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Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, Mexico

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, January 21st, 2019
Categories: GolfGolf For WomenGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

Current situation at Hooked on Golf Blog World Headquarters: snowed in.  We are in a massive winter storm here.  Many roads are closed.  While I love skiing and winter sports, I found myself daydreaming about relaxing by the beach with a frosty beverage in hand.  Great time to write my review of my recent trip to the Islands of Loreto, Mexico and the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at The Islands of Loreto.  Off we go to fantasy island.

Location Location Location

Villa del Palmar is located in the Baja California Sur, a sliver of land which extends several hundred miles south from San Diego, California and sits west of the Mexican mainland.  The Baja is home to a very well known tourist destination, Los Cabos/Cabo San Lucas. Villa del Palmar is about 300 miles northeast of Cabo on the Baja’s east coast, about 30 minutes south of the town of Loreto, Mexico.  Loreto is a friendly, quaint, scenic, and relaxing place with terrific shops, restaurants and great nearby activities.

Villa del Palmar Overview

Villa del Palmar resort is a gated resort occupying hundreds of acres of pristine oceanfront land, overlooking Danzante Bay and the Islands of Loreto. The resort features numerous 1-3 bedroom suites and penthouses up to four bedrooms.

Resort amenities include five swimming pools, hot tub, 39,000 square foot spa and wellness center, arcade room, kids club, fitness center, convenience store, night club, and shuttle service to/from downtown Loreto.

Resort guests can enjoy numerous activities.  On property is TPC Danzante Bay Golf Course, a world class golf course by Rees Jones.  Other activities include swimming, beach relaxing, biking, ATV’s, hiking the local mountains, snorkeling, sport-fishing, whale watching, paddle-boarding, kayaking, breathing fresh air, having your 5-year-old bury you up to the head in sand.

The resort features several dining options, from the casual Casa Mia restaurant to the elegant Danzante gourmet restaurant.

The Bay

The bay is coral blue with barely any waves or water currents. Seriously. The largest wave I saw was about two inches. It’s dead calm, unlike many of the violent and dangerous waters in Cabo San Lucas.

The water is shallow and walkable, even hundreds of feet from the shore.  The beach is perfect for families who have small children and don’t want the fear of issues with waves.  Note how calm the water is in the photo below, where I was relaxing and enjoying the sea, sand, scenery, and serenity.

Activities in the bay include boating, snorkeling, swimming, building sand castles, kayaking, paddle-boarding and much, much more.


There are numerous pools and a hot tub for swimming and sunbathing, sans sand and salt water.  The swimming pools at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto are shaped like turtles.  It took me awhile to realize that. I didn’t make it to the hot tub, but it looked nice and large.


As a single player, my suite was the one-bedroom.  The one-bedroom is very spacious, and can accommodate 2-4 adults.   The main bedroom has a king size bed, and the living room has a sofa-bed for the kids or extra guests.

Living room and kitchen

There’s a kitchen area in the one-bedroom, complete with a refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher, cupboards, and even a washer/dryer in the side closet.

The bathroom area is large, with a big jetted tub, separate shower, closet, separate toilet, and dual sinks.

The balcony of the room is huge and comes with a table and chair set, and lounge chair setup. Oh, and depending on the room there are views of the ocean or the resort.

One remarkable thing to mention regarding the suite is the service.  Each day my suite was cleaned and made up to perfection.

Bedroom and bathroom (note the message on the bed!)

I would return from the day’s activities of golf, hiking, boating to bedroom messages made from polished stones (photo above).  “Towel sculptures” of birds and fish greeted my at the entrance to the shower.  Very nice and fun touches.


I enjoyed meals at all of the dining options at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto.  The breakfast buffet at The Market (photo below) was terrific.  Enjoying breakfast and the perfect weather on the patio every morning was a great way to start the day.

The Market

One “gourmet” night at the classy Danzante Restaurant I enjoyed a terrific filet with all the accoutrements.  One special part of the evening at Danzante Restaurant was getting “Mexican coffee.”  This is special coffee drink prepared at table-side. Oh, and I should mention that the drink is on fire (photo below).


