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Plan A Dream Getaway to La Paz

Costa Baja Resort on the Sea of Cortez
By Richard Atkins

When planning your dream getaway, don’t shy away from Mexico because of safety concerns. At least not in Baja California Sur, which is located at the southern half of the Baja Peninsula. This area is free from the perceived danger travelers might have of Mexico. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The most convenient way to get there is to fly into Cabo, then rent a car for the two-hour drive north to La Paz. You may think, “Why do I have to drive two hours to get to my destination?” The answer: The Costa Baja Resort is a five star luxury destination that won’t set your pocketbook back thousands like Cabo, and on your way, you can stop off at a quaint little town called Todos Santos and have a tasty lunch, a cold beer, pick up some colorful, painted pottery or a Mexican rug and visit the famed Hotel California where Don Henley apparently received inspiration to write his song. Everything is true except the Don Henley connection. The rumor was started years ago to bring tourism to this small, relatively unknown town between Cabo and La Paz. And, in grand public relations style, it worked! Todos Santos is a thriving tourist attraction where you can spend a couple of leisurely hours and really enjoy yourself!


Once in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, you are taken along the Malecon (which means a stone embankment along the waterfront or boardwalk) on your way to the resort.  The Malecon is a beautiful and lively place where you can window shop, have a nice bite to eat, take in the 160 sculptures along the 5 kilometer Malecon overlooking the Sea of Cortez and just people watch.  The locals, which include a lot of expatriates who have chosen to retire in La Paz are extremely friendly, fun-loving and ready to share the La Paz experience with any and all comers.  

Continuing on the winding road that takes you high above La Paz with great views of the waterfront beckons you into the paradise of Costa Baja Resort and Spa. It is especially angelic at night with soft street lights that resemble farolitos to light your way. You finally arrive at a large entranceway that states Costa Baja Resort and a gatehouse for security. After passing that checkpoint, you realize you have arrived at a very special place indeed as you drive through a complex array of private condos, restaurants, fountains, swaying palms, a serene marina and colored lights as the road finally leads to the main entrance of the hotel where you are immediately greeted with friendly faces willing to assist and please.  The resort happens to be nestled cozily in a cove on the Sea of Cortez, which the famed Jacques Cousteau described as “the world’s aquarium” and “the Galapagos of North America.” 

Our room was ultra-contemporary with old world features such as a free-standing, frosted glass shower next to our king size bed. The shower was adorned with what looked like natural slate panels in a soft grayish hue for a strong, somewhat masculine feel. Well appointed with a large screen tv, writing desk, dressers, refrigerator, coffee bar and recessed lighting above the grandiose bed for reading and ambiance, we had all the comforts of home. For exterior flair, we relaxed on a second floor balcony overlooking the beautiful infinity pool, marina, and Sea of Cortez peeking through the palms.

The Costa Baja resort is much more than a 115 room hotel. There are tennis courts and an exercise room down at the beach, as well as more infinite pools, jacuzzis and an outdoor bar and restaurant. The 550-acre community development includes custom homes and condominiums, 1/9 fractional timeshares, a 2500 sq. ft. ballroom for corporate events, a luxury marina, and a Gary Player Signature Golf Course, ranked among the top 10 in Mexico and was even named 7th best in Mexico in its first year by Golf and Spa Magazine. 

Steinbeck’s is the place for premiere fine dining at the resort. This large space is a combination of contemporary chic mixed with rustic maritime to create a trendy feel with roots marked in history as the famed author John Steinbeck visited La Paz in 1940 and describes the town in his work, “The Pearl.” Starting with an amuse bouche of creamy white carob with caviar, arugula and sprouts prepare the palette for what’s to come. Here the chef treats you to fresh offerings from the Sea of Cortez, from tuna and green apple tartar to shrimp bisque and tender yellowtail. It is truly a feast for the senses. Filling out the menu are delicious chicken, pork loin, duck and Angus prime meats for the discerning diner. Service is impeccable with indoor/outdoor live music on the patio. Bravo!

The Mosaic Restaurant is the casual restaurant at the hotel for scrumptious breakfast buffets, freshly made omelets, local fruits and sinful pastries. For dinner, the best sushi in La Paz is Chef’s Rosendo Rendon’s Odayaka Sushi which is right around the corner from the hotel. Rosendo started us with Brujitas which is made up of salmon, yellowtail, crab, avocado, and cilantro and then moved on to Burritos consisting of crab, cucumber, soybean paper and shrimp tempura. Just from the sound of these original creations, the food is to die for! Add a little sake and your evening is complete!

My wife and I were lucky to experience a fantastic new treatment called the Neuro Vital couples massage at The Espiritu Spa. The massage starts with the therapists choosing the right body oil to be used through a technique where they place the oil near your heart and place a metal rod nearby that tells them if this particular oil gels with the person’s body chemistry. If not, the rod rejects it. It was fascinating! In fact, by the end of the experience, both my wife and I had been transported to a different place. The Espiritu Spa also offers facials, body treatments, hair and nail services, a fitness center and private yoga and Pilates. 

A visit to this resort is not complete without a Baja tour by Fun Baja Tours. We chose the snorkeling with sea lions and whale sharks excursion. Lorenzo is our guide for a full day of water adventure in the Sea of Cortez. After about an hour cruise, we arrive at an island where we snorkeled with playful sea lions and watched the hungry pelicans dive for fish. We then motored out to a pristine beach for lunch and a swim in the amazing, turquoise waters. After lunch, we cruised to the whale sharks (they are friendly, plankton eating creatures) where we found many we could swim with and observe up close and personal. They measure up to 22 feet!! THESE TOURS ARE AWESOME AND NOT TO BE MISSED! 

More Info:
Costa Baja Resort - www.costabajaresort.com, 877.392.5525
Odayaka Sushi Bar - ask the Concierge at the hotel to take you there in a golf cart!
Fun Baja - Island excursions, scuba diving, kayaking, whale watching, www.funbaja.com, reservation@funbaja.com
Car rental - www.carrentals.com
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