In this travel report, SPY senior golf writer John Scott Lewinski reviews the seaside golf resort of your dreams — the Puerta Cortes Resort in La Paz.
A pleasant young woman named Elizabeth spends her workday in a well-stocked comfort station perched high above the pristine 14th hole on the Gary Player-designed golf course within the resort community of Puerta Cortes in La Paz. It can get a little lonely up there as the hotel grows and the real estate market heats up, and she’d like you to pop down to Mexico for a visit.
Located along the Sea of Cortes (a couple of hours north of the Cabo San Lucas airport) on the Baja Peninsula, La Paz offers a low-key alternative to the busy beaches and nightlife scene of Los Cabos. It might very well grow into a busy rival of Mexico’s mainstay vacation spots. For now, it’s a quieter, calmer, working-class beach town offering the fully equipped, elite resort that is Puerta Cortes.
Prime Resort & Real Estate on the Baja Peninsula
A combination hotel and residential development, Puerta Cortes offers multiple accommodation offerings from hotel rooms to suites to long-term and seasonal rentals. Visitors that take to the natural seaside beauty and low-key lifestyle of La Paz can buy into the real estate scene. Perhaps sail-ing under the resort world’s radar, a home within the confines of Puerta Cortes seems like a steal — with prices remaining consistently well under $2 million. (Good luck finding a similar deal in Los Cabos.) The current housing plan is working on 220 hectares, 1,600 meters of seafront property and 184 finished residences, with more to come.
Whether a hotel guest or a resident, the Puerta Cortes denizen has access to a community dedicated to comfort and amusement. The resort boasts a private beach, a yacht club and marina, four restaurants, a cafe and onsite services opening a variety of excursions and activities. The warm waters off La Paz are a protected marine habitat, and chartered experiences departing from the resort allow free-spirited explorers a chance to swim with whale sharks, sea lions, dolphins and an endless variety of saltwater fish.
The Gary Player Signature El Cortes Golf Course
Beyond the private beach and the waiting sea creatures, the star attraction at Puerta Cortes is the adjacent Gary Player Signature El Cortes Golf Course. That’s right, this seaside course was originally designed by Gary Player himself, aka The Black Knight. Player is considered one of the greatest golfers of all time and was a renowned golf course designer, and the El Cortes Golf Course was recently renovated over the past couple of years to keep it in prime condition. El Cortes puts its hilly desert terrain and sea-side landscape to good use on challenging 18 holes marked by strategically placed bunkers and elevation changes, making this one of the more unique golf courses I’ve had the chance to play.
The golf course itself is right on the water, and as you try to avoid the sandtraps, you can enjoy spectacular views of the aquamarine waters of La Paz. Only guests and residents are allowed on the track as the golf staff keeps these links calm and quiet. Since the venue isn’t looking to push through too many rounds per day, the course remains in immaculate condition.
Beyond the links, the city of La Paz itself offers its own modest collection of restaurants, shops and nightlife spots — but it doesn’t want to rival Los Cabos. It’s a town that enjoys a little laid-back peace and quiet, and that ambiance carries over to the pleasant beaches of Puerta Cortes.
Meanwhile, when you see Elizabeth back on the golf course, be nice to her and give her my regards. She’ll make sure you head to tee off on the 15th refreshed and ready to enjoy the rest of your stay along the sea.
COVID & Safety
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, Puerta Cortes and all resort properties throughout Mexico are abiding by the country’s-phased reopening plan focusing on new health and safety standards Puerta Cortes currently stands at 80% capacity. Like most Mexican resorts, testing is available at the resort to satisfy re-entry requirements if you need a negative test to travel home. You can get the latest updates on the resort’s COVID-19 policies at their website.