This section could really take a long time to express.  There are so many great activities at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto Islands of Loreto.  From boating, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling to sport fishing, it is all there.  I can’t cover it all, but here are some highlights of my recent trip.

I really enjoyed the boat ride via the resort to the Islands of Loreto.  What a beautiful area.  The ride was smooth as glass and the islands are stunning.  The last quarter of the boat ride was a stop by one of the islands where we dawned snorkels and did some snorkeling.

Naturally I spent a ton of time checking out TPC Danzante Bay, the Rees Jones designed golf course on the property.  The golf course is tremendous, and doesn’t beat the golfer up like most TPC courses do.  The design and scenery added up to such a thrilling golf experience.  On my final round I managed to make a satisfying birdie on the par-3 17th, the course’s most famous hole (photo below).

On my next trip to the resort, and there will most definitely be one, I need to get in some of the activities I missed, like kayaking, hiking and so on.  Can’t wait for that.

Getting There

Getting to Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto Islands of Loreto isn’t quite as easy as getting to Cabo or Mazatlan.  The Loreto airport is 30 minutes away and does service jets from a couple of airlines. But honestly, that’s part of what makes the resort and the area around Loreto, Mexico so great.  It’s not overrun with millions of tourists.

Final Thoughts

Warm weather, great golf, great water activities, relaxing on the beach… It all makes up a great offering from Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto Islands of Loreto. The next time you are considering a trip to Mexico, take a solid look at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto Islands of Loreto and the area of Loreto before you book another trip to Cancun, Cabo, Mazatlan or any of the other heavily trafficked Mexican tourist destinations.


HOG World Tour Visits Mexico’s TPC Danzante Bay

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, November 28th, 2018
Categories: Golf CoursesGolf For WomenHOG World TourTravel

The latest stop on the HOG World Tour was TPC Danzante Bay, about 40 minutes from the town of Loreto, Mexico.  Loreto is on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula, looking over the Gulf of California.

Looking down at Villa del Palmar Resort from near the 18th tee of TPC Danzante Bay

TPC Danzante Bay is a Rees Jones design which takes advantage of the local mountains to produce dramatic views, challenging carries, and elevation changes.

The course is part of the Villa del Palmar resort, which offers other great vacationing activities like great beaches, snorkeling, boating, hiking and more.

Fredrik Lindenblom tees off on the par-3 13th hole

Stay tuned for my full review of TPC Danzante Bay, and my review of the Villa del Palmar resort soon.

HOG World Tour Arrives at Mexico’s TPC Danzante Bay Golf Course

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, November 15th, 2018
Categories: Golf Course ArchitectureGolf CoursesHOG World TourTravel

After a full day of traveling from the frozen tundra of Salt Lake, I’ve arrived in the warmth of Mexico at a great resort called Villa del Palmar (pictures soon).  I just managed to squeeze in 9-holes at TPC Danzante Bay, the Rees Jones course here with the famous 17th hole.  The 17th is shown below.  Even after the sun has gone down it still looks awesome.

I’ll be exploring the resort and playing several rounds over the next 3-4 days at TPC Danzante, and of course reporting and posting many more photos.  Stay tuned.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to a beach party! Woot!

Golf Course Review: Cabo del Sol – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, August 5th, 2013
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

For the millionth time I must say I have one of the coolest gigs in the world. To be able to travel to fantastic golf vacation destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for the purpose of reviewing world class golf courses, is a privilege I don’t take lightly.

Cabo del Sol Ocean Course - Los Cabos

Cabo del Sol Ocean Course – Los Cabos – click for more

On my recent Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour stop to Cabo, I had the pleasure of playing Cabo del Sol, a Jack Nicklaus signature design course built in 1994. The course is ranked by many top publications in the top 100 in the world, as well as ranked #1 in Mexico.


Part of what makes Cabo del Sol and the other golf courses in Cabo so great is the location. Los Cabos is located about 1,000 miles south of Los Angeles on the Baja California peninsula. That’s barely a 2.5 hour flight from Denver.

