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La Paz

La Paz might best be described as the quintessential Mexican city – few tourists are aware of this quaint paradise, streets are secure even during humid sunset strolls, and the local cuisine is always accented by fresh, local fish. Perhaps the only item out of place from La Paz’s small downtown corridors, most of which always seem to lead to the crystal clear Sea of Cortez, are the five star hotels; namely, CostaBaja Resort & Spa. Spanish haciendas might be one way to experience true paradise, but an 18-hole Gary Player Signature Golf Course, five glorious diverse restaurants, two swimming pools, access to a (practically) private beach (they aren’t allowed within the city limits) and a sparse but accessible spa aren’t a bad way to introduce yourself either; especially when you’re looking for a hidden retreat, where you can be hidden yourself. La Paz is rich in history – though its narrow and rare streets might limit visitors to a mere handful of blocks consisting of three-generation clay potters, local camaraderie and a sprinkling of signature restaurants, this small town hidden by its more popular neighbor Los Cabos is easily treasured. The town’s enthusiasm for service, Baja California heritage and sheer ability to survive in the heat enables La Paz to emit flavors any adventurer on a Mexican getaway is willing to explore. COSTABAJA RESORT & SPA CostaBaja Resort is likely to offer a taste you’ll enjoy, though it’s a far cry from La Paz’s locals who have inhabited the land since Sebastian Vizcaino landed there in 1596. Secured 24/7 by guards wearing white pressed suits, the resort is more than just 115 rooms, pool – complete with bar – restaurants, and Espiritu spa. The entire CostaBaja campus, call it as you will, encompasses a space that naturally fits inside La Paz’s walls– with two marinas housing luxury yachts, a bay front marina village featuring shops, restaurants and galleries; and the future place for an expansive residential community. Don’t let the size intimidate you – alone, the resort is simplicity at its best with white washed beaches and aquamarine waters at your fingertips, you’re not to blame if you don’t pay attention to the interior design. There aren’t many bells and whistles to each luxury room, but with a CostaBaja beer in hand (made by Modelo but stamped exclusively for CostaBaja) and sun-kissed skin, it’s easy to forget the rules of a five-star vacation with the sea brightly returning every smile. And if the lavish amenities, accessible recreational water activities and hospitality to beat any other international resort don’t entice you, little else will. BEACH CLUB The ultimate attraction of CostaBaja is the view – situated just five minutes from town, windy roads lead visitors immediately to the Beach Club – an exclusive restaurant, pool and remote beach access available to condo owners and resort guests. The views are postcard worthy anytime of the day; clean white linens are sprayed along beachside cabanas, a several hundred feet infinity pool portrays breathtaking views that are illuminated by royal blue tiles, and award-winning chef Alejandro Ruiz greets guests with simple cuisine that accentuates tastes akin to what New York City restaurants have been trending as of late. Offering fresh and local cuisine into the menu has been passed down for generations, though the weekly special is a new treat (by our accounts, always go for the special). RESTAURANTS Despite the youth of CostaBaja, a complex which can barely call the millennium its brother, the resort is a time-capsule for La Paz’s rarely commercialized past. Steinbecks’ Restaurant, the resort’s one and only fully operating eatery, is named after John Steinbeck, the celebrated yet distraught author who wrote America’s favorite “The Grapes of Wrather” and the other unknown favorite about La Paz itself, “The Pearl.” Steinbeck was one of several renowned artists to escape among the town’s windswept beaches, where palm frock umbrellas are scattered along every hidden shore. At its counterpart, Mosaic is open only for breakfast offering guests a splatter of traditional Mexican and American entrees, including “judo verde,” a juice featuring cactus and celery. COSTABAJA GOLF CLUB As with every Gary Player Signature Golf Course, the CostaBaja Golf Club plays to its strengths; cactus weren’t displaced during the construction of the course just over a year ago, and each hole is marked by a signature tribal graphic found in one of many scattered, and historically significant, caves of Mexico. As the first Baja California course for Player, the topical landscape isn’t just for show, while the immensely green property is practically transfixed in time - local water cleaned at the property’s own reservoir is used to water the course’s 7,087 yards, putting green and driving range. The standalone property has started to attract international players for its tough range, Gary Player prestige and juxtaposition of an ocean-front, desert course. When your wake-up call hits you like Muhammad Ali just smacked you in the face, you’ll probably regret that last tequila shot; but after gazing out at the clear waters from your cold shower, taken in a pristine glass cage unlocked in your suite, there isn’t anything to do but scoff at cynics – Mexico…scary? La Paz is hardly the picture people have cut from drug lords and corruption, especially as you enter the small airport filled with more retired Americans from Ohio than locals. At that point, another tequila shot at the pint-sized mart just before you walk into the heat and onto your plane doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Published Tuesday, November 1, 2011 9:20 AM by Zinnia Q.

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