the rooms do not have bathtubs.
Balconies off the rooms are spacious enough for a couch, a table and two chairs. In my case, the balcony overlooked the marina and the sea. Even though I had a room on the first floor, because of the way the resort is constructed, I had an elevated view a dozen feet above the ground.
The resort’s Espiritu Spa has several ritual therapies, including the Damiana Body and Spirit Ritual, which uses the local damiana herb to promote relaxation. Damiana seems to be the herb of La Paz. During my visit, in addition to seeing it in spa therapies, I drank locally made damiana liqueur and had the herb sprinkled into dessert. Well-known for its antioxidant properties, damiana is also considered something of an aphrodisiac.
There are a variety of dining options at CostaBaja. The resort’s main restaurant is Steinbeck’s, named after the famous author. If you spend more than a few hours in La Paz, you’ll probably hear that John Steinbeck visited back in 1940. While in La Paz, he was inspired to pen his romantic novella, “The Pearl,” which is based on a folktale about the travails of a diver who finds a magnificent pearl.
Steinbeck’s is an open-air restaurant serving fresh fish, smoked chicken, steak and salads. An example from the menu is tuna and green apple tartare with avocado, ponzu sauce and spicy chiltepin peppers. The extensive wine list offers an excellent selection of both local and international wines, many of which are available by the glass.
Additional dining options include Mosaics, for seafood and steak; Azul Marino, serving seafood and thin crust pizza; La Barcaccia, offering Italian cuisine; and a beach bar as well as a swim-up bar. The resort prides itself on serving locally sourced and mostly hand-cut fish.
Prime daytrips from the resort include boating excursions to Espiritu Santo Island, where it’s possible to snorkel among sea lions; and visiting the charming Pueblos Magicos town of Todos Santos, about an hour’s drive from the resort.
A taxi ride from the resort to downtown La Paz and the malecon (waterfront promenade) takes 10 minutes and will run you about $10 one-way. The three-mile long malecon is lined with restaurants, bars and shops and is a great spot to take in a sunset with the locals.