Every year the New York Times publishes its “52 Places to Go” list for the year ahead. “A starter kit for escaping the world,” they call it. And every year, travel enthusiasts peruse the list, making mental notes of the places they’ve been and the ones they need to get to. In 2018, the East Cape landed among other destinations on the top of the list. Intrigued, I set out to find out why.
“Miles from raucous Cabo San Lucas, the East Cape of Cabo, a formerly sleepy stretch of fishing villages, is buzzing,” notes the New York Times. On the East Cape there are empty beaches, dusty trails that lead to hidden waterfalls and swimming holes and an underwater sanctuary with a 20,000-year-old coral reef that’s home to hundreds of species of fish. There’s a protected area and set of islands on the Sea of Cortés that have been designated a UNESCO Heritage site. And there’s Costa Palmas, a place that seems to be on everyone’s lips. I make some calls and get an invite to visit paradise for just one day.
The journey to the East Cape is not only about the geography of the desert, but of modern time. From the airport, I take the road less traveled (literally and figuratively) across the Tropic of Cancer and come upon a surreal landscape framed by mountains, desert and a blue sea that’s considered to be one of the richest and most diverse on the planet. Soon I arrive at Costa Palmas, a 1,000-acre property where pathways will soon meander around towering palm trees and estuaries, orchards and organic farms. A marina village, yacht club and Robert Trent Jones II-designed golf course are also in the works. In the not-too-distant future, the Costa Palmas Marina will feature 250 slips where members will moor their yachts and luxury fishing boats. A Four Seasons Resort and Residences Los Cabos is set to open in Spring 2019, while Amanvari, the first Aman resort in Mexico, will debut in 2020.
At the heart of the resort is the Costa Palmas Beach Club. Sophisticated but ever so casual, the Beach Club features spaces perfectly designed to take in the endless vistas of the Sea of Cortés. There is a series of swimming pools where pool attendants take care of your every need, and there’s a gym with perhaps the best view of any gym I’ve ever seen. Steps beyond a peaceful estuary is the beach bar and the Aventura station where kitesurfing boards, kayaks, SUPs, snorkel gear and other beach toys await. “Whatever kind of adventure you can dream up, we can make it happen,” says Marco, the Aventura Director, pointing to the two miles of swimmable beach and the calm embrace of blue that is the Sea of Cortés. He shares stories of overnight sailing adventures into virtually untouched waters, of humpback whales and dolphins cruising by, and teaching guests to cast for the legendary Roosterfish. Nearby I spot a couple of young kids, splashing in the sea without a care in the world.
Later I meet Chef Gonzo, who takes me on a tour of the nursery where a beautiful table is being set under twinkling lights that dangle from the trees. The evening’s menu showcases the best ingredients sourced from nearby farms and the sea, and organic produce plucked from right here in the nursery. Back at the Beach Club I sip on a handcrafted cocktail, look out to the horizon and catch my breath as I watch the sun going down. Everything on the East Cape seems to slow down; the sunset lasts a few seconds longer, the waves meander up the golden sands, and each moment of perfect bliss tastes that much sweeter.
My time in Costa Palmas was brief but it’s not hard to imagine wanting to come back time and again. I can see why guests would want to claim a Four Seasons residence or an Aman villa. When Michael Radovan, Director of Sales tells me that already there’s been more than $320 million in real estate sales, I’m not the least bit surprised. My only advice is, get here soon.
At Costa Palmas you can choose a beach or marina Four Seasons Private Residence or a one-of-a-kind Four Seasons Private Villa. Ownership is enhanced by exclusive services and expert property management by Four Seasons. Meticulously designed by award-winning architect John Heah to frame its natural surroundings, Amanvari Villas will be nestled between the estuary and the organic farms and offer owners the kind of personal attention they might receive from a close personal friend. Perhaps best of all, ownership at either property includes an invitation to join the Costa Palmas Beach & Yacht Club.