Before I got married, my then-future wife and I were trying to figure out where we should go for our honeymoon. We had never been out of the country together, so we considered a few different international locations.
One of my now in-laws goes on luxury Mexico vacations several times throughout the year, and he couldn't speak more highly of the Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya regions of the country. So, we took him up on the recommendation, and, despite some personal follies on the trip, our time in Riviera Maya was fantastic. The beaches were great. The weather was perfect (though bring plenty of sunscreen). The all-inclusive, adults-only resort was a perfect place to celebrate our nuptials.
However, that honeymoon didn't include any golf in Mexico. I didn't even bring my clubs. All I wanted was to be able to have a drink in my hand during the day and a chance to explore the region with my new wife. We swam in a cenote at an eco-tourism park. We saw Mayan ruins in their splendor. We had really good food. We read on the beach. We drank and ate in Playa del Carmen.
Had I been able to bring the clubs to Riviera Maya, I would have made a tee time at El Camaelon Golf Club. The Mayakoba Resort in Playa del Carmen is home to this PGA Tour host course designed by Greg Norman. Many holes at El Camaleon play along or very close to the oceanfront, allowing the wind to come into play while weaving through a jungle-like environment. The Paspalum grass greens after perfect for the sea water-infused air, and the putting surfaces run pure.
El Camaleon hosts the PGA Tour each fall with the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. The event, which started in 2007, has moved from being an opposite-field event during the PGA Tour schedule to being a great change of pace in the fall portion of the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule. The event has increased in stature and strength of field in recent years, in part because the accommodations at the Mayakoba Resort are the perfect getaway for players and their families and they prepare to wrap up the golf year before the holidays.
It's been nearly a decade since my wife and I were married, and life has taken us on a wonderful journey together. But I've wanted to go back to Mexico, explore some more and play some golf. This fall, I'm going to get an opportunity to do just that.
For years, a friend of mine had invited me to go fishing with him and some of his other friends in Cabo San Lucas, on the completely opposite side of Mexico from Riviera Maya in Baja California Sur, on the absolute southern tip of the south-of-the-border extension of the USA's most populace state. He would go in the fall and go fishing in the Pacific Ocean. The pictures he'd share of what he caught was unbelievable. The accommodations had the most picturesque views. The laid-back nature of the area -- akin to what we experienced in Riviera Maya -- had the (Baja) California cool that's so appealing.
Again, though, golf wasn't really a part of that itinerary. It was more about fishing, tequila, hanging out on the beach and some night life. It all sounded like something I'd love to experience.
In October 2018, I'll get to experience Baja California Sur when I head to Danzante Bay Resort in the town of Loreto.
Danzante Bay is a stunning piece of property, situated on mountainous cliffs right on the Pacific Ocean. There's lot to do there, including swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating, snorkeling, SCUBA diving and, yes, golf.
The golf course, now part of the TPC Network and known as TPC Danzante Bay, opened in December 2017 after an initial, partial opening in 2016. It was designed by Rees Jones to take advantage of the incredible topography and villas on which it sits, with several holes playing right toward the water. Seven holes run through a jagged canyon, while 11 holes face the ocean. It's the perfect mix, with the par-3 17th playing directly into the Sea of Cortez. The peninsula green not only offers a postcard-caliber view but, with water on three sides of the green, requires a competent tee shot to keep the ball dry.
The town of Loreto is the oldest Spanish colony in the Californias of Mexico (Baja California and Baja California Sur), it was founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1697 on orders from the Spanish crown. There's often music in the air as the quaint town offers bright colors, fun shops and an exuberant atmosphere.
No matter where you choose to go in Mexico, there are great accommodations to match almost every budget. There are traditional hotels, of course. And then there are all-inclusive resorts, which often cater to families and couples looking to soak up the sun and spend a lot of time on the beach and in the pool. But, for some, renting a luxury home is the right choice for them. Having a whole luxury house to yourself means having the amenities of a larger private resort -- a pool, the views, private dining areas -- in short proximity. These properties offer some of the best views Mexico has to offer. If you're traveling with a larger group or prefer the privacy renting a home offers, then this is the perfect way to vacation.