The weather in Cabo is fantastic all year, averaging 78 degrees. There are 350 sunny days per year, meaning one could take 10 days break from golfing per year for other activities, like going to a spa.


Jack Nicklaus had some fantastic real estate to work with when designing Cabo del Sol. Nearly half of the course’s 7,091 yards are on the ocean in the form of holes 5, 6, 7, 8, 16, 17 and 18. Can you say “Pebble South?” Jack Nicklaus himself said about the course, “the best piece of golf property I’ve ever seen.”

There are five sets of tees at Cabo del Sol.  The longest playing set of tees (Black), measures at 7,091 yards.  Slope from the back tees is 145 with a course rating of 74.4.  In other words, the course is plenty of challenge even for scratch players or pros.

One of the most dramatic parts of the course is the stretch from hole five green through hole eight tee.  Hole five is ranked the toughest on the course, a 490 yard par-4.  From there holes six (pictured above) and seven are back-to-back par-3’s on the sea.  Absolutely fantastic stretch of golf.

cabo golf

Carve this tee shot left to right. Try not to let the Sea of Cortez distract you!


Teeing areas at Cabo del Sol are typical of desert target style courses. The tees are mini islands in the desert, framed by finely manicured desert foliage and large cacti.

Many tee shots require some forced carries but nothing crazy. They’re completely manageable. Movement of the ball in both directions can help the player navigate the course from the tee and many tee shots tempt the player to hit driver when perhaps a more conservative play may be a better idea.


Cabo del Sol’s fairways are much wider than they appear from the tee. The landing areas are spacious. Missing the wide fairways is possible though, and penal. Native desert areas are often the last resting place for a chance at par.

cabo pirate ship

Looking at the fairway and the Sea of Cortez as a pirate ship passes by in the background. Where else does this happen?

Hitting approaches from the fairways can be a challenge. Stances can be slightly uneven, influencing shot lines which may be opposite what may be optimal.


Approaching the greens at Cabo del Sol is challenging, Nicklaus style. Jack’s bunker complexes and design angles make approach shots the most critical shot on most of the holes. Proper approaches are the key to making par or birdie here.

cabo san lucas golf

Not a bad green complex, if you like tremendous scenery. Click to zoom.

The greens at Cabo del Sol are quite fun to putt. They’re large, with some very tasteful and fair undulations. Good reads and properly executed putts won’t produce any unwanted surprises. They’ll produce birdies and pars.

golf tacos

Make your own tacos! Brilliant – click to zoom


One of the highlights of my ENTIRE trip to Cabo was the taco stand at Cabo del Sol. The course is world famous for their tacos, to such an extent that sometimes the tacos get more press than the golf. Please note that I dedicated only one paragraph to the tacos…


The practice area is very well maintained with high quality range balls and cleaning stations. I was happy to hit the range before my round. The back was not happy. But after a few swings and loosening up in the warm Cabo weather, my back was back…so to speak.

There’s a practice putting area right next to the 1st tee, surrounded by large cacti and beautiful desert foliage.

Cabo del Sol clubhouse

Clubhouse as seen from #1 tee. Click to zoom.

The 40,000 square foot clubhouse at Cabo del Sol is home to a well appointed and classy pro shop. The open air building also boasts fine dining, men’s and women’s lounges, lockers and meeting facilities.


Even better than the courses and the places I get to see on my golf press trips are the fantastic people who run them, like my new friend and director of golf at Cabo del Sol, Greg Tallman. I had a fantastic time playing my round with Greg. I’m still amazed by the driver “off the deck” shot. Brilliant…

The service at Cabo del Sol was impressive, as has been my experience with just about every course and resort in the area. On the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, customer service is as good as anywhere I’ve been.


Cabo del Sol deserves all the accolades and awards it has received. The golf experience at Cabo del Sol does not disappoint. The facility has no weaknesses. From course design to amenities to course conditioning, throw in one of the best locations on the planet, the golf experience is tough to beat.

Related Links

Hooked On Golf Blog Cabo del Sol photo gallery

Cabo del Sol website