Down in Baja California, most people in North America have heard of Los Cabos—playground of Hollywood celebrities and location of fabulous all-inclusives and resort golfing. Many Canadians and Americans have even been there a time or two, or even more. But few have heard about Loreto, halfway up the coast in a rural area that have many reflecting on similarities with Cabo over 50 years ago.
Loreto is awakening and it's the Danzante Bay Golf Course and resorts like Villa de Palmar that are bringing golf down south of the border to the forefront once again. The resort is located near the historic town of Loreto, and is framed by Danzante Bay, the Sea of Cortez, the Islands of Loreto, and the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range.
The story starts over 10 years ago when Owen Perry and Luz Maria scouted Loreto for their next beachfront resort. By 2009, they opened Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, with their long-term goal to develop the Danzante Bay resort community along with world-class golf.
The golf is now here with the opening of all 18 holes at Danzante Bay Golf Course in December 2017. A Rees Jones-designed golf course, it incorporates valleys, arroyos, dunes and foothills, as well as seductive views of the Sea of Cortez. The course is breathtakingly scenic as well as challenging for various levels.
In March 2018, Danzante Bay Golf Club became the newest member of the TPC Network, owned by the PGA Tour. As a result, TPC Danzante Bay is the fourth international facility to join the collection of TPC championship golf courses.
"We're thrilled to introduce Danzante Bay and Villa del Palmar at The Islands of Loreto to the members of the TPC Network," said Owen Perry, owner and president of The Villa Group, developer of the property. "It is like no other place. We have been able to create a golf experience that changes as you play, on a golf course that allows you to see landscape and wildlife that you never would have seen before."
According to course architect Rees Jones, "There are not many golf courses that can offer a setting as beautiful, diverse and dramatic as Danzante Bay. The course winds its way up from the desert to the canyon and down through coastal dunes to the beach. It turns at the beach and climbs up through the mountains, where it reaches the already-famous, cliffside-peninsula, par-three 17th hole perched over the Sea of Cortez. This varying landscape allowed the creation of golf holes that are dramatically different from each other and combine to give the player a one-of-a-kind experience.
Danzante Bay is destined to become a flagship TPC facility.
As for awe-inspiring dramatic beauty and sheer cliffs that drop suddenly into the sea, it's hard to beat the par-3 17th hole. This signature hole is perhaps one of the most beautiful I have ever photographed—a hole I dubbed "Beauty by the Sea."
Come to play its tee shot or come to simply admire the panoramic landscape and spectacular scenery.
Golfers will also welcome par-5 2nd hole, which plays slightly uphill and par-3 3rd hole over the canyons. Matt Ward, golf writer for Golf Content Network, summarizes hole 3 this way: "The hole is framed in a box canyon and the putting surface is slightly higher in elevation than the teeing grounds so pulling the right club is an absolute must. The wind pattern can swirl so what you are feeling at the teeing areas and what is happening in and around the green can be vastly different so a solid strike is crucial."
Golfing is not the only attraction at Danzante Bay. Besides the spacious Sabila Spa offering an array of treatments and massages, the 188-suite resort has three restaurants, five swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking trails, and sport fishing. The area around the Sea of Cortez and the five of islands of Loreto is a World Heritage Site, harbouring a federally protected marine park established in 1996. The sanctuary for marine life is a great place for diving, snorkeling, paddling and whale-watching.
Hop on the resort's complimentary shuttle service to explore nearby historic Loreto and the 1697 mission. While you are there, check out the harbour and photograph all the colourful murals in town.
Air service is better than ever to Loreto. From Vancouver (YVR), both WestJet and Alaska Airlines fly to Loreto (LTO). There are also non-stop flights from Calgary. From Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Loreto is only a two-hour non-stop flight on Alaska Airlines.
IF YOU GO:
TPC Danzante Bay Golf Club